Resnick will lead global Uni pickups

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Taking a global view, Universal Pictures is combining its worldwide acquisition activities. In the new post of senior vp and general manager, worldwide acquisitions, Jason Resnick, who had been involved in the studio's domestic acquisitions, now will oversee its international efforts as well.

Universal Pictures International is ramping up its international distribution operations in the wake of the breakup of United International Pictures, its longtime co-venture with Paramount Pictures, which has created an appetite for more product for the overseas market.

In his previous post as senior vp acquisitions at Focus Features and Universal, Resnick acquired titles for Universal, its specialty division Focus and the genre label Rogue Pictures. Headquartered at the studio's Universal City home base, he will continue to acquire films for those units while also taking an international view.

"We're going to commit a lot of money to acquire movies for Universal International," Resnick said. "We will still buy for Focus and Rogue for the pipeline. And we're looking for films just for Universal, too."

Universal also is looking to get more involved in local productions abroad.

The reorganization was announced Tuesday by Marc Shmuger and David Linde, Universal chairman and co-chairman, respectively, along with James Schamus, chairman at Focus and Rogue. They will oversee the reorganized division, along with Michael Joe, exec vp at Universal, and Andrew Karpen, president of Focus and co-president at Rogue.

Linde, who comes from a foreign sales background, championed the new initiative. As Universal reshapes its overseas operations, more key appointments in the international arena are expected in the months leading up to May's Festival de Cannes.

Instead of emphasizing the company's film labels, the new structure is organized by territories.

U.S. execs reporting to Resnick include Los Angeles-based Dylan Wilcox, director of acquisitions at Focus, and New York-based Anika McLaren, manager of acquisitions. They will oversee all North American-based acquisitions.

Wilcox also will handle Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Chan Phung will work with Wilcox on those same territories as coordinator of acquisitions.

Based in London, Ben Roberts, who reports to Resnick, will serve as acquisitions director at UPI, focussing on acquisitions from the U.K. and Europe.

He will be assisted by McLaren in New York and London-based Eleonore de Prunele, manager of acquisitions.

Roberts also will work directly in Germany with Klause Hefele, Universal's local acquisition manger for that territory.

Resnick and Wilcox also will work closely in Japan with Keizo Kabata, Universal's local acquisition manager for that territory.

The new organization also will coordinate closely with UPI president David Kosse and Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures International Entertainment, as the company more aggressively moves to acquire overseas rights. Recent overseas acquisitions by the company include "The Other Boleyn Girl," which will be distributed in all international territories by UPI and Focus International, and "Untraceable," which was acquired from Lakeshore International in November at the American Film Market for distribution by UPI in six major territories, including the U.K., France and Germany.

Working with Focus, Resnick has picked up such films as "The Motorcycle Diaries," "Scoop," "The Swimming Pool" and "Brick." For Rogue, he has overseen the acquisition of "Unleashed" and "Dave Chappelle's Block Party."

For Universal, he acquired the worldwide rights to "Ray."

Anne Thompson contributed to this report.
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