Josh Grode, an attorney at Irell & Manella, is being courted to take over as CEO of Legendary Entertainment, Variety has confirmed. He has represented the studio behind “Kong: Skull Island” and “Pacific Rim.”
If Grode accepts an offer, he will replace Thomas Tull, who left the company earlier this year. Tull founded Legendary and transformed it from a film financier into a company that developed its own projects. But results were mixed. Legendary scored with “Kong: Skull Island” and “Godzilla,” but lost money on the likes of “Crimson Peak” and “Warcraft.” Tull orchestrated Legendary’s 2016 sale to Dalian Wanda for $3.5 billion, and was later ousted by the Chinese conglomerate. Grode worked on that sale.
“Josh has been and continues to be a legal advisor to Wanda and Legendary and will continue to render services to them and other clients,” a spokesperson for Legendary told Variety.
Grode is the co-chair of Irell & Manella’s transactions practice. He’s been involved in several high-profile media and entertainment deals, including the sale of Miramax to beIN Media Group. He’s also arranged financing for the likes of Marvel, Summit, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Legendary approached Grode after failing to convince Jim Gianopulos to take the job. Gianopulos, the former head of Fox’s film division, is now the chairman of Paramount.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported that Grode was in consideration for the job.