The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sparky: Doing Box Office Reciepts

Our Guru got serious employment. Called me on the first night of the week of Matzoh to tell me — but couldn't get a hold of me. So ponder " Prince of Egypt" for a while and I'll ramble ... and then you can guess where our Union Boy ended up ...

Apologies if the Hebrew below appears to be ???

An image of machine-made matzo, which is the "official" food of Passover
Official Name Hebrew: ??? (Pesach)
Also Called The holiday the Goyim stole to turn into Easter
Observed By Judaism and Jews
Type Religious
Significance One of the Three Pilgrim Festivals. Celebrating the Exodus and freedom from slavery of the Children of Israel from ancient Egypt that followed the Ten plagues.
Beginning of the 49 days of Counting of the Omer
Begins 15th day of Nisan
Ends 21st day of Nisan in Israel, and among some liberal Diaspora Jews; 22nd day of Nisan outside of Israel among more traditional Jews
Date Now!
Gregorian Date (2006) April 12
Celebrations Two festive Seder meals (in Israel only one), and reciting the Haggadah, eating of matzo, marror (bitter herb), drinking four cups of grape kosher wine and filling the Cup of Elijah. And in the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Korban Pesach.
Observances No bread for you!
Related To Shavuot ("Festival [of] Weeks") which follows 49 days from the second night of Passover.

Passover (Hebrew: ???; transliterated as Pesach or Pesah), also called ?? ????? (Chag HaMatzot - Festival of Matzot) is a Jewish holiday beginning on the 15th day of Nisan, which falls in the early spring and commemorates the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. Passover marks the "birth" of the Jewish nation, as the Jews were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh and allowed to become servants of God instead.

Together with Sukkot and Shavuot, Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the days of the Holy Temple.

In Israel, Passover is a 7-day holiday, with the first and last days celebrated as a full festival (involving abstention from work, special prayer services and holiday meals). Outside Israel, the holiday is celebrated for 8 days, with the first two days and last two days celebrated as full festivals. The intervening days are known as Chol HaMoed (festival weekdays).

The primary symbol of Passover is the matzo, a flat, unleavened bread which recalls the bread that the Israelites ate after their hasty departure from Egypt. According to Halakha, this bread is made from a dough of flour and water only, which has not been allowed to rise for more than 18–22 minutes. Religious Jews will observe the positive Torah commandment of eating matzo on the first night, as well as the Torah prohibition against eating or owning any leavened products — such as bread, cake, cookies, or pasta (anything whose dough has been mixed with a leavening agent or which has been left to rise more than 18–22 minutes) — for the duration of the holiday.

Origins of the feast

The term Pesach (Hebrew: ??????) or, more exactly, the verb "pasàch" (Hebrew: ??????) is first mentioned in the Torah account of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:23). It is found in Moses' words that God "will pass over" the houses of the Israelites during the final plague of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, the killing of the first-born. On the night of that plague, which occurred on the 15th day of Nisan, the Jews smeared their lintels and doorposts with the blood of the Passover sacrifice and were spared.

There is some debate about the exact meaning of the verb pasàch (??????) as it appears in Exodus. The commonly held assumption that it means "he passed over", stems from the translation provided in the Septuagint (???????????? in Ex. 12:23, and ????????? in Ex. 12:27). Judging from other instances of the verb, and instances of parallelism, a more faithful translation may be "he hovered over, guarding." Indeed, this is the image used by Isaiah by his use of this verb in Is. 31:5: "As birds hovering, so will the Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem; He will deliver it as He protecteth it, He will rescue it as He passeth over" (????????????? ??????? ????? ?????? ??????? ????????? ?????????????????? ???????? ?????????? ???????? ???????????).

The term Pesach also refers to the lamb which was designated as the Passover sacrifice (called the Korban Pesach in Hebrew). Four days before the Exodus, the Jews were commanded to set aside a lamb (Exodus 12:3) and inspect it daily for blemishes. During the day on the 14th of Nisan, they were to slaughter the lamb and use its blood to mark their lintels and doorposts. Up until midnight on the 15th of Nisan, they were to consume the lamb. Each family (or group of families) gathered together to eat a meal that included the meat of the Korban Pesach while the Tenth Plague ravaged Egypt.

In future years, during the existence of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem, the Korban Pesach was eaten during the Passover Seder on the 15th of Nisan. However, following the destruction of the Temple, no sacrifices may be offered or eaten. The story of the Korban Pesach is therefore retold at the Passover Seder, and the symbolic food which represents it on the Seder Plate is usually a roasted lamb shankbone, chicken wing, or chicken neck.

The English term "Passover" came into the English language through William Tyndale's translation of the Bible, and later appeared in the King James Version as well.

Although the term Pesach is not mentioned until the Book of Exodus, there are indications that at least parts of the feast were observed in earlier times. For example, Genesis 19:3 refers to the "matzot" which Lot served his angelic guests. According to Rashi, quoting Talmud Yoma 28b, the Patriarchs and their families intuited the celebration of all the Jewish holidays, as well as the mitzvot which God would command in the future through the giving of the Torah, and kept the mitzvot voluntarily.

Passover Seder

It is traditional for a Jewish family to gather on the first night of Passover (first two nights outside the land of Israel) for a special dinner called a Seder (???—derived from the Hebrew word for "order", referring to the very specific order of the ritual). The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of this meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah. Four cups of wine are consumed at various stages in the narrative. The Haggadah divides the night's procedure into these 15 parts:
  • Kadeish ??? (Recital of Kiddush blessing and drinking of the First Cup of Wine)
  • Urchatz ???? (The washing of the hands)
  • Karpas ???? (Dipping of the Karpas in salt water)
  • Yachatz ??? (Breaking the middle matzo; the larger piece becomes the afikoman which is eaten later during the ritual of Tzafun)
  • Maggid ???? (Retelling the Passover story, including the recital of the "Four Questions" and drinking of the Second Cup of Wine)
  • Rachtzah ???? (Second washing of the hands)
  • Motzi / Matzo ????? / ??? (Eating the matzo)
  • Maror ???? (Eating of the maror)
  • Koreich ???? (Eating of a sandwich made of matzo and maror)
  • Shulchan Oreich ????? ???? (lit. "set table"—the serving of the holiday meal)
  • Tzafun ???? (Eating of the afikoman)
  • Bareich ??? (Blessing after the meal and drinking of the Third Cup of Wine)
  • Hallel ??? (Recital of the Hallel, traditionally recited on festivals; drinking of the Fourth Cup of Wine)
  • Nirtzah ????? (Conclusion)
A bronze matzo plate designed by Maurice Ascalon, inscribed with the opening words of the Magid portion of the Seder, "Ha Lachma Anya" — "This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in Egypt"

A bronze matzo plate designed by Maurice Ascalon, inscribed with the opening words of the Magid portion of the Seder, "Ha Lachma Anya" — "This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in Egypt"

The Seder is replete with questions, answers, and unusual practices (e.g. the recital of Kiddush which is not immediately followed by the blessing over bread, which is the traditional procedure for all other holiday meals) to arouse the interest and curiosity of the children at the table. The children are also rewarded with nuts and candies when they ask questions and participate in the discussion of the Exodus and its aftermath. Likewise, they are encouraged to search for the afikoman, the piece of matzo which is the last thing eaten at the Seder. The child or children who discover the hiding place of the afikoman are rewarded with a prize or money. Audience participation and interaction is the rule, and many families' Seders last long into the night with animated discussions and much singing. The Seder concludes with additional songs of praise and faith printed in the Haggadah, including Chad Gadya ("One Kid Goat").

See also

The Prince of Egypt

DVD cover
Directed by Brenda Chapman
Steve Hickner
Simon Wells
Produced by Penney Finkelman Cox
Sandra Rabins
Written by Ronaldo Del Carmen
Ken Harsha
Carole Holliday
Philip LaZebnik
Anthony Leondis
Nicholas Meyer
Frank Tamura
Starring Val Kilmer (voice)
Ralph Fiennes (voice)
Michelle Pfeiffer (voice)
Sandra Bullock (voice)
Jeff Goldblum (voice)
Danny Glover (voice)
Music by Stephen Schwartz (songs)
Hans Zimmer (score)
Editing by Nick Fletcher
Distributed by DreamWorks Distribution LLC
Released December 16, 1998
Running time 99 min.
Language English/Hebrew
Budget $60,000,000 (estimated)
IMDb profile

The Prince of Egypt is a 1998 American animated film, the first animated film produced and released by DreamWorks SKG. It is loosely based on the life of Moses in Exodus (Chapters 1 to 20). It is about two Egyptian princes; one grows up to lead Egypt, and the other to lead all the Hebrews slaves out of Egypt.

The Maldives, an island nation, was the first of two Muslim countries to ban the film. The country's Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs stated, "all prophets and messengers of God are revered in Islam, and therefore cannot be portrayed"[1]. Following this ruling, the censor board banned the film in January 1999. In the same month, the Film Censorship Board in Malaysia banned the film, but did not provide a specific explanation. The board's secretary told the New Straits Times the censor body ruled the film was "insensitive for religious and moral reasons"[2]..

The voice cast includes Val Kilmer, Ofra Haza, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helen Mirren, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Martin Short, and Steve Martin. Directed by Brenda Chapman and Steve Hickner, the film featured songs written by Stephen Schwartz and a score composed by Hans Zimmer.

The film has won the Best Original Song at the 1999 Academy Awards, with the pop version of the theme song "When You Believe" interpreted by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. The song, co-written by Stephen Schwartz, Hans Zimmer and with additional production by Babyface, was also nominated for the Best Original Song (Motion Picture) at the 1999 Golden Globes, and was also cited for Outstanding Performance of a Song for a Feature Film at the ALMA Awards, but did not win.

Tagline: Two brothers. United by friendship, divided by destiny.

See also


External links


Dreamworks SKG
DreamWorks logo
Type Subsidiary of Paramount Pictures (Viacom)
Founded Glendale, California (1994)
Location Glendale, California; animation department: Redwood City, California
Key people David Geffen, Principal
Jeffrey Katzenberg, Principal
Steven Spielberg, Principal
Industry Motion pictures
Products motion pictures, television programs
Revenue $2.8 billion USD (2006)
Employees 1,200 (2006)

DreamWorks, L.L.C., doing business as DreamWorks SKG, is a Big Ten studio in the United States of America which develops, produces, and distributes films, video games, and television programming. It began as an ambitious attempt by media moguls David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg to create a new Hollywood studio, but in December 2005, the founders agreed to sell the studio to Viacom, Paramount Pictures's parent. Its animation subsidiary, DreamWorks Animation SKG, will remain independent, but its films will be distributed worldwide by Paramount Pictures. Paramount completed the acquisition in February 2006.


The initials "SKG" stand for the company's co-founders, Steven Spielberg (movie director and founder of Amblin Entertainment), Jeffrey Katzenberg (former head of The Walt Disney Company's film studios), and David Geffen (founder of Geffen Records).

The company was founded following Katzenberg's forced resignation from The Walt Disney Company in 1994. At the suggestion of Spielberg's friend Robert Zemeckis, the two made an agreement with long-time Katzenberg collaborator Geffen to start their own studio. The studio was officially founded in October of 1994 with financial backing of $33 million from each of the three main partners and $500 million from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The first feature length DreamWorks film to be released was The Peacemaker, in 1997, although a failed TV pilot called Dear Diary was put into limited theatrical release in 1996. It went on to win an Oscar for Best Short Film.

In 1999 and 2000, DreamWorks won two consecutive best picture Oscars for American Beauty and Gladiator.

DreamWorks Records never lived up to expectations, and was sold in October 2003 to Universal Music Group, which operated the label as DreamWorks Nashville. That label was shut down in 2005 when its flagship artist, Toby Keith, departed to form his own label.

The DreamWorks Animation logo

The DreamWorks Animation logo

The studio has had its greatest financial success with movies, specifically animated movies. DreamWorks Animation teamed up with Pacific Data Images (now known as PDI/DreamWorks) in 1996 to create some of highest grossing animated hits of all time, such as Antz (1998), Shrek (2001) and its sequel Shrek 2 (2004). Based on their success, DreamWorks Animation has spun off as its own publicly traded company. In fact, PDI/DreamWorks has emerged as the main competitor to Pixar in the age of computer-generated animation, and is based in Redwood City, California.

DreamWorks' frequently co-financed and co-distributed films with other studios, including Columbia, Fox, Paramount, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros.

With co-financing and co-distribution, one studio will release the film internationally and the other domestically. Usually two films are a product of this deal. For example, both Minority Report and Road to Perdition were made by DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox and released in 2002. For Minority Report, Fox released the film in the U.S., and Dreamworks released it internationally. For Road to Perdition, Dreamworks released the film in the U.S., and Fox released it internationally.

The only major studio DreamWorks has not co-released movies with is Walt Disney Pictures. This is not surprising, given Disney's hostile relations with DreamWorks co-founder Katzenberg, as well as Disney's longstanding tradition to release films independently of other studios.

In recent years DreamWorks has scaled back. It stopped plans to build a high-tech studio, sold its music division, and only produces one television series, Las Vegas.

In December 2005, Viacom's Paramount Pictures agreed to purchase the live-action studio. The deal is valued at approximately $1.6 billion, an amount that includes about $400 million in debt assumptions. The company completed its acquisition on February 1, 2006. [1].

On March 17, 2006 Paramount agreed to sell the DreamWorks live-action library (through September 17, 2005) to a group lead by George Soros for $900 million. Paramount will retain distribution rights, as well as various auxiliary rights, including music publishing, sequels, and merchandising. [2]

The theme heard at the beginning of most DreamWorks films was done by John Williams.

Paramount Pictures

The Paramount Pictures logo used since 2003.
The Paramount Pictures logo used since 2003.

Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture production and distribution company, based in Hollywood, California. It has become the longest-running movie studio ever, running for 94 years. It is controlled by Viacom.

Early history

Paramount Pictures Inc. can trace its beginnings to the creation in May, 1912, of the Famous Players Film Company. Founder Adolph Zukor, who had been an early investor in nickelodeons, saw that movies appealed mainly to working-class immigrants. With partners Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman he planned to offer feature-length films that would appeal to the middle class by featuring the leading theatrical players of the time. By mid-1913, Famous Players had completed five films, and Zukor was on his way to success.

That same year, another aspiring producer, Jesse L. Lasky, opened his "Lasky Feature Play Company" with money borrowed from his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish (later to be known as Samuel Goldwyn.) As their first employee, the Lasky company hired a stage director with no film experience, Cecil B. DeMille, who would find a suitable location-site in Hollywood, near Los Angeles for his first film, The Squaw Man.

Beginning in 1914, both Lasky and Famous Players released their films through a start-up company, "Paramount Pictures". Organized early that year by a Utah theater-owner, W. W. Hodkinson, who had bought and merged several smaller firms, Paramount was the first successful nation-wide distributor. Until this time films were sold on a state-wide or regional basis; not only was this inefficient, but it had proved costly to film producers.

1916 publicity photo for the takeover of Paramount Pictures. (L to R) Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille, Al Kaufman
1916 publicity photo for the takeover of Paramount Pictures. (L to R) Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille, Al Kaufman

Soon the ambitious Zukor, un-used to taking a secondary role, began courting Hodkinson and Lasky. In 1916, Zukor maneuvered a three-way merger of his Famous Players, the Lasky company, and Paramount. The new company, "Famous Players-Lasky", grew quickly, with Lasky and his partners Goldfish and DeMille running the production side, Hodkinson in charge of distribution, and Zukor making great plans. With only the exhibitor-owned First National as a rival, Famous Players-Lasky and its 'Paramount Pictures' soon dominated the business.

Zukor believed in stars - after all, he had begun by offering "Famous Players in Famous Plays," as his first slogan put it. He signed and developed many of the leading early stars, among them Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino and Wallace Reid. With so many important players, Paramount was able to introduce "block-booking", which meant that an exhibitor who wanted a particular star's films had to buy a years'-worth of other Paramount productions. It was this system which gave Paramount a leading position in the 1920s and 1930s, but which led the government to pursue it on anti-trust grounds for more than twenty years.

The driving force behind Paramount's rise was Zukor. All through the 'teens and 'twenties, he built a mighty theatrical chain of nearly 2,000 screens, ran two production studios, and became an early investor in radio, taking a 50% interest in the new Columbia Broadcasting System in 1928. By acquiring the successful Balaban & Katz chain in 1926, he gained the services of both Barney Balaban, who became Paramount's president, and Sam Katz, who ran the Paramount-Publix theater chain. Zukor also hired independent producer B.P. Schulberg, an un-erring eye for new talent, to run the west-coast studio. In 1927, Famous Players-Lasky took on the name Paramount-Famous Lasky Corportation. Three years later, because of the importance of the Publix theater chain, it was later known as Paramount-Publix Corporation.

Eventually Zukor shed most of his early partners, the Frohman brothers, Hodkinson and Goldfish/Goldwyn were out by 1917 while Lasky hung on until 1932, when, blamed for the near-collapse of Paramount in the depression years, he too was tossed out. Zukor's over-expansion and use of over-valued Paramount stock for purchases led the company into receivership in 1933. A bank-mandated reorganization team, led by John Hertz and Otto Kahn kept the company intact, and miraculously, kept Zukor on. He was bumped up to an honorary 'chairman emeritus' role in 1935, while Barney Balaban became chairman. When the company emerged from bankruptcy, it was known as Paramount Pictures, Inc.

As always, Paramount films continued to emphasize stars; in the 1920s there were Swanson, Valentino and Clara Bow. By the 1930s, talkies brought in a range of powerful new draws: Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Gary Cooper, Claudette Colbert, the Marx Brothers, Dorothy Lamour, Carole Lombard, and Bing Crosby among them. In this period Paramount can truly be described as a movie factory, turning out sixty and seventy pictures a year. Such were the benefits of having a huge theater chain to fill, and of block-booking to persuade other chains to go along.

Paramount's cartoon division was also a big success because of two major characters: Popeye The Sailor and Betty Boop. Fleischer Studios put out both cartoons until 1942, then Famous Studios took over both cartoons.

In 1940, Paramount agreed to a government-instituted consent decree: block-booking and 'pre-selling' (the practice of collecting up-front money for films not yet in production) would end. Immediately Paramount cut back on production, from sixty-plus pictures to a more modest twenty annually in the war years. Still, with more new stars (like Bob Hope, Alan Ladd and Betty Hutton), and with war-time attendance at astronomical numbers, Paramount and the other integrated studio-theater combines made more money than ever. At this, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department decided to re-open their case against the five integrated studios. This led to the Supreme Court decision of 1948 which broke up Adolph Zukor's amazing creation.

The 1950s to the 1970s

As movie attendance declined after World War II, Paramount and the others struggled to keep the audience. Hovering nearby were the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, still pursuing restraint-of-trade allegations. This case finally came before the Supreme Court as U.S. vs. Paramount Pictures, et al., and in May, 1948, the court agreed with the government, finding restraint of competition, and calling for the separation of production and exhibition. Paramount was split in two, with the 1,500-screen theater chain handed to the new United Paramount Theaters on December 31, 1949. Cash-rich and controlling prime downtown real estate, UPT-head Leonard Goldenson began looking for investments; barred from film-making, he acquired the struggling ABC in February, 1953.

Paramount Pictures had been an early backer of television, launching experimental stations in 1939 in Los Angeles (later to become KTLA) and Chicago's WBKB. It was also an early investor in the pioneer DuMont Laboratories and through that, the DuMont Television Network, but because of anti-trust concerns after the 1948 ruling, proved to be a timid and obstructionist partner, refusing to aid DuMont as it sank in the mid-1950s.

With the loss of the theater chain, Paramount Pictures went into a decline, cutting studio-backed production, releasing its contract players, and making production deals with independents. By the mid-1950s, all the great names were gone; only C.B. DeMille, associated with Paramount since 1913, kept making pictures in the grand old style. Like some other studios, Paramount saw little value in its film library. When the talent agency MCA, then wielding major influence on Paramount policy, offered $50 million for 750 pre-1948 features (with payment to be spread over many years), it was thought that Paramount had made the best possible deal. To address anti-trust concerns, MCA set up a separate company, EMKA, Ltd., to peddle these films to television. MCA later admitted that over the next forty years it took in more than a billion dollars in rentals of these supposedly worthless pictures.

The Paramount cartoons and shorts went to various television distributors, with U.M.&M. T.V. Corp. acquiring the majority of the cartoons and live action short subjects made before 1951. The Popeye cartoons were sold to Associated Artists Productions. The Superman cartoons went to Motion Pictures for Television, producers of the Superman television series. The rest of the cartoons made from 1950-1962, were sold to Harvey Comics. Except for the Superman cartoons and the features sold to Universal, most television prints of these films have had their titles refilmed to remove most traces of their connection to Paramount.

By the early 1960s Paramount's future was doubtful. The high-risk movie business was wobbly; the theater chain was long gone; investments in DuMont and in early pay-television came to nothing. Even the flagship Paramount building in Times Square was sold to raise cash, as was KTLA (sold to Gene Autry in 1964 for a then-phenomenal $12.5 million). Founding-father Adolph Zukor, born in 1873, was still chairman emeritus; he referred to chairman Barney Balaban (born 1888) as 'the boy'. Such aged leadership was incapable of keeping up with the changing times, and in 1966, a sinking Paramount was sold to the Charles Bluhdorn's industrial conglomerate Gulf and Western Industries. Bluhdorn immediately put his stamp on the studio, installing a virtually unknown producer, Robert Evans, as head of production. Despite some rough times, Evans held the job for eight years, restoring Paramount's reputation for commercial success with The Odd Couple, Love Story, Rosemary's Baby and The Godfather.

Gulf and Western Industries also bought the neighboring Desilu television studio (once the lot of RKO Pictures) from Lucille Ball in 1967. Using Desilu's established shows like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and Mannix as a foot in the door at the networks, Paramount Television eventually became known as a specialist in half-hour situation comedies.

Robert Evans quit as head of production in 1974; his successor Richard Sylbert, was too literary and tasteful for G+W's Bluhdorn. By 1976, a new, television-trained team was in place: Barry Diller, and his 'killer-Dillers,' associates Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Don Simpson. The specialty now was simpler, 'high concept' pictures like Saturday Night Fever, and Grease. With his television background, Diller kept pitching an idea of his to the board: a fourth commercial network. But the board, and Bluhdorn, wouldn't bite. Neither would Bluhdorn's successor, Martin Davis. When Bluhdorn died unexpectedly, Davis dumped all of G+W's industrial, mining, and sugar-growing subsidiaries and refocused the company, renaming it Paramount Communications. Diller took his fourth-network idea with him when he moved to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1984, where the new proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, was a more interested listener.

Paramount Pictures was unconnected to Paramount Records, until it purchased the rights to use Paramount Records' name (but not its catalogue) in the late 1960s. The Paramount name was used for soundtrack albums and some pop re-issues from the Dot Records catalogue. Paramount had acquired the pop-oriented Dot in 1958, but by 1970 Dot had become an all-country label [1]. In 1974, Paramount sold all of its record holdings to ABC Records, which in turn was sold to MCA in 1978.

From the 1980s to the present day

Paramount's successful run of lightweight pictures extended into the 1980s and 1990s, generating hits like Flashdance, the Friday the 13th slasher series; Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels; Beverly Hills Cop and a string of films starring comedian Eddie Murphy; and the Star Trek features. While the emphasis was decidedly on the commercial, there were occasional quality efforts like Atlantic City and Forrest Gump. During this period responsibility for running the studio passed from Eisner and Katzenberg to Don Simpson to Stanley Jaffe and Sherry Lansing and, late in 2005, Brad Grey. More so than most, Paramount's slate of films included many remakes and television spinoffs; while sometimes commercially successful, there have been few compelling films of the kind that once made Paramount the industry leader.

With the influx of cash from the sale of G+W's industrial properties in the mid-1980s, Paramount bought a string of television stations and KECO Entertainment's theme park operations, renaming them Paramount Parks. In 1993, Sumner Redstone's entertainment conglomerate Viacom made a bid for Paramount; this quickly escalated into a bidding war with Barry Diller. But Viacom prevailed, ultimately paying $10 billion for the Paramount holdings. In 1995, Viacom and Chris-Craft Industries' United Television launched United Paramount Network (UPN), fulfilling Diller's 1970s plan for a Paramount network. In 1999 Viacom bought out United Television's interests, and handed responsibility for the shaky UPN to its more-established CBS unit.

Reflecting in part the troubles of the broadcasting business, Viacom announced early in 2005 that it would split itself in two. The split was completed in January 2006. The CBS television and radio networks, the Infinity radio-station chain (now called CBS Radio), the Paramount Television production unit (now called CBS Paramount Television) and UPN (which will soon be The CW Television Network in a joint venture with rival, Time Warner's Warner Bros.) are part of CBS Corporation. Paramount Pictures is now lumped in with MTV, BET, and the New Viacom's other highly profitable cable channels.

Through a series of mergers and acquistitions, many of Paramount's early cartoons, shorts, and feature films are owned by numerous entities. The cartoons and shorts that were sold to U.M.&M. in 1956 have been reacquired by Paramount Pictures, following Viacom's purchase of Republic Pictures. EMKA/NBC Universal owns 750 of Paramount's pre-1948 sound features, except for a few feature films that either ended up in U.M.&M./NTA's posession, or had been retained by Paramount due to other rights issues (such as The Miracle of Morgan's Creek). The Popeye cartoons and Superman cartoons are owned by Time Warner's subsidaries, Turner Entertainment and DC Comics (respectively). The rest of the cartoons that were sold to Harvey Comics from 1951-1962 are owned by Classic Media. As for distribution of the material Paramount itself still owns, it has been split in half, with Paramount themselves owning theatrical rights, while what became CBS Paramount Television handles television distribution (under the CBS license).

Paramount is the last major film studio located in Hollywood proper. When Paramount moved to its present home in 1927, it was in the heart of the film community. Since then, former next-door neighbor RKO closed up shop in 1957; Warner Brothers (whose old Sunset Boulevard studio was sold to Paramount in 1949 as a home for KTLA) moved to Burbank in 1930; Columbia joined Warners in Burbank in 1973 then moved again to Culver City in 1989; and the Pickford-Fairbanks-Goldwyn-United Artists lot, after a lively history, has been turned into a post-production and music-scoring facility for Warners, known simply as "The Lot". For a time the semi-industrial neighborhood around Paramount was in decline, but has now come back. The recently refurbished studio has come to symbolize Hollywood for many visitors, and its studio tour is a popular attraction.

On December 11, 2005, Paramount announced that it had purchased DreamWorks SKG in a deal worth $1.6 billion. The announcement was made by Brad Grey, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, who noted that enhancing Paramount's pipeline of pictures is a "key strategic objective in restoring Paramounts stature as a leader in filmed entertainment." The agreement does not include DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., the most profitable part of the company that went public last year. But Paramount does gain the right to distribute the studio's lucrative animated films, including the Shrek franchise. On February 1, 2006, the studio announced that the DreamWorks acquisition was completed.

You have the gist of the clue? Heh? - Sparky


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