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Jeffrey Kirschenbaum is leaving Universal Pictures, where he has been a co-president of production. He plans to join producer Joe Roth as they partner on the new Roth Kirschenbaum Films.
Kirschenbaum, who first joined Universal as a director of development in 2001 and steadily rose through the ranks, has served as production exec on some of the studios biggest franchises like Fast & Furious, Bourne and Mummy movies. In 2011, he was promoted to co-president of production, working alongside the studio’s other co-president of production Peter Cramer. With Kirschenbaum’s departure, Cramer will assume sole responsibility as president of production.
In a staff memo, Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley announced the move today, calling Kirshenbaum “a supportive and creative partner who never shied away from getting in the trenches with filmmakers.”
Kirschenbaum, who, according to sources, also had recent conversations with Warner Bros. about joining that studio’s exec team, has opted to team with Roth, with whom he first worked on 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, which grossed $396 million worldwide. He will now work with Roth on that movie’s follow-up The Huntsman, currently in post-production and scheduled for 2016. He will also be working on such projects as 90 Church Street, School for Good and Evil and Red Rising, which are already in development at Universal, .
“I am proud and lucky to have Jeff as my partner,” Roth said in announcing their partnership. “His work on the Fast & Furious franchise has been great, and he has been a tireless studio partner on our two Huntsman films. I have found him honest, ambitious and an incredibly hard worker. I think he is ready to step out and be independent and look forward to what we can create together.” Roth added, I want to thank [NBCUniversal execs] Jeff Shell, Donna Langley and Jimmy Horowitz, who have been great to me, and I look forward to doing much more together
“Jeff is the ideal partner for Joe who is a great storyteller and has a phenomenal track record with films that have garnered critical and commercial success,” Langley wrote. “We look forward to creating new opportunities together.”
In a statement of his own, Kirschenbaum said, “I have been blessed to work at the best studio with the best people for the last 15 years. [NBCUniversal vice chairman] Ron Meyer sets the tone for a culture that is second to none, Jeff Shell is a strategic genius and great leader, and Donna Langley is quite simply the best chairman in the business and has propelled the studio to new heights of success. I have been fortunate to work beside Peter Cramer, one of the wisest and most prolific executives in the business.”
Roth — who’s been a studio chief, founder of Revolution Studios and now top producer in Hollywood — also is working on such upcoming films as the Disney sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass and is one of the producers on In the Heart of the Sea, which Warners will release Dec. 11.
Meanwhile, Universal, which is releasing Straight Outta Compton this weekend, has been on a roll. Leading its rival studios in terms of domestic market share (which currently stands at a commanding 27.8 percent), it has enjoyed a string of 2016 hits that have included Jurassic World, Furious 7, Minions, Pitch Perfect 2, Fifty Shades of Grey and Trainwreck.
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