EXCLUSIVE: Longtime Lionsgate Film Distribution Head David Spitz is exiting, Deadline has learned, with former STX distribution vet Kevin Grayson getting named President of Domestic Distribution of the studio’s motion picture group.
Spitz came to Lionsgate via its absorption of Blair Witch Project studio Artisan. Before that, Spitz was at Reservoir Dogs distributor, Live Entertainment which was acquired by Artisan. Spitz, son of legendary late distribution boss Jimmy Spitz, has had a leadership role at Lionsgate since 2003. Spitz handled several franchise hits including John Wick (the latest Chapter 4 of which became the highest grossing in the franchise with $180M+ this weekend), Hunger Games, Twilight Saga, Saw, the Tyler Perry canon and Expendables. He was also behind such notable counterprogramming and awards hits as La La Land, Knives Out, Wonder, Crash, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Precious, among many others.
“David has been an incredibly valued leader of Lionsgate’s distribution business for nearly 20 years,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Vice Chair Adam Fogelson. “He is highly regarded throughout the industry and has been enormously helpful to me in my first year at Lionsgate. I’m very appreciative, and I hope we have the chance to work together more going forward.”
At STX, Grayson was President of Distribution overseeing the release of all of the studio’s films, including such critically acclaimed hits as Hustlers, the Bad Moms franchise, The Upside, The Gift, the Oscar nominated Molly’s Game, Gerard Butler and 50 Cent’s action-thriller Den of Thieves, Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, and the Golden Globe winner The Mauritanian.
Fogelson added, “Kevin brings over three decades of studio experience to Lionsgate. He is known for favoring innovative distribution solutions and discovering new ways of working with exhibitors. As a longtime colleague, I am excited to be reuniting with him and looking forward to his leadership, counsel, and strategies as we roll out our upcoming slate.”
Said Grayson, “I am tremendously excited to be joining this team and look forward to working on such a wide array of content.”
In his new role, Grayson will work with Fogelson to set the distribution strategies for Lionsgate’s upcoming slate which includes prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Nov. 17), John Wick spinoff, Ballerina (June 7, 2024), starring Ana de Armas; Saw X (Oct 27), Adele Lim’s Joy Ride (July 7), Tim Story’s horror comedy The Blackening (June 16), and the Graham King-produced, Antoine Fuqua-directed Michael Jackson event film (to be dated).
Before joining STX, Grayson served Universal Pictures as SVP Distribution and assistant general sales manager. While at that studio, Grayson worked on such blockbusters as Fast and Furious 6, Despicable Me, Identity Thief, Neighbors, Ride Along, Snow White and the Huntsman, Ted, Lone Survivor, The Lorax, and Safe House, among others. Prior to joining Universal, he was a SVP of sales and distribution at Paramount Pictures, where he worked on films for the main studio as well as the Paramount Vantage and Insurge labels.
He was integrally involved in the distribution of a diverse range of titles, from An Inconvenient Truth and Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, to Paranormal Activity and the Justin Bieber concert documentary Never Say Never. He also worked on global hits such as Iron Man and Transformers. He spent 11 years in distribution and theatrical sales at Dreamworks SKG, working on the studio’s first release The Peacemaker thru the launch of their biggest and best known titles, from Gladiator, American Beauty, and Saving Private Ryan to Amistad. Grayson started his career in distribution at MGM.