It’s no small task to launch a major international distributor, but Roger Pollock is one of the key reasons why Paramount Pictures Intl. made it look so easy.
When Paramount and Universal ended their UIP partnership and Par asked UIP president Andrew Cripps to lead PPI, Pollock was the first name on his team sheet. A 19-year UIP veteran who started in Thailand and rose to senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Pollock moved across to become PPI’s executive VP for distribution and operations in January 2007.
“The transition was relatively seamless,” Pollock says. “We had the whole of 2006 to prepare, so when it officially happened, it came as a bit of an anticlimax.”
Not at the box office, though. Paramount busted through the $1 billion foreign gross barrier for the first time ever in 2007, ending the year with $1.6 billion.
Pollock proved his reputation as the ultimate safe pair of hands. Former UIP chairman Stewart Till says, “He’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of distribution, he stays very calm when others around him might be losing their heads, and he’s got really good people skills.”
Now Pollock is spearheading the rollout of PPI’s operations in Japan and Spain this year, followed by Germany, Italy, Benelux and Russia in 2009-10.
“We originally said we’d have everything open by Jan. 1, 2008, but we simply didn’t have enough hours in the day to release movies and open up all these territories at once,” Pollock explains. “So we decided to sit back, and as a result of that, opportunities have presented themselves that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.”