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Thompson on Hollywood

Schlessel Reshapes Focus Features: Loses Karpen and Foley, Keeps Brody and Bowles (ANALYSIS)

The new CEO of Focus Features, Peter Schlessel, has wasted no time reconfiguring two distributors, FilmDistrict and Focus, into one. By insisting on shutting down the Focus New York branch, he lost several valuable executives including Focus COO Andrew Karpen, who was asked to stay on. Schlessel aims to broaden Focus by expanding its film slate to include a greater number of both specialty and wide-release genre fare. He's putting in charge of the company his key FilmDistrict execs, but leaving Focus production president Jeb Brody--who happens to have a key role in "Fifty Shades of Grey," in charge of that function.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2013 5:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Universal Replaces Schamus with Schlessel to Expand Focus Features Brand

Universal is under new management. And another specialty division bites the dust. I may be overstating it, but safe to say, the old Focus Features--a high-class specialty division with an eye for awards worthy content--is no more. Longtime Focus CEO and co-founder James Schamus, a New Yorker of discernment who managed to work within a major studio's financial expectations for 12 years, is finally leaving the specialty division.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 2, 2013 3:06 PM
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  • 4 Comments

FilmDistrict Hires Studio-Exec Orr to Run Distribution

After the departure of indies Bob and Jeanne Berney from FilmDistrict, owner Graham King and CEO Peter Schlessel have been rethinking their distribution operation. Well, now they have added two key execs from the studios, distribution president Jim Orr and ex-DreamWorks marketing head Christine Birch as marketing president.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 12, 2012 9:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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