Shmuger, Linde re-up with Universal

Will lead studio through 2013; Linde upped to chairman

After leading Universal Pictures to two consecutive record-breaking years, Marc Shmuger and David Linde have signed deals that will see the duo leading the studio through 2013.

The new contract also sees Linde being upped to chairman alongside Shmuger. He was co-chairman.

Universal is one of the more stable studios in town, but when the duo took over, the company was dealing with the departure of DreamWorks and the breakup of its international distribution arm UPI, dealing with rumors that longtime hit supplier Imagine Entertainment was bolting and with cuts mandated by corporate partner GE.

The duo weathered those challenges, and in 2007 the studio reached a worldwide boxoffice record. In 2008, it beat that record with $2.8 billion in worldwide grosses.

Among other accomplishments, Shmuger and Linde extended deals with Imagine as well as another major pic supplier Working Title, saw the return of DreamWorks and set deals with toy company Hasbro, comic book company Dark Horse and the estate of Robert Ludlum. It also snagged Guillermo Del Toro for a slate of films that the filmmaker will tackle once he finishes his "Hobbit" movies.
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