UPDATED: Producer and former Sony Pictures Entertainment production boss Michael De Luca has turned down an offer to take a top job at Paramount Pictures, sources say.
“Although he was very flattered and tempted, it ultimately wasn’t the right fit, and he has a great deal at Universal,” said a person familiar with De Luca’s thinking.
De Luca had been widely reported to be on the verge of joining Paramount as the No. 2 under a new chairman and CEO, presumed to be Jim Gianopulos.
De Luca, 51, was expected to take the title of vice-chairman and oversee production at the troubled studio, which has been mired in last place among the major studios for the last five years.
But Universal pressed hard to keep De Luca in its stable. He is considered one of the most prolific and respected producers working with the studio, guiding key projects like the “Fifty Shades of Grey” films. Universal was particularly intent on keep De Luca in the fold because another key producer, Scott Stuber, is reportedly mulling an opportunity to run the feature film unit at Netflix.
De Luca’s highest-profile in recent weeks came at the 89th Academy Awards, which he produced along with Jennifer Todd. While many people praised the show for its pacing and for a gag that had host Jimmy Kimmel interacting with tour bus fans, the show drew the second lowest ratings in Oscar history. The program will be best remembers for a bungle by a PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountant, which led to the Best Picture award briefly being presented to “La La Land” instead of the rightful winner, “Moonlight.”
More to come….