Focus Features Names 'The Descendants' Producer Jim Burke President of Production

Andrew Macpherson
Jim Burke

An expanding film slate at the studio also has Josh McLaughlin promoted to executive vice president.

The Descendants producer Jim Burke has been named president of production at Focus Features.

The studio's expanding film slate will also see Focus production exec Josh McLaughlin promoted to executive vice president, reporting to Burke. The moves follow Focus's film slate including more specialty and wide releases to expand its footprint.

The announcement came Wednesday from Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel, to whom Burke will report. "I have known Jim for many years and not only does he have a tremendous talent for both developing and producing films, he's also a passionate advocate for filmmaking talent," Schlessel said in a statement. 

Besides the Oscar-nominated The Descendants, Burke's other film producing credits include Cedar Rapids and executive producing The Savages, also Oscar nominated. In 2004, he founded the production company Ad Hominem along with Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor.

Before that, Burke got Rysher into feature films with box office winners like Big Night, a Sundance audience award winner, Primal Fear and Kiss the Girls. He's also a former vp of Warner Bros. Television Domestic Distribution.

Current and upcoming releases from Focus include James Marsh's The Theory of Everything, which earned Eddie Redmayne the best actor Oscar, Leigh Whannel's Insidious: Chapter 3, Tarsem Singh's Self/less, which stars Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley, and Ciaran Foy's Sinister 2.

March 11, 2:30 p.m. Updated to include more details on Jim Burke's hire and Focus' film slate.