He replaces ousted motion picture group head Adam Goodman, who was pushed out in February because of strained relationships with top talent agencies, according to insiders. Goodman had a year remaining on his contract and was offered a production deal with the studio as part of an exit package.
Evans, a 12-year veteran of the studio, most recently served as president of production. He will assume the new position immediately and will report to Paramount chairman-CEO Brad Grey.
Evans’ ascension was not assured, and the studio did reach out to other executives and producers across Hollywood before making its choice, but because of his popularity on the Paramount lot and his relationships with Grey and vice chairman Rob Moore, many insiders expected him to get tapped for the post.
At various points, Paramount was interested in Sony executives Doug Belgrad and Michael De Luca, both of whom were passed over for the studio’s top job last month in favor of Tom Rothman.
In a release announcing Evans’ appointment, Grey praised his production experience and relationships with creative talent.
“Having evaluated the potential candidates for this role, it quickly became clear that Marc was the most qualified and that he has truly earned this position,” said Grey in a statement. “He has immense talents, a strong creative vision, deep integrity and an unrivaled work ethic.”
Evans faces a number of challenges in his new job. Paramount is looking to raise the number of movie it fields annually from its current eight to some 10-14 live-action titles and an additional animated release, insiders say. The huge gaps in its release calendar is illustrated by the fact that five months separate the opening of the studio’s most recent film, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” a co-production with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and its next film, “Mission: Impossible 5,” which debuts on July 31.
Evans has served as the studio’s production chief since 2010. He joined Paramount in 2003 as VP of production before being promoted to senior vice president in 2006 and exec VP in 2008. He has worked on a number of key Paramount releases including the “Star Trek,” “Mission: Impossible” and “Transformers” franchises.