“Mike is one of the most talented producers in Hollywood today,” said Universal chair Donna Langley in a statement released Friday. “His creative instincts and deep industry relationships will be a terrific complement to our studio. Mike has been an incredible friend and mentor to me for many years, and I’m thrilled to have him on the lot with us.”
The move comes in the wake of efforts by newly appointed Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman to convince his production chief to stay on board. De Luca and Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group president Doug Belgrad had been considered likely successors for the top studio job after Amy Pascal was ousted in February, and both were blindsided by news that Rothman was chosen instead.
De Luca has remained close to Langley since the two worked together at New Line Cinema, where De Luca was president for much of the 1990s. Before De Luca became Sony’s production president in late 2013, he had produced a trio of Sony hits with “The Social Network,” “Moneyball” and “Captain Phillips.”
“I feel incredibly grateful and honored to be returning to the Universal family and build on the wonderful production experiences I’ve already enjoyed there,” said De Luca on Friday. “Donna Langley is not only completely brilliant and inspired in her job but one of the best human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. She is truly one of my best friends in the world, and I am beyond excited to work with her, Peter Cramer, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Josh Goldstine and her whole Universal team on this next phase of our collaborations.”