Lionsgate is overhauling its motion picture business and instituting a new leadership team.
Nathan Kahane has been tapped to become president of the motion picture group at Lionsgate, Variety has learned. The move reunites him with Joe Drake, with whom he co-founded Good Universe, the production company behind “Blockers” and “The House.” Drake returned to Lionsgate in October to become the motion picture group chairman. He had been with the studio for years, leaving in 2012 to start his own shop.
In addition, Good Universe and Disney executive Erin Westerman has been named executive VP of production at the company. Kahane’s promotion was widely rumored among chattering sales agents all over this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
“I have worked alongside Nathan as an executive, entrepreneur and producer for 15 years, during which he has demonstrated a combination of great leadership skills, a game-changing approach to filmmaking, and talent relationships that are second to none,” said Drake in a statement. “He has exactly the right skill set to sharpen the focus of our film slate, deepen our relationships with world-class talent, and lead our motion picture group to the next level of performance.”
Good Universe was acquired by Lionsgate last October when Drake returned to the fold. Kahane is also the former president of Mandate Pictures and has served as an executive producer on dozens of films. He has a reputation for being very filmmaker friendly, having strong relationships with Seth Rogen, Sam Raimi, and Fede Alvarez. Kahane’s credits include “The Grudge,” “Drag Me to Hell,” “Neighbors,” “Juno,” and “This is the End.”
“I’m thrilled by the opportunity to join a great leadership team at one of the most innovative and exciting studios in the business,” said Kahane in a statement. “I look forward to assembling a commercially exciting, diverse slate of films that establishes Lionsgate as a premier destination for the top creative talent in the world. I’m also pleased see Erin Westerman expand her managerial role, as she has already proven her superb creative instincts, talent relationships, and keen eye for top properties on which we will be focused.”
The move comes as veteran Lionsgate executives Erik Feig and Patrick Wachsberger are leaving the studio. Lionsgate had a big send-off for Wachsberger, a force in the foreign sales world, during Cannes — feting him at the Hotel du Cap, a splashy affair that boasted a performance by Jane Birkin. Wachsberger is exiting the company six years after it acquired Summit Entertainment.
Feig has been raising money to launch a new company focused on youth-oriented entertainment properties, one that may include Lionsgate as an investor.
Dave McNary and Rebecca Rubin contributed to this report.