Hot Trailer: ‘Ghost Rider 2′

Actually, the full title is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:

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‘Ghost Rider’ Sequel Set For February 2012

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.

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R.I.P. Norio Ohga

By | Saturday April 23, 2011 @ 1:10pm PDT

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.”

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Bryan Cranston In Talks For Bad Guy Role In ‘Total Recall’

By | Wednesday March 30, 2011 @ 1:36pm PDT

Emmy winner Bryan Cranston is in talks to play the villain in Columbia’s remake of Total Recall. Colin Farrell is starring in the sci-fi action pic, which is being directed by Len Wiseman and produced by Neal Moritz’s Original Films. (The main female … Read More »

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Sony Picks Up ‘Moonwalking With Einstein’ Book For Tolmach Prods.

By | Wednesday March 16, 2011 @ 1:16pm PDT

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 … Read More »

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Sony’s Columbia Pictures Ups Sam Dickerman To EVP Of Production

By | Thursday March 10, 2011 @ 3:24pm PST

(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

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Sony’s Columbia Skeds Summer 2012 Slate: ‘I Hate You, Dad’ 6/22; ‘Here Comes The Boom’ 7/27; ‘Total Recall’ Reboot 8/3

Mike Fleming has already scooped extensively on all these movies. Here’s the Sony news release with Summer 2012 dates:

CULVER CITY, Calif., February 25, 2011 – Summer 2012 is heating up for moviegoers as Columbia Pictures adds three highly anticipated films to

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OSCAR MOGULS: Amy Pascal Q&A

The Deadline Team of Nikki Finke, Pete Hammond, and Mike Fleming have spent recent days interviewing the studio moguls to gauge their perspective on this very close Oscar race:

Sony Pictures Entertainment
17 Nominations: 8 The Social Network, 1 Salt, 1 Country Strong, 1 Animal Kingdom, 1 Another Year, 1 Barney’s Version, 1 Inside Job, 1 In A Better World, 1 Incendies, 1 The Illusionist

DEADLINE’s Nikki Finke: How do you think this awards season has been in terms of quality, quantity, excitement?
AMY PASCAL: My own feelings about it are that this is one of the most exciting times we’ve had in the business for a long time. Because all the movies that we tell ourselves we can’t make — ballets, westerns, dramas, everything that are the hardest things to make — those are the movies that are not only winning awards which is fantastic, but also those movies that are commercial. We won’t see a fascinating season like this for a while.

DEADLINE: What do you think of the competition?
PASCAL: I like all the other movies.

DEADLINE: Well, I’ve had people say to me, ‘Oh, Kings Speech is a great HBO movie’…
PASCAL: Everybody says that stuff.

DEADLINE: If it comes down to The Social Network vs The Kings Speech, why should people vote for your movie over the other movie?
PASCAL: I don’t want to campaign, you know? That’s not my job to say why people should vote for The Social Network and not something else. I think we have a lot of competition. I think the other movies are really good. There are performances in all the movies that are astonishing. There are virtuosos directing them. But Social Network is a different kind of movie. It breaks different kinds of barriers than those movies were trying to do.

DEADLINE: At what point in this project did you get into the process?
PASCAL: Actually, the way that it happened was we had made 21 which had been a project at MGM, and Elizabeth Cantillon had brought that over when she came to be an executive here. And through the relationship that we had with Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey and Ben Mezrich we got an early look at the proposal for the book Ben wanted to write about the origins of Facebook. Scott Rudin was the one who thought Aaron Sorkin should write the screenplay. We all knew Aaron but it was Scott’s relationship with Aaron so he’s the one who contacted him first for sure. We all felt pretty lucky to get Aaron. And Aaron came in with a fantastic take on the material, but at that point Ben hadn’t finished the book.

DEADLINE: Did it occur to you that maybe you should wait and let Ben finish the book?
PASCAL: No, because Aaron and the filmmakers had a very good take on the story they wanted to tell.

DEADLINE: What at that point was your relationship with Scott?
PASCAL: Scott and I had been working together from the 1980s. He was the one who convinced me to be a studio executive for him at Fox. In terms of Sony, when he had his deal at Disney we always kind of had a second look deal with him. But you know Scott has such excellent taste and he makes so many great movies that he and I have always been going back and forth in trying to work together.

DEADLINE: So it’s all coming together and obviously a big concern must have been ‘Oh my
God, we’re writing about this really rich powerful guy. What the hell is going to happen to us?’
PASCAL: Oh, you mean when we were making the movie? Well, here’s what I think the real challenge was. You have to make the main character likeable. They’re allowed to have like one flaw, but they have to be likeable. And what Mark Zuckerberg did to protect the thing that he was building was to do things that he had to do. I never felt he was unlikeable, but definitely Mark Zuckerberg is not your traditional hero. And I think that’s why Jesse Eisenberg’s performance is so wonderful.

DEADLINE: People feel strongest about the Andrew Garfield character, Eduardo Saverin.
PASCAL: Andrew, or Eduardo, is definitely the heart of the story. He’s the emotional character who wants the relationship and is betrayed. But you know what’s so beautiful is when they were making the film, Jesse and Andrew became like best friends. And so they’re so adorable together. You know all of them, Justin Timberlake, Arnie Hammer, they’re like a little gang now.

DEADLINE: People have said to me that if David Fincher doesn’t win best director for The Social Network it’s only because he’s so “unpopular” around Hollywood.
PASCAL: I’ve worked with David a couple of times. We are now on our third movie together. Ever since Panic Room he’s been developing things at our studio and The Social Network was the first thing that came together that we did together. And David is definitely an iconoclast but David expects people to work as hard as he does and he holds people to a standard that he holds himself to. And that’s really the way it works. First of all, I think David has a much bigger heart than people give him credit for. Those of us who know him well know that secret about him. He doesn’t like the marketing process. He doesn’t embrace it. He doesn’t necessarily embrace everything everybody wants him to do. He is very David.

DEADLINE: Someone at Paramount once told me a hilarious anecdote about David and how he refused to bow down to Oprah just to have her publicize his movie Benjamin Buttons. And everybody was saying to him, ‘But this is so important. You don’t understand,’ and he’s like ‘I don’t give a damn about Oprah’.
PASCAL: Right, well I don’t know about that story. But we didn’t have problems like that and David has been a great partner on this movie. And the very difficult thing of course is that as all this awards thing was starting he was already in Sweden shooting The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

DEADLINE: That’s the best thing that could have happened to all of you.
PASCAL: I think it was definitely the best thing that could have happened to him. I think he was very happy to avoid all of the awards campaigning. Here’s the thing about David: he’s very shy. I don’t think he likes getting up in front of people and public speaking.  I think he’s really comfortable on a movie set. I think he is a born director in every sense. And he likes putting forth the people who work with him, not himself. Read More »

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Sony’s Columbia Gets EVP For Biz Affairs

By | Monday January 10, 2011 @ 5:19pm PST

CULVER CITY, Calif., January 10, 2011 – Michael Marshall has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, it was announced today by Andrew Gumpert, President of Worldwide Business Affairs and Operations for Columbia Pictures. In that role, he

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Matt Tolmach Steps Out Of Sony Pictures Prexy Post To Become Spider-Man Producer

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Sony Pictures Entertainment has just announced this:

LONGTIME COLUMBIA PICTURES CHIEFS MATT TOLMACH AND DOUG BELGRAD TRANSITION INTO NEW ROLES

Tolmach Launches New Production Company and Joins Spider-Man Team As Belgrad Promoted to Sole President of Columbia Pictures

– Hannah Minghella Named President of Production for Historic Banner–

(Culver City,

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Sony Sets Wiseman For ‘Total Recall’ Redo

Mike Fleming

Yes, this is a reimagining of the Arnold Schwarzenegger blockbuster. Sony announced today that Len Wiseman is in final negotiations to direct Total Recall. (Funny how, two days ago, Wiseman’s agency ICM denied  anything substantive was going on…) Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, the presidents of Columbia Pictures, said the film will … Read More »

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Barry Levinson Directs On Big Screen Again, Nick Cassavetes Acts, Jeff Bridges Walks

Mike Fleming

Some action on the feature front. Sony’s Columbia Pictures attached Barry Levinson to direct Brother Jack, a  Mosaic-produced drama based on the life of human rights activist Jack Healey. Harley Peyton wrote the script and Kelly Masterson is rewriting. Levinson’s got a little momentum from the Jack Kevorkian biopic You Read More »

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New ‘Spider-Man’ Andrew Garfield Latest Twist To Reboot Tired Franchise

Mike Fleming

spidey new andrewHollywood has newly minted its next star, and it’s baby-faced Andrew Garfield. [UPDATE: I’m told Garfield’s pay scale on the film is around $500,000 salary on the first film, $1 million for the second one, and $2 million … Read More »

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Sony Views Screen Tests Of ‘Spider-Man’ Finalists; Decision Expected Shortly

Mike Fleming

spiderman21EXCLUSIVE: Sony’s Columbia Pictures is getting closer to finding its new Spider-Man. I On Friday, studio decision-makers viewed the screen tests of most of the young actors they are seriously considering to play Peter Parker in the Marc Webb-directed relaunch of Spider-Man.

I’m … Read More »

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Columbia Pictures Keeps ‘Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer In Fold With New Pic Deal

By | Tuesday June 22, 2010 @ 1:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

ruben_fleischerColumbia Pictures has made another deal with its Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer. The filmmaker has signed on to develop to direct Babe in the Woods, a Mike White-scripted comedy about a female freshman who arrives at Yale and is targeted by … Read More »

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