The seven-year Columbia tenure of Matt Tolmach and Doug Belgrad has come to an end. Co-president since 2008, Tolmach is moving on to launch a new production company–he has a three-year contract– and starting in December, will join with Marvel and Laura Ziskin on the next iteration of Spider-Man, a series he has shepherded since 2002. (Not a bad way to launch a solo career.) At the end of November, Belgrad will take over the solo reins at Columbia. He is bringing on Hannah Minghella as his new president of production. She has been president of Sony Pictures Animation since 2008, where she supervised Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the upcoming Arthur Christmas, The Pirates!, and Hotel Transylvania>
Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal stated:
“I couldn’t be happier for or prouder of Matt, Doug and Hannah. Matt and I have worked together for over 15 years. Anyone who knows him knows he has been talking about this for a long time. He has always approached every project he has ever worked on with the attentiveness of a brilliant producer’s eye and that is what has made him such an excellent executive. As he takes this amazing step with his career, I know we will continue working together for as long as we are both in this business. We tried to convince him to stay in his current job, but we understand the time has come and completely support his decision. Spider-Man has been a big part of his life for the past ten years, and this is the perfect segue. We know he is going to be a killer producer for us.”
“It is also the right moment for Doug to step into a greater leadership position within the company. We have worked together since he was a financial analyst for Jon Dolgen, and I have seen him evolve into a consummate studio executive with a rare combination of creative talent and savvy business skill. As he takes on more responsibility in this new and expanded role running Columbia Pictures, I would entrust the division to no one else. And when he told me he wanted Hannah to return to Columbia as president of production, I was beyond thrilled. Doug sees in her what we all know to be true: she is a singular star. In her three years at Sony Pictures Animation she has proven that she is an extraordinary leader and executive and I know she will be a fantastic addition to what is already the best production team in the business.”
“This move has been a dream of mine and something I’ve been discussing with Michael, Amy and Doug for more than a year now,” Tolmach said. “I’ve loved being a studio executive, and Columbia Pictures has always been my home, my family. I’m incredibly blessed to have had Doug as my partner in this job for the past eight years, and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished; I am also deeply grateful to Amy and Michael for their unwavering support and leadership. Consistent with that, everyone has embraced this next chapter for me, and I am planning on making movies here for a long time. Over the years, I have worked with a lot of truly talented producers, and that I now get to join two of them on the set of Spider-Man is almost too good to be true.”
Sony chairrman and CEO Michael Lynton praised the deep bench of talent at Sony, while pointing out that the studio is hanging on to Tolmach in the near term.
During his Columbia run, Tolmach worked closely associated with a roster of filmmakers including Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons), Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), Judd Apatow (Step Brothers, Superbad, Pineapple Express), Roland Emmerich (2012), Adam McKay (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) and David Fincher (The Social Network). Two-decade Columbia vet Belgrad helped to develop such studio franchises as Men in Black and Bad Boys and such studio talent as Adam Sandler (Grown Ups) ,Katharine Heigl (The Ugly Truth) and Will Smith (Hancock, Hitch).
This past year Columbia’s hits include Grown Ups ($269 million worldwide), the remake The Karate Kid ( $351 million worldwide), Salt, starring Angelina Jolie ($290 million worldwide), success d’estime Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts ($180 million worldwide), Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s The Other Guys ($226 million worldwide) and Oscar contender The Social Network, which so far has grossed $105 million globally.
Columbia is ramping up production on franchises no only on Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield in the title role, but Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, currently filming with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in Stockholm, Men in Black 3, Karate Kid 2, Total Recall, and finally, after decades, a new iteration of Ghostbusters.