Jeff Kirschenbaum is leaving his post as co-president of production to partner with Joe Roth in Roth Kirschenbaum Films, a new producing shingle. This comes after Roth’s right hand man, Palak Patel, left to become an executive at Sony Pictures, and it ends long rumors that Kirsch, as he’s called, would be leaving for one job or another. He spent 15 years at Universal, the last of which he spent sharing the production president post with Peter Cramer.
Cramer joins Roth, the former studio head who has generated so many revisionist fairy tale blockbusters he could be confused for one of the Grimm Brothers. Those hits have included Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Oz The Great and Powerful, and all the sequels that are coming. Roth and Kirschenbaum first worked together on Snow White and the Huntsman, which did $396 million global box office, and the sequel that is currently in production. They also teamed on the film adaptation of The School of Good and Evil, the first leg of a bestselling trilogy.
“I am proud and lucky to have Jeff as my partner,” Roth said in a statement. “His work on the Fast And The Furious franchise has been great, and he has been a tireless studio partner on our two Huntsman films. I have found him honest, ambitious, and an incredibly hard worker. I think he is ready to step out and be independent and look forward to what we can create together.” Roth added, “I want to thank Jeff Shell, Donna Langley, and Jimmy Horowitz, who have been great to me and I look forward to doing much more together.”
Said Kirschenbaum: “I have been blessed to work at the best studio with the best people for the last 15 years. Ron Meyer sets the tone for a culture that is second to none, Jeff Shell is a strategic genius and great leader, and Donna Langley is quite simply the best Chairman in the business and has propelled the studio to new heights of success. I have been so fortunate to work beside Peter Cramer, one of the wisest and most prolific executives in the business.”
Roth doesn’t have a deal so Kirschenbaum effectively leaves the studio.
Universal Chairman Donna Langley said, “Throughout my time at Universal, Jeff has been a supportive and creative partner who never shied away from getting in the trenches with filmmakers. While we are sad to see him go, we are excited that he will continue to work closely with all of us at Universal on projects currently in development, including 90 Church Street, School for Good and Evil and Red Rising. Jeff is the ideal partner for Joe who is a great storyteller and has a phenomenal track record with films that have garnered critical and commercial success. We look forward creating new opportunities together.”