I’ve been holding off saying anything about Thursday’s firing of Par Classics co-prezzies Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein by Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey, and here it is Saturday and I still can’t think of anything very penetrating…sorry. And I am sorry about this. Ruth and David are good hombres. It’s totally routine, yes, for new studio heads to clear the decks and discharge in-place execs so they can bring in “their own people,” blah, blah. Grey’s brand-new Par Classics chief will be Lion’s Gate’s Tom Ortenberg, apparently. I have nothing to add to the irony of Ruth and David getting pushed out of the plane at the end of the most profitable period that Par Classics has ever had ($22 million or so earned by Hustle and Flow $8 million tallied by Mad Hot Ballroom). It seems clear that the impetus for Grey’s decision was that bizarre Thank You For Smoking episode during the Toronto Film Festival in which Dinerstein and Vitale got a handshake deal from producer Davuid Sacks, only to wake up the next morning and hear that Sacks had signed a deal for Fox Searchlight to distribute.
Upcoming from Par Classics are Jonathan Demme’s Neil Young concert doc, Robert Towne’s Ask the Dust and Craig Brewer’s Black Snake Moan. Best wishes and good luck to Ortenberg. Life moves on, I guess.