Matt Tolmach resigns from Columbia Pictures to produce Spider Man; Belgrad promoted

MUMBAI: Columbia Pictures president Matt Tolmach has launched a new production company and will become a producer on the next installment of Spider-Man, the blockbuster film franchise he helped shepherd since its inception in 2002.

Additionally, Doug Belgrad has been promoted to sole president of Columbia Pictures and will take on additional divisional responsibilities. As part of the transition, Belgrad has named Hannah Minghella president of production for Columbia Pictures. Sony Pictures Digital Production president Bob Osher will be naming a successor to Minghella in the coming weeks.

From now through November, Tolmach will begin the transition to become a significant producer on the lot as he ramps up his company, which has a three-year commitment with the studio. In December, he will join producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad on the set of the new Spider-Man adventure.

Tolmach and Belgrad, who have enjoyed one of the longest and most successful executive partnerships in recent motion picture history, have shared the role of president of Columbia Pictures since 2008. They began guiding the label as a team in 2003.

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal said, “I couldn’t be happier for or prouder of Matt, Doug and Hannah. Matt and I have worked together for over 15 years. Anyone who knows him knows he has been talking about this for a long time. He has always approached every project he has ever worked on with the attentiveness of a brilliant producer’s eye and that is what has made him such an excellent executive. As he takes this amazing step with his career, I know we will continue working together for as long as we are both in this business. We tried to convince him to stay in his current job, but we understand the time has come and completely support his decision. Spider-Man has been a big part of his life for the past ten years, and this is the perfect segue. We know he is going to be a killer producer for us.”

“It is also the right moment for Doug to step into a greater leadership position within the company. We have worked together since he was a financial analyst for Jon Dolgen, and I have seen him evolve into a consummate studio executive with a rare combination of creative talent and savvy business skill. As he takes on more responsibility in this new and expanded role running Columbia Pictures, I would entrust the division to no one else. And when he told me he wanted Hannah to return to Columbia as president of production, I was beyond thrilled. Doug sees in her what we all know to be true: she is a singular star. In her three years at Sony Pictures Animation she has proven that she is an extraordinary leader and executive and I know she will be a fantastic addition to what is already the best production team in the business,” Pascal added.

“This move has been a dream of mine and something I’ve been discussing with Michael, Amy and Doug for more than a year now. Everyone has embraced this next chapter for me, and I am planning on making movies here for a long time. Over the years, I have worked with a lot of truly talented producers, and that I now get to join two of them on the set of Spider-Man is almost too good to be true," Tolmach said.

Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton added, “With this move, the studio is gaining a new producer whose taste we know and whose creative skill we implicitly trust. We are very fortunate to have such a deep bench of executive talent at Sony Pictures. That allows us to recognize and encourage the leadership potential of extraordinary colleagues who can make very valuable contributions to our studio. We also have the benefit of making this change from a position of strength, given the amazing track record of Matt and Doug and their team over the past several years. Columbia Pictures is in incredibly strong hands under Doug, and we look forward to working with Matt for a long time to come.”

So far this year, Columbia Pictures has released a string of box office hits, including The Karate Kid ($351 million), Grown Ups ($269 million), Salt ($290 million), Eat Pray Love ($180 million), The Other Guys ($226 million) and The Social Network, the studio’s most recent critical and commercial hit, which has generated more than $105 million around the world to date.

Columbia Pictures is set to ramp up production on some of the most recognized franchises in motion picture history. In addition to Spider-Man, the studio is in production or pre-production on films such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Men in Black 3, Karate Kid 2, Total Recall, and a new chapter in the Ghostbusters franchise, among others.

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