Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.
Gary Martin is stepping down from his joint role as President, Production Administration, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and President, Sony Pictures Studios Operations. Martin began his studio career at 20th Century Fox in 1961, moving over to Columbia 20 years later. Promoted to President, Production Administration in 1988, he retained his position after Sony’s acquisition of Columbia in 1989, and continued to serve in that role even after his promotion to President of Studios Operations. During his 32 years with Columbia/Sony, Martin helped define the company’s impressive record of huge box office hits, overseeing production of films like Tootsie and Ghostbusters as well as Men In Black, Spider-Man and Casino Royale. In commemoration of his long tenure, Sony has also announced that the studio’s Stage 15 will be renamed “The Gary Martin Sound Stage”. Originally built in 1927, the stage has been used for many memorable films, including MGM’s The Wizard Of Oz, as well as other Columbia Pictures films that Martin worked on.
Martin’s retirement comes at an uncertain moment for Japanese parent company Sony Corporation. Though Sony was number one in market share during 2012, with Skyfall an enormous international hit and The Amazing Spider-Man and Men In Black 3 qualified successes, the parent company’s overall business has struggled in recent years. Since 2000, Sony’s share value has declined from a high of the equivalent of $189.00 per share on the Tokyo stock exchange, to its current per-share value $13.00. Last week, Sony confirmed plans to sell its New York City headquarters for $1.1 Billion in order to raise capital. Sony has stated it’s not selling, but last October CBS chief Les Moonves admitted interest in buying Sony Pictures, a possibility plunged back into the news earlier today in the wake of a report by Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser that makes the case for such a sale.