Universal restructures international production

Christian Grass named president of int'l prod'n, acquisitions

LONDON -- Christian Grass, the co-CEO of Focus Features International, has been named to oversee Universal Pictures' reorganized international production efforts.

Universal chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley said Thursday that the change is part of efforts "to streamline Universal's global production and distribution operations and in recognition of the international production group's contributions to the growth of UPI."

Grass becomes president of international production and acquisitions at Universal Pictures International, reporting to David Kosse, who recently assumed an expanded role as president of international for Universal Pictures, and to Langley.

"Under the new structure, Grass and his team can continue to play an integral role in our production and acquisitions business, which is an important component in our plan to expand Universal's global operations," Langley said.

Grass, who has led Universal's international production group since October 2007, and his team have sealed a slew of pacts, including a co-production with Timur Bekmambetov's Bazelevs Prods. in Russia for the project "Black Lightning" and a co-production with Studio 37 and One World in France on "Serge Gainsbourg (vie heroique)," directed by Joann Sfar.

The international production group also has overseen the acquisition and the production of projects including "Inglorious Basterds," a co-production with the Weinstein Co., and the "Step Up" franchise, from Summit Entertainment.

The majority of movies developed by the international production group were released through Universal Pictures International's local distribution network.

Focus Features CEO James Schamus and president Andrew Karpen will continue to run the Universal Pictures-owned Focus Features and Focus Features International with Alison Thompson, president of international sales and distribution.