It’s a busy day for the Warner Bros overseas executive suite. On the heels of news that longtime EVP International, Richard Fox, is moving to Beijing to spearhead the studio’s China expansion, the offshore business is undergoing a management shift. Longtime execs Monique Esclavissat and Marc Gareton are adding oversight of local-language production to their current responsibilities while Reg Harpur will assume greater oversight and responsibilities for the studio’s international operations.
Esclavissat is EVP Europe and Latin America Distribution, Warner Bros Pictures International. Gareton is EVP International – Asia Pacific, Warner Bros Home Entertainment.
The duo is charged with expanding the studio’s already lucrative local production activities. In territories where there is an established local business, Esclavissat and Gareton will work with the in-place management team to determine the level of the studio’s involvement, either as a producer or distributor, and those films’ distrbution potential outside the country of origin. In emerging territories, they will assemble a team of in-country executives who will coordinate activities as part of a company-wide global effort.
Warner has a great track-record in local movies, with involvement since 1999. It has served as a co-producer, producer and/or distributor on more than 540 titles — whose cumulative box office is nearly $2.5B. This was done under the stewardship of Fox who heads to Beijing in January and will work closely with Esclavissat and Gareton in the transition.
Among the most successful local titles have been the Death Note ($90M) and Rurouni Kenshin ($105M) films in Japan; Til Schweiger’s Honig Im Kopf ($77M) and Kokowaah ($40M) in Germany; Io Loro E Lara ($19M) and Un Boss In Salotto ($14M) in Italy; JA Bayona’s El Orfanato ($28M) and The Impossible ($48M) in Spain; Nosotros Los Nobles ($21M) in Mexico; Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth ($20M) and 2014 Oscar nominee Wild Tales ($34M) in Latin America; and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s A Very Long Engagement ($70M).
Esclavissat joined Warner in 1998, and for the last 15 years has overseen theatrical distribution for the EMEA region. In 2010, she assumed distribution responsibility for Latin America, where the business has grown 39%. Among the titles she’s helped shepherd through production are Nosotros Los Nobles and Wild Tales. She was also instrumental in Warner Bros Pictures acquiring Oscar contender Spotlight for French distribution; Pedro Almodóvar’s upcoming Silencio for Spain and Italy; and Truth for France and the UK.
Gareton joined Warner Home Video in 1995 in a senior marketing role in France before moving around the globe and up the ranks. He previously headed the company’s digital initiatives in China and helped assemble an anime production team in Japan that has produced and distributed more than 30 titles in the last five years, including the top-selling Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Among other roles, he also managed Warner Home Video’s Global Business Transformation project, where he led a massive change initiative affecting the business model, structure and processes of the division.
The execs will have shared responsibility in all areas of local-language films and international acquisitions, and will jointly report to Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President, Worldwide Distribution, Warner Bros Pictures, and Ron Sanders, President, Warner Bros Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution.
“Warner Bros has long believed in the importance of local language films as a complement to our global tentpole titles,” said Kwan Vandenberg and Sanders. “Monique and Marc each bring something different and valuable to their new roles, which will allow us to become more active in this area and provide Warner Bros with a number of opportunities for content creation, rights acquisition and talent development. We’d also like to acknowledge everything Richard and his divisional partners have done to up to this point. We’re starting in a great position already poised for further success.”
Separately, Reg Harpur, EVP, Operations and Planning, Warner Bros Entertainment, will assume greater oversight and responsibilities for the studio’s international operations. As part of his new responsibilities, Harpur will have day-to-day oversight of the company’s Amsterdam regional distribution hub and the country managers who oversee businesses in key international territories, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan.
This shift is part of the restructure following Fox’s move to China. Country managers previously reported to Kevin Tsujihara and Fox. They will now report to Tsujihara and Harpur. Fox will work with both to recruit and hire a country manager in China. Harpur will continue to work closely with the studio’s executive management team to further develop and implement opportunities across the company’s global businesses, including in emerging markets. He joined WB in 1992 and has held several management roles