Paramount Pictures Names Emma Watts President of the Motion Picture Group

Courtesy of 20th Century
Emma Watts

The veteran studio executive succeeds Wyck Godfrey, who will return to producing.

In a move that was widely expected, Emma Watts is joining Paramount Pictures as president of the Motion Picture Group. She'll report to studio chief Jim Gianopulos, whom she previously worked for at 20th Century Fox.

She succeeds Wyck Godfrey, who will be stepping down and returning to producing movies and television shows. He has been chief of the Paramount Motion Picture Group since early 2018.

Watts, who will begin her new gig on July 20, will arrive at the Melrose lot six months after resigning as production president of 20th Century Studios in late January, less than a year after the Disney/Fox merger closed in March 2019.

Her hire means that Paramount has women overseeing all of its production divisions. She'll be in charge of Paramount proper and Paramount Players; Mireille Soria runs Paramount Animation; while Nicole Clemens is chief of Paramount TV Studios.

Watts will oversee Paramount and Paramount Players' film operations from development to release, in addition to managing the creative and development group and supervising casting, physical production, postproduction and music. Elizabeth Raposo will continue to serve in her current role as president of production, reporting to Watts.

"Emma is one of the most exceptional executives in the film industry. I worked with her for almost two decades during her career at Fox and have watched her become the stellar leader and creative talent she is today," Gianopulos said in a statement. "As Paramount continues its evolution and growth, I am thrilled that she will deftly guide the film studio with her impeccable taste, talent relationships and innovative vision.”

Added Watts, "At such a rapidly evolving time in our business, Paramount’s rich history and commitment to unique and diverse storytelling make it essential in this new era of filmmaking," said Watts. "I look forward to working alongside Jim and the rest of the talented Paramount team to continue creating an environment that not only provides stability and confidence within the industry, but also empowers the creative community to do their very best work."

Watts, who had served as vice chairman and longtime president of production at 20th Century Fox before the studio was absorbed into the Disney empire, was one of the few top Fox execs to survive the Disney/Fox union.

The executive — whose credits include the Avatar and the X-Men franchise — is known for her close ties to filmmakers, producers and talent. Upon her departure from the Disney fold, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and Ryan Reynolds were among those issuing statements of praise.