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Artisan Block party ends

CEO Malin to steer ship solo

After months of negotiations, Artisan Entertainment president Bill Block has closed a deal to leave his post a year before his contract is up.

With Block’s departure, what was once a triumvirate will be a solo act for CEO Amir Malin. In July 1997, when Artisan was created from the ashes of Live Entertainment, Mark Curcio was the company’s CEO, with Block and Malin serving as co-presidents. Curcio left Artisan last June.

Block, who remains a major shareholder with about 9% of the company, told Daily Variety that he plans to seek another company in need of resuscitation. “Artisan’s objectives were reached and its turnaround has been completely successful,” said the agent-turned-production exec. “In the near term I’ll be spending more time in New York, talking to and working with capital sources there. I’d like to find another distressed asset that needed management packaging.”

Block said he planned to remain in the media business, allowing that could also include publishing, exhibition, TV stations and video distribution.

At Artisan, Block oversaw new productions and was directly involved in such films as Roman Polanski’s “The Ninth Gate,” Steven Soderbergh’s “The Limey,” David Koepp’s “Stir of Echoes” and the current theatrical release “Made,” directed and written by Jon Favreau.

Block was also instrumental in a number of acquisitions, including “The Blair Witch Project.”

“He’s the guy who brought me into the company,” Malin said. “His expertise on the creative side as well as with talent was instrumental in putting some great pictures onscreen. Bill and I have been friends well before our days at Artisan, and I am incredibly happy for him and the next stage of his career. I am sure that I will seek Bill’s advice and counsel on additional projects in the future.”

Before Artisan, Block was head of West Coast operations for ICM from 1992-97 and founder of the Intertalent Agency. His clients included thesps Kim Basinger, Samuel L. Jackson, Steven Seagal, Charlie Sheen, John Travolta and Forest Whitaker, as well as filmmakers Sam Raimi, Roland Emmerich, William Friedkin, George Armitage, Stephen Hopkins, Peter Hyams and Herbert Ross.

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