Sony Pictures Entertainment continues to shuffle its motion picture division manpower. The studio announced this morning that Columbia Pictures president and former production president Doug Belgrad got promoted to the post of president of its Motion Picture Group. Belgrad continues to report to Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.
When Michael De Luca was tapped to share the production president role with Hannah Minghella, speculation ran rampant about what might happen to all of these executives. This came after a rough summer 2013, and minority shareholder Daniel Loeb complaining loudly about the flops. There was great performance pressure on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and scrutiny on everything else Sony has been doing. That sequel did not match the original’s $757 million global gross, but it cracked $700 million, which was considered good enough to keep the train moving. There was the hit sequel 22 Jump Street, and the sleeper TriStar hit Heaven Is For Real and Screen Gems’ Think Like A Man Too. Sex Tape is about to open with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel boasting about baring all in the sexy laffer.
In the distance are the Antoine Fuqua-directed Denzel Washington film The Equalizer and the David Ayer-directed Brad Pitt-starrer Fury, with Annie and the untitled Cameron Crowe movie bowing in December in the Oscar mix. Down the line, there will be an event movie based on the venerable Barbie toyline, as well as another James Bond film, Spider-Man spinoffs, as well as reboots of Ghostbusters and Men In Black. As for the executive team, insiders tell me that Belgrad is an effective executive, and that he, De Luca and Minghella are bonding and creating their own niches.
Studio says Belgrad’s new role will integrate creative decision-making, business and financial planning across all of the Motion Picture Group labels. He will assume additional responsibilities in business affairs and music and will also supervise the studio’s local language film production operations, and work with the marketing and distribution team and the studio’s slate financing partners. Latter will put him in close contact with Jeff Robinov, whose Studio 8 deal at Sony should be announced any day now. In the works for months, Robinov’s Sony-based shingle is designed to provide tentpole-sized films that Sony doesn’t have to finance, but can put on its slate.
Belgrad continues as President of Columbia Pictures, where De Luca, Minghella and physical production head Andy Davis continue to report to Belgrad, who joined Sony in 1989.
“Doug is an outstanding leader with a deep understanding of the motion picture business. He has a rare combination of taste, relationships, experience and business judgment,” said Pascal. “Michael and I are thrilled we are going to continue to benefit from all of these qualities by expanding his purview in the Motion Picture Group.”
“I have been blessed with an exciting and productive career at Sony Pictures,” said Belgrad. “We have an incredible team here and I couldn’t be more excited to continue working closely with Amy and everyone in the Motion Picture Group as we further collaborate across all of our labels.”