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Garrett’s pending exit wasn’t supposed to be announced until the European Film Market in Berlin ended, since Garrett is here selling Summit’s foreign sales slate, but word leaked out of Los Angeles on Sunday.
Garrett — who launched Summit in 2003 with Patrick Wachsberger (who is also in Berlin) and Bob Hayward — is one of the most widely respected international film executives and foreign sales agents in the business, and word of his exit quickly spread among foreign buyers and rival sales companies, who expect Garrett to start a new venture.
Since EFM began, buyers have been questioning what the Lionsgate-Summit marriage means, since both having thriving international sales divisions. Helen Kim is Garrett’s counterpart at Lionsgate and also is in Berlin in separate Lionsgate offices.
Lionsgate and Summit will have to streamline their operations across the board, so as to cut down on overhead and avoid duplication. Both companies will be hit, according to insiders, although in the case of Garrett, it may have been his choice to leave.
Last week, Summit president of worldwide production and acquisitions Erik Feig was named production president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, reporting to Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, who were recently named Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen. At the same time, Alli Shearmur, president of production for Lionsgate, is exiting.
Likewise, former Lionsgate Motion Group Chairman Joe Drake will leave Lionsgate after the release of Hunger Games (Friedman and Wachsberger now hold his post).
Wachsberger, whom Garrett reported to, and Drake both rose up through the foreign sales ranks to become powerhouse agents.
Together, Wachsberger and Garrett led foreign sales for Summit’s blockbuster Twilight franchise, among numerous other prosperous titles. In Berlin, Summit is selling The Tomb, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvestor Stallone, and Beautiful Creatures, based on the popular young adult novel. Both films are virtually sold out.
Summit has a number of output deals with foreign distributors and it’s not clear what will happen to those pacts once Lionsgate and Summit are entirely merged.
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