Summit Entertainment co-chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger will head Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group following Lionsgate's acquisition of Summit last week.
The move had been expected. They will report to Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer, who also said Friday he has asked current movie head Joe Drake to remain with the company to shepherd the March 23 release of "The Hunger Games." His future had been in question after the acquisition.
Lionsgate purchased Summit last week for $412.5 million. Summit established itself with the "Twilight" films, which have brought in $2.5 billion worldwide, and Lionsgate hopes to create a similarly successful franchise with "The Hunger Games."
Here's the release:
SANTA MONICA, Calif., and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Following Lionsgate's acquisition of Summit Entertainment last Friday, the Company has named Summit Co-Chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger as Co-Chairs of Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group, it was announced today.
Friedman and Wachsberger will oversee all aspects of Lionsgate's domestic and international feature film acquisition, production and distribution business as well as the home entertainment releases of theatrical feature films.
"Rob and Patrick have built a remarkable organization at Summit, and they possess all the entrepreneurial leadership qualities that define our Lionsgate culture," said Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns. "They are two of the most talented motion picture executives in our industry, and they have a history of building successful companies. Their addition to our senior management team should accelerate our continued growth into a global media powerhouse." Friedman and Wachsberger will report to Feltheimer.
"Given the upcoming March 23 release of HUNGER GAMES, I have asked Joe Drake, who has played such a pivotal role in acquiring, developing and building the franchise, to remain at the Company in order to shepherd the film's theatrical launch," continued Feltheimer.
"Jon Feltheimer, Michael Burns and the rest of the Lionsgate team have created one of the most successful and innovative entertainment companies in the world over the past 12 years, and we're thrilled to marshal all of Lionsgate and Summit's resources to begin the next chapter in this remarkable growth story," said Friedman and Wachsberger. "We believe that the feature film slates and home entertainment operations of the combined company will have unparalleled resonance for audiences, creative talent and buyers around the world."
Friedman and Wachsberger established Summit Entertainment along with Bob Hayward and David Garrett as a worldwide motion picture development, production and distribution studio in 2007 and guided its growth into a leading force in Hollywood. Prior to 2007, Wachsberger, along with partners Hayward and Garrett, created one of the world's most successful international sales and distribution companies when they took ownership from the Summit Entertainment Group shareholders in November 1993.
The most recent Summit Entertainment quickly established itself by launching the worldwide blockbuster TWILIGHT SAGA franchise, which has already grossed more than $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office, in addition to such hit films as the action comedy RED, the romantic adventure LETTERS TO JULIET, the scifi thriller KNOWING and the Academy Award winning THE HURT LOCKER.
Friedman previously served as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of the Paramount Motion Picture Group, supervising the release of numerous hit films including the multiple Academy Award winning blockbuster TITANIC. Prior to that, he served as President of Worldwide Advertising and Publicity for Warner Bros., where he was responsible for the release of over 180 movies including such blockbusters as SUPERMAN, BATMAN, BATMAN RETURNS, ACE VENTURA and Academy Award Best Picture winners CHARIOTS OF FIRE, UNFORGIVEN and DRIVING MISS DAISY.
With over 30 years experience in the production, distribution and acquisition business, Wachsberger helped build Summit into one of the world's most successful international sales and distribution companies.
Prior to serving as Summit International's CEO since 1993 and more recently also as Co-Chairman of Summit Entertainment, Wachsberger served for six years as President and CEO of Odyssey Entertainment and Odyssey Distribution where he acquired, coproduced and distributed his first acquisition, PELLE THE CONQUEROR, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film as well as The Palme d'or at Cannes. Wachsberger has also produced Paul Haggis' IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH, STEP UP, and the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie blockbuster MR. & MRS. SMITH, and he has executive produced such films as VANILLA SKY, BAD LIEUTENANT, WRONG TURN, Q & A, and SWITCH.