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Coppola echoes that sentiment when he says, "Once upon a time, the studios were owned by Jack Warner and Sam Goldwyn and Darryl Zanuck, who were tough, but they loved movies, and they were show business men who wanted to out-do each other by making better pictures. What happened in later years, as the studios became owned by other kinds of companies, is that the owner was no longer really there at the studio, or that type of show business guy. The game became different. It became not just to make wonderful movies everyone could be proud of; it became about making the stock price of the company go higher, so they could acquire CBS or NBC."
So there is something at once celebratory and melancholic about MOMI's Paramount salute, arriving at a moment when sophisticated, character-driven adult dramas and comedies have become nearly as obsolete in Hollywood as the musical and the western. Paramount's own fortunes have rarely been richer, flush from a run of Marvel Comics hits (as well as a small stake in The Avengers). Meanwhile, the studio's 2009 decision to shut down its "independent" Paramount Vantage arm, concurrent with Warner Bros.' axing of Warner Independent Pictures, has left moviegoers all the poorer.
"Today," Bart says, "everything is about instant awareness. Basically, our dictum used to be 'Surprise me.' Now, it's 'What's been done before?'" As a character in one iconic Paramount film might say, "Forget about it Jake, it's Hollywood."
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