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Bingham Ray steps down as United Artists head

Shepherded ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and ‘Secrets and Lies’
/ Source: The Associated Press

Bingham Ray has resigned as president of United Artists, the specialty films division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., the company said.

MGM said the decision was mutual and reached last year, but delayed until now “to allow for better continuity at United Artists,” MGM Chief Operating Officer Chris McGurk said in a statement.

Ray, whose contract was set to expire in May, won’t be replaced. Executive Vice President Danny Rosetti will assume his duties, assisted by Sara Rose, senior vice president of production and acquisitions.

“UA is in good hands and we are comfortable with its direction,” McGurk said.

Ray joined UA in 2001. Previously, he co-founded October Films in 1991. In his 10 years there, he helped champion such independent films as “Secrets and Lies,” “The Last Seduction” and “Joe Gould’s Secret.”

At UA, Ray bought the Michael Moore documentary “Bowling for Columbine,” which went on to win a 2003 Academy Award for best documentary and earned $21.6 million at the box office — the highest-grossing documentary ever.

He also distributed the award-winning “Personal Velocity” and oversaw the production of “Nicholas Nickleby,” based on the Charles Dickens classic.

While Ray tried to revive UA as an independent film label, its biggest hits were more traditional Hollywood films: the horror flick “Jeepers Creepers” and its sequel.

This year, the label is set to distribute the Afghanistan film “Osama” as well as movies by Michael Winterbottom and Terry Zwigoff.