You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sony unveils Asian pic unit

Arm to focus on native films

Sony Pictures Entertainment has launched its fourth local-language production venture, Hong Kong-based Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, SPE president John Calley announced Monday.

The move, which was expected (Daily Variety, March 1), follows from Sony’s establishment of its Deutsche Columbia Film Production GmbH unit at Berlin’s Babelsberg Studios in February.

Col Asia will focus on producing pics for Asian audiences. It will be headed by former Encore Intl. exec Barbara Robinson, who has notched up 10 years working in the region.

Robinson, who becomes managing director of Col Asia, will be responsible for the development, production and acquisition of all its pics.

Market share growth

Sony believes that the market share of national films in most foreign territories will continue to grow. The studio, whose other local pic units are in the U.K. and Brazil, is committed to building a global network of such companies.

However, it is establishing its outpost in Asia at a time when the region is on a rocky financial footing in general, and its entertainment biz is in full recession.

“The decision to create this new division at this time underscores our belief in the long-term vitality of this region,” Calley said.

For creative matters, Robinson will report to Columbia Motion Picture Group vice chairman Gareth Wigan. For administrative matters, she will report to Col Motion Pic Group president Ken Lemberger.

Edko Columbia TriStar Films, Col’s joint venture theatrical distribbery in Hong Kong, will operate separately from the Col Asia production unit. Edko Columbia TriStar comes under the aegis of Col TriStar Film Distributors Intl., which is headed by prexy Duncan Clark.

Robinson’s resume

Robinson started out in Beijing in 1984 as a teacher at Qinghua U. She worked at Asian sales and production outfit Era Intl. for seven years, and was associated with pics such as Hou Hsiao Hsien’s “A City of Sadness” and Zhang Yimou’s “Raise the Red Lantern.”

Recently, she was vice president of programming for Colorado-based Encore, and was responsible for the pay net’s international channels and programming ventures, including its relationship with China Central Television.

More Film

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content