Friedman, 65, is a 40-year veteran of Hollywood with stints at Warner Bros., Paramount, Summit, and Lionsgate. He and Patrick Wachsberger were the key officials behind the 2007 expansion of Summit and the “Twilight” franchise, which led to Lionsgate buying out Summit for $412 million in early 2012.
“Rob has played an integral role in leading the successful growth and diversification of our Motion Picture Group over the past four years, and he has helped assemble one of the strongest and most exciting film slates in our history,” Feltheimer said. “We look forward to his continued guidance and counsel in navigating a fast-changing industry environment. In his capacity as my special advisor, he will be working closely with me on our OTT platforms, Atom Tickets partnership, and other new ventures.”
The Motion Picture Group will continue to be run by its current leadership team that includes Wachsberger as Motion Picture Group co-chair; Co-President Erik Feig; Co-COO Steve Beeks; Chief Brand Officer and President of Worldwide Theatrical Marketing Tim Palen; President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Jason Constantine; and President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution David Spitz.
“Our current Motion Picture Group leadership has the complementary skills and forward-looking vision to capitalize on opportunities in a dynamic global marketplace,” Feltheimer continued. “They are the right team to continue to accelerate the momentum of our slate and to lead our film business to the next level of performance.”
Lionsgate saw its largest success from “The Hunger Games” movies, which launched in 2012, grossed nearly $3 billion and transformed Jennifer Lawrence into a worldwide star. But it has struggled to duplicate that since with the “Divergent” series and misfires like “Gods of Egypt”; its top grosser this year is “Now You See Me 2” with $360 million worldwide.
“I am excited by the opportunity to work closely with Jon, Michael Burns, and the rest of the Lionsgate leadership team in helping to guide the overall strategic direction of the company,” said Friedman. “It has been a privilege to serve as co-chair of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group for the past four years, and I have been fortunate to work with a team of world-class executives in every facet of our film business.”
Lionsgate has a pair of potential awards season contenders in Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” and Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” — both which premiered to strong reviews at the Venice Film Festival. Other prominent upcoming titles include “Power Rangers,” “Deepwater Horizon,” “Patriots Day,” “Wonder,” and “American Pastoral.”