Michael De Luca is a gifted Hollywood producer who has been charged with delivering some of Sony's recent best movies, from Best Picture nominees "Moneyball" and "The Social Network" to this year's contender "Captain Phillips." (Our interview with him here.) He often works with other top producers, including Dana Brunetti and Scott Rudin. But clearly Sony's motion picture chief Amy Pascal trusts him.
Under pressure on many fronts to up Sony's game after a troubled year, Pascal already brought in ex-Fox chief Tom Rothman to reinvigorate Sony's TriStar label. And now Sony is following up installing a new marketing chief by changing the guard in production as well. Veteran Michael De Luca, 48, is joining Hannah Minghella, 34, as president of production at Sony's Columbia Pictures label. Minghella, the daughter of the late British filmmaker Anthony Minghella, is the Sony creative executive who has been supervising the "21 Jump Street," "Salt," and "The Amazing Spider Man" franchises. Both will report to Columbia President Doug Belgrad, who is being given more overall Sony responsibility.
While Pascal is hanging onto her current staffers for now, De Luca is a heavyweight who will presumably have a strong hand. We'll see where Belgrad and Minghella--who can't be thrilled at this admission of weakness--wind up months from now.
De Luca Productions hs been housed at Sony since 2004, also producing "21" and the "Ghost Rider" franchise.
In many ways De Luca is not your typical studio executive. He rose through the ranks as Robert Shaye's favorite son at New Line Cinema, in a free-wheeling indie environment that was far from corporate--in fact he was known as something of a raucous party boy at the time. But he's matured considerably, forged a successful producing career, married and has a family. But he's still edgy: he and Brunetti just started production on the high-profile "50 Shades of Grey" at Universal/Focus.
Bravo to Pascal. This appointment sends a loud signal that she is willing to shake up the big-studio rules. De Luca has a strong instinct for what moviegoers want to see and how to reach them. Talent like and trust him. He thinks young. He knows how to mix things up. And as Pascal sheds herself of costly assistants and her spendthrift ways, De Luca will be a strong ally.