You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sony Distribution Chief Rory Bruer Retires After 40 Years at Studio

Rory Bruer is retiring as head of worldwide distribution at Sony Pictures after four decades at the studio.

Sony does not plan to directly replace him. Bruer, who has deep ties with theater owners, will segue into an advisory role at the studio. Adrian Smith and Steven O’Dell will handle domestic and international distribution, respectively. They will report directly to Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution.

“Though I knew in my heart that the time was right to begin to pull back, it’s hard to let go of a place that has been a part of my life for so long — so when they asked me to stay on as an advisor, I jumped at the chance,” Bruer wrote in a letter to staff. “Not everybody gets to begin this next chapter on their own terms, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”

Bruer first joined the studio in 1977 when it was known as Columbia Pictures, working in the mailroom. He spent his entire career at Sony, rising up the ranks. He has headed up domestic distribution since 2002 and added global distribution to his portfolio in 2008. During his time at Sony, he oversaw the rollouts of several notable releases, including “The Social Network,” “Skyfall,” the “Spider-Man” franchise, and “21 Jump Street.”

Bruer’s tenure overlapped with the 2014 cyber attack that led to the release of several hacked executive emails and precipitated the ouster of studio chief Amy Pascal. Since that time, Sony has struggled at the box office.

“I probably have one of those careers that should be in a book,” Bruer told Variety. “I’ve had such a blessed career here at Sony, starting at mailroom, and working my way through so many regimes. It’s been an incredible ride — there’s no doubt about it.”

Here are the studio-wide notes from Greenstein and Bruer:

Good Morning,
I want to share with you an important change happening in the Motion Picture Group at Sony Pictures.
Rory Bruer, our friend and colleague, has decided to retire at the end of this year. Fortunately for us, retirement for Rory doesn’t mean goodbye – he will segue into an advisory role exclusive to Sony as he shares his time between his family here and his family at home.
Rory is an industry legend. He has been part of the studio for 40 years and has worked for one company his entire career, a rarity in this day and age. He started in the mailroom and rose through the ranks to head up Domestic Distribution since 2002 and Worldwide Distribution since 2008.
All told, Rory has been involved in the distribution of nearly 1,000 releases and helped more than 100 films reach #1 at the box office, including the industry’s first ever $100 million weekend with the first Spider-Man in 2002.
The sheer number of movies he’s helped to make a success is incredible. From Kramer vs. Kramer, Stripes, Steel Magnolias, Terminator 2, Hook, and Places in the Heart to such global blockbusters as Spider-Man 1, 2 & 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2, the four most recent James Bond adventures (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre), The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons, Sausage Party, Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2, 21 and 22 Jump Street, The Equalizer, Heaven Is for Real, Grown Ups 1 and 2, This Is the End, Men in Black 1, 2 and 3, Captain Phillips, American Hustle, 2012, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, The Smurfs, District 9, The Karate Kid and countless others.
I am grateful to have worked with Rory from the moment I joined the studio, and it’s great to know that we will continue to work together on our studio’s most important projects.
Leading the department as we move forward, Adrian Smith and Steven O’Dell will continue oversight of their divisions, reporting to me. I’m proud of the work they have done both domestically and internationally, and I know that their teams are in good hands as Steven and Adrian lead us into this next chapter.
See a personal note below from Rory to all of you.


Dear Colleagues,
When I joined Columbia Pictures in 1977, I would never have believed what the future could hold for me. It has been the privilege of my life to work with all of you and with so many talented filmmakers, helping to bring their amazing work to so many people.
I’d like to extend my thanks to Tom and Josh. Though I knew in my heart that the time was right to begin to pull back, it’s hard to let go of a place that has been a part of my life for so long – so when they asked me to stay on as an advisor, I jumped at the chance. Not everybody gets to begin this next chapter on their own terms, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.
To my team in Distribution – it has been an honor and a pleasure to work alongside all of you. If I have a legacy at this studio, let it be that I’ve had a hand in helping to build the best team in the business.
I could not be more excited about the future for me personally, for the great times to come at SPE, and most of all, for the great movies that are on their way. It’s like I always say – and it’s never been more true – the best is yet to come!

More Film

  • Come as You Are review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are'

    The rare remake that’s actually a slight improvement on its predecessor, Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are” translates Geoffrey Enthoven’s 2011 Belgian “Hasta la Vista” to middle America. Other changes are less substantial, but this seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment [...]

  • Strange Negotiations review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations'

    In a era when some mainstream entertainers have transitioned to targeting faith-based audiences, David Bazan is moving in the other direction. The gifted songwriter’s ersatz band Pedro the Lion was perhaps the most successful Christian indie rock act of its time, and the first to significantly cross over to secular fans. Then he ditched that persona (and [...]

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

  • ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending for the Fourth Week in a Row

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the fourth week in row with “Wonder Park.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.18 million through Sunday for 1,718 national [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED New Regency and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society are partnering on an untitled monster movie from “Kong: Skull Island” [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content