Robert Slaviero, Australian managing director of Twentieth Century Fox Film Distributors, created a shock wave when he officially resigned on Tuesday (Apr 17).
Slaviero said it was an amicable separation and he is doing everything possible to create a smooth transition up to his departure on July 6.
It is very rare for the Australian head of a US studio distributor to leave except where joint ventures are dissolving or they are transferring back overseas. But after nearly 12 years working for the company in its various forms, he felt it was time to do something different - but not outside the film industry.
The arrival of Fox Studios in Australia in 1998 got Slaviero more involved in Australian films and he is very proud of the success of The Wog Boy, which grossed A$11.4m to become the biggest Fox film of last year, beating X-Men. Bootmen was something of a disappointment, however. The next local Fox film is Garage Days, which goes into production soon with Alex Proyas directing.
Slaviero first worked for Hoyts Fox Columbia Tristar, which became Fox Columbia Tristar. He was national sales manager when he left to work alongside Richard Sheffield on the establishment of Polygram in 1995 but only stayed seven months before taking on his current role.
But what Slaviero is most famous for in the Australian industry, of course, is for telling about 500 exhibitors and distributors that if The Full Monty did more than 49.9m (A$20m) he would do the full monty himself. His staff gleefully made it part of the marketing campaign and their boss did as he promised a year later, while still more-or-less maintaining his dignity.