In her first creative hire since becoming head of MGM’s worldwide motion picture group, Mary Parent has brought in New Line Cinema executive Cale Boyter as exec veep of production — a move which casts a shadow over the future of chief operating officer Rick Sands.
Boyter’s hire begins the makeover of MGM under Parent, who has a mandate from chairman-CEO Harry Sloan to build a creative staff that will generate a homegrown slate of feature films. Sloan and Parent are expected to do so without Sands, whose role was usurped by Parent’s appointment earlier this month (Daily Variety, March 14).
Neither MGM nor Sands would comment. While there are rumors that Sands is working on his exit, he is still coming to work and has met with Parent in an effort to divide responsibilities. Sands, the former chief operating officer of DreamWorks and Miramax, was brought in by Sloan in 2006 to leverage the MGM library for distribution platforms and to create new content opportunities for the studio.
Boyter spent the past 10 years at New Line working on such projects as “Elf,” “Wedding Crashers” and “A History of Violence.” He joined New Line in 1998 as an executive assistant and most recently shepherded “Semi-Pro,” the Gavin O’Connor-directed “Pride & Glory” and “Journey 3D: To the Center of the Earth.”
He joined New Line right after Parent left that studio to move to Universal Pictures, where she rose to vice chairman before starting the U-based production company Stuber/Parent with Scott Stuber.
Boyter becomes the first major creative exec to shake loose from New Line. Boyter became available following last month’s decision by Time Warner chief Jeffrey Bewkes to remove New Line co-toppers Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, and reform New Line as a downsized mini-major that will make six to eight films per year with budgets under $50 million, along with “The Hobbit” and proposed sequels to “Wedding Crashers” and “Austin Powers.”
Though New Line vet Toby Emmerich signed on to run the new division under Warner Bros. aegis, New Line is expected to lose the majority of its 600 staff positions, and numerous creative executives have been taking meetings. It would not be surprising if others land at MGM.
“I’ve watched Cale from afar for some time now. His taste, passion and strong point of view as well as his ability to recognize real talent and good movie ideas has consistently impressed me,” Parent said.
“Working closely with Mary, we’ll look to identify movies that will work in the marketplace and look forward to building a great slate,” Boyter said. Mary is definitely a force in the industry and one of the main reasons I decided to undertake this next challenge in my career.”