Sony Puts Away Its Wallet

Studio halts spending on new projects until April 1.

Sony Pictures confirmed Thursday that it’s putting the brakes on movie-development spending until April 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

Studio officials said they will slow down on buying scripts and source materials, as well paying writers to commence work on films recently set up at Sony.

According to studio spokesman Steve Elzer, the circumstances surrounding this belt-tightening differ from those tied to slumping Universal’s recently announced decision to hold off on development until the end of 2009, when parent company General Electric starts its next fiscal year.

Studio officials say their film slate is set through the better half of 2011.

“Our development roster is very healthy right now,” Elzer told TheWrap. “And this doesn’t mean that we won’t step up to the plate if good material is available.”

Sony, which has had the top film at the box office the last three weeks with “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “Zombieland,” announced this week that it has commissioned Gary Ross to write a fourth installment of “Spider-Man,” as well as franchise spin-off “Venom.”