Peter Loehr, the CEO of Legendary Pictures’ China subsidary Legendary East since May 2012, is departing the company at month’s end. Wanda’s Jack Gao, Legendary’s interim CEO, just made the announcement.
Wanda acquired Legendary in 2006 for $3.5 billion last year, among a slew of mega-deals to position itself in the entertainment industry that included acquired exhibitor AMC Entertainment. Legendary founder and CEO Thomas Tull exited the company in January.
Legendary East is responsible for distributing and marketing Legendary’s films in the Chinese market, creating strategic opportunities in the Middle Kingdom and focusing on producing big-budget China-U.S. co-productions. Its latest effort in that realm, the Matt Damon-starrer and Zhang Yimou-directed The Great Wall, was billed as the largest film ever shot entirely in China. Legendary was said to have invested $150 million; it made $332M worldwide and was seen as a disappointment.
Said Gao today in announcing Loehr’s exit: “We are grateful to Peter for his contributions and service building out a platform and awareness for Legendary’s brand in China and wish him great success in all future endeavors. The current Legendary East management has been instrumental in developing our business plan for the future, and we look forward to continuing our strategic growth trajectory with this team. A new CEO to work with the incredible Legendary East team will be announced shortly.”
Loehr had been head of CAA’s Beijing office since it opened in 2005, and Tull wooed him to Legendary in May 2012, a little less that a year before Legendary East launched in partnership with China’s Huayi Brothers. Recently at Legendary, Loehr served as a producer on Great Wall and oversaw the China release for Warcraft and Kong: Skull Island.
“Having the opportunity to grow Legendary’s business in China has been an incredible experience and journey for me,” Loehr said in today’s announcement of his exit. “I am enormously proud of everything that we have accomplished during my tenure at Legendary and feel extremely fortunate to have had the chance to work with the smart, innovative and incredible teams at both Legendary and Wanda. With much admiration and respect, I wish the Company continued success and growth as I look forward to my next chapter.”