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 directed by Dennis Dugan. They’re all back for Grown Ups 2 along with Taylor Lautner and Andy Samberg. The first film was based around a group of old high school friends who reunite for a July 4 weekend; the sequel sees Sandler’s character relocate his family back to the small town where he and his friends grew up. The film releases domestically July 12.
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.
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.
(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.
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
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.
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.
Actually, the full title is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:
Sony said today that it has slated Columbia Pictures’ Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance for wide release on Feb. 17, 2012. The 3D film, a sequel to the 2007 original, again stars Nicolas Cage, and is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
Norio Ohga, the former Sony chairman who helped revolutionize consumer electronics with handheld entertainment devices and who steered Sony into the entertainment biz with the acquisition of Columbia Pictures, died today of multiple organ failure in Tokyo. He was 81. (Sad that the current Sony Pictures Entertainment regime thought so little of Ohga’s passing that they didn’t even bother to inform the Hollywood media in a timely fashion.) Ohga, credited with developing the compact disc, led Sony from 1982 to 1995 after being talented-spotted by Sony founders Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita while still a university student. Some decisions made during Ohga’s tenure, such as the $5 billion purchase of CBS Records and then the Hollywood studio, were criticized as unwise and costly at the time. But Ohga insisted that “hardware and software are two wheels on a car,” and his focus on music, films, and video games as a way to enrich the electronics business helped create Sony’s success in his era. His own love of music and first career as an opera singer led him to ensure the CD held 75 minutes of music — enough to store Beethoven’s complete Ninth Symphony.
Also, his outgoing persona also made him comfortable with Americans, and he put the first non-Japanese, American physicist Mickey Schulhof, on the Sony board (they both shared passions for ham radios and jet planes), which later paved the way for the hiring of Howard Stringer as Sony Corp’s first non-Japanese chairman. ”It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony’s evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and game, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader to Ohga-san’s foresight and vision,” Stringer said today.
Ohga stopped being involved in Sony’s day-to-day business in 2000. But had he been in charge I bet he never would have allowed Sony to become an also-ran to such electronics pioneers as Samsung and Apple as it has become in the last decade. Ohga saw Sony’s big consumer mistake of betting on its proprietary VCR technology of Beta over what became the industry standard of VHS. But that’s why Ohga bought into Hollywood and brought in Schulhof to head Sony USA and its entertainment subsidiaries: so that Sony would never be left out in the cold again by showbiz on such format decisions. With Ohga’s blessing, Schulhof negotiated a compromise between Sony’s proprietary CD technology and other showbiz companies and electronics makers to create a single industry standard. Again this paved the way for the same thing to happen for DVDs and Blu-ray.
Ohga assumed the blame when Schulhof brought in producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters to run Sony Pictures Entertainment, and they and their handpicked execs performed so poorly that Sony Corp took a humiliating $3.2 billion write-down on the studio in 1994. There also was considerable management turmoil inside CBS Records. On the other hand, Ohga with Schulhof oversaw one of the fastest start-ups in Sony’s history, Sony Electronic Publishing, whose CD-ROM compact discs led in market share until the format gave way to new technology as did Sony’s CDs and mini-discs. However, both missed, together with Bill Gates, the Internet phenom. Here is Sony’s official obituary:
Tokyo, Japan – It is with great sadness that Sony Corporation today announced the loss of Norio Ohga, Senior Advisor and former President and Chairman, Sony Corporation. Mr. Ohga passed away at 9:14 AM on April 23, 2011 in Tokyo. The cause of death was multiple organ failure. He was 81 years old. A private wake will be held among family and close relatives, and a company service will take place at a later date.
Commenting on today’s loss, Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation said, “When I first joined Sony in 1997, Ohga-san was serving on the frontlines of Sony management as Chairman and CEO. His numerous and successful endeavors were well-known both inside and outside of Sony. Witnessing Ohga-san’s leadership firsthand was truly an honor, and one I continued to enjoy and benefit from in countless ways in the years that followed.
By redefining Sony as a company encompassing both hardware and software, Ohga-san succeeded where other Japanese companies failed. It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony’s evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and game, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader to Ohga-san’s foresight and vision.
I offer my deepest condolences on his passing and pray that he may rest in peace.”
Sony’s Columbia Pictures has acquired rights to adapt the just-released Joshua Foer book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything for Matt Tolmach to produce. The story centers on the author’s real-life experience as a science journalist covering the US Memory Championship who decides to become a …
(Culver City, March 10, 2011) — Columbia Pictures has promoted Sam Dickerman to Executive Vice President of Production, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, President of Columbia Pictures.
Dickerman, who has served as Senior Vice President of Production for the label since joining the studio in 2005, has overseen