UPDATE: I’m told that Mary Parent will bring her top lieutenants from Disuption Entertainment, Cale Boyter and Ali Mendes, to Legendary. They’ll leave projects behind, but this instills a formative team as Tull moves forward with Wanda in the production/finance company.
BREAKING: In a move that puts Mary Parent back in the executive suites, Legendary chairman/CEO Thomas Tull has set the veteran executive and producer to the newly established title of vice chairman of worldwide production. She replaces Jon Jashni, who just announced his exit to form Raintree Ventures.
Parent will oversee Legendary’s film, TV, digital, mobile and new media development and production activities, reporting to Tull. In Parent, Tull is getting a dynamo who is always on the shortlist when a top studio job opens. This comes after Legendary was bought by China’s Dalian Wanda Group. They need what Parent does so well: She’s great at orchestrating and managing tentpoles and logistically complicated big-budget films, most recent evidence of which was the Best Picture nominee The Revenant, which she joined partway through to help keep a difficult to manage production on track.
This comes after Wanda agreed in January to pay $3.5 billion for Legendary, whose upcoming slate includes the June 10 opener Warcraft, the Matt Damon starrer The Great Wall on February 17 and Kong: Skull Island no March 10, 2017. Legendary Television is about to go in to production on the second season of the Netflix original series Love, from creators Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, and the second season of Colony, a co-production with Universal Cable Productions for USA Network. Legendary also just wrapped production on the comedy pilot Downward Dog for ABC in conjunction with ABC Studios.
“Mary has proven to be the rare individual that has not just served as an executive and a producer, but someone who has done both with tremendous success,” said Tull. “Her creative instincts, relationships and an innate ability to put together a production slate designed for a global audience that is also based on savvy financial understanding are qualities we will rely on greatly as we enter the next phase of Legendary’s growth.”
Said Parent: “I have loved being solely a producer, but sometimes an opportunity so unique presents itself, you have to jump in with both feet. The chance to be a part of building a truly global business with Legendary, in a climate where content is becoming ubiquitous regardless of the distribution platform or the origin of audiences, is just that opportunity. Plus, having worked closely with everyone at Legendary these past four years, I have come to know the vision they have for the future and I’m so excited that Thomas has invited me to be a part of it.”
Parent has seen the business from just about every vantage point. She was CEO/chairman of WW production at MGM, leaving after the studio was frozen in bankruptcy. She then formed Disruption Entertainment and made a deal at Paramount. While that company — which she ran with lieutenant Cale Boyter — percolated original projects, Parent became a most coveted on-set producer of giant-budget movies. Those included The Revenant, Kong: Skull Island, Pacific Rim, Godzilla, Noah and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Before that, she partnered with Scott Stuber in Stuber/Parent, where she produced You, Me and Dupree, and Role Models. She had previously been vice chairman with Stuber at Universal, under Stacey Snider.
This all just happened, so the next shoe to drop is what happens with Disruption and Boyter.