Will this help the studio climb out of its current slump? Or find another franchise?

CULVER CITY, Calif., July 23, 2009 – Sony Pictures Entertainment has extended its first-look deal with producer Michael De Luca, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures.  This is De Luca’s second first-look pact extension with the studio where he has been headquartered since 2004.  The current contract renewal will keep Michael De Luca Productions at Sony through 2011.

Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said, “Mike has delivered commercial, money-making movies in 21 and Ghostrider and he has a great group of ambitious movies heading into production.”

Tolmach added, “With The Social Network, Moneyball and other high profile projects in development, Mike’s grasp of mainstream pop culture and excellent filmmaker relationships are helping us tell real-life stories in highly entertaining ways.  We’ve come to depend on his great taste in material and filmmakers.”

De Luca said “I remain incredibly excited and truly grateful for the opportunity to make movies with Michael, Amy, Matt & Doug here at Sony Pictures. Beyond their filmmaking acumen, which includes an appetite for new talent and projects that truly capture the imagination, they have the best production, marketing and distribution teams in town. They are amazing partners and collaborators and I continue to be inspired by their incisive approach to our business.”

In addition to his term deal extension, De Luca has promoted Bryan Haas to creative executive at the company. Since October, 2004 Haas has served as assistant to Josh Bratman working on such films as 21 and Zathura.  He previously was assistant to Michael Wimer at Creative Artists Agency and is a graduate of Vanderbilt University.

De Luca most recently produced Sony’s hit film 21, which took in over $150 million worldwide.  He also produced the 2007 hit Ghostrider, which generated more than $230 million worldwide in box office revenue. De Luca is about to begin production on Priest for Screen Gems and is currently developing a number of projects for the studio, including Moneyball, The Social Network, a film chronicling the creation of Facebook, and a film based upon the true story of Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama, who was recently captured by Somali pirates and rescued by the U.S. Navy. The latter two projects will be produced with Dana Brunetti and Scott Rudin and Rudin will also be involved with Moneyball.