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Nathan Kahane Named Lionsgate Motion Picture Group President

Kahane co-founded Good Universe with Joe Drake, who also returned to Lionsgate in October as chairman

Nathan Kahane has been named president of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, an individual with knowledge told TheWrap.

He will reunite with Joe Drake, with whom he co-founded Good Universe, who returned to Lionsgate in October to become chairman of the motion picture group when Lionsgate acquired Good Universe that same month.

Additionally, Good Universe and Disney executive Erin Westerman has been named executive vice president of production at Lionsgate.

Prior to Good Universe, Kahane served as president of Mandate Pictures, and he also has dozens of executive producer credits, including films like “The Grudge,” “Neighbors,” “Juno” and “This Is the End.” Westerman served as executive producer on “The Disaster Artist” with Kahane and Drake, and was also EP and production manager on the Fede Alvarez thriller “Don’t Breathe.”

Kahane’s pickup is part of an ongoing restructuring at Lionsgate that has been taking place since last fall. He and Drake are taking charge as longtime Lionsgate execs Erik Feig and Patrick Wachsberger leave the studio. Their departure was announced in February.

Lionsgate’s cinematic identity is also in a period of transition. While they found awards and box office success last year with “La La Land,” the studio has been searching for a new franchise ever since the “Hunger Games” series ended in 2015.

At his first CinemaCon presentation as studio head last month, Drake says they believe they have found it with Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy series “The Kingkiller Chronicles,” which has Lin-Manuel Miranda attached as producer and Sam Raimi attached to direct the first installment of the series, “The Name of the Wind.”

The studio also has “John Wick,” a series that, while not the massive moneymaker “Hunger Games” was, has become a profitable, cheap-to-make action series that has earned a cult following. Last year’s sequel, “John Wick: Chapter 2,” made $171 million worldwide, with a third installment planned for May 2019. A potential spinoff based off the action script “Ballerina.”

“We’re building for 2019 with a slate that is diverse, spanning all genres, loaded with stars and deep in areas of proven strength,” Drake said.

Other upcoming films on Lionsgate’s slate under Kahane and Drake include the critically-acclaimed Sundance racial drama “Blindspotting,” the Mila Kunis/Kate McKinnon spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” and the Paul Feig thriller “A Simple Favor.”

Jeremy Fuster contributed to this story