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Kurt Rieder to Head Asia Theatrical for Fox, Replacing Sunder Kimatrai

Veteran distribution and exhibition executive Kurt Rieder has been installed as 20th Century Fox International’s executive VP for theatrical in the Asia Pacific region. He will be based in Singapore and take charge from June 19.

The studio has not issued a public statement. But sources confirmed to Variety that an internal memo from Fox’s president of international theatrical, Andrew Cripps, has been circulated detailing Rieder’s appointment and a move by Fox’s regional theatrical office from Australia to Singapore.

Rieder takes over from Sunder Kimatrai. The highly regarded Kimatrai had been with the studio since 1993, fulfilling roles in India, Singapore, and later Sydney. He became the studio’s Asia-Pacific head in 2005.

Moving the office to Singapore puts it closer to the center of Asian operations. In particular, it is closer to China, now the world’s second largest theatrical market. The memo described Asia as “an incredibly important part of the world” and as “a key growth opportunity for us as a studio.”

Rieder was most recently CEO of Turkey’s Mars Cinema, until the chain was bought last year by South Korea’s CJ CGV. Before that, he had a distribution career with Warner Bros. in Indonesia and Malaysia and United International Pictures in Singapore. On the exhibition side, he headed Village Cinemas in Argentina and also twice headed Golden Village, Singapore’s leading theater chain. Rieder also had a brief stint as MD of Artisan Gateway, a movie sector consultancy which specializes in Asian operations.

An aviation enthusiast and inveterate traveler, Kimatrai was named international distributor of the year at CineAsia in 2009. Rieder won the same award in 2006.

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