This is happening quickly, but Brad Weston is stepping down as president and CEO of New Regency, a job he has held for the last five years. This comes after a run in which Regency has had two Best Picture winners and a Best Picture nominee in three straight years in The Revenant, Birdman and 12 Years A Slave, a remarkable return to relevance for Arnon Milchan’s Fox-based finance/production shingle.
Weston, the former president of Paramount and Dimension Films, came to New Regency at a time when Milchan was looking to recapture the luster of a time when Regency was a home for top filmmakers, and the maker of films like L.A. Confidential, Heat and JFK. That was the mandate, and the results speak for themselves. There have been 12 Oscar wins and 34 nominations during that stretch.
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They are working out the exit details and Weston hasn’t decided what he’ll do next. I’m told there’s no big acrimony story here, that Weston told Milchan it was time, and they spent the weekend figuring out details. They are still figuring out the details.
Most recently, the production shingle weathered all kinds of adversity on the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed The Revenant, which came through a torturous shoot and a budget that ballooned, and won Oscars for Leonardo DiCaprio, Emmanuel Lubezki and Inarritu, along with a slew of other awards. New Regency funded that with a few partners including RatPac, but it was a big gamble when the budget rose to $135 million; the picture grossed $526 million worldwide, so there was a payoff. The film placed 19th in Deadline’s evaluation of 2015’s most profitable films, turning in $61 million in net profits.
Birdman won Best Picture the previous year, and before that was 12 Years A Slave, on which Regency was a producer and co-financier. That film won two Oscars including Best Picture. Mixed in there was the David Fincher-directed Gone Girl, and the Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah. The label also brought in 12 Years A Slave producers Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner’s Plan B into an overall deal. Upcoming films include the one Warren Beatty has directed and stars in, the December 21 release of Assassin’s Creed with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, a heist thriller that is the next film by 12 Years A Slave helmer Steve McQueen, and as far as serving Milchan’s mandate to put New Regency back in the important filmmaker business, mission accomplished.
The company also announced a TV joint venture and seems in good shape, with Yariv Milchan, COO Jonathan Fischer and president of production Pam Abdy in place. Weston will stay on for awhile, to help with the transition.
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