New Regency had a winning creative run during Weston’s tenure, taking best picture Oscars for “12 Years A Slave” and “Birdman” and multiple awards for last year’s “The Revenant.”
The company said it would be in strong hands going forward, led by Milchan’s son, Yariv, and by chief operating officer Jonathan Fischer and president of production Pam Abdy. A new management structure has not been set.
Weston, a former Paramount production boss, acknowledged that the announcement surprised some, given the company’s recent win streak. “I know its hard for some people to understand it, but Arnon and I are good,” said Weston. “This is a choice I asked him to understand and and he did. It’s a rare case when it doesn’t end badly.”
Weston said he would stay on indefinitely at New Regency to help complete ongoing projects. He said he doesn’t know what his next job will be.
“I have nothing planned and there hasn’t been anything happening behind the scenes,” said Weston. “I will start figuring it out now. I am ready. But I will have to figure it out.”
Asked if he would be interested in returning to an executive position at a major studio, Weston declined to comment. Weston previously served as production president at Paramount before being fired by Brad Grey in 2009 along with Film Group president John Lesher.
Weston said he fist talked to Milchan about leaving New Regency roughly two months ago, with the plans solidifying last Thursday. “Arnon and I talk all the time,” Weston said, “so he knows what I am thinking.”
“With all that we have accomplished in the last couple of years, we are in a moment when the company is in great shape,” Weston said, explaining the timing of his departure. “It was just a personal decision for me and Arnon was gracious enough to accept it.” In a prepared statement released by the company, Weston said: “I thank Arnon for this great opportunity over these last four and half years. This is a natural and easy evolution for me. I am excited to see what the future holds.”
Milchan complimented his outgoing CEO. “I appreciate Brad’s contribution to New Regency over the last four and half years and I wish him absolutely nothing but the best going forward,” the entrepreneur said in a statement. “I am very committed to New Regency’s growth and will continue to invest in its future. I believe we are in the midst of some truly exciting opportunities to expand and evolve the company.”
The company called itself “well positioned for continued growth” because of “its strong talent relationships, its slate of upcoming films, its recently announced TV joint venture and its growing library.” Among upcoming projects are Warren Beatty’s film about Howard Hughes, due for release this fall; “Assassin’s Creed,” starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; and a Gore Verbinski thriller, “A Cure for Wellness,” set to hit theaters in 2017.
New Regency has four first-look deals with: David Fincher; Verbinski, through his Blind Wink company; Brad Pitt through Plan B; and Darren Aronofsky through Protozoa Pictures.
21st Century Fox holds a 20% stake in New Regency, and Fox has a deal with the production company to release its movies. New Regency co-finances some of its movies with Fox and fully finances others.