Steve Bersch will step down as the President of Screen Gems, TheWrap has learned. The 16-year Sony executive has opted not to renew his contract when it ends on Dec. 1. The reason for his departure is not known.
Screen Gems will now report to Josh Greenstein and Sanford Panitch jointly, including Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions under new president Joe Matukeqicz and Affirm Films under Rich Peluso. Sony will, in the coming months, share updates on Screen Gems’ leadership transition.
Bersch joined Sony Pictures as president of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions in 2008 and added “President of Screen Gems” to his responsibilities in 2018. He will exit on a high note.
“Insidious: The Red Door” earned $188 million worldwide on an $18 million budget this summer, making the year’s top-grossing horror title thus far. The Patrick Wilson and Lin Shaye-starring supernatural franchise has earned $741 million on a combined $42.5 million budget. That makes it one of the most profitable, in terms of rate-of-return, theatrical franchises in recent years.
Among the films he worked on during his long tenure at Sony are the horror hit “Don’t Breathe,” the Oscar-winning sci-fi drama “Arrival” (which Sony released overseas), the screen life thriller “Searching” and the Tom Hanks sleeper hit “A Man Called Otto.”
Prior to his time at Sony, Bersch worked at 20th Century Fox for 13 years, serving as Executive President of Business Affairs, COO of Fox Home Entertainment and finally President of Fox Interactive. Prior to that, he worked at Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and MGM/UA. He began his career as an entertainment attorney.
Sony Chairman and CEO Tom Rothman shared a note sent to Sony staff about the departure, which is reproduced in full below.
“When I arrived at SPE in January of 2008, I never imagined I would spend almost 16 years here. It’s been a wonderful run. I will miss so many aspects of the company, especially my wonderful colleagues, and the teams at Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and AFFIRM Films. After four decades of working, I’m inspired by the idea of jumping into something new that allows for more travel and more personal flexibility. Tony and Tom have built a great company where you can do your best work, and I am very thankful for the opportunities they provided for me here.”
Deadline first reported this news