In a move that reflects its growing reach into the visual media and stage realm, the Universal Music Group has tapped film and TV producer David Blackman and legit producer Scott Landis to head its development and production of film, television and theatrical projects.
Both will report to UMG exec VP Michele Anthony and Universal Music Publishing Group chair and CEO Jody Gerson.
Universal Music’s first major foray into film production, “Amy,” about the rise and tragic death of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, is considered an Oscar frontrunner in the feature documentary category. UMG has also played a hand in the HBO doc “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” as well as director Ron Howard’s forthcoming Beatles documentary. In 2014, UMG acquired Eagle Rock Entertainment, with some 800 concert film and doc credits, to produce more video content in a variety of formats.
Blackman, who will be based at UMG’s Santa Monica headquarters, will focus on film and television development and production, working with its myriad labels. He most recently served as president of production for Sony-based Laurence Mark Prods., where he oversaw all aspects of film and television development and production.
Landis, a Tony- and Drama Desk Award-winning theater producer behind such projects as the London revival of “Funny Girl” and the Broadway’s “Twelfth Night”/”Richard III,” starring Mark Rylance, will serve as UMG’s special advisor on theatrical development and production. The mandate is to assist UMG in forging stronger ties with the legit community, building partnerships and helping develop and produce vehicles based on Universal Music’s roster of artists and music library. He will remain in New York.
“Music is not only essential to film, television and theater, but the stories behind our artists and their music offer narratives that provide a natural foundation to build exciting and compelling experiences for audiences around the world,” said Gerson in a statement. “With David and Scott, we’re focused on working with the Hollywood and Broadway communities on delivering stories that will delight fans, reach new audiences and open up new commercial opportunities for our songwriters and our legendary music catalog.”
Anthony added that Blackman and Landis will create “rich new opportunities beyond recorded music for our artists, labels and our unparalleled roster of current and catalog recordings.”
The Universal Music Group’s labels include A&M, Blue Note, Capitol, Decca, Def Jam, Geffen, Interscope, Island, Mercury, Motown and Virgin, among several others.