Screen Gems president at helm through 2012

Sony Pictures Entertainment has reupped Screen Gems prexy Clint Culpepper, keeping him at the helm of the studio’s genre shingle through 2012.

Culpepper has run Screen Gems since 1998. The studio-funded genre division turns a profit, particularly in the horror and urban categories.

The pictures usually cost under $20 million, and hits have included the “Resident Evil” and “Underworld” series, “Stomp the Yard” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” Recent releases have been “First Sunday,” “Untraceable” and “This Christmas.”

“Clint’s vision for Screen Gems was to offer opportunities to emerging filmmakers and creative voices with very distinctive stories to tell,” said SPE co-chair Amy Pascal. “There are very few executives in our industry who truly understand the genre and niche market as thoroughly. Clint’s grasp of this business and how these movies play has been vital to our continued success.”

Pascal forged the reup deal together with SPE chairman-CEO Michael Lynton, who added: “Over the years, Screen Gems has been consistently successful, and they are an important part of the studio’s multi-label strategy, which seeks to offer a diverse range of filmed entertainment programming to audiences around the world.”

A 17-year Sony vet, Culpepper ran acquisitions with Peter Schlessel when he was asked to start a genre division. He cleared the name Screen Gems, which began as a TV company at Columbia in 1948. The genre division has grown to an annual output of eight pictures.

Screen Gems’ Nelson McCormick-directed “Prom Night” opens April 11.

Also upcoming are the Neil LaBute thriller “Lakeview Terrace,” “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” and actioner “Armored.” Production is nearly complete on the teen comedy “Fired Up” and a remake of “The Stepfather.” The shingle will put four more films into production this spring: “Legion,” a sci-fi thriller; teen comedy “Mardi Gras”; the suspense thriller “Obsessed”; and “Phenom,” a sports drama.

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