Columbia Boards Chen Kaige’s Martial Arts Actioner ‘The Monk’ As Part Of China Push

By | Wednesday March 12, 2014 @ 4:00pm PDT

China-And-Hollywood__130605112955-150x150__130925193515__131105220131It’s been two years since China passed Japan to become the world’s No. 2 box office territory, and Columbia Pictures is making a big push to raise its profile there. The company said today that it has sealed partnership deals with Chinese filmmakers and companies to expand its local-language production in the planet’s most populous country. The first project on tap is The Monk, a martial arts action from Palme d’Or-winning director Chen columbia_pictures_logo_520.jpgKaige, which is shooting on location in Hebei Province. Sony Pictures Releasing International plans a summer 2015 bow for the Chen Hong-produced pic, which follows a young monk who is forced to leave his impoverished monastery and must rely on his extraordinary martial arts skills to survive on the outside. He comes across a rare book about a lost martial art — a book coveted by a sinister father and son who will go to any lengths to obtain it. New Classics Media will distribute The Monk in China. The pic marks Columbia’s second recent production in Mainland China, following the upcoming Gone With The Bullets, Jiang Wen’s follow-up to his 2010 action comedy Let The Bullets Fly, which made $140M worldwide.

Related: ‘Gone With The Bullets’ Gets China Release Date

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Disney Hires Columbia Pictures’ Sam Dickerman As EVP Production

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 9:34am PST

disneystudiosColumbia Pictures‘ EVP Production Sam Dickerman is moving to Disney, taking the same title and reporting to Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey. While at Sony, Dickerman worked most recently on current Oscar Best Picture … Read More »

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Sony’s Cameron Crowe Movie Gets Christmas 2014 Release Date

By | Friday February 14, 2014 @ 11:51am PST

"We Bought A Zoo" Premiere - Outside ArrivalsColumbia Pictures and Regency Enterprises have marked out a December 25, 2014 release date for their untitled Cameron Crowe film, which stars Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John … Read More »

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Russian Megahit ‘Stalingrad’ Marching Into U.S. IMAX 3D Theaters For A Week

By | Thursday January 9, 2014 @ 1:10pm PST

Stalingrad-2013The film about the epic WWII battle that turned the tide in the European theater is the highest-grossing Russian pic of all time with $66.1M. Now U.S. audiences will be able to see Stalingrad in IMAX 3D theaters for … Read More »

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Sony Pictures Taps Michael De Luca To Be Columbia Pictures’ Production President

By | Friday December 6, 2013 @ 10:18am PST

De LucaCulver City, Calif. (December 6, 2013) – Michael De Luca is joining Sony Pictures Entertainment as President of Production for Columbia Pictures. De Luca will partner with Hannah Minghella to oversee development and production for the Columbia Pictures label and will report to Doug Belgrad, President, Columbia Pictures.

“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. 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,” said Belgrad.

Related: Goal For New Sony Pictures Structure With Michael De Luca: Better-Quality Slates

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Columbia Shifts ‘Annie’ Release By A Week

By | Tuesday September 24, 2013 @ 9:52am PDT

Columbia Pictures has moved Annie‘s release back to December 19, 2014 from its original Christmas Day release. For now the Quvenzhané Wallis-starrer has the December 19th date to itself. Will Gluck directs the reimagining … Read More »

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Sony Doing Two More ‘Spider-Man’ Movies, Sets Dates For 2016 And 2018

By | Monday June 17, 2013 @ 12:10pm PDT

Columbia‘s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is already underway for a May 2, 2014 premiere with the original cast intact including Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Now the studio has set two more pics in “our most important, most successful, and most beloved … Read More »

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Andrew Davis Named President Of Production Administration At Columbia Pics

By | Wednesday June 12, 2013 @ 12:18pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony has finally found its replacement for Gary Martin, who stepped down in January from his longtime dual posts as President, Production Administration, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and President, Sony Pictures Studios Operations. (Sony even renamed the studio’s Stage 15 as “The Gary Martin Sound Stage”.) Veteran producer Andrew Z. Davis has been tapped as President of Production Administration for Columbia Pictures, where he will supervise all aspects of physical production including postproduction and visual effects for all Columbia films as well as live-action portions of films from Sony Pictures Animation. He will work with President of Worldwide Business Affairs and Operations Andrew Gumpert, President of Production Hannah Minghella and Sony Pictures Digital Productions President Bob Osher and report to Columbia president Doug Belgrad. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Grown Ups 2′

Sony had a big summer hit with the first Grown Ups grossing over $160M domestically in 2010. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello made up part of the ensemble cast for that one which was … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘After Earth’

By | Monday December 10, 2012 @ 5:16pm PST

After Earth is the latest pairing of Will Smith and his son Jaden, after 2006′s The Pursuit Of Happyness. The sci-fi pic from director M. Night Shyamalan got a Comic-Con push this summer when Sony touted the massive mythology created around the story, about a father … Read More »

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Nicolas Winding Refn To Direct Denzel Washington In ‘The Equalizer’

By | Friday December 7, 2012 @ 12:02pm PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn has been selected to direct The Equalizer for Sony Pictures and Escape Artists. The film, loosely based on the 1980s TV series, has been a hot ticket for directors since Denzel Washington agreed to play the title role. A number of directors had been considered along the way. Negotiations toward a deal will begin immediately with Refn. Read More »

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Columbia Acquires US Rights To Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’

By | Thursday November 1, 2012 @ 10:51am PDT

Culver City, CA (November 1, 2012) – Columbia Pictures has picked up the United States distribution rights to Bennett Miller’s FOXCATCHER from Annapurna Pictures. In addition to the U.S. distribution rights, Columbia Pictures also joins the film as a co-financer. The deal reunites Miller with Columbia, having previously collaborated with the studio on last fall’s release of the Academy Award®-nominated picture, MONEYBALL. Panorama Media is commencing International sales of the film at the upcoming American Film Market.

Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Michael Hall, FOXCATCHER was written by Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye. Producing the film are Megan Ellison, Anthony Bregman, and Miller. The film is currently in production.

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Columbia Pictures Ups DeVon Franklin To SVP Production

By | Tuesday July 31, 2012 @ 11:37am PDT

(Culver City, July 31, 2012) – DeVon Franklin has been named Senior Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, President of Columbia Pictures, to whom Franklin will report.

In his new role, Franklin will find, develop and supervise production of commercial material geared towards the urban and faith-based markets. He will work with all of the film divisions within the Sony Pictures umbrella. His next project will be the film adaptation of the New York Times Bestseller, Heaven Is For Real.

The promotion recognizes the executive’s success supervising such hit films as The Karate Kid, Jumping the Broom, and the highly anticipated film Sparkle, starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks.

Franklin will continue to work on Columbia Pictures franchise titles such as The Karate Kid, Masters of the Universe and After Earth.

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Alleged Facebook Co-Creator Appeals Columbia’s ‘Social Network’ Court Win

By | Monday May 14, 2012 @ 12:42pm PDT

Facebook Lawsuit Columbia PicturesDespite a dismissal from a Massachusetts judge, self-proclaimed Facebook co-creator Aaron Greenspan is not giving up his battle against Columbia Pictures and Random House. Greenspan claims he was denied his rightful place in the Facebook saga by being left out of The Social Network and by having his name changed in Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires. Greenspan filed an appeal on May 10 against the studio, the publisher and Mezrich in his copyright infringement, fraud and “defamation by omission” case. The filing comes just a few days before Facebook’s expected $96 billion IPO and a day after Judge Robert Collings dismissed all of the former Harvard student’s claims. The book Accidental Billionaires was the basis for the screenplay Aaron Sorkin wrote for the 2010 Columbia film about the creation of Facebook; Sorkin won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Greenspan has long claimed he came up with “The Face Book” in September 2003, months before his classmate Mark Zuckerberg did. Zuckerberg is not named as a defendant. Read More »

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Bruce Willis Set To Star In ‘Five Against A Bullet’ for Columbia Pictures And Mimran Schur

By | Thursday March 1, 2012 @ 4:40pm PST

CULVER CITY, Calif., March 1, 2012 – Bruce Willis will star in Five Against A Bullet, the action thriller being developed by producers Lorenzo DiBonaventura, Jordan Schur, and David Mimran for Columbia Pictures, it was announced today by Hannah Minghella, president of production for Columbia Pictures.

Alex Litvak is writing the screenplay which centers on a Mexican politician who, after his father is killed by a drug cartel, hires the five best bodyguards from around the world to protect him through a contentious election.

Commenting on the announcement, Minghella said, “We have been excited about this project since acquiring the rights last year from Mimran Schur and believe Bruce Willis is the perfect actor to lead this cast. We look forward to moving Five Against A Bullet into production quickly.”

Sam Dickerman and Lauren Abrahams are overseeing the project for the studio. Erik Howsam, who first brought the project into Columbia Pictures, will oversee on behalf of DiBonaventura Pictures

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Hasbro’s ‘Candy Land’ Lands With Adam Sandler

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 12:16pm PST
Mike Fleming

CULVER CITY, Calif., January 31, 2012 – Columbia Pictures, Happy Madison and Hasbro, Inc. are in final talks to develop Candy Land, a live action movie based on the bestselling Hasbro board game with Adam Sandler attached to star, it was jointly announced today by Doug Belgrad, President of Columbia Pictures, Hannah Minghella, President of Production for Columbia Pictures, and Brian Goldner, Hasbro President and CEO. Kevin Lima (Enchanted) is attached to direct the project for the studio with Sandler and Robert Smigel are in talks to write the screenplay.

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Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing Unit Promotes Angela Galgani To SVP Publicity

By | Tuesday November 29, 2011 @ 12:00pm PST

Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing & Distribution has upped Angela Galgani to SVP Publicity. She will take over day-to-day duties running the New York publicity office, a role previously held by Gigi Semone, who departed in September. The new tasks include … Read More »

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Sony Pictures Ups Pair In Biz Affairs

Sony Pictures Entertainment has promoted Gelena Weissman to VP Head of Business Affairs Administration and Rey Cuerdo to VP Business Affairs Administration. They will oversee and manage development and production deals at Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Worldwide … Read More »

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Toronto: Brad Pitt, George Clooney Bring Sony Pictures Roaring Back Into Oscar Race

By | Thursday September 8, 2011 @ 10:50pm PDT
Pete Hammond

The film industry poured into town for the Toronto Film Festival’s Gala Opening Thursday night kickoff of Davis Guggenheim’s U2 movie, From the Sky Down. But the festival really got off and running earlier in the day, as least as far as Sony Pictures was concerned. The studio that could have had its first Best Picture Oscar win in more than two decades last year with The Social Network is serving notice that it is back in the race again this year with two potential Best Pic contenders. Both Brad Pitt’s Moneyball and George Clooney’s The Ides of March screened back-to-back in a theater packed with press and industry types this afternoon. This was in advance of the studio’s double gala premieres Friday night at the Roy Thomson Hall. That inevitably will provide a double dose of star power that film festival organizers can only dream of.

In the case of Moneyball, Sony is throwing its world premiere here. Bringing it to the screen was a tumultuous 8-year ride, but it was all worth it. You can definitely add Pitt to the growing list of Best Actor contenders and throw in Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jonah Hill as supporting possibilities. The film, based on Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, is a baseball movie that even people who hate baseball might appreciate. It all started in 2003 when former New Line exec Rachael Horovitz tried to sell it to a studio but got no takers. Finally teaming with writer Stan Chervin (who gets a story credit), they threw a winning pitch, drawing fervent interest in 2004 from both Warners and Sony. They went with the latter and Amy Pascal, who I am told showed great passion for the project from day one.

Initially, baseball freak Steven Soderbergh was involved, but he had to pass because of other commitments, including another baseball-themed movie he had for George Clooney. Eventually Sony brought in producer Michael De Luca to join Horovitz and, five years later in 2009, Soderbergh was back to direct. But  in a well-detailed case of creative differences the Oscar-winning director was jettisoned from the film just 72 hours before production was to begin when the studio changed its mind about his changes to Steven Zaillian’s adaptation. His primary addition included Reds-like testimonials from real-life players. Pitt, knowing a good thing when he saw it, stayed on board throughout. The project really got back on track with executive producer Scott Rudin coming aboard along with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who did a polish on Zaillian’s script (both get credit now), and the hiring of Bennett Miller (Capote) to replace Soderbergh.

It’s easy to see why Pitt would want to stick with this role even after his friend and Ocean’s 11 director Soderbergh left (he moved on to direct Contagion, which hits theaters today). This is a classic movie star role in the tradition of something that Robert Redford or Paul Newman would have done in their prime. He has never been better, and the movie is the best sports film since Bull Durham, a real triumph considering the long and winding road it took to get to the screen. Read More »

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