Columbia Pictures EVP of Production Sam Dickerman is leaving the studio and taking a similar job at Disney, according to two individuals familiar with the executive’s plans. He will be EVP of production at Disney, reporting to Sean Bailey, president of motion picture production at Walt Disney Studios.
Dickerman recently supervised “American Hustle,” the David O. Russell film that has grossed more than $100 million and will contend for seven awards at the Golden Globes this weekend. He also oversaw the production of films such as “Click,” “Salt,” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” and “Grown Ups.”
Dickerman has been talking with the studio about his future for the past several months, and ultimately decided to move on. Sony has brought on a lot of executive talent in the past year, including new production chief Michael DeLuca and TriStar Pictures head Tom Rothman, while at the same time looking to streamline its executive ranks. Dickerman felt there was more opportunity for him to advance his career elsewhere.
Though one individual said the move was tied to DeLuca’s arrival, another strongly rejected that characterization and said it was a normal transition in the career of an executive.
Sony declined to comment, as did Disney. Dickerman will help make movies for a studio looking to produce a few more movies than it has in recent year. Disney released three in-house productions in 2013, but will release six of its own productions this year, including a new “Muppets” film and “Maleficent.”
Dickerman has been at Sony since 2005. The studio promoted him from SVP to EVP in 2011 after the success of many of the titles he shepherded.
His departure is the latest in a string of changes at the studio. Steve Elzer, the film studio’s media relations chief, left in September. The departure of marketing chief Marc Weinstock followed shortly thereafter and home entertainment chief David Bishop left in December. Man Jit Singh has taken over for Bishop.
Sources expect more changes at the studio in the coming weeks and months, as Sony continues to streamline its studio into a more efficient, transparent operation — the result of a rough summer at the box office and the public comments from shareholder Dan Loeb.