LOS ANGELES (August 9, 2011) __ Kathy Franklin has been named President of Franchise Development at Lightstorm Entertainment. Announced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, the hire signifies Lightstorm’s commitment, in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox, to building the franchise and brand of AVATAR beyond the traditional licensing and merchandising avenues.

Cameron commented, “Anticipating the exponential growth of the Avatar universe, we looked for someone who could lead a team that will cement Avatar as a world class brand across all platforms and markets. Kathy’s experience, coupled with her drive and vision for what Avatar can be, made her the right choice.”

Franklin is a seasoned leader with a proven record of designing and implementing industry-leading branding, growth and communications strategies. As Vice President of Global Studio Franchise Development for Disney Consumer Products, she led the strategies that drove the Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, Cars and Toy Story franchises while building integrated partnerships with film, television, and online divisions of The Walt Disney Company. Before that, Franklin was Vice President of Disney Worldwide Outreach, during which she ran marketing and communications for all corporate philanthropic outreach and charitable giving. Franklin’s first position at Disney was Director of Disney Learning Partnership, a philanthropy focused on supporting creative approaches to teaching and learning, which she helped launch and for which Franklin created DisneyLearning.org and executive produced “The Creative Classroom Series,” an award-winning set of videos and educator guides.

“Bringing Kathy onboard at Lightstorm further reflects the unique creative and business relationship shared by Fox and Lightstorm on the Avatar franchise,” said Oren Aviv, Twentieth Century Fox’s Chief Marketing Officer, and Tony Sella, Fox’s Chief Creative Officer. “Jim Cameron created an amazing universe of mass appeal and we’re confident that with Kathy in place, this partnership will further capitalize on the tremendous opportunities inherent in this awesome property.”

“Kathy has proven herself to be a forward thinker who possesses the ability to bring new ideas to life,” said Landau. “With Kathy’s leadership, in collaboration with the team and infrastructure at Fox, I’m confident our franchises will grow in innovative ways that remain consistent with the quality and themes of our films.”

“From the beginning, Jim and Jon have viewed AVATAR as a franchise whose storytelling has global reach and impact across multiple platforms. I look forward to leading this exciting new phase in the evolution of the franchise and to working with the team at Twentieth Century Fox to drive AVATAR’s continued growth,” said Franklin.

Franklin will be based at Lightstorm’s Santa Monica headquarters.