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Stacey Snider to take over as Fox Film chief sooner than expected

Stacey Snider to take over as Fox Film chief sooner than expected
Ryan Reynolds in "Deadpool," from 20th Century Fox. (20th Century Fox)

Jim Gianopulos, the veteran chief of the 20th Century Fox film studio, is stepping down sooner than expected to make way for his replacement, Stacey Snider.

Snider, whose elevation was announced in June, will take over as chairman and chief executive of 20th Century Fox Film on Sept. 1. She had originally been expected to assume Gianopulos' duties in June 2017 after his current contract expires.

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The transition comes as 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch and Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch move to put their stamp on the studio.

"We are fortunate to have Stacey with us to lead the studio into its next chapter and are confident we will see great success under her headship," the Murdoch brothers said in a statement on Tuesday.

The company has been undergoing structural changes as the Murdochs, sons of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, attempt to reshape the organization for the digital age.

James became CEO last year, replacing his father. Lachlan Murdoch became the company's executive chairman, alongside Rupert.

Before she joined Fox in late 2014, Snider was co-chair and chief executive of Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios, which is separate from DreamWorks Animation. Before her tenure at DreamWorks, she led Universal Pictures. Snider's eventual elevation had been telegraphed by the company when she was first named co-chair in 2014.

It is unclear what Gianopulos, 64, will do after he leaves Fox. Many have speculated that he could end up vying for a top leadership role at a studio like Paramount Pictures or Warner Bros., both of which are facing challenges in the film business.

Paramount's parent company, Viacom Inc., is undergoing its own leadership change. Philippe Dauman was recently ousted as chief executive, ending a long feud with controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone. Paramount, run by Brad Grey, has put out a string of misfires including MGM's "Ben-Hur."

This year, Fox's movies have included "Deadpool," "X-Men: Apocalypse" and "Ice Age: Collision Course."

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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