Focus Features is getting a new focus. FilmDistrict founder and CEO Peter Schlessel has been named the CEO of Focus Features, effective January 2014, Universal Pictures, Focus' parent, announced Wednesday. Current CEO James Schamus, who co-founded Focus Features over 12 years ago, will leave the company to work with director Ang Lee on his next film, which the two are producing and developing at Universal, according to Deadline.
FilmDistrict will be absorbed by Focus, who will distribute FilmDistrict films scheduled to be released after January."The breadth and depth of Peter's experience in the film business including production, acquisitions, distribution and most recently running FilmDistrict, will be a tremendous asset to Focus Features as the company broadens its portfolio beyond the production and distribution of specialty product," said Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley. "Peter is one of the most talented executives in the industry and I'm confident that under his leadership, Focus will become even more of a force as the specialty film business continues to evolve."