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Open Road’s Peter Lawson to Depart Following ‘Spotlight’ Success

With the Sundance Film Festival in full swing, Open Road Films has announced that acquisitions chief Peter Lawson will leave at the end of February.

“We thank Peter for his contributions at Open Road and wish him the best with his endeavors,” said a spokesperson.

Lawson’s chief accomplishment during his two-year tenure as exec VP of acquisitions was bringing in “Spotlight,” which has been nominated for six Academy Awards including best picture, best director, best supporting actor, best supporting actress and best original screenplay.

Open Road co-financed and co-produced “Spotlight” with Participant Media after acquiring U.S. rights to the drama. The movie has grossed $33 million in the U.S. since its Nov. 6 release.

Lawson came to Open Road in 2014 during Sundance following stints at Thunder Road Pictures and the Weinstein Co. Open Road’s first major acquisition came at Cannes when it bought rights to Jake Gyllenhaal’s “Nightcrawler,” which earned Dan Gilroy an Academy Award nomination for screenplay.

Besides “Spotlight” and “Nightcrawler,” Lawson’s tenure included deals for Bill Murray’s “Rock the Kasbah”; John Hillcoat’s “Triple Nine,” starring Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Casey Affleck; and Oliver Stone’s biopic “Snowden,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley.

Lawson was not immediately available for comment. The news was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

Lawson told Variety on Jan. 8 at a Golden Globes party that he knew “Spotlight” would be a success from his first encounter with the project.

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