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Lionsgate to keep two marketing chiefs

Lionsgate ends speculation since the acquisition of Summit Entertainment over the future of Tim Palen, Lionsgate's chief marketing officer, and Nancy Kirkpatrick, his Summit counterpart.

April 26, 2012|By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times

Lionsgate has solved one of the thorniest staffing problems resulting from its acquisition of "Twilight" studio Summit Entertainment by keeping the marketing chiefs from both studios.

Tim Palen, Lionsgate's chief marketing officer who is coming off the blockbuster success of "The Hunger Games," has signed a new deal that will keep him in his job through 2015.

However, the studio is also keeping Summit's marketing president, Nancy Kirkpatrick, in her current job as president of marketing for the studio, which is now a Lionsgate label.

The unusual arrangement comes after months of speculation within the company and throughout Hollywood over what Lionsgate would do with the duo. It has already merged every other department from the two studios and chosen an executive from one or the other to be in charge. Erik Feig of Summit is now the sole president of production, for instance, while Lionsgate's Steve Beeks oversees their combined home entertainment units.

Palen, a photographer who takes many of the pictures and designs some of the art for Lionsgate's advertisements, is well respected in the community and said to be a favorite of Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer. Kirkpatrick joined Summit along with its former chief Rob Friedman, now co-chair of Lionsgate's motion picture group, and remains close to him. They previously worked together at Paramount Pictures.

People close to Lionsgate who were not authorized to speak publicly said the two did not want to share a "co-president" title.

Palen will oversee the marketing for movies that were already in the works at Lionsgate, including the upcoming "What to Expect When You're Expecting," "The Expendables 2" and next year's "Catching Fire," the sequel to "The Hunger Games."

Kirkpatrick will handle marketing for movies that were in development at Summit, including November's final "Twilight" film, "Breaking Dawn — Part 2," as well as "Step Up Revolution" and next year's "Ender's Game," based on the classic science-fiction book.

It remains to be seen how the two will work together once the movies Summit already had in the works have all been released and Lionsgate has only one distribution system. Given his new contract and chief marketing officer title, however, Palen appears more likely to retain the top marketing job.

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