Fox Production President Emma Watts Extends Contract

Emma Watts
Emma Watts
 Claudia Lucia

After delivering a stellar slate of films this year, 20th Century Fox president of production Emma Watts has signed a new three-year contract with the studio.

“Emma is a proven and extremely talented production executive who has consistently led her division to great success, most recently through her stellar contributions to our remarkable summer slate. We look forward to her continuing contributions to our creative achievements in the years ahead," Fox chairman-CEO Jim Gianopulos said in announcing the news.

Watts' contract extension comes amid widespread speculation that Stacey Snider, who currently runs DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg, will soon join Fox as Gianopulos' No. 2, helping to oversee all aspects of the studio, including production, marketing and distribution.

Last month, 20th Century Fox became the first studio of the year to cross $1 billion in domestic ticket sales, thanks to a string of successes, including X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and despite the overall downturn at the box office.

Playing a huge part in the revival is Watts, whose job as president of production took on increased importance with the departure of hands-on former studio co-chairman Tom Rothman nearly two years ago.

Watts, who has served in the top job since 2009, brought X-Men maestro Bryan Singer back to direct May's Days of Future Past, which has grossed $743.7 million worldwide, a franchise best. And she put the Apes sequel in the hands of Matt Reeves (Let Me In), helped convince David Fincher to take on Gone Girl (out Oct. 3) and by year's end will have new movies from Ridley Scott (Exodus: Gods and Kings) and Shawn Levy (a third Night at the Museum).

In a wide-ranging interview earlier this summer with The Hollywood Reporter, Watts said she would welcome the arrival of Snider, whose contract at DreamWorks is up at the end of the year. "I think it would be great to have access to her immense experience and relationships. I'm all for it," she said.

The U.K.-born and Vancouver-raised Watts, 44, oversees a production group of about 30 employees and a slate of 10 to 12 movies a year. She got her start working with photographer Herb Ritts before joining Oliver Stone's production company.

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