Sony Pictures is merging its theatrical, home entertainment and TV distribution marketing operations under the co-oversee of Josh Greenstein, the studio’s Motion Picture Group President, and Keith Le Goy, the studio’s Networks and Distribution President. Due to the combining of departments, we hear roughly 35 staffers were cut in the distribution and marketing units.
With the restructuring announced Tuesday, Andre Caraco is also exiting his post as co-president of Global Marketing after 30-plus years at Sony. A memo from Greenstein said Caraco “had committed to working with us on the marketing and distribution restructure before doing so,” adding that he “has been an incredible partner on this strategy. He has undoubtedly helped strengthen our capabilities in today’s radically changing landscape.”
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While studio brass have been considering this type of restructuring for some time, the pandemic further hastened that decision. The moves come as the Culver City, CA studio responds to viewers’ changing habits during the lockdown, and the need to respond to emerging release patterns by harnessing Sony’s collective expertise in marketing a title throughout its lifecycle across all platforms.
Stateside, all theatrical, home entertainment and television distribution marketing divisions will be brought together, while there will be a regional model for businesses abroad.
In the U.S., Sony’s new marketing group will be managed by Paul Noble and Danielle Misher, Co-Heads of Global Theatrical Marketing, along with Lexine Wong, Head of Global Multichannel Distribution Marketing. That trio will report into Greenstein and Le Goy.
Also reporting into Greenstein and Le Goy are Flory Bramnick, EVP Distribution for North America Television & Ad Sales; Jason Spivak, EVP Distribution for North America Television & Home Entertainment; Paul Littmann, EVP Distribution for Global; Adrian Smith, President, Domestic Distribution for Theatrical; Jamie Stevens, EVP Worldwide Consumer Products; and Jeffrey Godsick, EVP Brand Strategy and Global Partnerships (across all windows).
During the pandemic, Sony has delayed a bulk of its tentpole titles to 2021, i.e., Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Morbius, while unloading certain features to streaming such as TriStar’s Kristen Stewart-Mackenzie Davis romantic comedy Happiest Season to Hulu and the Tom Hanks World War II feature Greyhound to Apple TV. In their place, Sony has taken chances on the big screen with cinemas reopening with smaller independent titles, often in moderate or limited release, such as Broken Hearts Gallery, Yellow Rose, The Last Shift, Kid Detective, A Mermaid in Paris and The Last Vermeer. Sony’s has scheduled its next wide feature release, Monster Hunter, for December 30.
Caraco’s decision to leave Sony after helping with the restructure ends a career that included leading the studio’s national publicity team for a decade before serving as Co-President of Domestic Marketing and ultimately Co-President of Global Marketing. His campaigns have included Sony success stories including Spider-Man, Men in Black, Jumanji, Venom, James Bond, Moneyball, The Da Vinci Code, The Social Network, Zero Dark Thirty, American Hustle, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Little Women, District 9, Captain Phillips and others.
“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,” Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group president Tom Rothman wrote today to the staff in an email from Greenstein announcing his exit. “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.”
Said Caraco: “Exiting my job at Sony Pictures has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career. I’ve been fortunate to work with the best marketing and publicity team in the business – and with some of the most talented directors, producers, writers and actors in motion pictures. Throughout that time, I’ve not only experienced personal and professional growth but I’ve been witness to innovation in filmmaking, as well as business and cultural shifts that have been enormously influential across the globe. I truly wish all of my colleagues the very best for a bright and creative future!”
Below is Greenstein and Le Goy’s email to staff today outlining the changes:
We want to inform you of some important structural changes taking place in our marketing and distribution operations in Motion Pictures and Television. Moving forward, we will be combining our theatrical, home entertainment and television distribution marketing teams in the U.S. and adopting a regional model for both businesses internationally. 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.
The changes represent an important step in further integrating and streamlining our businesses across the studio and will strengthen our marketing and distribution capabilities in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.
In the U.S., our new centralized marketing group will be run by Paul Noble and Danielle Misher, Co-Heads of Global Theatrical Marketing, along with Lexine Wong, Head of Global Multichannel Distribution Marketing. Paul, Danielle and Lexine will now have a dual report to both of us and will handle marketing across all production labels.
Internationally, we will be combining our film marketing and distribution teams into the regional model that currently exists in our television distribution and networks business. Regional heads, who will be named shortly for Western Europe, CEEMA (Central, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa), Latin America and Asia Pacific will report to both Steven O’Dell, President International Distribution for MPG, and Mike Wald, EVP International Distribution and Networks. Country leaders in those territories will report into the respective regional head. Over the next several months, Mike and Steven will partner with the regional leaders to determine the most effective structure for their region. Steven and Mike will have a dual report to both of us.
The following leaders will also now have a dual report to both of us:
Flory Bramnick, Executive Vice President, Distribution for North America Television & Ad Sales
Jason Spivak, Executive Vice President, Distribution for North America Television & Home Entertainment
Paul Littmann, Executive Vice President, Distribution for Global
Adrian Smith, President, Domestic Distribution for Theatrical
Jamie Stevens, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Consumer Products
Jeffrey Godsick, Executive Vice President, Brand Strategy and Global Partnerships (across all windows)
Our own reporting lines will not change, but we will be working very closely together on these matters.
The company has considered for some time combining these operations to create better efficiencies and tighter collaboration among our teams. 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. Ultimately, these changes will better position us as a studio for when we come out of this pandemic.
With the consolidation, unfortunately some positions in the U.S. marketing and distribution teams have been eliminated. Those employees impacted have been notified and we sincerely thank them for their many excellent contributions.
We look forward to working with our teams and all of you over the coming days as we put these changes into action.
Josh and Keith