May 21, 2006
Product Naming: Paramount Gets Arty
It seems that the Paramount Classics name signified “old” and not “arty” to movie buffs. That's just good brand name research and common sense.
The Paramount Vantage name is intended to distance Paramount Classics from its unsuccessful independent film past.
But the name Paramount Classics will not be dropped — it will just handle foreign films and documentaries. This signals a new era for Paramount, whose art house films have struggled to keep up with those distributed by competitors like Fox Searchlight from Twentieth Century Fox and Focus Features from Universal.
This seems like a tortured name architecture to me. Or a typical “split the baby” corporate name decision.
It seems that small, arty films have breathed new life and new finance structures into the studio system in Hollywood: films that were once the realm of the beret and black turtleneck set are now going mainstream — sort of like how small, independent label breweries suddenly went big time.
Films like Crash, Brokeback Mountain and Good Night and Good Luck are bringing in the critical acclaim and the audiences to make small, art house films really profitable.
Disney now owns art house legend Miramax, which is exemplary of the trend of bigger studios who simply buy well known independent studios and add them to their stables. Paramount Classics, however, was built from scratch.
Should Sony Pictures Classics also consider a new brand name? Not really, unnatural association not withstanding. This Sony unit won the 2005 Palme d'Or at Cannes for L’Enfant (The Child).
Here are some other perspectives on the name change and sources for news and opinions on independent film:
- Paramount's press release announcing the name change.
- For news and opinions on independent film, check out the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film's Chlotrudis Mewsings blog.
- IndieWIRE is an important source for news on independent movies.
- DISContent thinks Paramount's new name is problematic because of another association with the word “Vantage.”
- Fearful Symmetries hopes this means there will be more interesting options coming to the cineplexes.
TrackBack URL for this entry: