Walden Media Restructures, Names Frank Smith COO

The Anschutz Film Group production company's upcoming projects include "The Giver" and "Everest."

Anschutz Film Group's Walden Media, the producers behind The Chronicles of Narnia and Journey to the Center of the Earth series, have promoted Frank Smith to COO as part of a restructuring plan, the company announced Thursday.

Smith has previously served as the general counsel and head of business affairs and has been with AFG since 2003.

Working alongside Smith and Walden Media president and co-founder Micheal Flaherty will be Chip Flaherty, who heads Walden Media’s Publishing division; Ryan Jones, the longtime Walden finance executive who has been appointed CFO of Walden Media; and Naia Cucukov, former creative executive at Virgin Produced, who has been hired as vp development and production for Walden. 

AFG's current CEO, David Weil, will leave the company at the end of the year, the company announced.

Walden Media will focus primarily on projects submitted and produced by third parties and co-finance film projects originating with studio partners or independent production companies. The company's upcoming projects include the film adaptation of The Giver (a co-production with The Weinstein Company) starring Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift and Jeff Bridges, and Everest, the Universal feature starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes.

"The restructuring reflects how the industry is working today," said Smith in a statement. "Now Walden can better leverage its capital in a more efficient manner, which means we can invest and collaborate on more films, and explore animation and television projects. Our initial meetings with studios, production companies, and agencies have been great, validating our approach and showing the great number of opportunities that are open to us."