Wolfgang Hammer, Terry Press named to head CBS Films
Hammer has been chief operating officer of CBS Films since December 2010, while Press has overseen marketing as a consultant since 2010.
The dual promotions represent a strong vote of confidence by CBS Corp. Chief Executive Les Moonves in a pair of executives who have never before held the top job at a studio. He is said by people familiar with the matter to have become a big fan of both Hammer and Press in the last year.
The position has been open since October, when former president Amy Baer was pushed out following a string of flops. Moonves has since then been trying to determine the leadership of the division while reshaping it from a studio focused on producing mid-budget dramas to one that acquires films at festivals and produces director-driven genre films.
Press, 52, has for the last several years been a consultant who, in addition to CBS' releases, has worked on Lionsgate's recent mega-hit "The Hunger Games" and the 2010 Oscar winner "The Social Network." She previously oversaw marketing at DreamWorks and at Walt Disney Studios.
Press' purview has never before extended beyond advertising movies. In her new job, it will extend to the creative side, including development and production, as well as distribution.
Hammer, 34, has had a meteoric rise in his short Hollywood career. After serving for just two years as a vice president of production at Lionsgate, he was a surprise pick in 2010 to be CBS Films' new chief operating officer. He is known as a savvy negotiator and will oversee business, finance and legal affairs as well as acquisitions.
Over the last year, CBS Films has essentially been resetting itself with a new strategy. Following last March's modest performer "Beastly," the unit didn't release any movies until February, when its horror acquisition, "The Woman in Black," starring Daniel Radcliffe, was a surprise hit. Last month, it released the romantic drama "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" in a limited number of theaters, to fine results.
Its next release is scheduled to be the airplane-set thriller "7500" from "The Grudge" director Takashi Shimizu, in August.
"In Terry and Wolfgang, we are fortunate to have two very skilled executives, each with terrific knowledge of the business and strong resumes of innovation," Moonves said in a statement. "They both possess the 'roll up your sleeves' attitude for making, acquiring and marketing quality films for a division that is small in size but laser-focused on assembling a mix of home-grown productions and acquisitions across a diverse range of genres."
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Terry Press and Wolfgang Hammer. Credit: CBS Films