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Sanford Panitch is leaving 20th Century Fox to join Sony Pictures Entertainment as its president international film & television.
The move is a coup for Sony’s newly appointed studio head Tom Rothman, who was Panitch’s boss for 20 years at Fox. Considered a trailblazer in the local-language marketplace, Fox International Productions boasts $900 million in box-office receipts in countries like China, South Korea, Germany, Russia and Mexico since its 2008 launch.
Panitch, who will report to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, is still under contract at Fox and will start at Sony on June 2 in the newly created post.
Landing Panitch signals Sony’s commitment to gain ground in the international marketplace. Rothman came in with a mandate to build global franchises.
“Sanford is a talented and strategic senior executive with an exceptional career working with a wide range of international productions and talent,” Lynton said. “There is tremendous growth potential in the international and local-language markets, and we are thrilled to have someone with Sanford’s experience join our team.”
In his new position, Panitch will work with Rothman to build a slate of local-language and English-speaking films made for international audiences and also with Steve Mosko on TV that can play locally and travel. His duties include overseeing global film and TV co-productions as well as local-language film and TV productions. In international television, he will coordinate with Andrea Wong, president international production at Sony Pictures Television, who will continue supervising international TV production.
“I’m honored to join the SPE team at this pivotal moment in the studio’s history,” Panitch said. “I am eternally grateful for my years at Fox working with (Fox Filmed Entertainment chief) Jim (Gianopulos) and all my longtime colleagues. This new role comes at a time of unprecedented change in the international marketplace, especially in television. It’s a wonderful and unique opportunity to work with Steve Mosko, his outstanding organization and again with my friend Tom Rothman.”
Panitch joins SPE following a successful tenure at Fox. As the founding president of Fox International Productions, he oversaw all local production activities in 12 territories in Latin America, Europe, India and China. Before establishing the division, Panitch served as president of filmed entertainment at New Regency and executive vp production at 20th Century Fox.