Laurence will exit MGM/UA VP post

Guy Laurence, the London-based exec VP of international distribution and marketing for MGM/UA, won’t renew his contract when it expires at the end of this year, the studio confirmed Tuesday.

With MGM’s blessing, however, Laurence will stay in his position until the contract expires, particularly to manage the important overseas debut of “Tomorrow Never Dies,” the latest installment in the studio’s valuable James Bond franchise.

“Guy is working night and day on the launch of the Bond film,” said Larry Gleason, president of worldwide distribution at MGM/UA.

Laurence came to the position in 1995 from UCI Cinemas, the international distribution company that handles foreign business for MGM/UA and other studios.

The international business is critical for MGM, accounting for roughly half MGM’s film grosses. And overseas revenues are of increasing importance every year.

“Each year it’s pointed more toward international,” Gleason said.

Certain MGM films do the bulk of their business overseas. Execs expect the new Bond pic to make about two-thirds of its revenues in foreign distribution, Gleason said.

Gleason did not say who would replace Laurence, but added that the studio will probably sign a deal within the next two weeks with a successor, who would work alongside Laurence for the rest of the year.

Laurence has not made public where he’ll work after leaving MGM.

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