As Stacey Snider gets closer to leaving DreamWorks to take a senior position under 20th Century Fox Film chairman/CEO Jim Gianopulos, questions have been rampant about the role for TCF production president Emma Watts, who led the studio to its most killer summer in a long time. Gianopulos has answered some of those questions by staking Watts to a new three year deal.
“Emma is a proven and extremely talented production executive who has consistently led her division to great success, most recently through her stellar contributions to our remarkable summer slate,” Gianopulos said. “We look forward to her continuing contributions to our creative achievements in the years ahead.”
Last month, Fox became the first studio to pass $1 billion in domestic box office – and $3 billion worldwide – fueled by The Other Woman, the $730 million global grosser X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, the latter of which grossed over $500 million worldwide. Fox just opened Let’s Be Cops, and hopes to launch a new franchise this fall in The Maze Runner, followed by the David Fincher-directed Gone Girl. Though Watts took some maternity leave to have a baby, her stamp was all over these projects. The fall looks strong as well with the Ridley Scott-directed Exodus: Gods and Kings and the sequel Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb. While a studio’s success is cyclical and some years are better than others, this is the best slate Fox has had in many years. Just as important, filmmakers are finding it a palatable place to work.
Next year looks promising as well, including the Matthew Vaughn-directed Kingsman: The Secret Service, the Paul Feig-directed comedy Spy with Melissa McCarthy, the Fantastic Four reboot from Chronicle helmer Josh Trank, and the Daniel Radcliffe-James McAvoy pic Victor Frankenstein. There is also the Ridley Scott-directed The Martian with Matt Damon.
The vote of confidence still leaves room for speculation over how two strong female executives will mesh., There are rumors Snider is already letting agencies know what will be Fox priorities going forward, but those kinds of rumors do not rattle Watts. She’s a smart, shrewd tough exec who has been a survivor. She was named president of production at Fox in 2009 after serving as co-president opposite Alex Young. She was exec veep since 2005.