Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has signed a new multiyear contract that will keep him atop the studio as parent company Viacom prepares to merge with CBS.
The veteran executive shared the news with his staff on Monday, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Paramount president of production Elizabeth Raposo has also re-upped.
In advance of the expected merger, Viacom and CBS Corp. have agreed on a management structure in which Viacom chief Bob Bakish — Gianopulos’ boss — will be named CEO; CBS chief Joe Ianniello will take a top role overseeing the CBS brands; and Christina Spade will be named CFO, if a deal is reached.
The CBS-Viacom remarriage shouldn’t have a dramatic impact on Gianopulos’ film studio, since CBS is firmly in the television business. When the two media giants split in 2006, former CBS honcho Les Moonves launched CBS Films, a small label focusing on mid-range and specialty fare. (CBS Films has been in the process of winding down for months.)
The widely respected Gianopulos, who previously served a long stint as chairman of 20th Century Fox, arrived at Paramount in 2017. He was tasked with the difficult job of turning around the ailing film studio, whose fortunes had faded.
Righting a major Hollywood studio is often compared to turning around an aircraft carrier. Gianopulos has made progress with films including A Quiet Place and Rocket Man, while relaunching the Terminator franchise and rebooting the marquee Transformers series with Bumblebee. He’s also unearthing Top Gun. Starring Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick is set to hit theaters June 26, 2020, and is considered one of the most anticipated movies of the coming year.
There’s also a potential new franchise in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, based on the beloved kids TV series that airs on sister company Nickelodeon. Dora opened to a subdued $17 million at the domestic box office over the weekend.
Gianopulos has strong talent relationships from his years at Fox, including with James Cameron, who is producing the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate (due out Nov. 1), and Ang Lee, who is directing the upcoming Will Smith sci-fi action pic Gemini Man (Oct. 11). David Ellison’s Skydance Media is Paramount’s partner on both event pics, as well as on Mission: Impossible and Top Gun.