Lionsgate and Summit have merged their marketing divisions into one entity, it was announced Thursday, forcing the ouster of longtime Summit marketing exec Nancy Kirkpatrick, who oversaw the “Twilight” and “Divergent” campaigns at the company.
As a result, Tim Palen, Lionsgate’s chief marketing officer, will have marketing oversight of the Lionsgate and Summit film labels as well as its Pantelion Films joint venture with Televisa and its urban Codeblack Films label. Palen oversaw marketing of the two “Hunger Games” films, which have grossed more than $1.6 billion.
Kirkpatrick, who has served as Summit Entertainment’s president of worldwide marketing for the past six years, will resign at the end of this month.
“Now was the right time to take the next step in integrating the marketing departments of our Lionsgate and Summit film labels as we continue to achieve significant operational synergies following the acquisition of Summit Entertainment two years ago,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger in a statement. “Under the leadership of our innovative chief marketing officer Tim Palen, we will continue to develop fresh marketing strategies that strengthen our brand, cultivate new film properties and leverage our existing franchises into exciting new businesses.”
As part of the shuffle in duties, Palen’s responsibilities will be expanded to merchandising, theme park attractions and new business opportunities generated by the company’s franchises, according to Lionsgate.
The news of Kirkpatrick’s departure is part of an ongoing executive realignment at Lionsgate and Summit, which merged in April 2012. Since then, several Summit execs have been shown the door, including the TV domestic distribution president, home entertainment chief and home entertainment sales exec.
In addition to the five “Twilight” films, which grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide, Kirkpatrick oversaw successes with “Now You See Me” and “Warm Bodies” last year. During Kirkpatrick’s tenure at Summit, the studio also won the Oscar for Best Picture for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker.”
The Summit marketing operation remained in place in 2012 — after Lionsgate bought Summit for $412 million — in order to handle the remaining films on the Summit slate.
Kirkpatrick had been head of publicity at Paramount while Sherry Lansing, Jonathan Dolgen and Rob Friedman were the top execs at that studio until 2005. She and Friedman joined Summit in 2007 when the sales company expanded into production; she first served as a consultant and then became head of marketing in 2008.
“Divergent” has grossed $127 million in the U.S. in four weeks and another $50 million overseas.