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Sony is bringing in Michael De Luca, a veteran Oscar-nominated producer, to help oversee production at Columbia Pictures. De Luca had a nine-year first-look deal with the studio and has produced many of its acclaimed recent hits.
However, De Luca will not officially take the job until February, once he wraps up work on Dracula Untold and Fifty Shades of Grey, both Universal projects, reports Variety.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, he will work with production president Hannah Minghella in developing projects for Columbia and will report to president Doug Belgrad.
De Luca has plenty of experience in the executive offices of studios, having previously held the same position at New Line and DreamWorks.
Although he started out working on genre fare like Nightmare on Elm Street and made his producing debut with Sony’s Ghost Rider, he has quickly become a producer of prestige projects. He has co-produced two Best Picture nominees, Moneyball and The Social Network, which were both Sony releases. His latest film, Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks, is also a Sony release and is expected to compete for awards.
De Luca’s hiring comes as Sony is in trouble, despite these acclaimed, low-budget films. The studio only has one tentpole franchise, Marvel’s Spider-Man. New films in that series are due out next year, 2016 and 2018. It also has 21 Jump Street, which was a surprise hit and is getting a sequel. The studio also said that it plans on cutting down on films and focusing more on television.
“Mike has worked with us on several of our highest-quality and most commercial recent films, and he’s nurtured many of our generation’s most important filmmakers,” Belgrad said in a statement. “Likewise, Hannah is a tremendous creative executive who has made major contributions to our entire slate, in particular our key Spider-Man and Jump Street franchises. Together, Hannah and Mike will be a formidable team.”
Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Entertainment and chairman of its Motion Picture Group, also said that Belgrad will take on an expanded role at the studio.
image: from 'Captain Phillips'/Sony