Watts will continue to serve as production president, a post she has had since 2007. The promotion clears up Watts’ status at the company, a position that was in question after Stacey Snider took over as its sole chairman last summer. Watts had been a key ally of ousted studio chief Jim Gianopulos. There were mutterings that she did not get along with Snider, and bristled at her management style, but any differences appear to have been resolved.
Fox said her promotion was effective immediately. Watts is seen as having strong ties to the creative community, and played a key role in bringing several Fox hits, such as “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Gone Girl,” and “Deadpool,” to the screen.
In her new capacity, Watts will now oversee physical production, post production, visual effects, and music. She adds that to a portfolio that already included production, story, creative affairs, and casting departments.
At a time when debates around diversity and inclusion have raged in the industry, it is notable that the top two positions at Fox’s film unit are now occupied by women. No other major studio can make that claim.
In an internal email to staff, Snider wrote, “Her promotion parallels a new organizational structure that will bring all of TCF’s filmmaking functions under Emma’s leadership.”
The elevation also overhauls Fox’s leadership chain of command. Fox Animation will continue to be led by President Vanessa Morrison, who will now co-report to Snider and Watts. Fox International Productions President Tomas Jegeus will co-report to Watts and Andrew Cripps, the studio’s president of international distribution.
Fox Searchlight Pictures, overseen by Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula, and Fox 2000, which is run by Elizabeth Gabler, will continue to report to Snider, as will the studio’s marketing, distribution, and other departments.
“[Emma’s] contributions to our studio over the past two decades are too numerous to even attempt to list here, and the relationships she’s built with the industry’s top creative talent is literally unmatched in town,” Snider’s email to staff reads.”Both personally and professionally, I couldn’t be happier to have her in this expanded role.”
Watts has been with Fox since 1997, following stints as a creative executive with Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Pictures and for Oliver Stone.