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Legendary Entertainment has finally filled its leadership vacancies on both sides of the Pacific.
The studio behind Pacific Rim and Kong: Skull Island, owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, has discreetly hired former Sony executive and industry veteran Jiang Wei as head of its China unit. Jiang assumed the role weeks ago and has already begun work, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation.
Jiang’s hire follows Legendary’s appointment of attorney and veteran dealmaker Joshua Grode as CEO in December. Grode replaced company founder Thomas Tull, who had exited 11 months prior.
Jiang is filling the role left empty for seven months by veteran Beijing producer Peter Loehr, who served as Legendary East’s CEO from 2012 to May 2017.
Legendary has seen a number of high-profile executive exits since its acquisition by Wanda for $3.5 billion in January 2016. Following Tull and Loehr, interim CEO and senior Wanda dealmaker Jack Gao resigned in October.
News of Jiang’s hire was first reported by Bloomberg. Legendary couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Legendary East handles marketing the Burbank-based parent studio’s films in China and developing strategic partnerships and co-productions — two areas where Jiang would appear to be well equipped. He has broad experience both with U.S. studios and leading Hong Kong and Chinese film companies.
Most recently, Jiang served as an executive director of Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers Holdings from October 2016 until December 2017. Prior to that, he spent three years as president of Gravity Pictures, an affiliate of China Media Capital, which is co-producing The Meg, the forthcoming Warner Bros. action-horror film starring Jason Statham.
Earlier in his career, Jiang spent seven years in the late 1990s at Sony, where he was involved in the development and distribution of international box-office phenomenon Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He then did a stint at Hong Kong studio Edko Films, where he handled mainland Chinese marketing and distribution of local hits like Finding Mr. Right, as well as imported titles such as films from The Fast and the Furious franchise.
Legendary currently has four films in varying states of production: Pacific Rim Uprising, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the China-set Dwayne Johnson action pic Skyscraper and the Pokemon movie Detective Pikachu. The company also has a stake in Universal’s Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom. Planned future titles include the “monsterverse” installment Godzilla vs. Kong and a Dune reboot directed by Denis Villeneuve.
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