Josh Greenstein and Sanford Panitch have each been named to the new shared position of President Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, Sony Motion Pictures Group Chairman Tom Rothman announced Thursday.
The duo will assume a senior role that has been vacant since Doug Belgrad left the studio in 2016. Greenstein and Panitch’s responsibilities and reporting lines remain unchanged. Greenstein’s previous title was Sony Pictures President of Worldwide Marketing & Distribution and Panitch previously served as president of Columbia Pictures.
In addition, Rothman noted the recent promotions of Kristine Belson to president of Sony Pictures Animation, Features and Series and Spring Aspers to president of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, Music.
Read the memo below…
From: Office of Tom Rothman
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019
To: Office of Tom Rothman
Subject: MPG Promotions
I am pleased to share with all of you some exciting news concerning several members of the senior leadership of our Motion Picture Group.
As you may have seen in the news yesterday, Kristine will now be expanding her responsibilities and increasing our efforts to move Sony Pictures Animation further into television and streaming series work. For the last few years, Sony Pictures Animation has been flourishing under her outstanding leadership, including winning the Oscar this year for best animated film. Effective immediately, her new title will be President of Sony Pictures Animation, Features and Series. In this capacity Kristine will liaise with Mike Hopkins and our television group, as she continues to report to me and shepherd all our feature efforts.
We also announced yesterday that Spring Aspers will be promoted to President, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, Music, in recognition of her terrific work. Spring is responsible for bringing Eminem to Venom, Post Malone to Spider-Verse, Ariana Grande to Charlie’s Angels, and a whole lot of cool to everything we do musically. It is particularly gratifying to see someone who has “come up” through the company flourish as Spring has.
And lastly, as you all know, we have had two successively strong years of feature hits from Columbia. Indeed, in just recent months we have had Columbia’s highest grossing film in history and the top original film of the year. These results speak to the fine production work of Columbia under Sanford Panitch’s leadership and the excellent worldwide marketing and distribution efforts led by Josh Greenstein. In recognition of their success, Sanford and Josh will each receive the new title of President Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a title which has been vacant since Doug Belgrad’s departure. Their responsibilities and reporting lines are unchanged.
Any individual success is, of course, a credit to all the teams working for and with these executives throughout the company, so we all share in their good news. I hope you will join me in congratulating all four of our colleagues.
After falling below $1 billion in annual domestic grosses in 2016, Sony is set to pass that mark for the third consecutive year in 2019, thanks in large part to the revival of the “Spider-Man” franchise. Combined, the grosses of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and the 2019 gross of the Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” account for 50% of Sony’s $942.5 million annual gross to date. Sony’s partnership with Disney and Marvel Studios that triggered this revival had been broken off in August, but a new deal between the two sides was reached this past week to co-produce one more “Spider-Man” film for release in summer 2021.
Outside Marvel, Sony has had a mix of hits and misses, the biggest bust being “Men In Black: International,” an attempt to revive the “MIB” series that only grossed $253 million worldwide against a $110 million budget. On the other hand, Sony had more success with “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” the first film directed by Quentin Tarantino to be released by a major studio. Since its late July release, the acclaimed dramedy has grossed $357.5 million against a $90 million budget and is expected to receive several Oscar nominations.
Jeremy Fuster contributed to this report.