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Pre-Sundance Fest, Open Road Replaces Acquisitions Chief

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 6, 2014 at 3:55PM

Just ahead of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, AMC and Regal-owned indie distributor Open Road Films is replacing Ben Cotner, its departing senior VP of acquisitions, with new executive vice president of production and acquisitions, Peter Lawson. He'll have a chance to check out the Sundance world premiere of competition doc "The Case Against 8," which Cotner co-directed.
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Peter Lawson
Peter Lawson

Just ahead of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, AMC and Regal-owned indie distributor Open Road Films is replacing Ben Cotner, its departing senior VP of acquisitions, with new executive vice president of production and acquisitions, Peter Lawson. He'll have a chance to check out the Sundance world premiere of "The Case Against 8," which Cotner co-directed, which has already been acquired by HBO and will screen in competition in Park City.

Lawson reports to Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films. Lawson was president of production for two years at Thunder Road, before which he was exec VP acquisitions and co-productions at The Weinstein Company, working on such films as "Lawless," the Oscar-winning "The Iron Lady," "Blue Valentine" and "Company Men." Before that he worked on the acquisition teams at Miramax Films and First Look Pictures. 

Lawson executive produced Thunder Road's just-wrapped New York thriller "John Wick," starring Keanu Reeves and supervised remakes of the French gangster film "Gang Story," scripted by David Scarpa, and French cop thriller "36." He also developed Marie Brenner's Vanity Fair story on Marie Colvin, adapted by Arash Amel.

Past Open Road releases include "The Grey," "End of Watch," "A Haunted House," "Side Effects," "The Host," and "Homefront." Upcoming releases include: 3-D animated family film "The Nut Job" (1/17/14), "A Haunted House 2" (3/28/14), "Sabotage" (4/11/14) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Chef" (5/9/14) written by, directed by and starring Jon Favreau, and Eli Roth’s "The Green Inferno" (9/5/14).

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival, HBO, HBO , Open Road Films


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.