With two of Hollywood's key players, Columbia and MCA, now in Japanese hands, analysts said Paramount could well be the next studio to come under foreign control.
"I would say that Paramount is the crown jewel of what is left," Jeffrey Logsdon, an analyst with Seidler Amdec Securities in Los Angeles said Tuesday. "The number of players that are available to major foreign investors is starting to run out."Logsdon and other industry watchers said that the trend toward globalization, as exemplified in Matsushita's $6.13 billion cash buyout of MCA Inc. Monday, is likely to continue as foreign players look for ways to take advantage of the growing appetite for American entertainment.
For its part, Paramount has been searching for ways to expand, as evidenced by its failed hostile takeover of Time Inc. last year.
The studio announced Monday that "Ghost," the year's top-grossing domestic film, has topped $110 million in ticket sales overseas since its foreign opening Sept. 28.
The film, currently showing in 28 countries, is already the No. 1 film of the year in the United Kingdom and trails only "Crocodile Dundee" and "E.T." on the all-time list.
The MCA deal is the fourth that places an American studio into foreign ownership.