Longtime China hand Peter Loehr will exit Beijing-based Legendary East at the end of the month, leaving another senior post to be filled at Dalian Wanda-owned Legendary Entertainment after the recent departure of founder Thomas Tull.
Since 2012, Loehr has been CEO of Legendary’s Chinese subsidiary, which distributes and markets Legendary’s films in the Middle Kingdom and seeks out co-production opportunities. Loehr was also a producer on “The Great Wall” (pictured), the most expensive U.S.-China co-production ever.
Legendary did not offer a reason for Loehr’s departure on June 1.
“We are grateful to Peter for his contributions and service building out a platform and awareness for Legendary’s brand in China and wish him great success in all future endeavors,” said Jack Gao, Wanda senior vice president. “The current Legendary East management has been instrumental in developing our business plan for the future, and we look forward to continuing our strategic growth trajectory with this team.”
Gao said a successor to Loehr would be announced shortly.
The high-profile changes in management come barely a year after Wanda’s staggering $3.5-billion purchase of Legendary. Since then, costly films such as “The Great Wall” and “Warcraft” have failed to meet box-office expectations, though “Kong: Skull Island” has performed well. Gao, who is serving as Legendary’s interim CEO, boasted in a recent interview with Variety that the company would “be one of the top five studios in the world” within the next three years.
Loehr has been based in China for 22 years, as an independent producer and as CAA’s first managing director in its China office, from 2005 to 2012. At CAA, he worked on such films as “Lost in Thailand,” “Tuya’s Marriage,” “Mission: Impossible 3” and “The Karate Kid.”
As head of Legendary East, Loehr oversaw the release of “The Great Wall,” “Kong: Skull Island” and “Warcraft,” whose box-office performances in China exceeded those in the U.S.
“Having the opportunity to grow Legendary’s business in China has been an incredible experience and journey for me,” Loehr said in a statement. “I am enormously proud of everything that we have accomplished during my tenure at Legendary and feel extremely fortunate to have had the chance to work with the smart, innovative and incredible teams at both Legendary and Wanda.”