Jim Gianopulos out at Paramount, next Christopher Nolan film goes to Universal

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Jim Gianopulos worked to protect theatrical windows at Paramount. Now he’s been fired in favor of someone who will oversee a strategy that pushes more movies directly to the streamer Paramount+. Photo by Daniel Constante/Shutterstock

Jim Gianopulos has been fired as the head of Paramount Pictures. The move is not a surprising one, as Gianopulos was an old-school studio chief who worked to keep big movie stars happy by giving big films exclusive theatrical releases. 

But Shari Redstone, chairman of parent company ViacomCBS, is desperate to get the company in good enough shape for her to sell it, and that means bulking up the streamer Paramount+. 

The emphasis on streaming put Gianopulos between a rock and a hard place, as stars like Tom Cruise, who headlines two upcoming Paramount films, was never going to stand for his movies to go straight to streaming. 

The person taking Gianopulos’ job is Brian Robbins, the president of Nickelodeon, former child actor, and director of movies including “Good Burger” and “Norbit.” Part of his job will be overseeing the creation of fast, cheap, and probably not-very-good films for Paramount+. 

For his next film, Christopher Nolan had several demands for potential studios, including a 110-day exclusive theatrical window, which is more than the standard 90-day window and way more than the recently common 45-day window. He also wanted a blackout period where the studio would not release another movie in the weeks before or after his film. 

Nolan ended up picking Universal for his next project, a World War II drama about the creation of the atom bomb. 

With so few studios committed to theatrical releases, only a few contenders were ever really in the running. Nolan doesn’t make the kind of movies Disney is interested in, Paramount just fired its theater-friendly studio chief, and while Sony chairman Tom Rothman was able to woo Quentin Tarantino for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and would have loved to have this Nolan film as well, Universal ultimately won. 

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