Sony Chief: Film Studio Not for Sale

6:00 AM PST 10/30/2012 by Kim Masters

The studio is the subject of speculation thanks in part to the financial troubles.

At this time of flux in the film industry, top executives believe just about every studio might be for sale either now or in the near future. Sony Pictures Entertainment is the subject of the most speculation thanks in part to the financial troubles of its Japan-based parent company. However, in response to a query from THR, Sony chief executive Kaz Hirai says in a statement: "There is absolutely no truth to rumors that Sony's entertainment businesses are for sale. … Our entertainment companies have a stable business foundation and are poised for future growth. There is no reason to sell these industry-leading businesses and no consideration is being given to the idea." But multiple sources say Sony's film studio seems to be almost paralyzed at least until the end of the fiscal year (March 31). Deals have been trimmed, and a source on the lot says Tokyo has mandated a "rigorous" reassessment of projects in the pipeline. THR revealed Oct. 18 that the studio sold half of George Clooney's upcoming Monuments Men to Fox and favorite son Adam Sandler has made a deal for his next film, Ridiculous 6, at Paramount. Any decision on Ghostbusters III, the long, long gestating sequel, has been postponed until the end of March -- this after Men in Black 3 writer Etan Cohen was paid a huge sum for a script. Shooting was to begin next summer but now couldn't start before fall at best. A studio insider says all this has been hard on studio co-chairman Amy Pascal, one of the industry's most talent-friendly executives. (She declined comment.) Adds a prominent talent rep: "They're trying to project to the world that they have the money to sustain a movie business. But I don't think they have the money to spend."

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