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Fox 411's Roger Friedman reports that things over at Paramount, a place renowned for the oversized lollipops sprouting from its topiary and the rainbows that spontaneous appear over its executives' offices following daily, lunchtime teddy bear showers, have become a little gloomy in the wake of M:i:III's Armageddon-harbinging disastrous studio-crippling disappointing opening weekend:

Sources tell me that a catered lunch at the studio, planned ahead on Friday as a celebration, turned into a morbid affair. "Brad Grey and Rob Moore came to it, but no one spoke and eventually everyone left."

Apparently, reality set in faster in the Paramount executive suite than it did even among Cruise naysayers. [...]

You've got to feel for these people, though. Since Monday morning, every department at Paramount has been called on for immediate cost cutting, I'm told.

"Budget meetings are going on everywhere," says a source. "Everyone's being asked what they can do, and there's talk of layoffs again."

Can we not use the "L" word just yet? Before Brad Grey starts thinking about layoffs, a show of leadership in the face of this latest trial is imperative. Perhaps he can demonstrate his softer side by gathering all of his employees on Friday afternoon for a mass group hug, reassuring the staff that no matter what happens during M:i:III's second weekend at the box office, he won't even think about polishing his scythe until Wednesday at the earliest.