The Care Bears return for summer! I’m Realistic Fish Head. Those lovable bears are ready to bring their love and caring powers just in time for summer. Perch Perkins on the new improved animated series and how a new Care Bear can help bring wonderful imaginations in Care-a Lot.
Perch Perkins (via The Hub)– After 30 years of lovable, huggable fun for billions of fans worldwide, the classic pop culture franchise Care Bears™ returns to television this summer in an all-new CG animated series "Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot" Saturday, June 2 (8 a.m. ET). The half-hour series on The Hub, a television network for kids and their families, will feature everyone’s favorite bears in exciting new adventures in the land of Care-a-Lot. In addition, the series will introduce a new, younger addition to the group: the playfully curious Wonderheart Bear. The re-imagined series is produced by American Greetings Properties, the outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation (NYSE: AM).
Care Bears celebrates its 30th Anniversary, with a new series that introduces the beloved characters to a new generation with their messages of caring and sharing on their fun-filled adventures packed with music, belly-badge powers and great big "care" hugs! Parents everywhere can now revisit their own childhood as the entire family takes a journey to Care-a-Lot, the high-above-the-earth home of the Care Bears, where wishes come true and unbelievable adventures ensue. On hand for the fun are familiar favorite characters including Tenderheart Bear, Cheer Bear, Grumpy Bear, Share Bear, Harmony Bear, and Funshine Bear – the coolest, most caring-est, magical friends around!
A new addition to the crew, Wonderheart Bear, is silly, sweet and full of joy and wants to be part of the "big bears" adventures. She is playfully curious and never short of questions – about everything! Her belly badge is a small heart that will become full of power as she grows older.
The Hub’s Marketing team will support "Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot" through traditional and non-traditional off-channel media designed to drive sampling of the cuddly, new iteration of the iconic original series.
Upon their debut in 1982, Care Bears quickly became a global sensation, causing a national frenzy as moms and dads vied to get their hands on the new characters. The Care Bears represent different emotions through endearing symbols on their tummies known as "belly-badges."
With the arrival of Paramount’s 100th birthday just 2 days away, let’s see what lies beyond the mountain.
Jim Fish-(via Home Media Magazine) During its 100 years in the entertainment industry, Paramount has morphed from a New York City-based producer of silent films into a multibillion-dollar studio that could be considered the crown jewel of the Viacom media empire. In its birth year, 1912, Paramount generated $200,000 in box office receipts with a single film. This year, it’s expected to generate nearly $2 billion.
In the years since its debut, Paramount has developed a reputation as an innovator. It is the second-oldest studio in the world — formed just a few months after Universal — and was the first to build its own chain of theaters to provide a venue for its own films. Paramount was also one of the first studios to enter radio, through a deal with CBS in the 1920s, and the first to recognize the potential of television, partnering with TV pioneer DuMont Laboratories to open experimental TV stations in Chicago and Los Angeles in 1939.
The founder and driving force behind Paramount in its early years was Adolph Zukor. A Hungarian immigrant who made a small fortune in the New York City fur trade, Zukor got his start in the movie business in 1903 when he opened a nickelodeon, a precursor to modern-day movie theaters, in which customers paid to watch short-reel silent films. The success of his first operation prompted Zukor to team with fellow entrepreneur Marcus Loew, and they built a chain of nickelodeons stretching from Boston to Buffalo.
The pair launched the modern U.S. film industry in 1912 when they bought the U.S. distribution rights to a French film called Queen Elizabeth, which at 40 minutes long was an epic, compared with the typical two-minute short-reel movies. The film, starring stage legend Sarah Bernhardt, generated a surprising $200,000 in revenue in its U.S. tour of nickelodeons.
Fresh off his success with Queen Elizabeth, Zukor entered the film production business. He partnered with several Broadway stage producers to form a company called Famous Players and began producing films based on popular novels and plays. The company made its debut in 1913 with The Count of Monte Cristo and five other films, and the future Paramount Studios was in business.
Around the same time, another newcomer to movies decided to make a Western on location and dispatched his director to Arizona. Arriving in Flagstaff in mid-winter to find conditions too cold to film, the director continued west to California and sent a now-famous telegram to his boss back East:
“Flagstaff no good for our purposes and have proceeded to California. Want authority to rent a barn at a place called Hollywood for $75 a month. Cecil.”
Producer Jesse Lasky gave young director Cecil B. DeMille the green light to rent the barn and that’s where he filmed The Squaw Man, which became a hit for his Feature Play Co. Zukor, who traveled in the same circles as Lasky, saw The Squaw Man and liked the idea of being able to film outdoors year-round in a warm climate. So in 1916 he engineered a merger with Lasky to create the Famous Players-Lasky Corp., which became the first studio to mass-produce films in the silent era. It also made it the second studio to set up shop in Hollywood, arriving close on the heels of Universal Studios.
When it came time to name the studio, Zukor’s first choice was “Progressive Pictures” but the name was already taken. So he took the name of the distributor his new studio had acquired. Paramount Pictures Corporation was formed in 1914 by theater chain owner W.W. Hodkinson. Legend has it that Hodkinson thumbed through a New York City directory looking for catchy names and came across an apartment building called The Paramount. Hodkinson sketched the name on a piece of paper and added a drawing of a snow-covered mountain peak, modeling it after a peak in the Wasatch Mountains in his home state of Utah. The familiar rocky peak and its ring of stars have remained virtually unchanged for nearly a century.
By the early 1920s, Paramount was churning out 60 films a year and assembling a stable of top talent. It signed a young Italian actor named Rudolph Valentino to a contract and made him a star overnight in The Sheik. Convinced that star power is what brought in audiences, he added more top talent, such as Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks, John Barrymore and Mary Pickford, and signed them to contracts committing them to work for Paramount, establishing a cornerstone of the old studio system.
But Zukor also recognized the need to make quality films, and for that he hired DeMille, who already was one of the industry’s top directors with a reputation for big-budget spectacles, including 1926’s The Ten Commandments (DeMille would remain with the studio for nearly 40 years).
That same year, Zukor realized the studio had outgrown “the barn” DeMille had rented in 1914 and still called home. He bought a parcel of land on Melrose Avenue and built the studio lot that still exists today, the only major studio still located near the old “Gower Gulch” area of Hollywood where the industry was born.
Paramount was the dominant studio during the Silent Era, and the 1927 film Wings won the very first Academy Award for best picture (incidentally, Wings had never been available on disc until this past January). But that didn’t stop Zukor from moving quickly into sound films, especially after Warner Bros. scored a hit with The Jazz Singer.
During the 1920s, Paramount also became the first studio to buy and operate its own chain of theaters, guaranteeing a venue for all its movies and generating ancillary revenue through ticket sales.
After the stock market crash of 1929 and the start of the Great Depression, Paramount shifted its focus to comedies. It launched the career of Mae West in 1932 with Night After Night, produced the Marx Brothers classic Coconuts and signed a former vaudeville showman named W.C. Fields to a movie contract. It also launched the film career of singer Bing Crosby and paired him with Bob Hope in what would become a franchise of “Road” movies starting in 1940.
Like nearly every studio, Paramount was hit hard by the stock market crash and was forced to reorganize in 1935. During the process, Zukor stepped down as president and appointed second-in-command Barney Balaban as his replacement (Zukor remained chairman).
During the 1940s, Paramount returned to more serious subject matter and produced critical and commercially successful films such as The Lost Weekend, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Double Indemnity. It also found a new star director in Billy Wilder, who ended the decade with the self-referential Sunset Boulevard, about an aging silent star. The movie showcased the now-iconic Paramount Studios gate and one of its first stars, Gloria Swanson. For most of the 1940s, Paramount reigned as Hollywood’s top studio.
The late 1940s marked the start of a slow decline for a studio that had experienced nearly unbridled success for three decades. The key event was a 1948 federal antitrust ruling that forced Paramount to sell off its theater chain, which was a major blow. In addition to eliminating more than 1,000 theaters that were sure to showcase its pictures, it cut off ticket sales revenue that was a primary source of funding for movie production.
Using the influx of cash from the sale of its theaters, Paramount continued to produce serious films in the early 1950s with director George Stevens (A Place in the Sun and Shane) but shifted its focus to comedies starring Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, and musicals showcasing new teen idol Elvis Presley. By the end of the decade, Paramount was short on cash and producing mostly low-budget films.
The decline continued and by the mid-1960s Paramount was in dire straits. It hadn’t produced a hit film since Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in 1960, and Hitchcock had since jumped ship to Universal. In 1964, it decided to gamble on a big-budget epic called The Fall of the Roman Empire with star Sophia Loren and top-tier director Anthony Mann. The movie bombed and pushed the studio further into debt.
The Gulf + Western Years
In 1966, Paramount experienced its first major changing of the guard when it was purchased by Gulf + Western for $165 million. New owner Charlie Bludhorn decided to shake things up by making former actor and fledgling producer Bob Evans head of production, a move many industry insiders considered a recipe for disaster.
Despite his lack of experience in the movie industry, Bludhorn had an eye for talent, and Paramount began to rebound in the late 1960s. It scored hits with The Odd Couple in 1968 and True Grit in 1969, and set a new studio box office record of $100 million in 1970 with Love Story. Paramount capped its revival two years later with its mega-hit The Godfather. The studio also purchased Desilu Studios from Lucille Ball in 1967 and began to make inroads into TV production.
In the 1970s, Paramount began to merge its interests in television and movies. It hired TV executive Barry Diller to head the studio in 1976, and Diller brought along a team of executives that included Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Dawn Steel. Looking to capitalize on the popularity of hit TV shows, the studio gave sitcom star John Travolta his film debut in Saturday Night Fever and followed with Grease. Both turned out to be massive hits. Paramount also revived the “Star Trek” TV series with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, a move that re-ignited the franchise. The film sequels and multiple TV spinoffs that followed would make “Star Trek” the studio’s most valuable property.
The 1980s heralded the age of “high-concept” films, and Paramount had some of the biggest hits of the era with An Officer and a Gentleman, Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun, which started a long and profitable association with star Tom Cruise that would lead to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. But when the team of Eisner and Diller left Paramount in the mid-1980s, replaced by Frank Mancusco, the studio shifted gears to focus on more thoughtful actioners such as The Hunt for Red October and dramas such as Ghost.
Things began to change in the mid-1980s. Bludhorn died of a heart attack in 1983, and Diller left the company in 1984. Bludhorn successor Martin Davis sold off most of Gulf + Western’s peripheral operations, purchased a chain of theme parks and renamed the company Paramount Communications in 1989, preparing the studio for a merger.
The Viacom Era
In 1993 entertainment giant Viacom made a bid for Paramount but was challenged by QVC and former studio chief Barry Diller. After the bidding war ended, Viacom came out on top and bought Paramount for $9.5 billion. Under new ownership, Jonathan Dolgen was installed as chairman and Sherry Lansing as president. The pair would lead Paramount to a new era of dominance in the late 1990s. During a four-year period, Paramount earned three Best Picture Oscars with Braveheart, Forrest Gump and Titanic.
In 2005, Viacom split into two divisions that separated CBS and Paramount. Under the split, the new Viacom included Paramount, VH1, Nickelodeon and other profitable cable TV channels. The same year, the company agreed to purchase DreamWorks SKG for $1.6 billion.
Aptly enough, Paramount entered its 100th year as the top studio in Hollywood, generating nearly $2 billion in revenue in the United States in 2011 and $3.2 billion overseas, led by Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. In 2012 Paramount will continue to churn out hits with a lineup that includes One Shot with Tom Cruise, Rise of the Guardians with Chris Pine and Hugh Jackman, and a strong list of sequels including Paranormal Activity 4, Madagascar 3 and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
And for movie fans, Paramount has created a new way to check out the studio’s history online. The “Paramount Pictures 100 Years of Movie Magic App” for the iPad allows users to watch a history of the studio, take a studio tour and watch clips of classic Paramount films on their iPad.
Angie Angelfish (via Home Media Magazine)- Paramount Pictures founded its home video division in 1979, joining Columbia Pictures as the first studios to venture into the fledgling industry. With the format war between VHS and Betamax in full swing, Paramount took tentative steps into the business the first few years. But once VHS emerged on top, Paramount Home Video found its stride under the leadership of Mel Harris, a young marketing executive in Paramount’s TV division appointed as president.
From the start, Harris had a different take on the industry. At a time when most studios were focused on the booming video rental market, Harris believed consumers would buy and collect their favorite movies on video if the prices were right (a practice later termed “sellthrough”) and tested his theory in 1982 by pricing Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at $39.95. It was a revolutionary move, a gamble — and it paid off handsomely.
Around that time, Paramount hired a former RCA executive to help with its marketing efforts.
“The first title I worked on was Flashdance, which was the second title Paramount released at a sellthrough price,” said Eric Doctorow, who joined Paramount as VP of sales and marketing in 1983 and would eventually serve as president of worldwide home entertainment.
Nina Stern, who joined Paramount Home Video in 1982 as head of publicity, recalls that Harris began pushing sellthrough titles with clever promotions and increasingly ambitious marketing campaigns.
“I think Flashdance sold about 150,000 copies, which was huge at the time, and then Raiders of the Lost Ark came along and sold over 500,000 copies,” Stern said. “Mel Harris was a brilliant marketer, and he was the mastermind behind a lot of the promotions and marketing strategies that became industry standards.”
Harris would eventually leave to become head of the Paramount Television Group. He died in September 2008 of cancer, at the age of 65.
By 1985 Paramount slashed the price of its top 25 titles to $24.95 and packaged them together as the industry’s first holiday promotion. The studio’s home video division also began staging press events to celebrate the release of big titles or titles that reached new milestones. When Beverly Hills Cop II sold a staggering 1.4 million copies in 1987, it announced the feat at the old Gulf + Western building with a press event that featured star Eddie Murphy and Paramount Studios chief Frank Mancuso. It marked a turning point in the industry and showed that studios were willing to use star power to promote the home video format.
In 1991, Paramount went in a new direction when it teamed with McDonald’s on an “Indiana Jones” promotion. Customers could buy Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for just $5.95 with the purchase of select menu items.
“That really set the standard for future deals between fast food restaurants and the studios,” said Doctorow, who was appointed president of Paramount Home Video in 1993.
Paramount set another milestone when it shipped 24 million VHS copies of Titanic to retailers in September 1998. In 1999, Titanic became the first DVD to ship 1 million units, two years after the format bowed.
As DVD players started coming down in price and saturating the market, the shift away from VHS accelerated. It also kicked off another format war for the next generation of discs, pitting Toshiba’s HD DVD format against Sony’s Blu-ray Disc. Paramount initially released titles on both formats for a brief time in 2007 before siding with HD DVD, then switching to Blu-ray when Toshiba dropped HD DVD.
During the transition from VHS to DVD, Doctorow ended his 20-year stay at Paramount in 2003. He was replaced by Tom Lesinski, a former Warner Home Video executive. Lesinski helped guide Paramount into a new era of movies being distributed on multiple platforms, with the emergence of digital distribution.
In January 2006, when Paramount closed its acquisition of DreamWorks SKG, Kelley Avery, a Disney veteran who had been running DreamWorks’ worldwide home entertainment division, was appointed president of Paramount Home Entertainment. Lesinski became president of Paramount’s newly formed Paramount Digital Media Group.
Avery and her team, which included fellow Disney alumna Mary Kincaid, headed marketing programs for some of the biggest-selling discs of the decade. In 2008, Paramount set an industry record when Iron Man sold 7.2 million units during its first week of release and shattered that record in 2009 when Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen sold 8.3 million units during its first week. By then, Avery had departed — she resigned in May 2009 — but her team remained pretty much intact.
Another Disney vet, Dennis Maguire, was appointed president of Paramount Home Entertainment in October 2009. Two years later, a major reorganization merged home entertainment with television licensing and digital licensing. Maguire was named president of the newly formed Paramount Home Media Distribution.
Paramount started 2012 with an industry first when it announced plans to sell digital movies and TV shows to consumers directly from its website. And in April, it reached a deal with YouTube that made nearly 500 Paramount films available on YouTube’s rental service for the first time.
In addition to distributing content for Paramount Pictures, PHMD distributes programming for CBS, PBS, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of its parent company, PHMD is teaming with Delta Vacations to give consumers a chance for a free vacation to cities that are the setting for some classic Paramount films, including New York City (The Godfather) and San Antonio (Wings). Paramount will also release one of its classic films on Blu-ray for the first time each month. Upcoming releases include Hondo (June 5), Barbarella (July 3) and Clue (Aug. 7).
Gene: Hey folks, remember what I reported recently on a box office report during our pre-Oscar coverage?:
Gene: We’ve hit another record breaker folks! Let’s check the numbers on how it was achieved this week.
Sony’s The Vow takes #1 with 41 million smackers. Universal’s Safe House has 39 million smackers locked in as it takes 2nd, In 3rd, Warner Bros. fantasy hit Journey 2 has a big bag of 27 million smackers saying with a familiar catchphrase “Things are not as big as it seems”. In 4th, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace 3D uses the force to grab 23 million smackers putting Fox’s other flick Chronicle in 5th. These 4 movies have made the box office proud with a total of 130 million smackers!
And with 2008’s record breaking blockbusters such as Fox’s Marley and Me, Paramount’s Private Benjamin, and Disney’s Bedtime Stories, this year’s movies kiss the box office slump goodbye as all factors that could’ve hurt Hollywood help the box office this week erasing all scenarios dating back to last year and 2010. And on another positive note, the good news is that Happy Feet 2, which will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray soon, is off the box office crisis list. What a historic feat for entertainment!
And from our Oscar coverage about this summer’s movie season prediction?:
I’m getting a feeling that this summer movie season will determine if we’re officially slump free.
Well, chock up another record for the box office as Disney’s Avengers along with Paramount, have made the 200 million smacker mark off their release from theaters this past week with a midnight total of 18 million smackers!
The world’s greatest Marvel superheroes such as Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, and Iron Man fight to stop an evil force that threatens to destroy the world.
With them assembled at the top spot, Think Like A Man slips to 2nd, The Hunger Games at 3rd, Pirates! at 4th and The Lucky One in 5th. And as of this week, The Avengers are determined to join the list of record breaking box office hits this summer speculating once and for all that there will be no box office slump this year!
532 is the number this week at the Penguins petition! Kudos to you if you saw the newest Penguins this morning along with TUFF Puppy. Keep signing in folks!
Get ready Bikini Bottom, because Paramount turns 100 this Tuesday! We’ll be here to cover this historic event. Be sure to search online for news about the majestic mountain centennial this week. Another reminder fans, make sure that your Paramount Video or DVD that you have in your home is updated in your collection! Again, we’ll be here live to cover what’s in store for Paramount in the future. Until Tuesday, This is Realistic Fish Head saying, get ready Paramount, your birthday awaits!