Sean Daniel Quits Universal to Head Geffen’s Film Unit
Sean Daniel is resigning as president of production at MCA Inc.'s Universal Pictures unit to become president of Geffen Co.'s film division, effective March 1. Geffen Co. is a joint venture of music and film entrepreneur David Geffen and Warner Communications Inc.
A Universal Pictures executive said Casey Silver, currently Universal’s executive vice president for production, is expected to be named president. Silver and Daniel didn’t return telephone calls, and a Universal spokesman declined to comment on Daniel’s successor.
Daniel, 36, joined Universal as a film production executive in 1976 and was named to the production presidency in 1984. He was the movie studio’s second-highest creative officer, immediately behind Thomas Pollock, an entertainment attorney who became chairman of MCA’s motion picture group in 1986.
Pollock, who represented Daniel when he was still practicing law, said Daniel “is a good friend, and while we are very sad to see him leave, we wish him only success.”
In a statement, Daniel said he had resigned to pursue a “new opportunity” at Geffen. One studio source said Daniel had tired of the production job’s grueling pace and had been expected to resign for the past several months.
Geffen has produced “Beetlejuice,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Risky Business” and other films for distribution by Warner Bros.
Universal, despite its recent success with “Twins,” has lagged in the box office in recent years, ranking sixth among major studios with 9.8% of U.S. ticket sales last year. Daniel claimed close involvement with “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Fletch,” “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and other films during his tenure at the studio.
Silver, a former Tri-Star Pictures executive, joined Universal in 1987.