Here's what Donna Langley had to say in a statement.
Schlessel will be seeking to broaden the types of films that Focus distributes and increase the number of films the division releases to as many as ten films per year. The slate will be populated by a combination of projects developed and produced internally at Focus, as well as films acquired during various stages of development and production. In an effort to establish a closer relationship with Universal's global distribution and marketing divisions, Focus Features will relocate its headquarters to Los Angeles. In the coming weeks, Schlessel will be putting together the newly reconstituted Focus Features executive team which will be comprised of key leaders from within the ranks of both FilmDistrict and Focus.
Schlessel comes to Focus Features with a portfolio that is tailor made for the division's evolution and growth. He brings decades of experience in the filmed entertainment industry including the success of FilmDistrict as well as overseeing production and acquisitions at Sony Pictures amongst many other senior leadership positions.
Here's what Peter Schlessel had to say in his own statement.
Current Focus Features CEO James Schamus, who co-founded Focus Features over 12 years ago and is a passionate advocate for specialty film, will leave the company to concentrate on Ang Lee's next film which he is producing with Lee and developing at Universal. The film is an epic look at the boxing world of the 1960s and 1970s, seen through the prism of its biggest rivalries and greatest fights, including the Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali showdown known as the "Thrilla in Manila."
Donna Langley added the following statement about departing CEO James Schamus.
James Schamus released his own statement.
Focus Features will release Dallas Buyers Club starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto beginning on November 1 in a platform release pattern beginning in New York and Los Angeles. In a highly competitive acquisitions market at the Toronto Film Festival, Focus also recently acquired worldwide distribution rights to Bad Words, in which Jason Bateman both stars and makes his feature film directorial debut.