Layoffs hit Sony Pictures’ marketing and distribution teams on Tuesday as the Hollywood studio combined parts of its domestic and international film and television operations. Roughly 35 positions have been eliminated in the consolidation, according to insiders.
In addition, veteran executive Andre Caraco has decided to step down as co-president of global marketing, ending a decades-long run at the studio. Caraco worked on the likes of “Men in Black,” “Jumanji,” “The Social Network,” and “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” and was a popular presence on the company’s lot.
“While I understand Andre’s decision that this is the right time personally for him to move on, the company and I myself will miss him hugely,” said Tom Rothman, Sony Pictures’ chairman. “He is a superior executive. His smarts, insight, experience and enthusiasm make him an exceptional colleague and a gifted film maven. He is, also, a true class act. I join everyone here in expressing our gratitude and wishing him joy.”
Beyond Caraco’s exit, the larger changes mean that Josh Greenstein, president of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, and Keith le Goy, president of networks and distribution at Sony Pictures Television, will oversee the streamlined domestic and international arms. The overhaul also merges the company’s film and television marketing divisions, which hard previously operated independently.
Sony’s global theatrical marketing group will be centralized in the U.S. and will be run by Paul Noble and Danielle Misher, along with Lexine Wong, who will head up global multichannel distribution marketing.
Sony is the latest media company to make cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic, joining the likes of WarnerMedia, Disney and Universal. The public health crisis has upended film and television productions and brought theatrical distribution to a virtual standstill. Sony has delayed the release of upcoming blockbusters such as “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” and “Morbius,” while selling the Tom Hanks drama “Greyhound” to Apple.
Moviegoing has plunged in popularity in the wake of COVID-19, but Sony had been looking to shake things up even before the virus upended the entertainment business. In an email to staff, Greenstein and le Goy positioned the changes as an opportunity to allow their teams to better respond to changing patterns of consumer behavior.
“This will allow for better coordination and enable us to apply the collective expertise of our teams across all platforms throughout each title’s lifecycle, and to respond cohesively to new and emerging release patterns,” Greenstein and le Goy wrote.
The move also appears to signal that the walls between television and film are crumbling as more and more entertainment is streamed in the home. Greenstein and le Goy said the changes will enable their operations to work more closely together going forward.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on our industry – particularly in how it has upended distribution and the ways in which audiences are consuming content – accelerated the efforts in implementing this restructure,” Greenstein and le Goy wrote. “Ultimately, these changes will better position us as a studio for when we come out of this pandemic.”