Amy Pascal is leaving her post at Sony Pictures Entertainment, opening the door for another Hollywood power player to take her place.
Insiders told TheWrap Pascal’s replacement would come from within the studio, and Michael De Luca, currently president of Production at Sony’s Columbia Pictures, was singled out by more than one industry watcher as the likeliest successor, but possibilities still abound.
Below are seven possibilities to replace Pascal:
The successful producer has held high level executive jobs at rival studios and some saw his appointment to president of Production at Columbia Pictures in December as a signifier that he was being groomed for an even higher office.
“He is going to make risky choices on commercial films and somehow make them successful and financially successful,” said one Hollywood producer who believes De Luca will end up as Pascal’s replacement.
Currently president of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group and president of Columbia Pictures, Belgrad joined SPE in 1989 and rose to co-president of Production at Columbia Pictures in 2003, becoming president of the label five years later.
And he’s worked under with with Pascal for years, noted one film exec, who believes the choice will come down to De Luca and Belgrad.
“Doug has been Amy’s Lieutenant for a long time,” he said. “She kept promoting him.”
Rothman partnered with Sony to relaunch TriStar Productions in August 2013, which many felt at the time well positioned him to take over for Pascal at some point in the future. The name TriStar has had a long history in Hollywood and on the Sony lot, where it once produced hits like “Jerry Maguire” and “City Slickers”; however, it had been largely dormant for the past decade.
One film executive not connected to Sony believes the former Fox boss will have a hard time impressing Sony’s bosses in Japan.
“Unfortunately, his reputation precedes him,” he said. “I’m not sure Japanese leadership will want to deal with him.”
The former Warner Bros boss got into business with Sony in March when he launched Studio 8, a production company that has a distribution deal with the studio. At Warner Bros, Robinov oversaw major franchise films like Chirstopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy and Oscar winners like “Slumdog Millionaire.”
He certainly has the experience, but does he want the job?
“They will go to Jeff first,” predicted one producer, who also noted Robinov would be a good choice. “He will turn down the job. He has enough power where he is now.”
Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, has been an SPE executive for over two decades and is well regarded at the company. He might be a good choice for the studio as they plan a “significant shift from motion pictures to higher margin television production and networks,” as Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton told investors Nov. 20, 2014.
Gabler has been president of Fox 2000 since 2000, shepherding such such films as “Walk the Line,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” for the studio.
She re-upped her contract in 2012, but taking control of a much larger studio would certainly be a step up for the exec who’s shown she can choose both lucrative tentpoles and prestige projects with star filmmakers.
A partner at ICM Talent agency, Silbermann is a well-liked executive with decades of experience who, like Mosko, has more experience and a preference for TV over film. He is also a forward-thinker who has been encouraging the industry’s move towards digital platforms, which could make him an ideal candidate to lead a company looking for a new direction.