Brad Grey, whose purported demise at Paramount Pictures has been the subject of on-and-off speculation in Hollywood for at least two years, has signed on for five more years as chairman and chief executive of the Melrose Avenue studio. His boss at parent company Viacom Inc., Philippe Dauman, extended Grey's contract to early 2014, although it wasn't set to expire until March 2010.
The development, first reported Wednesday on Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily website, is a vote of confidence in Grey, a former talent agent who took over Paramount in March 2005. Since then he has built up the struggling studio, including bolstering its international business, wooing big-ticket talent such as Brad Pitt and writer-producer-director J.J. Abrams, and landing distribution partnerships with such key suppliers as DreamWorks Animation SKG and "Iron Man" producer Marvel Studios.
At the same time, Grey's box-office and management track record has been mixed.
He's credited with helping launch the "Transformers" franchise (in partnership with DreamWorks) and jump-starting a languishing fourth "Indiana Jones" movie with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford.
Under Grey's watch, Paramount has risen from No. 6 in domestic box-office share at 9.4% in 2005 to No. 2 at 16.4% in 2008, according to the Box Office Mojo website, thanks to such hits as "Iron Man," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and DreamWorks Animation's "Kung Fu Panda." Then again, the studio has seen its share of misses under Grey, including the costly films "The Love Guru," "Zodiac" and "Stardust."