Don Harris to Step Down as Paramount’s President of Domestic Distribution

Since taking the post in 2001, Harris has overseen rollout of “Transformers,” “Gladiator” and hundreds of other films

Last Updated: June 30, 2015 @ 11:01 AM

Don Harris, president of domestic distribution at Paramount Pictures, will not renew his contract with the studio when it expires later this summer.

“We are very grateful for his dedication and leadership during his many years with the studio,” said Megan Colligan, president of worldwide distribution and marketing, in an internal memo announcing the move on Monday. Harris is “among the most respected executives in his field, and has led Paramount to a tremendously successful run during his time here,” she said.

Harris became domestic distribution chief in 2001, replacing James Tharp. During his tenure, Harris oversaw the theatrical rollout of hundreds of releases, including a number of award winners and box office hits for the studio and its niche units.

He’ll stay at least through the release of “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” on July 31.

“True Grit,” “Gladiator,” “American Beauty” and “Saving Private Ryan” were released during his tenure, as well as “Transformers,” “Shutter Island,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and animated films “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Rango.”

Prior to joining Paramount, Harris served as head of theatrical distribution sales for DreamWorks SKG in the U.S. and Canada for more than a decade.

Before that, he worked for nearly 25 years in exhibition. He was president of film marketing at AMC Theatres in the mid-1980s, overseeing the film buying and film marketing groups for the nation’s largest circuit in the domestic market.

In 1995, DreamWorks SKG tapped Harris to head up its distribution sales for the U.S. and Canada. In 2006, in concert with the sale of DreamWorks Pictures to Viacom, he moved to the Paramount lot to oversee the domestic sales division for the studio’s Motion Picture Group.