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Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins just got cheeky about the sales talks surrounding his corporate parent Paramount Global.

In a presentation to worldwide theater owners at the annual Las Vegas convention CinemaCon, Robbins got right to it in his opening remarks about what’s next for his team. The actor-turned-executive asked the crowd at Caesars Palace if they’d heard about recent speculation over the sale, before announcing that “my colleague Chris Aronson is also raising money to make a bid for the studio, he has a Kickstarter.”

The joke was accompanied by a mock news report featuring Paramount film distribution president Aronson, who was pictured holding a cardboard sign soliciting donations. “Anything helps,” it read.

Aronson is known for his deep ties to the theater owners and for splashy CinemaCon entrances (he arrived to Thursday’s presentation on a chariot with a Roman army, ala “Gladiator). It may be super inside baseball, but the crowd ate it up. Though Robbins ultimately avoided any material remarks about the ongoing sales process, he did allude to what he and his unit are doing during such an uncertain time.

“Bringing your audiences the best that entertainment has to offer is making Paramount the home to the best talent on both sides of the camera,” Robbins said, before unveiling new projects in the works from Oscar winner Damien Chazelle, Edgar Wright and Glenn Powell, and big IP swings like reboots for satire films like The Naked Gun and Scary Movie.

It’s not unprecedented that M&A makes for interesting and potentially awkward CinemaCon presentations, as chief executives try to hype their upcoming slates knowing their organizations could be upended by next year.

The sale of Paramount Global through its majority holder National Amusements Inc. took a serious turn in early April, when the company entered a 30-day exclusive window of sale negotiations with David Ellison’s Skydance.

Paramount Global’s assets include Paramount Pictures; the CBS network and some local owned stations; cable networks including Comedy Central, BET, MTV and Nickelodeon; and the direct-to-streaming businesses Paramount+ and Pluto TV.

Robbins’ upcoming film slate includes the anticipated “Gladiator II,” a new entry in John Krasinksi’s “A Quiet Place” franchise and a sequel to the runaway horror hit “Smile.”



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