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Paramount shakes up distribution ranks, hiring former Fox executive

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures has hired former 20th Century Fox executive Chris Aronson.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Paramount Pictures is shaking up its distribution ranks by hiring former 20th Century Fox executive Chris Aronson at the storied studio as it continues to try to wage a turnaround.

Aronson will become president of domestic distribution at Viacom Inc.-owned Paramount, replacing Kyle Davies, who has served in the job since 2016, Paramount said Monday. Aronson takes over Dec. 2.

A respected figure in the theatrical film business, Aronson was previously head of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox Film, where he worked since 2005. He was pushed out in a wave of layoffs shortly after Walt Disney Co. took over the Century City-based studio as part of its $71.3-billion purchase of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in March.

The appointment reunites Aronson and Paramount Chief Executive Jim Gianopulos, who worked together at Fox for an extended period. Before coming aboard to lead Paramount in 2017, Gianopulos oversaw the Fox film studio for 16 years.

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Photo of Chrsi Aronson, head of domestic distribution at Paramount Pictures
(Richard Radstone)
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Los Angeles-based Paramount has faced major challenges at the box office in recent years. Its Elton John biopic, “Rocketman,” was a significant hit this year, grossing $195 million. But the studio also has suffered from recent big-budget duds, including “Terminator: Dark Fate” and “Gemini Man.”

The shakeup comes at a time when the business of theatrical distribution is undergoing serious shifts as the parent companies of several studios focus their attention on creating new streaming services. Film executives are having to make difficult decisions about which of their upcoming films are built to draw audiences to theaters and which may be more suited to streaming.

New York-based Viacom, for example, recently sold Netflix the rights to make a sequel to Paramount’s “Beverly Hills Cop,” starring Eddie Murphy.

In his new role, Aronson will report to Marc Weinstock and Mary Daily, who are, respectively, president and co-president of worldwide marketing and distribution at the studio.

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“In an ever-evolving distribution landscape, Chris has the ideal balance of experience in the arena and strategic acumen, as well as strong filmmaker relationships,” Weinstock and Daily said in a joint statement.


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