Sony Pictures Entertainment announced on Friday that Doug Belgrad (left) has been promoted to sole president of Columbia Pictures, while his colleague Matt Tolmach is leaving to become a producer of the new 'Spider-Man' reboot.
The respected Hannah Minghella was promoted to president of production, from a similar role in the animation division.
“It is the right moment for Doug to step into a greater leadership position within the company,” said Amy Pascal, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement.
“We have worked together since he was a financial analyst for Jon Dolgen, and I have seen him evolve into a consummate studio executive with a rare combination of creative talent and savvy business skill. As he takes on more responsibility in this new and expanded role running Columbia Pictures, I would entrust the division to no one else."
Also read: Sony Reports Second Consecutive Quarterly Profit.
The announcement came on the heels of Sony's earnings announcement on Friday. The studio reported a 6.1 percent increase in revenue (to $1.74 billion) on the strength of some of its theatrical releases, including “Salt,” “The Karate Kid” and “The Other Guys.”
Tolmach received a laudatory send-off into a producing deal, and that is probably no coincidence.
The move placing him in the heart of one of Sony's most important franchises, "Spider-Man," may shore up the production team as producer Laura Ziskin undergoes treatment for cancer, while she continues to work. Ziskin has previously battled the disease.
The "Spider-Man" franchise has generated about $2.5 billion in worldwide box office for the studio, and billions more in DVD sales and other licensing. The $80 million reboot starring Andrew Garfield in the role established by Tobey Maguire, will shoot next year.
Press release below:
LONGTIME COLUMBIA PICTURES CHIEFS MATT TOLMACH AND
DOUG BELGRAD TRANSITION INTO NEW ROLES
Tolmach Launches New Production Company and Joins Spider-Man Team As Belgrad Promoted to Sole President of Columbia Pictures
— Hannah Minghella Named President of Production for Historic Banner–
Matt Tolmach has launched a new production company and will become a producer on the next installment of Spider-Man, the blockbuster film franchise he helped shepherd since its inception in 2002, it was announced today by Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman. Doug Belgrad has been promoted to sole president of Columbia Pictures and will take on additional divisional responsibilities. As part of the transition, Belgrad has named Hannah Minghella president of production for Columbia Pictures.
Said Pascal, “I couldn’t be happier for or prouder of Matt, Doug and Hannah. Matt and I have worked together for over 15 years. Anyone who knows him knows he has been talking about this for a long time. He has always approached every project he has ever worked on with the attentiveness of a brilliant producer’s eye and that is what has made him such an excellent executive. As he takes this amazing step with his career, I know we will continue working together for as long as we are both in this business. We tried to convince him to stay in his current job, but we understand the time has come and completely support his decision. Spider-Man has been a big part of his life for the past ten years, and this is the perfect segue. We know he is going to be a killer producer for us.”
“It is also the right moment for Doug to step into a greater leadership position within the company,” she added. “We have worked together since he was a financial analyst for Jon Dolgen, and I have seen him evolve into a consummate studio executive with a rare combination of creative talent and savvy business skill. As he takes on more responsibility in this new and expanded role running Columbia Pictures, I would entrust the division to no one else. And when he told me he wanted Hannah to return to Columbia as president of production, I was beyond thrilled. Doug sees in her what we all know to be true: she is a singular star. In her three years at Sony Pictures Animation she has proven that she is an extraordinary leader and executive and I know she will be a fantastic addition to what is already the best production team in the business."
From now through November, Tolmach will begin the transition to become a significant producer on the lot as he ramps up his company, which has a three-year commitment with the studio. In December, he will join producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad on the set of the new Spider-Man adventure.
“This move has been a dream of mine and something I've been discussing with Michael, Amy and Doug for more than a year now," Tolmach said. "I’ve loved being a studio executive, and Columbia Pictures has always been my home, my family. I’m incredibly blessed to have had Doug as my partner in this job for the past eight years, and I’m very proud of what we've accomplished; I am also deeply grateful to Amy and Michael for their unwavering support and leadership. Consistent with that, everyone has embraced this next chapter for me, and I am planning on making movies here for a long time. Over the years, I have worked with a lot of truly talented producers, and that I now get to join two of them on the set of Spider-Man is almost too good to be true.”
“With this move, the studio is gaining a new producer whose taste we know and whose creative skill we implicitly trust,” said Lynton. “We are very fortunate to have such a deep bench of executive talent at Sony Pictures. That allows us to recognize and encourage the leadership potential of extraordinary colleagues who can make very valuable contributions to our studio. We also have the benefit of making this change from a position of strength, given the amazing track record of Matt and Doug and their team over the past several years. Columbia Pictures is in incredibly strong hands under Doug, and we look forward to working with Matt for a long time to come.”
Belgrad said, “Matt has been an unbelievable partner. I treasure our friendship and am so proud of the work we did together. I have no doubt he'll be a superb and prolific producer for us. While this is a completely natural and exciting evolution of our relationship, I'll sorely miss his presence across the hall. I have been blessed to work with Amy for all but three of my years at the company. She’s been a remarkably generous mentor, and Michael has been incredibly supportive since the day he arrived. Prior to Hannah's successful run invigorating Sony Pictures Animation along with Bob Osher, I saw first-hand how fantastic she is; how much she loves storytelling, how deeply she understands the creative process, and how powerfully filmmakers respond to her. With Hannah coming aboard to lead one of the most experienced and capable production teams in the industry, I expect a seamless and smooth transition. She is the perfect choice to take on this new role and responsibility.”
Added Minghella, who has served as president of production for Sony Pictures Animation since 2008, “I am honored and tremendously excited by this opportunity to rejoin the Columbia Pictures production team. There is a reason this group is revered and respected throughout the industry by filmmakers, artists and executives from all corners of our business, and it is a genuine privilege to return and work with my friends and colleagues in this new capacity. At the same time, I am eternally grateful to all the gifted artists, storytellers and staff who have been so dedicated to making Sony Pictures Animation such a phenomenal experience and working environment. SPA will always be a special place to work and collaborate and for good reason: the talent here is second to none.”