George Clooney parts with Warner; inks deal with Sony Pictures

MUMBAI: George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures are in final negotiations to sign an exclusive two-year theatrical development and production deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Picture Entertainment and Chairman of the studio’s Motion Picture Group.

Clooney said, "Warner Bros. has been a great place to work and I’ve felt like part of a family for almost 20 years. So in moving on, I’m leaving a terrific company and a lot of dear friends. They’re a class act. In looking ahead, I’m tremendously excited to be working at Sony Pictures, and we all feel like it’s a perfect match for Smokehouse. Grant Heslov and I hope to deliver the kind of films that will make them proud."

"We admire and respect George and Grant as filmmakers and producers and we couldn’t be more excited to be in business with them and their talented team at Smokehouse Pictures. The broad range of quality projects they have championed and the compelling and sometimes provocative material they support says everything about their company and their creative aspirations. While we have been trimming production deals overall for the last few years, we see real value in opening our doors to producers with their critical and commercial track record and their artistic point of view, and we know they will be a fantastic addition to the Sony Pictures family," said Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman and Motion Picture Group chairman Amy Pascal.

"My nine year relationship with Warner Bros. was extremely gratifying and now, George and I look forward to Smokehouse being a part of the Sony family," Heslov said.

The Smokehouse Pictures team includes senior vice president of development Nina Wolarsky, and creative executive Alex Meenehan. The company is currently in development on the following projects with Warner Bros: The Challenge, Our Brand Is Crisis, Farragut North, Escape From Tehran, The Tourist and The Innocent Man.

Clooney’s upcoming projects include The Men Who Stare at Goats, to be released in the fall; Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air for Paramount and 20th Century Fox’s animated feature The Fantastic Mr. Fox, in which he voices the title character.

Heslov and Clooney are partners in Smokehouse Pictures, a production company they formed in 2006.