×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Screen Gems Shake-Up: Clint Culpepper Steps Down, Steve Bersch Takes Over (EXCLUSIVE)

Clint Culpepper is stepping down as head of Screen Gems, the Sony Pictures division that specializes in lower-budget genre films, Variety has learned.

He will be replaced by Steve Bersch, the head of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, according to insiders. Culpepper helped rekindle the Screen Gems label in 1998 and was responsible for several hits such as “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “Think Like a Man,” and the “Resident Evil” franchise. However, Screen Gems has struggled to field as many success stories in recent years. Its most recent release, the action film “Proud Mary,” bowed to an underwhelming $9.9 million when it opened this month. Culpepper was recently informed that his contract, which was due up, would not be renewed. He will remain a part of Sony’s film family in some capacity through a production deal with the studio.

A spokesman for Sony declined to comment on Bersch’s promotion. In a note to staff, Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman did not mention Bersch’s new role, but praised Culpepper’s 28-year run at Sony.

“Clint has had an extraordinary career at [Sony],” Rothman wrote. “Under his leadership, Screen Gems is one of the most prolific and diverse genre labels in the industry.”

“He has an indelible legacy​, and I want to thank him for his years of extraordinary commitment to [Sony],” he added. “Luckily for us, he will still be a large part of our family, continuing to produce hit movies for Sony.”

Bersch will add Screen Gems to his portfolio of projects while continuing to run Sony’s global acquisitions business, sources say. The thought is that the two businesses often overlap and complement one another. Bersch, for instance, picked up “Don’t Breathe,” a critically acclaimed horror smash that was distributed under the Screen Gems banner. As head of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Bersch also oversees Stage 6 Films and Affirm Films, the studio’s faith-based label. Bersch has impressed Sony brass with his knack for picking hits. He partnered with Paramount on the best picture nominee “Arrival” and acquired the original “Insidious” at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. At Affirm, he scored with the likes of “War Room” and “Miracles From Heaven.”

Under Culpepper, Screen Gems established itself as a home for horror films, comedies, and movies that targeted African-American audiences. Its history is longer than that, however. First incorporated in 1948, Screen Gems was originally the studio’s television subsidiary. Over the years it moved into broadcasting, recording, merchandising, and music publishing before being rebranded Columbia Pictures Television.

More Film

  • Actress Shirley MacLaine poses at the

    Shirley MacLaine Selected for AARP Career Achievement Award

    Shirley MacLaine has been selected as the recipient of the AARP’s 2018 Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award. MacLaine will be honored at the 18th annual Movies for Grownups Awards ceremony on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. MacLaine has credits on more than 50 feature films, won a best [...]

  • 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' Trailer: Cate

    Cate Blanchett Disappears in 'Where’d You Go, Bernadette' First Trailer

    Cate Blanchett goes missing in the first trailer for Richard Linklater’s latest film, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.” Based on Maria Semple’s 2012 novel, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” follows agoraphobic architect Bernadette Fox (Blanchett), who disappears just before a family trip to Antarctica. “Something unexpected has come up,” Blanchett’s character says on the phone. “It has much [...]

  • Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in

    'The Favourite' Leads London Critics' Circle Nominations

    Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark historical comedy “The Favourite” lived up to its title with the London Film Critics’ Circle on Tuesday, nabbing 10 awards nominations from the group – twice as many as its nearest rivals. Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,” Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here,” Rupert Everett’s “The Happy Prince” and Pawel Pawlikowski’s European Film [...]

  • Picture Tree Intl. Rolls Out Pre-Sales

    Berlin: Picture Tree Intl. Rolls Out Pre-Sales on B.O. Hit ‘100 Things’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID — In the long run-up to February’s Berlin Festival, Picture Tree Intl. has rolled out multiple pre-sales on “100 Things,” which Warner Bros. Pictures bowed in Germany on Dec. 6 to a robust first eight-day €2.7 million ($3.07 million). “100 Things” will receive a market screening at the Berlinale’s European Film Market. The third [...]

  • Mid 90s

    Jonah Hill's 'mid90s,' Pauline Kael Documentary to Screen in Berlin's Panorama Section

    Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, “mid90s,” about a 13-year-old skateboarder’s coming of age, and a documentary on influential film critic Pauline Kael are among the works that will screen in the Panorama section of the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. Films starring Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell and titles from countries including Israel, Brazil and Japan were [...]

  • 'Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Readies

    ‘Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Readies 'Weathering'

    Three years after the animation “Your Name” began its long triumphant reign over the Japanese and international box office, its director Makoto Shinkai has announced his next animated feature. Titled “Weathering With You,” the film will arrive in theaters in Japan on July 19 of next year, with Toho distributing. Set in a world where [...]

  • Berlin: The Match Factory Boards New

    Berlin: The Match Factory Boards Competition Titles From Fatih Akin, Emin Alper (EXCLUSIVE)

    German indie powerhouse The Match Factory will handle world sales on two Berlin Film Festival competition titles: German director Fatih Akin’s serial-killer chiller “The Golden Glove” and Turkish director Emin Alper’s family drama “A Tale of Three Sisters.”  Akin, a Hamburg native whose “Head-On” won the Golden Bear in 2004, is returning to the Berlinale [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content