Exec exits Imagine to replace Roybal

David Bernardi is leaving his exec VP post at Imagine Entertainment to head up Scott Rudin’s production company.

Bernardi, who was an exec producer on Imagine’s “Frost/Nixon,” will replace Mark Roybal in the top post at Rudin’s Disney-based company. Roybal, who joined Scott Rudin Prods. as an intern in 1995 and was named president in June 2006, is exiting the shingle. Roybal was responsible for acquiring Cormac McCarthy’s tome “No Country for Old Men,” which went on to win the Oscar for best pic.

Ever since Disney announced that it was winding down its Miramax label and will focus ontentpoles and high school franchises, there has been speculation that Scott Rudin Prods. will leave the Disney fold. The producer, a frequent Oscar contender who’s been behind such recent weighty films as “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Doubt” and “Revolutionary Road,” has been quietly shopping around and is said to be looking for an $8 million-per-year overhead deal.

The hiriing of Bernardi, who’s been involved with fare more commercial-minded than Rudin’s typical pics, signals that the producer is making a move toward cultivating projects with greater box office potential. Rudin has high hopes for an English-lingo remake of the films based on the bestselling trilogy that begins with “The Girl With Dragon Tattoo.” Sony is fast-tracking.

Imagine confirmed that Bernardi is leaving. A source at the company said the exec’s contract ran out in December.

Scott Rudin Prods. declined to comment.

(Sharon Swart contributed to this report.)

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