Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley have been named presidents of Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos announced Tuesday. Gilula and Utley, who both served as Searchlight’s chief operating officers, will report directly to to Gianopulos and Rothman. The former COOs of Searchlight, they fill the formal gap left by the departure of the former company president Peter Rice who recently took a top post at Fox’s broadcasting unit.
During their combined tenure at Searchlight, Utley and Gilula have marketed and distributed 77 movies, earning over $1.3 billion at the domestic box office as well as 46 Academy Award nominations and 15 wins. Both were named COOs of the specialty division in 2006. Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” earned earned twelve Oscar nominations and eight wins, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay this year in addition to Best Picture nominees and Best Original Screenplay winners “Juno” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” and Best Picture nominee and Best Adapted Screenplay winner “Sideways.”
“I am delighted to continue to have the privilege to work with an extremely talented and enthusiastic staff, supportive management, and supremely gifted filmmakers in one of the best jobs in our business or any other,” commented Utley in a statement. “”I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished at Searchlight and look forward to continuing the tradition,” added Gilula.
Prior to Fox Searchlight, Utley was Twentieth Century Fox’s executive vice president of marketing, overseeing all aspects of media, research, publicity and promotion for the company’s theatrical releases. She also held posts as vice president of media, senior vice president of media and research, and executive vice president of marketing, media and research. She came to 20th Century Fox from BBDO, where she was senior vice president of new business. Beginning her career at Grey Advertising in New York as an assistant media director, she left eight years later as vice president, associate media director. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
Gilula served as president and chief executive officer of Landmark Theatres, which he co-founded in 1974 with the NuArt Theatre in Los Angeles, eventually growing to 140 screens. Gilula spent five years on the board of directors and executive committee of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and served as chairman of NATO of California/Nevada for six years. Gilula began his career as a film booker/buyer at United Artists Theatre Circuit in San Francisco.
Upcoming releases for Fox Searchlight include the Sundance favorite “500 Days of Summer,” directed by Marc Webb, Sundance Award winner “Adam” directed by Max Mayer and “Amelia” directed by Mira Nair and starring Oscar winner Hilary Swank, Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor.