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Lionsgate keeps two marketing chiefs, extends Palen's contract

TimPalen
Lionsgate has decided to solve one of the thorniest staffing problems resulting from its acquisition of "Twilight" studio Summit Entertainment by keeping the marketing chiefs from both studios.

Tim Palen, Lionsgate's chief marketing officer who is coming off of the blockbuster success of "The Hunger Games," has signed a new deal that will keep him in his job through 2015.

However, the studio is also keeping Nancy Kirkpatrick in her current job as president of marketing for Summit, which is now a Lionsgate label.

The unusual arrangement comes after months of speculation within the company and throughout Hollywood over what Lionsgate would do with the duo. It has already merged every other department from the two studios and chosen an executive from one or the other to be in charge. Erik Feig of Summit is now the sole president of production, for instance, while Lionsgate's Steve Beeks oversees their combined home entertainment units.

Palen, a photographer who takes many of the pictures and designs some of the art for Lionsgate's advertisements, is well respected in the community and said to be a favorite of Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer. Kirkpatrick joined Summit along with its former chief Rob Freidman, now co-chair of Lionsgate's motion picture group, and remains close to him. Both previously worked together at Paramount Pictures.

People close to Lionsgate who were not authorized to speak publicly said the two did not want to share a "co-president" title.

Going forward, Palen will oversee the marketing for movies that were already in the works at Lionsgate, including the upcoming "What to Expect When You're Expecting," "Expendables 2" and next year's "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire."

Kirkpatrick will handle marketing for movies that were in development at Summit before it was acquired by Lionsgate, including November's final "Twilight" film, "Breaking Dawn Part 2," as well as "Step Up Revolution" and next year's "Ender's Game," based on the classic science-fiction book.

It remains to be seen how the two will work together once the movies Summit already had in the works before the merger have all been released and Lionsgate has only one movie slate. Given his new contract and chief marketing officer title, however, Palen appears more likely to retain the top marketing job.

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— Ben Fritz

Photo: Tim Palen. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

 
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