×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

EuropaCorp CEO Marc Shmuger to Exit, Luc Besson to Take Interim Job (EXCLUSIVE)

The EuropaCorp CEO is stepping down after less than two years in the job

After less than two years in the post, Marc Shmuger is stepping down as CEO of EuropaCorp at the end of the year. The former Universal Pictures chairman was hired on a renewable six-month contract and last extended his tenure at the end of June.

Shmuger told the staff Friday of his imminent departure from the company, which he joined in 2016 to replace Christophe Lambert. There is no immediate plan to name a successor. EuropaCorp founder Luc Besson will assume interim CEO responsibilities starting Jan. 1.

Europacorp and Shmuger confirmed to Variety that the exit is both voluntary and amicable. But it comes as the company faces a financial storm intensified by the disappointing performance of sci-fi epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” EuropaCorp posted record losses of $135 million during the last financial year and recently posted a loss warning, and its stock value has been falling dramatically. Edouard de Vesinne, the deputy CEO of the company, was ousted in September.

Shmuger will exit his seven-figure-salary post when his current six-month contractual period runs out. Sources at EuropaCorp said he had told the board back in June, before the release of “Valerian,” that this term would be his last.

Speaking to Variety, Shmuger said his departure coincided with the company’s scaled-back strategy, which he presented to shareholders last month. The shift in strategy will see the studio reduce its slate drastically and produce two to three English-language films a year and two French movies a year. To climb out of the red, the company is also considering selling its French TV activity and its 500-title French film library, which it bought from Roissy Films in 2007, a source close to EuropaCorp said.

Shmuger will continue his relationship with the company as a senior advisor as well as producer on Besson’s “Anna,” which will be distributed in many territories worldwide by Lionsgate.

During his tenure as CEO, Shmuger has overseen the sale of non-core assets, raised funds through new equity infusions, restructured the company’s debt, and reduced overhead costs by a third. He also structured a theatrical distribution deal with STX and a home-entertainment deal with Lionsgate, and assembled the financing and distribution for “Anna.”

“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Luc and my amazing colleagues in Paris and Los Angeles for the opportunity I’ve had to lead this incredible company,” Shmuger said. “Driven by Luc’s vision, and through the strength of some of the best executives I’ve worked with in my many years in the business, I leave EuropaCorp with great friends, memories and relationships which I will always cherish.”

“Marc has been a friend for over 20 years and is one of my closest advisors,” Besson added. “He came into EuropaCorp at a crucial time for the company and brought much-needed leadership, experience, industry knowledge and vision – all of which he provided to me personally and to the company in extraordinary ways, for which I’ll be forever grateful.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • She Monkeys

    LevelK Boards International Sales on Lisa Aschan's 'Call Mom!' (EXCLUSIVE)

    LevelK has acquired international sales rights to Lisa Aschan’s new film “Call Mom!”, a sequel to her well-received feature debut, “She Monkeys.” Produced by Anna-Maria Kantarius (“Amateurs”) at Garagefilm Intl., “Call Mom!” follows Niki, a 35-year-old who lives like she’s 25 and is forced to come to grips with all of her relationships and past [...]

  • The Spokeswoman

    Mexico’s Luciana Kaplan on Indigenous Candidate Doc ‘The Spokeswoman’

    In 2017, Luciana Kaplan’s globe-spanning documentary feature “Rush Hour” was selected as the best in competition at that year’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival – only one of many such plaudits for the film – and the director returned to the festival Impulso section for pix-in-post with her next latest, “The Spokeswoman,” taking three of the [...]

  • Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart and Naomi

    China Box Office: 'Charlie's Angels' Kept Earthbound by Local Romcom

    The new “Charlie’s Angels” reboot was no match for a local romantic comedy or a 20-year-old Giuseppe Tornatore film at the Chinese box office, bringing in just $7.6 million in its debut weekend, according to figures from consultancy Artisan Gateway. Directed by Elizabeth Banks and starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska, the film [...]

  • Climbing Blind

    ‘Climbing Blind’ Snares Kendal Mountain Festival Grand Prize

    KENDAL    “Climbing Blind,” from Alastair Lee, took the Grand Prize at the 2019 Kendal Mountain Festival on Saturday. Detailing the ascent of a vertical rock pillar, the film revealed how a blind mountaineer led the climb, assisted only by a sight-partner a rope length below. The film had particular significance for a British audience, [...]

  • Jon Voight'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' film

    President Trump to Award Jon Voight the National Medal of Arts

    President Trump will present actor Jon Voight, musician Allison Krauss, and mystery writer James Patterson with the national medal of arts. Voight is one of few in Hollywood who has been vocal about his support of President Trump in the past, calling him “the greatest president of this century.” The White House announced four recipients [...]

  • Zack Snyder arrives at the 2018

    Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Zack Snyder Support 'Snyder Cut' Release of 'Justice League'

    Zack Snyder, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck have taken to social media to request that Warner Bros. release the Snyder cut of “Justice League.” Snyder, who helmed “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” and was “Justice League’s” original director, had to leave production on the film partway through after his daughter died, with Joss [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content