You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Clooney splits from Warner Bros.

Actor moves Smokehouse Pictures to Sony

George Clooney has parted ways with Warner Bros., moving the Smokehouse Pictures shingle he runs with Grant Heslov to Sony.

The pair landed the two-year first-look pact at a time when studios are cutting back on production deals, no matter how big the producer may be.

“While we have been trimming production deals overall for the last few years, we see real value in opening our doors to producers with their critical and commercial track record and their artistic point of view,” said Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal.

Clooney and Heslov had been based on the WB lot as producers for the past nine years, initially working together at Section Eight, co-founded by Steven Soderbergh, before launching Smokehouse in 2006. Clooney has been closely associated with the studio since he became a breakout star on the WB-produced “ER” in 1994.

Heslov produced and co-wrote “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which Clooney helmed.

Smokehouse’s executive team includes senior VP of development Nina Wolarsky and creative exec Alex Meenehan.

Smokehouse still has several projects in development at the studio, including “Farragut North,” an adaptation of Beau Willimon’s play about the Iowa presidential primary; legal drama “The Challenge,” penned by Aaron Sorkin; and John Grisham adaptation “The Innocent Man.”

It also has the satirical comedy “Our Brand Is Crisis,” based on the docu by Rachel Boynton; “Escape From Tehran”; and spy thriller “The Tourist,” an adaptation of Olen Steinhauer’s novel.

Over the years, however, Smokehouse has found better luck getting films made and released at other companies.

Its first official project was the Clooney-directed vintage football comedy “Leatherheads,” at Universal. Smokehouse also has “A Very Private Gentleman” at Focus, while this fall, Overture will release “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” which Heslov helmed.

Clooney spoke amicably of the departure: “Warner Bros. has been a great place to work, and I’ve felt like part of a family for almost 20 years,” he said. “So in moving on, I’m leaving a terrific company and a lot of dear friends. They’re a class act.”

Thesp will next be seen in Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” at Paramount and heard in animated feature “Fantastic Mr. Fox” from Fox.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • DOLEMITE IS MY NAME!, 2019, DOL_Unit_06284.RAF

    'Dolemite Is My Name' Writer Larry Karaszewski Recalls 10-Year Journey to Make Rudy Ray Moore Biopic

    “Harriet” writer-director Kasi Lemmons was in a reflective mood at Tuesday night’s “Behind the Scene” event at the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, sponsored by the Writers Guild of America West. The biopic, starring Cynthia Erivo as slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been receiving buzz since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s Lemmons’ [...]

  • Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis

    Holocaust Experts Debate 'Jojo Rabbit' at Museum of Tolerance Screening

    With its comedic, cartoonish portrayal of Nazis, Taika Waititi’s satirical Hitler youth tale “Jojo Rabbit” has polarized critics and audiences alike. And that division continued to be stirred at Tuesday night’s screening of the film at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, where Liebe Geft, director of the museum, moderated a heated panel discussion [...]

  • Laura Dern MoMA

    Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver Honor Laura Dern at MoMA Film Benefit

    Laura Dern is certainly no stranger to film sets. “Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd birthed me and bred me on cinema,” she said on Tuesday night in New York City, as she accepted honors at the Museum of Modern Art’s annual Film Benefit, presented by Chanel. “I was conceived on a Roger Corman movie called [...]

  • Jon Huerta

    'This Is Us' Star Jon Huertas Builds Community With Venice's Clutch Restaurant

    “This Is Us” star Jon Huertas, who’s being honored at the Napa Valley Film Festival with Variety Vivant’s Spice Award Nov. 13, has always known he wanted a career in Hollywood. But he’s something of an accidental restaurateur. No, he didn’t exactly stumble into co-owning Clutch, one of the hottest upscale casual restaurants in Venice, [...]

  • John Legend LVE Wine

    Celebrities Take Hands-On Approach to Making Fine Wines

    Care to sip champagne backed by Jay Z or 50 Cent? Or mellow out with a fine Chianti from Sting and Trudie Styler? Behind every wine label is an incredibly expensive team effort of surprising proportions. Wine lovers may consider making their own as the ultimate dream; however, few can afford the buy-in. Vineyards are [...]

  • St. Clair Brown, Mad Fritz lead

    Craft Beer Thrives in the Heart of Napa Wine Country

    Napa Valley has long been devoted to the products of the grape, but the region actually played a pivotal role in getting the craft beer revolution off the ground. New Albion Brewing launched the microbrewery trend in adjacent Sonoma County in 1976, inspiring a wave of delicious and potent alternatives to pale industrial beer. There’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content