Friedman, Wachsberger mount Summit


Armed with more than $1 billion in funding from Merrill Lynch and other investors, former Paramount Pictures COO Rob Friedman and Summit Entertainment president and CEO Patrick Wachsberger are launching a new Summit En-tertainment Llc., a studio set to produce, acquire, market and domestically distribute films (HR 4/20).

Friedman will be CEO and Wachsberger will serve as president of the studio, with both sharing the title of co-chairman. The company has absorbed the production, distribution and international sales outfit of the same name and will continue to function as a sales agent for its own films and outside projects through its new arm, Summit International. Wachsberger will lead that division as CEO.

Heading the company's executive team are three Summit veterans: COO Robert Hayward, production and acquisitions president Erik Feig and senior executive vp David Garrett, who will serve as president of Summit International. Ron Hohauser will join the team as CFO.

Each year, the company plans to produce about eight films for worldwide distribution and acquire about four films for distribution domestically and in other territories. Titles are expected to range from $15 million-$60 million in a wide variety of genres that Friedman described as "studio commercial fare."

The company is said to be in talks with at least two veteran executives to head its domestic distribution division, with an announcement expected shortly.

Summit is producing several films with domestic distribution deals at major studios. Neither Friedman nor Wachsberger would comment on the titles the company would potentially distribute domestically.