Veteran Hollywood film executive Courtenay Valenti has reached a deal to take on the role of head of film, streaming and cinema, for Amazon Studios and MGM as the e-commerce giant expands its footprint in the film space. Talk of his impending hire was first reported in late January and ends months of speculation over who would take the job now that Amazon owns MGM.
Valenti will report directly to Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon and MGM Studios. It starts on March 1.
“Our strategy now includes increased investment in cinema, including a robust cinema plan and a growing streaming program, to bring even more films to moviegoers around the world. A key part of this strategy has been to take a focused and deliberate approach to ensure we have the right people in place to execute our creative vision,” Salke wrote in a memo to staff on Tuesday.
“Courtenay is a seasoned executive with over three decades of industry experience, strong ties to filmmakers and creatives, and a reputation for exceptional excellence, from producing blockbuster films to developing new franchises” , Salke continued. “Under his leadership, the team will continue to carefully curate our roster to deliver a comprehensive selection of tentpoles, prestige films and genre fare.”
Valenti’s hiring caps a long search that began when Amazon’s $8.45 billion deal to buy MGM closed in the spring of 2022. Former MGM movie chiefs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, left for Warner Bros. several months later.
In an ironic case of musical chairs, Valenti left Warners when new owner Warner Bros. Discovery gave responsibility to Abdy and De Luca (they took over from Toby Emmerich).
“It’s been almost a year since Amazon acquired MGM, and during that time I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the MGM team and their work. I was so impressed with the creativity and innovation and the quality of the MGM slate, including Orion Pictures,” Salke said in his note. “These films have been a terrific addition to our Amazon Originals, and I want to thank Julie Rappaport for the amazing job she has done as interim lead on both groups of films.”
Rapaport will continue to oversee the Amazon Originals and MGM roster in his new role as Head of Cinematic Creative and Strategy, reporting to Valenti. “I will have more to share about our team in the coming weeks,” Salke said. “Courtenay and Julie share a passion for storytelling and for storytellers, and together they will give us an even stronger creative edge and enhance our distinctive place as the Home for Talent.”
During her 33-year stint at Warners, Valenti was recognized for her keen eye and judgment, as well as her consistent style. She played a key role in the production of some of the studio’s most important modern franchises, including overseeing four Harry Potter films. His list also included boobies rich asian, The Lego Movie and the risen madmax movies, among many others. Upcoming titles include Barbie And The purple color.
She also oversaw notable players at the Oscars, including the current top nominee Elvis.
In his new job, Valenti will reunite with Ben Affleck on film AIR, a sports drama that will hit theaters everywhere in early April. Now that it owns a former Hollywood studio, Amazon gives AIR a traditional theatrical release with a real window, rather than making it available immediately, or almost immediately, on Prime Video. (Affleck made his Oscar winner Argo for Warner.)
Valenti will also reunite with Sue Kroll, a former Warner Bros. who now leads marketing at Amazon Studios. She and Kroll both come from the theatrical side of the business, which is not trivial when it comes to dealing with filmmakers, agents, and talent.
Valenti is also a product of industry royalty. Her father is the late Jack Valenti, the longtime president of the larger-than-life Motion Picture Association, who pioneered the film rating system that still exists today and was designed to prevent interference and censorship. of the government.