Lionsgate’s Shearmur expected to leave as Summit’s Feig steps in
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Lionsgate’s president of production, Alli Shearmur, is expected to leave the company sometime after the March release of ‘The Hunger Games,’ said people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly. The studio announced Thursday that Summit Entertainment’s production chief Erik Feig has been named to her job.
The change is part of a management shakeup in Lionsgate’s film division following the Santa Monica company’s acquisition of ‘Twilight’ studio Summit last month for $412.5 million.
Lionsgate is currently talking to Shearmur about a potential producing deal with the studio, said one of the people familiar with the matter.
In leaving Lionsgate’s executive ranks, Shearmur would join her ex-boss, former motion picture group chairman Joe Drake, who was replaced by Summit’s co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger. Drake is also expected to depart after ‘Hunger Games.’
Many of Summit’s senior film executives who worked under Friedman and Wachsberger at Summit are also expected to transition into top posts at Lionsgate.
Shearmur’s fellow production president, Michael Paseornek, is expected to remain at Lionsgate, as he has a long-standing relationship with actor-filmmaker Tyler Perry, who typically makes two movies per year for the studio, and also oversees the film division’s lower-budget genre movies. Paseornek, who also oversees physical production, is expected to report to Feig.
Shearmur’s focus on bigger-budget pictures with broader commercial ambitions crosses over more directly with Feig’s experience.
Feig made his mark as the executive who helped bring the ‘Twilight’ teen vampire project to Summit. The four ‘Twilight’ movies released so far have collectively grossed $2.5 billion worldwide. That, along with the expected revenue from the fifth and final film that comes out in November, represent the primary value of Summit.
Outside of ‘Twilight,’ Summit has had a weak box-office record, with flops including ‘Furry Vengeance,’ ‘Bandslam,’ ‘The Beaver’ and the current release ‘Man on a Ledge,’ outweighing a handful of hits such as ‘Red’ and ‘Knowing.’
In 2010, Feig rejected overtures by Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross to be named president of production at that studio.
Shearmur, who joined Lionsgate in 2008 a year after she was forced out of Paramount Pictures, has overseen the studio’s hugely anticipated ‘Hunger Games’ adaptation and the upcoming adaptation of the best-selling book ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting,’ featuring Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez. She also worked on the flop ‘Abduction,’ starring Taylor Lautner.
— Ben Fritz
Top photo: Summit co-chairman Patrick Wachsberger, left, director Bill Condon and Erik Feig at the premiere of ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1’ in November. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images. Bottom photo: Alli Shearmur. Credit: Paramount Pictures.