It's Official: Michael De Luca Signs Three-Year First-Look Deal With Universal

Michael De Luca
Austin Hargrave

"I didn't feel pressure because we had a possible replacement in place before the thing actually went down," says De Luca, referring to Charlie Hunnam's exit from Fifty Shades of Grey. "It's just called being prepared. But I am on Twitter constantly. I am a masochist. I'm into the fandom, so I was aware of what was coming the first time around, when Charlie Hunnam wasn't what most readers pictured."

He'll return to produce the next installments in the 'Fifty Shades' franchise.

Michael De Luca has officially signed a three-year first-look deal with Universal.

Last week, the news broke that De Luca would exit his post as as Sony's president of production (a job he's held since December 2013) to move to a producing role at Universal.

De Luca, 49, has a longstanding relationship with Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley, going back to their days together at New Line Cinema, and he recently produced the hit Universal release Fifty Shades of Grey. In his new role, he'll continue to produce the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy while working on other projects he will bring to Universal.

“Mike is one of the most talented producers in Hollywood today,” said Langley in a statement Friday. “His creative instincts and deep industry relationships will be a terrific complement to our studio. Mike has been an incredible friend and mentor to me for many years, and I’m thrilled to have him on the lot with us.”

As president of production for Columbia Pictures, De Luca oversaw films including Pixels and Grimsby, as well as the Ron Howard film Inferno, the studio’s remake with MGM of The Magnificent Seven and Paul Feig’s new Ghostbusters. Prior to that, De Luca had a production deal with Columbia since 2004, during which he produced several successful projects including Captain Phillips, Moneyball and The Social Network. De Luca served as DreamWorks’ Head of Production from 2001 to 2004, and earlier in his career, he spent seven years as President and COO of New Line Productions.

“I feel incredibly grateful and honored to be returning to the Universal family and build on the wonderful production experiences I’ve already enjoyed there,” said De Luca in a statement “Donna Langley is not only completely brilliant and inspired in her job but one of the best human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing."