Nick Carpou Retiring as Universal Domestic Distribution Chief, Jim Orr Promoted

Nick Carpou
Courtesy of Nick Carpou/Universal

Nicholas Carpou will step down as president of domestic distribution at Universal Pictures after a 35-year run at the studio.

He will retire from the studio and assume an advisory role at the company. Universal said it is overhauling its distribution operation. As part of the shift, Peter Levinsohn, Universal’s president and chief distribution officer, will take on an expanded role. Jim Orr, the current executive vice president and general sales manager, will assume the role of domestic distribution president.

“Universal has been my happy home for many years, during which I’ve been fortunate enough to befriend an amazing group of people — both within the company and in the exhibition community. I eagerly look forward to exploring more fully lifelong interests, ones made richer by my association with so many dear friends,” Carpou said. “Ron, Jeff, and Donna gave me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead our distribution team, and I am grateful to have spent the majority of my career working for the best in the business.”

Carpou, a deeply intellectual man and an art lover, always radiated calm and good-cheer, even offering kind words for filmmakers whose latest works hadn’t been embraced at the box office. After being appointed president in 2015, he oversaw a torrid run for Universal, helping to oversee the theatrical rollouts of smash hits such as “Get Out,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Jurassic World,” and “Furious 7.” The studio was tops in market share on his first year in the job with domestic earnings of $2.45 billion.

“Even though he has the fatal flaw of being a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, Nick has been my friend and trusted advisor since I joined the company,” said Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. “While we will all miss his daily presence at the studio, the strong bench he’s built will continue to carry our word-class distribution team for years to come. His longevity is a testament to the trust placed in him by Universal’s executive team and countless filmmakers, and we wish him all the best in his much-deserved next chapter.”

Orr joined Universal last year from the studio’s specialty division, Focus Features, where he guided their domestic distribution since 2012. Previously, he was an executive at FilmDistrict, MGM, and Paramount.

Levinsohn’s portfolio is increasing dramatically. In addition to the theatrical distribution operation, he guides worldwide home entertainment, worldwide television distribution, new media and digital strategy, and technology for the company.

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