If there’s any curiosity why there’s been so much noise of fleeing projects today at Annapurna, it’s because the studio and its head of film production Chelsea Barnard recently parted ways. We understand it was mutual and amicable and that Barnard was overseeing Jennifer Lopez’s Hustlers project and Jay Roach’s Roger Ailes pic, which both have left Annapurna’s fold.
Sources close to the company confirmed Barnard’s exit. There are no immediate replacement plans for her post, and Annapurna boss Megan Ellison is expected to take a greater hand in the oversee of production. President Marc Weinstock departed Annapurna back in June, as Deadline reported. He too was not replaced, with his duties delegated to senior leadership.
There were rumblings around town about Annapurna having some financial difficulty. We hear from insiders that they are simply re-calibrating, and that all is well. The budget on the Ailes film was headed north of $35 million, and the Lopez project had been in turnaround for the past month.
To date, Annapurna has had five releases, kicking off with Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit in July 28, 2017, which grossed $16.7M stateside, down from the Oscar winner’s previous title Zero Dark Thirty ($95.7M domestic) which was produced by Annapurna. This summer’s Sorry to Bother You, which Annapurna acquired out of Sundance was a notable spot on the specialty circuit making $17.4M, the label’s highest-grossing film to date.
Others didn’t fare so well, i.e., Brad’s Status last year ($2.1M), and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women ($1.6M). Its Joaquin Phoenix-John C. Reilly Western The Sisters Brothers is still early in its limited release, counting $730K so far.
Upcoming for Annapurna is Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk on November 30, Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney movie Vice going wide December 14, and the Nicole Kidman police drama Destroyer on Christmas Day.