In an anticipated move, John Calley has left his position as chairman/ceo of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) to concentrate on producing films, and has entered into a first-look production deal based at the Sony Pictures lot. Calley will remain on SPE's operating committee as well as SPE's board of directors.
"I've been lucky over my career to be able to transition back and forth between my two great passions -- managing studios and producing movies. It feels like the right time to close this chapter and begin a new one," commented Calley. "I've had an extraordinary seven years. We've had some great successes and I've been blessed to work with a group of remarkable executives whom I both like and respect. What makes this move easy is that I know, better than anyone, that as a producer, I'll be working with the best management team in town."
Amy Pascal, chairman, Columbia Pictures, Jeff Blake, president, worldwide marketing and distribution, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and Yair Landau, president, Sony Pictures Digital will continue to manage the studio. The three, named vice chairmen of SPE in October 2002, report directly to Howard Stringer, chairman/ceo of Sony Corp. of America.
SPE will continue to be overseen by its operating committee, which is headed by Stringer and will continue to include Calley, Blake, Landau, Pascal, Revolution Studios' Joe Roth and Rob Wiesenthal, evp/cfo, Sony Corp. of America.
"John is not only a valued friend and colleague, but also an elegant, intelligent and passionate champion of both the creative process and the sound business practices that have reinvigorated our studio," said Stringer. "He has been unfailingly generous with his talent, his wit and his wisdom, and Sony Pictures is a far better organization today because of his leadership. We will miss his day-to- day involvement, but welcome the opportunity to continue to work together in a way that suits him, yet retains his creative vision."
Calley's first two projects for the studio include a film adaptation of Dan Brown's bestseller THE DA VINCI CODE and CLOSER to be directed by Mike Nichols.
Calley joined SPE in 1996 as president/coo. He was elevated to chairman/ceo reporting to Stringer in 1998. Under his leadership, SPE shattered all-time records in 2002 topping $2.87 billion in worldwide box office and $1.57 billion in domestic box office. The studio's record-breaking performance was fueled by such hits as SPIDER-MAN (the highest grossing film of 2002 and Columbia Pictures' highest grossing film of all time), PANIC ROOM, MEN IN BLACK II, BLACK HAWK DOWN, MR. DEEDS and XXX.
Calley and his management team major box office and critical successes include: James Brooks' AS GOOD AS IT GETS, which won Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars for Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, MEN IN BLACK and its sequel, STUART LITTLE and its sequel, MASK OF ZORRO, AIR FORCE ONE, MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, BIG DADDY, CHARLIE'S ANGELS and its sequel, THE PATRIOT and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language film, and became the highest-grossing foreign language film ever released in North America.
Calley joined SPE after a long and celebrated career in the motion picture industry. As president/coo of United Artists, a division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. from 1993-1996, he played a key role in the revitalization of the studio. From 1989 to 1993, Calley was an independent producer, partnered with Mike Nichols. Together they produced the films POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE and the Oscar-nominated THE REMAINS OF THE DAY. Calley was a senior exec at Warner Brothers, Inc. from 1968 to 1981, serving at various times as president, vice chairman and evp for worldwide production. Prior to that, he was an executive at Filmways Inc., the Ted Bates advertising agency and NBC.