Peter Kujawski is moving from EVP Worldwide Acquisitions at Universal Pictures to a newly created position. He’ll become Managing Director of Universal Pictures International Productions, the division that expands the studio’s overseas presence through local production, financing partnerships, acquisitions in emerging markets and the acquisition of English-language films for the studio on a worldwide basis. Kujawski will continue to report to Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley. The appointment is part of an ongoing executive restructure of the international business, which has had great success under the stewardship of David Kosse.
It was announced in April that the position of head of international theatrical operations would be relocated from London to Los Angeles, but no executive was named at the time. Kosse, the well-respected 10-year Universal veteran, opted to remain in London rather than head to the West Coast and is exiting the studio on October 1 to become Director of Film4 the following month. When the restructure began in April, it was believed that Kosse’s job effectively would be split into two positions: a head of theatrical operations, which would include distribution and marketing oversight, and an international production chief.
Kujawski will be based in L.A. and oversee teams there and in London, managing all international production efforts in order to increase market share in established territories and cultivate long-term footing in growth regions like Latin America. His remit will include determining the key product needs of Universal’s international distribution operation and delivering content that maximizes the growth potential of that operation. He also will liaise with various business units such as Focus, Universal Pictures International Entertainment and the NBCU International Television Distribution group.
Langley said Kujawski “has great talent and filmmaker relationships and a unique perspective on what resonates with a global audience, which will be invaluable to our company as we continue to find opportunities to invest and partner in great local films.”
Overall, international is seen as a key growth area for the studio. Universal Pictures International has more than $2B at the box office in 2014 and among its big local successes this year is Spanish Affairs, which became the second-highest-grossing film ever in Spain, behind only Avatar, during its spring run.
Kujawski has been in his current position since 2011. He was instrumental in helping acquire rights to such successful films as Zero Dark Thirty, The Wolf Of Wall Street and Boyhood, which Universal has in select international territories. He began his career at Good Machine, segueing to Focus when it absorbed that company. There, he eventually served as EVP, international sales.