As DreamWorks Studios streamlines into a smaller entity, it has no room for two top-level expensive production presidents. Thus the Reliance-backed company, which is run by Steven Spielberg and Stacy Snider, and distributes through Disney, has given Mark Sourian a first-look production deal.
Dreamworks indicates that Sourian, who will stay at DreamWorks’ base at Universal, will take on more responsibility for seeing projects through every stage of production, including “Need for Speed” and “Starbuck,” both recent DreamWorks acquisitions which are set to start filming in the next six to nine months, as well as “A Dog’s Purpose.” With DreamWorks producing just three to four films a year, they don’t need two production chiefs. DreamWorks Fox teamed with Fox on Spielberg’s “Robopocalypse,” (July 2013), Participant came in on “The Help” and Spielberg holiday biopic “Lincoln.”
Sourian rose through the ranks at DreamWorks after joining the company in 1997, fresh from learning the ropes from Scott Rudin, and was co-president of production for three years with Holly Bario, who is now sole president. Bario worked as a production executive with Snider at Universal, and followed her to DreamWorks. (I interviewed her for “War Horse” here.)
Sourian worked on “The Ring” and “The Ring 2,” “House of Sand and Fog,” “Red Eye,” “The Kite Runner,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “I Love You, Man” and “Real Steel.”
DreamWorks has been cutting back its pricier production deals; screenwriter-producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (K/O Paper Products) recently forged their new deal at Universal Pictures, while trusted Spielberg lieutenants Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald (“Men in Black III”) signed a production financing deal to form Parkes+MacDonald/Image Nation after their first-look deal with DreamWorks ended in January.