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Tim Palen is stepping down as Lionsgate’s longtime president of worldwide theatrical marketing, the latest in a string of executive changes at the studio, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Insiders say Lionsgate and Palen are actively working to reach a deal that would keep Palen on as chief brand officer — he’s had a dual title — as well as give him additional corporate duties. He would report directly to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.
The timing of Palen’s departure from the top marketing post isn’t exactly clear. Sources say he could remain in charge until the end of the year while the studio searches for a replacement.
Palen, known for his bold and maverick campaigns, arrived at Lionsgate in 2001. He has worked closely over the years with Feltheimer and vice chairman Michael Burns, who earlier this year explored the idea of a sale or merger.
Highlights of Palen’s tenure include La La Land, the Hunger Games franchise, the Saw series, Tyler Perry’s films and the Oscar-winning Crash.
His decision to step down as marketing chief comes amid a reshaping of the executive ranks after the arrival last fall of Joe Drake, co-chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
In recent weeks, Nathan Kahane succeeded Erik Feig as president of the motion picture group after Feig decided to leave. Kahane worked with Drake at Good Universe, the company founded by Drake after an earlier stint at Lionsgate.
Patrick Wachsberger, who had served as co-chairman of the motion picture group, has also departed.
Palen will assist Drake in the search for a new theatrical marketing president, sources say.
Should Palen and Lionsgate strike a deal for him to remain chief brand officer, he would continue to oversee the cross-promotion of the company’s franchises and its growing location-based entertainment business, as well as theme parks and theme-park attractions. He also would persist in guiding the Lionsgate corporate brand.
The company’s first theme park opened in Dubai earlier this year. The studio has five more branded parks and indoor entertainment offerings planned, including the Lionsgate Entertainment World in China, set to open next year.
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