News release from Sony Pictures Entertainment today:

Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach have each been named president of Columbia Pictures and have extended their employment agreements with the studio through 2011, columbia-pics.JPGit was announced today by Michael Lynton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of the studio.Belgrad and Tolmach have been running production at the studio since 2003.

During their tenure, they have overseen one of the most lucrative and successful eras in Columbia Pictures history, shepherding a string of hits that includes the blockbuster Spider-Man franchise, Casino Royale, Superbad, Hitch, The DaVinci Code, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Ghost Rider, The Pursuit of Happyness, Click, 50 First Dates, The Grudge, and many others.

Since Belgrad and Tolmach took over the reigns as Columbia’s presidents of production in 2003, films under their guidance have grossed approximately $7.6 billion. columbia-pictures.JPGThe pair has accumulated one of the strongest records in the industry, with 25 titles developed and produced by them and their team opening #1, including the current hit Vantage Point. Belgrad and Tolmach will continue overseeing the studio’s productions reporting to Pascal and Lynton.

“When I look back at what Doug and Matt have achieved as presidents of production since 2003, I see a track record of success that rivals the best partnerships in Hollywood history,” said Pascal. “Matt and Doug have made Columbia Pictures a first-stop destination, a place where filmmakers, writers, and actors want to bring their best projects, and that is the highest compliment one can pay to any executive in their position. They are trusted for their story sense and their production skills and they have earned the respect of filmmakers and the creative community.”

“Matt and Doug have consistently presented a diverse slate of films that play not just domestically, but all over the world,” said Lynton. “They are very in tune with the growing demands of our business and have not only effectively developed and managed our tentpole franchises, such as Spider-Man and Bond, but have also balanced the slate with high quality, moderately priced films like Superbad and Vantage Point.”