Lionsgate retains marketing execs

Palen extends contract; Kirkpatrick to remain Summit marketing prexy

Lionsgate has extended chief marketing officer Tim Palen’s contract into 2015 following the strong performance of “The Hunger Games.”

And in a sign that it’s retaining the Summit brand for now, Lionsgate is keeping on Nancy Kirkpatrick as president of worldwide marketing for its Summit subsidiary. The moves are the latest developments since Lionsgate acquired Summit in January for $412 million in a leveraged buyout.

“Hunger Games” has been an outsized success for Lionsgate with domestic grosses near $360 million and foreign box office closing in on $220 million.

The studio’s on track to release more than 20 films this year. Key upcoming Lionsgate titles include “Safe” on Friday, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” on May 18, “Expendables 2” on Aug. 17, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand” and “Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire,” due out on Nov. 22, 2013.

Summit’s slate is led by the final “Twilight” film, “Breaking Dawn Part 2” on Nov. 16. Other key titles are “Step Up 4” on July 27, “Alex Cross” on Oct. 27, “Now You See Me” on Jan. 18, “Red 2” on Aug. 2, 2013, and “Ender’s Game” on Nov. 1, 2013.

“Tim is a gifted marketing executive who has been a driving force in the success of our motion picture business over the years, and he elevated his game to a new level with a groundbreaking marketing campaign for ‘The Hunger Games,'” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns. “His marketing campaigns integrate digital and traditional resources in innovative and cost-effective ways that reflect Lionsgate’s entrepreneurial culture at its best.”

Palen joined Lionsgate in 2002. He’s overseen marketing for “Crash,” “The Expendables,” “Precious,” “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a dozen Tyler Perry films and the “Saw” franchise.

Palen and Sarah Greenberg became co-prexies of film marketing at Lionsgate in 2006. Greenberg then departed in late 2010 for The Weinstein Co.

Kirkpatrick, former marketing chief at Paramount, came on board at Summit in 2007 along with Rob Freidman, who’s now co-chair of Lionsgate’s motion picture group. Kirkpatrick and Friedman worked together at Paramount and previously at Warner Bros.

Lionsgate may eventually combine the two marketing departments, given that it’s already moved to do so in film production, distribution and international sales. With Palen having the title of chief marketing officer of Lionsgate, it’s probable that he’s the more likely to retain the top marketing job.

Two weeks ago, Lionsgate confirmed that Helen Lee Kim was stepping down as the international president at the end of the year, part of a reorg of its overseas arm. Lee Kim will continue to represent international sales for the studio at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

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