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Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad has been promoted to president of the Motion Picture Group at Sony Pictures Entertainment. In the newly created position, he’ll serve as co-chairman Amy Pascal‘s close No. 2 and help coordinate the efforts of Sony’s various production labels and partners.
The promotion comes at a crucial time for Sony, which has been adding big executive power to its ranks. Former Fox chief Tom Rothman now runs TriStar Productions, while former Warner Bros. executive Jeff Robinov is in the process of setting up his new production company, Studio 8, at Sony.
Belgrad will remain president of Columbia Pictures, although co-presidents of production Michael DeLuca and Hannah Minghella are expected to play more of a role in the day-to-day operations of the studio’s marquee label. They’ll continue to report directly to Belgrad, who will continue to report to Pascal.
Belgrad’s expanded duties mean he’ll work closely with Clint Culpepper at Screen Gems as well as Rothman and the higher-ups at Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Sony Pictures Animation.
His task is to integrate creative decisionmaking, along with business and financial planning. He’ll also coordinate with marketing and distribution and will assume added responsibilities in business affairs, music and foreign local-language film production.
Belgrad’s promotion comes after Pascal and SPE chairman/CEO Michael Lynton implemented a round of cost-cutting measures in the wake of several high-profile box-office misses in 2013.
“Giving Doug this job is a way to consolidate and make our infrastructure work better,” Pascal tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We are very committed to our various labels, but there’s a lot of moving parts. I have a multidecade relationship with Doug, and there is nobody whom I’ve ever worked with who can see things from both the creative and financial side of the business like Doug can.”
“Studios are big, complicated companies now,” adds Belgrad. “Amy and I have a wonderful shorthand with each other and trust each other immensely. My job is to stitch various parts of the company together a bit more closely and make sure the strategic direction that Amy and Michael have set for the company and all of its divisions is communicated and carried out properly.”
Belgrad, 48, joined Sony in 1989, rising up through the ranks to become co-president of production at Columbia in 2003. He’s served as president since 2008. He supervised the Men in Black franchise, Hitch, Hancock, Zero Dark Thirty, Bad Teacher, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, the Jump Street comedy franchise, the Amazing Spider-Man films and this year’s wildly successful faith-based title Heaven Is for Real. He’s also shepherded all of Adam Sandler‘s comedies at Columbia.
“Doug is an outstanding leader with a deep understanding of the motion picture business. He has a rare combination of taste, relationships, experience and business judgment,” says Pascal. “Michael and I are thrilled we are going to continue to benefit from all of these qualities by expanding his purview.”
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