Former Fox Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos is said to be helping his old friend at Wanda Jack Gao behind the scenes on figuring out what to do with Legendary in the wake of the surprise exit of the production company’s CEO Thomas Tull. The relationship between Gianopulos may blossom into something more permanent as we’ve confirmed that Wanda has been heavily courting him. Does that mean that he will take the reins at Legendary? It’s not certain as the former executive’s name is also being bandied about for other top spots around town, including to replace Michael Lynton at Sony. Another rumor ran rampant about Time Warner, if the merger with AT&T goes through, though that one was adamantly denied by the studio.
Gianapulos and Gao’s relationship goes back many years when the latter was a top executive at New Corp.
The word of this comes only two days after Tull said he was exiting Legendary, the company he founded 11 years ago after clashing with Wanda owners. With no one to hand the reins to, Gao stepped in as interim CEO. Gao is the trusted right hand man to Dalian Wanda Group‘s chairman Wang Jianlin and has great business relationships in Hollywood. He currently serves as SVP & CEO of International Investments and Operations at Wanda Cultural Industry Group. The hiring of Gianopulos would be a coup for Wanda and Legendary.
Gianopulos has years of experience in distribution and production. In fact, he rose out of the international distribution ranks to eventually head Fox. He left the studio early last year. Stay tuned. Gianopulos could not be reached for comment.