EXCLUSIVE: Veteran indie distribution executive Bob Berney is leaving Amazon Studios, sources said. It was his decision and came at the end of his four-year contract, which just ended last week.
Berney was hired in mid-2015 to oversee distribution and marketing for Amazon’s original films. Much has happened at the company since then, as Roy Price exited, and Jennifer Salke was brought in to run both the film and TV operations, this after Jason Ropell exited last year.
Timing is coincidental but unrelated to the disappointing returns of the Nisha Ganatra-directed Late Night, which stars Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling (who wrote it), and for which Amazon paid $13 million, the most ever paid in a U.S. rights deal for a film that premiered at the Sundance Film festival. After its first two weekends, the film has grossed $10.6 million domestically.
This was more about Berney wanting to move on, which he has done during his long career. Berney had been at indie company Picturehouse, where he was CEO, when he came to Amazon. His career highlights include releasing Pan’s Labyrinth, The Passion Of The Christ and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. At Amazon, the highlights were Manchester By The Sea, The Big Sick, and Cold War, which all did well to establish the rep of the shingle. Berney is well liked, sources said. Berney’s team will for the interim report to Matt Newman, one of the tri-heads (Julie Rapaport and Ted Hope are the others) at Amazon who report to Salke.