×

Lion beefs up to prep for Fox changeover

In switch from UIP Sutherland tags along

SYDNEY — MGM is beefing up its international marketing and distribution efforts, hiring former United Intl. Pictures exec Ian Sutherland as the studio prepares to shift the theatrical release of its films overseas from UIP to 20th Century Fox.

Sutherland is expected to be confirmed this week as senior VP for international marketing and distribution, based at MGM’s Santa Monica headquarters. He will report to Larry Gleason, president of worldwide distribution and Gerry Rich, prexy of marketing.

Concurrently, the Lion is due to announce the promotion of Gina Stroud, London-based exec VP of international marketing, to a new role in which she will focus on the studio’s numerous co-productions with foreign partners.

November switch

Fox will succeed UIP as MGM’s foreign theatrical distrib on Nov. 1; pegged as the probable first release under the new regime is “Original Sin” (formerly “Dancing in the Dark”), the Antonio Banderas/Angelina Jolie starrer helmed by Michael Cristofer.

Sutherland, who quit UIP late last year, will work closely with the Fox Intl. marketing and distribution team headed by Julian Levin and Scott Neeson in preparing ad-pub campaigns for MGM’s films, setting release dates and evaluating the competitive environment in foreign markets.

Sutherland spent 10 years with UIP, transferring from its Sydney branch to the London headquarters four years ago as senior VP for international marketing.

Since June he has worked as a consultant at Fox’s Sydney office, partly filling in until the distrib hired a marketing director and also getting to know Fox’s distribution system. He’s expected to move to L.A. in October.

Stroud will be designated to work on productions initiated by MGM’s London-based United Artists, which is shuttering its distribution and sales ops. These duties will entail liaising with the studio’s co-prod partners such as Germany’s Helkon Media, the U.K.’s Winchester and Japan’s Toho-Towa.

Split decisions

MGM has engaged in a slew of split-rights deals on films including John McTiernan’s “Rollerball” and is rumored to be shopping for foreign partners on John Woo’s ‘”Windtalkers.”

It’s understood that this strategy prompted Fox execs to complain recently about the paucity of MGM films that will flow through its pipeline after November.

But it’s believed MGM quickly assured Fox that the recent flurry of rights-splitting is a short-term measure to boost the Lion’s balance sheet and that Fox will get a regular flow of films for international.

More Film

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Proposal for New Film-TV Contract

    The SAG-AFTRA national board has approved proposals for a successor deal to its master contract covering feature film and primetime television — a key step in the upcoming negotiations cycle with companies. The board approved the package Saturday with the performers union declining to reveal any specifics — its usual policy. The board established the wages [...]

  • Cameron Crowe, David Crosby, A.J. Eaton.

    Cameron Crowe on Why He Loved Leaving David Crosby Doc on a CSNY Question Mark

    David Crosby may or may not have stuck a joint in Cameron Crowe’s mouth the first time he ever met the future filmmaker, when Crosby was peaking with Crosby Stills Nash & Young and his interviewer was a precocious 15-year-old Rolling Stone correspondent. As Crowe said to Jimmy Kimmel the other night, “I remember it [...]

  • Mokalik

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • The Lion King

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Roars Overseas With Mighty $269 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” certainly felt the love this weekend, generating $269 million at the international box office. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the classic Disney cartoon now holds the eighth-biggest debut of all time overseas, and that’s not including the film’s early opening in China last weekend. Combined with a stellar $185 million start [...]

  • Scarlett JohanssonMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Scarlett Johansson Reveals What We'll Learn About Black Widow in Stand-Alone Movie

    Scarlett Johansson can finally talk about her upcoming “Black Widow” movie. While she can’t divulge spoilers, she let out a big sigh of relief after the film was officially announced on Saturday during the Marvel Studios presentation at Comic-Con. “I feel like a weight has been lifted,” the Oscar nominee told Variety. “Black Widow” is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content