In his elevated role, Belgrad will be responsible for integrating business and financial planning as well as creative decision making across the the movie group’s film various labels. Belgrad will also supervise the studio’s local language film production operations and take on more responsibilities in both music and business affairs. Promoting Belgrad shows a studio integration within its executive ranks.
Belgrad said while his job now entails “a little bit of everything,” his main objective will be to “work better to execute strategies company and label wide.”
Sony, which has been struggling to regain its footing after a rough period, recently brought into its fold former Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman to relaunch TriStar Pictures, and former Warner Bros. executive Jeff Robinov is close to hanging up his new Studio 8 production banner at the Culver City studio in hopes of strengthening its position against rival studios.
Belgrad’s promotion comes after Sony implemented a round of layoffs to slash overhead after the studio suffered several box office misses in 2013. According to Variety’s film reviewer Justin Chang, some of the studio’s upcoming fare may suffer the same fate. Chang calls “Sex Tape,” the new Cameron Diaz-Jason Segel comedy “an unaccountable drag.”
“Sony’s had periods of great success and also periods that have been more challenging,” Belgrad told Variety. “We’re coming through a period of greater challenge where we have to more competitive and more disciplined. Part of my job is to continue to be disciplined and to find opportunity and create value to the company.”
Belgrad’s 25-year tenure at the company should allow him the ability to streamline the company’s various labels. It will also give Columbia Pictures co-presidents of production Michael De Luca and Hannah Minghella greater responsibility that label’s day-to-day operations.
Belgrad joined Sony in 1989 and rose to become co-president of production at Columbia in 2003 and president in 2008. He’s worked on the “Men in Black” franchise, all of Adam Sandler’s films, “Heaven I for Real,” as well as Oscar-nominated “American Hustle” and “Captain Phillips,” to name a few.
“Doug is an outstanding leader with a deep understanding of the motion picture business. He has a rare combination of taste, relationships, experience and business judgment,” Pascal said in a prepared statement. “Michael (Lynton) and I are thrilled we are going to continue to benefit from all of these qualities by expanding his purview in the Motion Picture Group.”