Marc Butan Departing Panorama For Sierra/Affinity As Megan Ellison’s Foreign Arm Focuses On Sales

EXCLUSIVE: Marc Butan, who runs Megan Ellison’s foreign sales division Panorama Media,  is leaving to join sales-finance-production outfit Sierra/Affinity as co-president. He will share the president role with Sierra/Affinity’s Marc Schaberg who will be co-president and COO. Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer and Butan worked together previously at Lionsgate.

At Sierra/Affinity, Butan will oversee feature film development and production activities. The idea is to have him build a slate of wide-release, director-driven commercial films with domestic and global appeal that will complement the slates built by partners OddLot Entertainment and Bold Films. As part of that, Butan will bring with him films from Panorama’s production slate: his new company will rep international rights to James Gray’s Lost City Of Z, John Hillcoat’s Triple Nine, Angela Workman’s adaptation of The Zookeeper’s Wife and Pride, Prejudice And Zombies.

Butan and sales exec Kim Fox have run Panorama since its launch at Cannes in 2012 (among its first slate projects was an untitled Spike Jonze movie that ended up being Oscar Best Picture nominee Her and last year’s Zero Dark Thirty. Backed by Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, the unit’s goal was to “produce, finance and arrange for worldwide distribution on a slate of filmmaker-driven projects with broad commercial appeal.” Fox will remain to run Panorama, which will handle sales of all of Annapurna’s titles as well as third-party titles but move away from production. “As Panorama currently focuses on sales, we will continue to work closely with Marc and Sierra/Affinity to create a seamless transition for these titles,” said Fox. “We are very excited to focus on our core business, the sales of so many high-quality films. Marc is a friend and we wish him all the best.”

During Butan’s career — which includes serving as president of 2929 Productions and as EVP Production at Lionsgate — he has overseen films including Andrew Dominick’s Killing Them Softly, John Hillcoat’s The Road, Andrew Niccol’s The Host, James Gray’s We Own The Night and George Clooney’s Good Night, And Good Luck.  “I am proud of what we accomplished at Panorama, but I couldn’t be more excited to be joining Nick and Marc,” said Butan. “I worked with Nick 10 years ago at Lionsgate, and we have remained friends until now.  The opportunity to work with him again and become a part of such a vibrant company which has been built in such a short time was one I couldn’t pass up. I feel all of our skill sets are complimentary and I am excited for this next chapter.”

Most recently, Sierra/Affinity repped international distribution rights for several territories on Sundance’s opening-night film Whiplash to Sony. Other titles sold of late include The Place Beyond The Pines, Flight, The Call, Parker and Ender’s Game. Panorama Media led sales of Oscar-nominated American Hustle and Her and also has Foxcatcher and Marjane Satrapi’s The Voices, which premieres at Sundance.

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