Andrew Rona likely to join Silver Pictures

Rogue co-president in talks

In a significant executive move, Rogue Pictures co-president Andrew Rona is close to leaving the company and joining Silver Pictures.

Rona is in talks to take the role of president at the Warner Bros.-based production entity as well as co-president of its Dark Castle genre label. If the move goes through, he will fill a hole created by the upcoming departure of Silver president Susan Downey, who is not expected to renew her contract when it expires in February.

Rona' deal isn't done, but he could join the company next year before Downey's departure to allow for a transition period.

The news comes as Rogue and Relativity explore a potential deal in which the genre label would leave Universal to join Ryan Kavanaugh's producer-financier. Rogue has been overseen by co-presidents Rona and Focus Features president Andrew Karpen.

That deal, the status of which has been uncertain, has made progress since it was first reported in October; with only legal matters to be resolved, it could be wrapped up over the coming weeks, insiders say.

Rogue has several high-profile titles in postproduction, including the Terrence Howard starrer "Fighting" and Wes Craven's "25/8" as well as a development slate that includes the video game adaptation "Castlevania" and a sequel to the hit "The Strangers." All those properties would come under Kavanuagh, who would likely hire his own executive to oversee them.

At Silver, Rona would take over a slate that is ramping up. The Robert Downey Jr.-toplined take on "Sherlock Holmes" is in production, and a January shoot is planned for the psychological horror movie "The Summoner."

Some observers have wondered how Silver might keep up its momentum with the departure of Downey, who has been seen as effective in shepherding projects at the banner. Rona's hiring would allay those concerns.

Rona began his career at Miramax in the early 1990s and helped found Dimension Films; under his auspices, the Weinstein Co. label released hits such as the "Scream" and "Spy Kids" franchises. He joined Rogue three years ago and in the summer helped steer the thriller "The Strangers" to $53 million in boxoffice.