It’s the end of an era in Hollywood, as Paramount has parted ways with legendary producer Robert Evans after 52 years of making movies together, Collider has confirmed.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Paramount declined to renew its deal with Robert Evans Productions earlier this month. Evans took over as Paramount’s production chief in 1967 and quickly returned the studio to profitability with movies like The Godfather, Love Story and Rosemary’s Baby. His eponymous company had been based on the lot since 1974, when he stepped away from running the studio to focus on producing. After going out on his own, Evans went on to produce Chinatown, Marathon Man and Urban Cowboy for Paramount.
Evans’ deal with the studio provided enough overhead to cover salaries for a development executive and an assistant, but the company’s last produced credit was How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days back in 2003, so it no longer made sense for Paramount to keep Evans on the lot. For his part, Evans reportedly thought he had a lifetime home at Paramount so long as he was alive and his old pal Sumner Redstone was running parent company Viacom. But both Redstone and Evans are in frail health, and 89-year-old Evans has taken to working out of his home in Beverly Hills in recent years.
“Paramount wanted me to remake my 1997 movie The Saint. I don’t want to remake The Saint — there are other pictures that I want to do — so they decided not to extend my deal. I understand that and have no hard feelings. I’ve had a great run at the studio and wish them the best,” Evans told THR.
“Bob Evans has been an iconic part of the Paramount legacy for over half a century. His contributions to the studio and film industry have been innumerable, from Rosemary’s Baby to The Godfather to Love Story, to name just a few. Today we mark the end of our formal relationship with Bob as a producer, but his legacy will endure in our studio and in our hearts. There aren’t words to express our gratitude and reverence for the man whose name is synonymous with this company and the magic of movies. We wish him the very best,” Paramount said in a statement, adding that the studio is naming a screening room after Evans, who is considered one of the more colorful figures in Hollywood history.
In fact, documentary filmmakers Brett Morgan and Nanette Burstein made an acclaimed film titled The Kid Stays in the Picture, based on Evans’ tell-all memoir. Evans also voiced the lead in Comedy Central’s animated series Kid Notorious, which featured the producer as a James Bond-type who gets into absurd adventures in Hollywood. How many movie producers can say they had their own series?
Major studios have, of course, been cutting back on production deals for non-writing producers, and while there’s no doubt that Evans’ time on the lot had come to an end, those of us who respect Hollywood history will surely raise a glass to Evans’ career this week, as he helped bring countless classics to the big screen. For that, we should all be grateful.