Shmuger, Linde to lead Uni Pics through 2013


After leading Universal to two consecutive record-breaking years, Marc Shmuger and David Linde have signed deals that will see the duo fronting the studio through 2013.

Linde also has been upped to chairman alongside Shmuger. He was co-chairman.

Universal is one of the more stable studios, but when the duo took over in March 2006, the company was dealing with the departure of DreamWorks, the breakup of its international distribution arm UPI, rumors that longtime hit supplier Imagine Entertainment was bolting and cuts mandated by parent GE.

They weathered those challenges, and Uni reached a worldwide boxoffice record for the studio in 2007. It beat that record last year with $2.8 billion in grosses.

Shmuger and Linde extended deals with Imagine as well as Working Title; saw the return of DreamWorks; and set deals with Hasbro, Dark Horse and the estate of Robert Ludlum. It also snagged Guillermo del Toro for a slate of pics that he will tackle after his "Hobbit" movies. (partialdiff)