Paramount Head Of Physical Production Lee Rosenthal To Exit, Capping 27-Year Run


EXCLUSIVE: Lee Rosenthal, who joined Paramount Pictures in 1994 and went on to head physical production for more than a decade, has set his exit from the studio.

A person familiar with the situation told Deadline that Rosenthal has just notified his colleagues that he will depart this month, capping a 27-year run. (See his full email below.)

It is understood that the move is not part of any larger-scale contraction at Paramount or parent ViacomCBS. It is more of a sign that Emma Watts, installed last summer by studio chief Jim Gianopulos as president of the motion picture group, is continuing to put her stamp on things.

In 2015, Rosenthal gained oversight of animation in addition to live-action due to a restructuring. During his tenure, he played a key role in films ranging from Oscar-winning animated feature Rango to live-action dramas like The Big Short and Rocketman. He also worked on major franchises Star Trek, Transformers and Mission: Impossible as well as the improbable micro-budget breakout, Paranormal Activity.

Here is Rosenthal’s full email to his colleagues:

After a year of Covid quarantine and self-reflection, I have learned two enormous life lessons.

First, we are most resilient when we face our toughest challenges. Over the course of the last 12 months, we helped get the industry back to work safely and successfully mounted an amazing slate of projects despite enormous odds.

Second – and it’s an old adage but one worth remembering – time is precious.

With this in mind, I wanted you to know that I have decided to move on from Paramount later this month and start my next adventure. I am exhilarated about making a change and seeking out new opportunities to grow, but most importantly, I am excited for the outstanding work you will continue to achieve.

We have accomplished so much together and forged many creative partnerships over the years. How great to have shepherded the Academy Award winning RangoThe Big Short and Rocketman; to have broken new ground with our micro-budget paradigm for the Paranormal series, and to have scaled new heights with our tentpoles ranging from Star Trek to Transformers to Mission: Impossible.

I am most thankful to the inspiring mentors, exceptional filmmakers and to you, the hardest working and most energetic physical production team there is.

I would also like to thank Jim and Emma for their leadership and guidance. These decisions are never easy, and I appreciate their support.

For now, my husband Paul is insisting that I enjoy at least a few weeks off before launching my next endeavor, and I am going to take him up on his suggestion.

In closing, how about letting me awkwardly mash up a few of our personal favorite movie phrases? On behalf of all the great stuff we have made together and all that is yet to come: Boldly Go, Roll Out and of course Light the Fuse.

Thanks team,

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