As Sony chief Tom Rothman tries to distance himself from this weekend’s release of “Ricki and the Flash,” he has moved Hannah Minghella from president of production at Columbia Pictures to president of TriStar Pictures, it was announced Thursday.
David Beaubaire and Palak Patel have also joined Columbia as EVPs of production. The position of president of production at Columbia has been eliminated.
Asked last week whether Beaubaire would be moving from TriStar to the main division, a Sony spokesperson told TheWrap, “I’m not sure [about] this. Checking on it.” So much for that checking! The same spokesperson told TheWrap on Thursday that the executive deals are not done yet, despite the press release from the studio.
In the transition, several films in development, including the Jennifer Lawrence movie “The Rosie Project,” which Minghella has shepherded, will move over to TriStar. Beaubaire will oversee completion on the TriStar films currently in the production pipeline, including Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk,” Jodie Foster’s “Money Monster” and Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”
Minghella will work closely with Nicole Brown at TriStar, and she’ll report to Doug Belgrad, president of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group. Beaubaire and Patel, along with with current Columbia executives Andrea Giannetti and Jonathan Kadin, will also report to Belgrad.
“Doug and I believe that studios often have too many layers of development executives to be fast and effective, and that’s surely what we need to be. We want seasoned, empowered execs who can make decisions and have direct responsibility to get films made. I know firsthand that David can do that, and that’s why we drafted him over to Columbia, which needs to be making big films,” said Rothman. “Palak is a driven self-starter who has made great films happen with Joe, and there is no better mentor. Finally, I’m obviously a believer in TriStar’s mandate to make quality commercial films for adults, and Hannah’s impeccable taste and strong talent connections are exactly what the label needs to lead that charge. She will do much better than me there.”
“I’m looking forward to working much more closely with David and Palak as they join Ange on the Columbia team. Ange is beloved and has been the consummate executive for more than 20 years at Sony. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know David since he joined TriStar as Tom’s top lieutenant, and I’ve seen firsthand his strong eye for material and deep understanding of the filmmaking process,” added Belgrad. “Palak has been aggressive and hugely successful in finding material and launching global franchises. All three have incredible story sense and great industry relationships, so it’s exciting to be working with them as we lead the studio into its next chapter. In addition, after working side-by-side with Hannah, I know she is an extremely talented executive, and to have her run TriStar is a coup for the studio.”
Sony recently unveiled its 2016 and 2017 movie slate, including a retread of “Jumani” and two “Bad Boys” sequels, the first of which will arrive 14 years after the last film in the franchise. One film that was curiously missing from the slate was Robbie Pickering’s “Kitchen Sink,” which had been slated to open in September but now appears to be missing from the studio’s release schedule. It is just the latest Sony movie to be plagued with problems.
The studio is still reeling from yet another box office dud in “Pixels,” while TriStar’s “Ricki and the Flash” is also expected to under-perform following mixed reviews.