Veteran Hollywood film executive Courtenay Valente has sealed a deal to take on the role of Head of Film, Streaming and Theatrical, at Amazon Studios and MGM as the e-commerce giant expands into the movie business. Talk of her pending appointment was first reported at the end of January, leading to months of speculation about who will take the job now that Amazon owns MGM.
Valenti will report directly to Jennifer Salke, President of Amazon and MGM Studios. Started March 1st.
Our strategy now includes expanded investment in films, including a strong theatrical plan and a growing streaming program, in order to bring even more films to movie fans around the world. An essential part of this strategy is taking a focused, thoughtful approach to ensuring the right people are in the right place to execute our creative vision, Salik wrote in a memo to staff on Tuesday.
“Courtenay is a seasoned executive with over three decades of industry experience, strong relationships with filmmakers and creators, and an outstanding reputation for excellence, from producing blockbusters to developing new franchises,” Salke continued. “Under her leadership, the team will continue to carefully curate our roster to offer a well-selected selection of supporting columns, blockbusters, and genre fares.”
Hiring Valenti ends a long search that began when Amazon’s $8.45 billion deal to buy MGM closed in the spring of 2022. Former MGM film heads Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy left for Warner Bros. Pictures. after several months.
In an ironic case of musical chairs, Valenti walked out on Warner when new owner Warner Bros. Discovery put Abdi and De Luca in charge (taking over from Toby Emmerich).
“It has been nearly a year since Amazon acquired MGM, and during that time I have had the opportunity to get to know the MGM team and their work. I was very impressed with the creativity, innovation, and quality of the MGM slate, including Orion Pictures,” Salk said in her note. A wonderful complement to Amazon Originals, and I want to thank Julie Rappaport for a fantastic job as interim head of both film groups.”
Rappaport will continue to oversee the slate for Amazon Originals and MGM films in her new role as Chief Creative Officer and Film Strategy, reporting to Valenti. “I will have more to share about our team in the coming weeks,” Salk said. “Courtinay and Julie share a passion for storytelling and storytelling, and together they will give us a stronger creative edge and cement our unique position as a home of talent.”
During her 33-year tenure at Warners, Valenti was known for her keen attention and judgment, as well as her unwavering style. She has played a major role in producing some of the studio’s most important franchises of the modern era, including overseeing four Harry Potter films. Her list also appeared Crazy Rich AsiansAnd lego movie and revive it Mad Max Among many other films. Include upcoming titles Barbie And Violet.
She has also overseen notable Oscar players, including the current Best Picture nominee Elvis.
In her new job, Valenti will meet Ben Affleck in the movie air, a sports drama that will open everywhere in theaters in early April. Now that I own an old Hollywood studio, Amazon delivers air A traditional theatrical release with a real window, in exchange for making it available immediately, or almost immediately, on Prime Video. (Affleck won an Academy Award argo for Warners.)
Valenti will also be reunited with Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. who now manages marketing at Amazon Studios. Both she and Kroll come from the theatrical side of the business, which is no small feat when it comes to dealing with filmmakers, agents, and talent.
Valenti also hails from industry royalty. Her father is the late Jack Valenti, the longtime president of the Motion Picture Association who launched the film rating system that still exists today and that was designed to prevent government interference and censorship.
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