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CinemaCon: Can Star-Driven 2013 Slate Power Sony To Top Their Best Year Ever?

Pete Hammond

Sony Pictures played it lean and mean with a tightly produced program for exhibitors at CinemaCon on Wednesday evening that put the emphasis squarely where the theatre owners wanted it — on the product. And the studio delivered as promised with an intriguing 51-minute reel showcasing their 2013 movie slate — and in no particular order. Where other studios this week have put the emphasis on summer, Sony presented a year-round picture with a wide diversity of product and more than one potential Oscar contender.

Among the previously unseen footage in the reel were brief snippets from year-end awards contenders The Monuments Men directed by and starring George Clooney and an all-star cast, along with David O. Russell’s newly named American Hustle with virtually the entire cast of last season’s Russell Oscar darling Silver Linings Playbook. Also, Tom Hanks is starring as Captain Phillips (October) from director Paul Greengrass, a true story about a ship hijacked by Somalian pirates. If this weren’t enough to whet Oscar-watcher appetites there was generous footage from 2010 Best Picture Oscar nominee Neil Blomkamp’s (District 9) latest, Elysium, which those who have seen a rough cut tell me could be another contender for the director. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star. There’s also a Russian production of a World War II epic, Stalingrad, from director Fedor Bonarchuk which the studio is partnering on for fall release that has “prestige product” written all over it. Read More »

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Adrian Smith Upped At Sony Pics Releasing

By | Thursday December 1, 2011 @ 10:44am PST

Sony Pictures Releasing has promoted Adrian Smith to EVP and General Sales Manager, where he will work with division president Jim Amos and Worldwide Distribution chief Rory Bruer to oversee domestic sales of all Sony Pictures movies. The veteran executive, who joined Sony’s TriStar Pictures in 1989 and has served as Sony Releasing’s SVP, Western Division Manager since 2000, is currently working on such titles as Columbia Pictures’ The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, 21 Jump Street, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Men In Black 3, I Hate You Dad, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Total Recall, as well as Screen Gems’ Underworld Awakening, The Vow, and Think Like a Man.

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Mark Zucker Retiring As President of Sony Pictures Releasing International; Steven O’Dell Tapped To Replace Him

By | Wednesday October 19, 2011 @ 1:55pm PDT

CULVER CITY, Calif., October 19, 2011 – Mark Zucker is retiring from his role as president, Sony Pictures Releasing International, and Steven O’Dell has been promoted to fill that role, it was announced today by Rory Bruer, president, Worldwide Distribution for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Zucker’s retirement comes after 36 years in the industry and 27 with Sony Pictures. He has worked closely with Bruer and Jeff Blake, chairman, Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, to build an international distribution team that is among the very best in the business. Among the many, many hits in his career, Zucker orchestrated the international releases of the Spider-Man franchise, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, as well as the two most recent James Bond films, which were the highest-grossing films in franchise history. In recent years, Zucker has overseen the distribution of such international smash hits as The Smurfs® (which spent eight weeks atop the international box office charts), 2012, Hancock, and such upcoming releases as The Adventures of TinTin. Under Zucker’s leadership, Sony Pictures has surpassed $1 billion at the international box office in 11 of the past 12 years, including 2011. Since Zucker took over the reins of international distribution in 2001, SPRI has delivered 36 $100 million-plus releases and over $14 billion in box office.

O’Dell joined Sony Pictures in 2005 as a vice president and was promoted to senior vice president in 2009; in his most recent role, he oversaw Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal, and Scandinavia. Prior to joining Sony, O’Dell started working in 1994 with United International Pictures (UIP) in Central America and the Caribbean. He held management posts for UIP in Chile, Austria, Brazil and Mexico. He returned to the US in 2001 to join consultancy Nadia Bronson & Associates.

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