Don Harris is leaving Paramount Pictures as president of domestic distribution after 14 years of working at the studio. Harris is a well-known name in both distribution and exhibition having worked at DreamWorks and also before that as the head film buyer at AMC Theaters. He will be staying through the release of Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation on July 31st. The studio will replace him and expect to have the new exec announced in the next 60 days. The news went out last night via a memo from Megan Colligan, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for the studio.
“I am writing to let you know that Don Harris will be transitioning out of his role at Paramount Pictures at the conclusion of his contract to pursue other opportunities. We are very grateful for his dedication and leadership during his many years with the studio. As President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution, he has established himself to be among the most respected executives in his field, and has lead Paramount to a tremendously successful run during his time here.”
The news of his departure comes right before the release of Terminator Genisys this holiday weekend. Harris was much loved by others at the studio. It also comes after many other changes at the studio with layoffs and restructuring in every major division of the studio — marketing, distribution and production.
The studio’s chief marketing officer Josh Greenstein left Paramount late last year to join Sony Pictures as head of worldwide marketing and distribution, triggering a promotion for Megan Colligan to her current title. In addition to many layoffs throughout Viacom, including at Paramount, there was another change in production when earlier this year Adam Goodman was given the heave ho and Mark Evans was promoted into his spot as production president.
Also, Anthony Marcoly, who served as President of Paramount Pictures International since 2011, also exited the studio.
During his many years at Paramount, Harris oversaw the distribution for everything from Saving Private Ryan, Jackass and Anchorman franchises, The Wolf Of Wall Street to Transformers. He has been a loyal employee for many years to the studio and to vice chairman Rob Moore.
He was hired by DreamWorks in 1995, DreamWorks SKG to head distribution and then in 2006, with the sale of DreamWorks Pictures to Viacom, he moved to the Paramount lot to oversee the domestic sales division for the studio’s Motion Picture Group. He was named to his current post in 2001 after another veteran distribution/exhibition (Jim Tharp) exec exited.