By Ray Pride


Los Angeles, September 16, 2014—Kevin Grayson will be joining Robert Simonds’ newly announced next generation film and television studio as President of Domestic Distribution for the Motion Picture Group, it was announced today by Simonds and Thomas McGrath, COO of the new studio.

Grayson segues to the Company at the end of the month from Universal Pictures, where he was Senior Vice President of Distribution and Assistant General Sales Manager. He joins the new venture after helping propel Universal to their best year ever at the box office in 2013.

“Like the other extraordinary executives we are recruiting to lead our key divisions, we went after the best and brightest distribution leader in the business and we could not be more proud to welcome Kevin to our growing company,” said Simonds.

Added McGrath, “Kevin is one of our early core executive team hires as we ramp up our distribution operations and start to chart our slate.  His expansive experience working with exhibition for nearly two decades on all types of films, large and small, will be essential to our success moving forward.”

“Kevin’s sales and distribution experience while working at Dreamworks, Paramount, and Universal offers our filmmakers and talent access to one of the sharpest and savviest distribution minds working in the industry today,” said Oren Aviv, the studio’s newly named President and Chief Content Officer for the Motion Picture Group, who will work closely with Grayson.

Said Grayson, “It’s rare when you are given the opportunity to create a distribution team from scratch. We are starting from the ground up and will staff a lean and efficient group that is second to none. I can’t wait to start working with Bob, Tom, Oren and all of my colleagues at the new studio.”

While at Universal, 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 Senior Vice President of Sales and Distribution at Paramount 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 Activityand the Justin Bieber concert documentary Never Say Never. He also worked on global hits such asIron 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.   Kevin started his career in distribution at MGM.


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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

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And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

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I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

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~ David Simon