Courtenay Valenti Lands Expansive Film Role at MGM and Amazon Studios, Overseeing Theatrical and Streaming
After months of speculation, Amazon Studios has made it official with seasoned film exec Courtenay Valenti. While many expected her to take the top movie job at MGM, which was acquired by Amazon for $8.5 billion last year, Valenti has carved out a big role that will give her significant influence in feature programming.
Amazon Studios head Jennifer Schalke told staff Tuesday that Valenti has been named head of film, streaming and theater at both Amazon Studios and MGM. She will report directly to Salke and be responsible for delivering “a comprehensive selection of scenes, prestige films and genres,” according to a memo.
That includes a “robust theatrical plan,” Salke added, which was teased last November when Bloomberg reported that Amazon would invest $1 billion in movies made specifically for theaters this year (a different strategy than boosting subscriptions for Amazon Prime Video).
As part of Valenti’s installation, there has been a reshuffle in the duties of Julie Rapaport — the sole head of cinema at Amazon Studios for several years. He is now head of film creative and strategy and will report to Valenti.
Salke called Valenti “a seasoned executive with more than three decades of industry experience, strong ties to filmmakers and creatives, and an outstanding reputation for excellence, from producing blockbuster films to developing new franchises.”
More to come. Read Salke’s full memo:
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 have been so impressed by the creativity and innovation and the quality of the MGM slate, including Orion Pictures. These films complemented Amazon Originals wonderfully, and I’d like to thank Julie Rapaport for the amazing job she’s done as the interim head of both film teams.
Our strategy now includes an expanded investment in cinema, including a strong theatrical plan and a growing streaming program, to bring even more films to moviegoers around the world. A key part of this strategy has been taking a focused and deliberate approach to ensure we have the right people to execute our creative vision. To that end, I’m pleased to announce that Courtenay Valenti will join us on March 1st as Head of Cinema, Streaming and Theatrical, overseeing all films for Amazon and MGM Studios, reporting to me. Courtenay is a seasoned executive with more than three decades of industry experience, strong ties to filmmakers and creatives, and an outstanding reputation for excellence, from producing blockbuster films to developing new franchises. Under her leadership, the team will continue to carefully curate our platform to offer a comprehensive selection of sets, prestige films and genres.
Courtenay was most recently President of Production and Development at Warner Bros., overseeing the films of both Warner Bros. Pictures as well as Warner Bros. Feature Animation. During her 33 years with the company, she oversaw many hits, including the last four Harry Potter films, The Great Gatsby, Fantastic Beasts, Crazy Rich Asians, The Lego Movie, Lego Batman, You’ve Got Mail and The Intern . He also played a central role in the development and promotion of the Oscar winners Happy Feet and Mad Max: Fury Road as well as this year’s Oscar nominated Elvis. Given her outstanding career in film, it is an honor to have her with us.
We are well positioned for the future, and Julie is a big part of that. Recent hits under her leadership include Being the Ricardos, Catherine Called Birdy, Goodnight Oppy, My Policeman and the Sundance Award-winning Emergency and Nanny. Upcoming titles Julie has overseen also include Air, Red One, Candy Cane Lane, Saltburn, Foe, The Burial and Cassandro as well as MGM titles Creed III, Challengers and Road House. Julie will continue to oversee Amazon Originals and MGM publishing in her new role as Head of Creative and Film Strategy, reporting to Courtenay. I’ll have more to share about our team in the coming weeks.
Courtenay and Julie share a passion for storytelling and storytellers, and together they will give us an even stronger creative edge and
we reinforce our distinctive position as the home for talent.
I know you will join me in welcoming Courtenay to the team.