Exec to share responsibilities with Cary Granat
Veteran film exec Michael Bostick has been named co-CEO of Philip Anschutz’s Walden Media, where he’ll share responsibilities with Walden’s Cary Granat.Move comes two months after Walden — which has been aiming to establish itself as a key supplier of family films — reshuffled staff during the writers strike, with exec VP Alex Schwartz ankling. Anschutz Film Group CEO David Weil, who made the announcement Tuesday, told Daily Variety that bringing Bostick onboard is aimed at bolstering Walden’s ability to execute its core strategy — taking wholesome stories to the bigscreen. “We’ll be doing more of the same — only better,” he added. “It’s a challenge, because we want to tell uplifting stories without sermonizing.” Bostick, who’s headed Tom Shadyac’s Shady Acres Entertainment, will assume his new slot April 16. He’s responsible for acquisition and development of future Walden Media and Bristol Bay films, besides the “Chronicles of Narnia” and a few other specific projects that Granat will oversee. Bostick and Granat will jointly supervise physical production and marketing, with each ultimately responsible for films from his development slate. Both will report to Weil. Bostick’s producing credits include “Bruce Almighty,” “Liar Liar” and “Evan Almighty,” along with associate producing “Apollo 13.” He also has served as a producer of such TV programs as the ABC sitcom “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” and the HBO mini “From the Earth to the Moon.” Weil said Bostick’s background in developing comedies may lead to Walden putting more comedy projects into the pipeline, though he stressed that Bostick’s credentials will attract a wide array of filmmakers. He noted Walden’s next release, “Nim’s Island,” has comedy overtones as part of being an adventure-fantasy. Bostick’s served for the past seven years as Shadyac’s producing partner at Shady Acres and overseen day-to-day operations. Universal announced last month it would not renew the Shady Acres deal when it expires this summer. Prior to joining Shady Acres, Bostick was president of Imagine Films, where he worked for nearly 10 years; he also worked at Touchstone Pictures and Walt Disney, where he helped create the New Writers Fellowship Program. Weil said overall staffing at Walden’s offices in Boston and Los Angeles is at about 63 employees, equivalent to the pre-restructuring level. He added that the restructuring was motivated by the need to respond to the WGA strike putting the brakes on development plus the desire to bring in fresh perspectives on Walden projects in the pipeline. The Fox Walden joint marketing/releasing venture has 18 additional employees. Walden’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” due out in May, is expected to duplicate the surprise success of 2005’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which grossed more than $700 million worldwide. Its record since “Narnia” has been mixed, with “Charlotte’s Web,” “Bridge to Terabithia” and “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep” performing respectably, while “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” and “The Seeker — The Dark Is Rising” showing little traction at the B.O. Upcoming releases include “Nim’s Island” and “City of Ember,” through Fox Walden; and “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D,” with New Line.