Party Report: Miley Cyrus and Bill Murray Are New Drinking Buddies at George Clooney’s AFI Bash (Photos)

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George Clooney’s costars (like Cate Blanchett), pals (like Jennifer Aniston) and studio heads flooded the home of the Oscars to honor him with the AFI Life Achievement Award on Thursday.

Bill Murray and Miley Cyrus’ backstage party for two topped the social scene at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Three-and-a-half years in, George and Amal are still newlyweds, right?

Also Read: ‘Friends’ Reunion Will ‘Never’ Happen, But Ross and Rachel Are Still Together, Co-Creator Says (Exclusive)

Shirley MacLaine pulled an Adrien Brody. Clooney produced “The Graduate” spinoff “Rumor Has It” with MacLaine and…

Jennifer Aniston (far right) with Courtney Cox, Jimmy Kimmel head writer Molly McNearney, and Cindy Crawford posed together. Didn’t we just hear that that a “Friends” reunion was “never happening”?

Clooney’s close pal and Casamigos Tequila partner Rande Gerber was on the scene. Kimmel (here with Laura Dern backstage) plugged and chugged the pricey booze on stage. With Gerber and developer Mike Meldman, they sold the brand last year in a deal valued at up to $1 billion.

A billion is what Warner Bros. would love to get out of Cate Blanchett’s “Ocean’s 8,” which opened the morning after. The studio heads hanging with Blanchett, Paramount’s Jim Gianopulos and Sony’s Tony Vinciquerra, probably have other ideas.

Also Read: ‘Ocean’s 8’ Film Review: Sandra Bullock and Her Female Crew Idle Amiably in Heist Farce

The Entourage: AFI CEO Bob Gazzale (glasses) and Clooney’s long time publicist and body man Stan Rosenfield keep it close.

Attention “Ghostbusters” and “Meatballs” fans: there is a geek meltdown in progress over Murray and director Ivan Reitman just casually hanging out nearly 40 years later.

There will be a lot more speeches and montages and a lot less of the fun table hopping (with “Ocean’s 11” costar Don Cheadle) when TNT airs the show as a 90-minute special on TNT on June 21.

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Sony Honchos Rally the Troops at All-Hands Meeting (EXCLUSIVE)

Read on: Variety.

Fresh off the box-office success of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” Sony honchos — chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra, studio chief Tom Rothman and newly-installed TV chief Mike Hopkins — held an all-hands meeting Thursday to talk about how Sony is positioning itself in the era of studio consolidation and fierce competition from streaming giants. […]

Sony Sale Speculation Returns – But Can Japan Let Go of Reborn Studio?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Buzz about the possible sale of Sony Entertainment resurfaced this week after news of their major leadership changes  — but the Japanese company won’t likely catch the media consolidation fever gripping Hollywood, industry experts told TheWrap.

Unlike recent splashy deals — AT&T scooping Time Warner, Disney swallowing most of Fox and the recombination of CBS and Viacom — Sony is likely to hold on to its content and distribution engines as its current CEO Kazuo Hirai steps down in April.

“It would be a slap in the face to sell this company right now. They just got back on their feet,” said one movie producer with several projects on the lot. Sony stock closed six points above average over sale speculation after Hirai announced his resignation.

Also Read: Viacom and CBS Are Seeking to Merge, Insiders Say (Exclusive)

Sony Entertainment has never looked better, especially after an almost insurmountable climb back from the studio’s 2014 hack. The cyberattack’s leak of personnel documents and executive emails scandalized the studio.

Hirai and his then-CEO Michael Lynton stabilized the company, installed Tom Rothman to run the motion picture group and did their best to maintain the success of its TV production business. Lynton was replaced last January by veteran executive Tony Vinciquerra, who seemed to have inherited a brand-new company.

After some devastating losses, Sony Pictures successfully remounted the Spider-Man franchise with the help of Marvel Films. New Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson franchise “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is defying expectations and nearing $850 million at the worldwide box office. Out of nowhere, Rothman also secured distribution rights to the next Quentin Tarantino film about the Manson murders.

“They’ve got a hit with ‘Jumaji,’ prestige with Tarantino, and Spider-Man is working again,” the producer said. “The cylinders are all firing.”

Sony Pictures posted $96 million in operating profit for its last quarter, starkly contrasting with the same period last year when the studio took a $920 million write-down.

Also Read: Massive Playstation Sales, ‘Jumanji’ Power Sony to Record-Setting Third Quarter

Two weeks ago, Vinciquerra himself said he had no interest in  a potential sale, but growth was a concern.

“If we don’t grow, we will be somebody’s purchase,” the executive said at January’s NATPE Conference in Miami. “I didn’t take the job to do it for a year and sell the company.”

That decision, however, now belongs to acting CFO and incoming CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, who in his succession announcement in Tokyo on Friday stressed “an urgent need for change” and that Sony’s “position in the global market is very different to where it was 20 years ago.”

But the very culture of Sony, according Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management CEO Ross Gerber, would prohibit any swift action.

“The number-one barrier to spinning off stuff or doing anything bold is that it’s a Japanese company. They care about different things than shareholder value … people keeping their jobs, for example. The minute you sell off a division, people are going to lose their jobs. It’s not that simple in Sony’s mind,” Gerber said.

Also Read: Sony CEO Kaz Hirai Steps Down

Not that it wouldn’t be smart.  Jason Squire, editor of “The Movie Business Book” and Associate Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, said that in selling, “Sony’s own exposure is reduced. Simply because the environment today for theatrical movies is increasingly intense and competitive. This is because Disney and Warner seems to be ahead of the pack.”

Squire said tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Netflix would be natural buyers, as all are still trying to find footing and infrastructure in show business. Gerber added that Apple already poached two top Sony Pictures Television executives last summer — Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg — so why not complete the set?

“Taking over Sony Pictures, if that was possible, it would be a great move for Apple because they would have more content to add onto Apple TV or whatever it wants to do with it. That’s the only player I see out there,” Gerber said.

There’s also the question of Sony Music — a profitable division that’s an artist developer, distributor and publishing entity in one. Purview of that company was removed from the Sony Entertainment CEO role after Lynton left, and handed to New York-based exec Ron Stringer.

After Hirai’s big news on Friday, Sony reported Q3 revenue of $23.6 billion. Sales jumped 11.5 percent from the same period last year, while its earnings spiked 1,400 percent year-over-year — and that’s not a typo — thanks to the Playstation 4 unit, music and content.

Umberto Gonzalez contributed to this report. 

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Sony CEO Kaz Hirai Steps Down

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Kaz Hirai, President and CEO of Sony since 2012, is resigning his post and will be replaced by Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida, the company announced Thursday night.

Yoshida will assume his new role effective April 1. Hirai will transition to a chairman emeritus position.

The 57-year-old Hirai presided over Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton in 2014, when the company suffered the worst cyberattack in U.S. corporate history — a hacking scandal that saw thousands of personnel records and damaging emails from executives released.

Also Read: Sony Pictures CEO Admits Need to Grow Studio Amid ‘Floodgates’ of Big Media Mergers

It’s unclear what immediate effect the leadership change will have on the company’s American assets — which were rumored to be up for sale last year, when Lynton stepped down and Tony Vinicquerra came on board to manage the film and TV groups.

Control of Sony Music was removed from the purview of the Sony Entertainment CEO role. That group is now managed by Rob Stringer, who recently assumed the job from longtime executive Doug Morris.

Sony has essentially rebounded after a long and troubled road back from the hack. Thanks to the blockbuster success of “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” big-screen TV and video game sales the company posted $18.2 billion in earnings last quarter. Sony Pictures specifically posted a 140 percent gain year-over-year with $68 million in operating income.

The film unit is enjoying unexpected staying power with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” — a family franchise reboot that is currently at $340 million domestic after nine weeks in release. Sony Pictures, run by Tom Rothman, also baffled industry watchers by landing the new Quentin Tarantino film following the director’s separation from the disgraced Harvey Weinstein. The project surrounds the Manson Murders and will star Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio.

A spokesperson for Vinciquerra did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Also Read: Sony Pushes ‘Barbie’ Release Date to May 2020

In a statement, Sony said it was Hirai who proposed stepping down as CEO; Sony’s Board of Directors approved the plan at a meeting held earlier Thursday.

“Ever since my appointment as President and CEO in April 2012, I have stated that my mission is to ensure Sony continues to be a company that provides customers with kando – to move them emotionally – and inspires and fulfills their curiosity,” Hirai said in a statement. “To this end, I have dedicated myself to transforming the company and enhancing its profitability, and am very proud that now, in the third and final year of our current mid-range corporate plan, we are expecting to exceed our financial targets.”

“And,” Hirai’s statement continued, “it excites me to hear more and more people enthuse that Sony is back again. As the company approaches a crucial juncture, when we will embark on a new mid-range plan, I consider this to be the ideal time to pass the baton of leadership to new management, for the future of Sony and also for myself to embark on a new chapter in my life.”

Hirai also said in his statement that Yoshida “has supported me closely since returning to Sony in December 2013, contributing extensively beyond his remit as CFO and acting as valuable confidant and business partner, as we took on the challenge of transforming Sony together.”

“As Chairman, I will of course offer my full support to Mr. Yoshida and the new management team, and do all I can to facilitate a smooth transition and ensure their future success.” Hirai’s statement concluded.

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Sony Pictures Chief Tony Vinciquerra On Merger Scenarios, #MeToo And The Road Back From The Hack — NATPE

Read on: Deadline.

Sony Pictures boss Tony Vinciquerra said while he talks regularly with CBS chief Leslie Moonves, the two have not talked specifically about a merger, despite rumors to the contrary.
Even so, he said, “The thing that keeps me up at night is, we have to have scale. We’re a really tiny company” compared with tech giants. “If they want to step on us, they can.” He added, “If we don’t grow, we will be somebody’s purchase.” Moreover, ” I didn’t take the job to do it for a year…

Sony Pictures CEO Admits Need to Grow Studio Amid ‘Floodgates’ of Big Media Mergers

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra said the company has reached its moment of truth: it’s time to grow or be bought out, per media reports of his conversation at the NATPE conference in Miami on Wednesday.

“If we don’t grow, we will be somebody’s purchase,” said Vinciquerra. “I didn’t take the job to do it for a year and sell the company.”

Vinciquerra told moderator Soledad O’Brien mergers will continue to rise among entertainment giants, and Sony has to be expand if it doesn’t want to become another acquisition.

Also Read: ‘Jumanji’ Poised to Repeat as Box Office Champ

“There are six major film studios right now, and in a few years there will be three or four,” continued Vinciquerra. “There are hundreds of TV studios. And there will still be a ton, but there will be a few big ones and many small, specialized ones.”

The exec — who took over for Michael Lynton last year — denied a potential merger with CBS, but said partnerships with other companies are a possibility. He pointed to the stalled $85 billion deal between AT&T and Time Warner as a major indicator of where the industry is headed.

“Repercussions of the deal going through are that it will open the floodgates to other mergers,” he said. “If it doesn’t happen, I think people will be forced to think about how to make things happen on a more creative scale.”

Also Read: Turner CEO John Martin ‘Hopeful’ Time Warner-AT&T Merger Will Go Through

The 45 minute discussion was Vinciquerra’s first extended conversation since taking the reins last June. Vinciquerra touted the recent success of “Jumanji,” and “Spider-Man” when talking about the company’s performance at the box office. He added the 2014 hack by North Korean cybercriminals was “still reverberating around the lot,” and that he has to think “more deeply” about the projects Sony pursues.

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Steve Mosko in Talks to Join Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Former Sony Pictures Television head Steve Mosko is in negotiations to join Jeff Robinov’s production company Studio 8.

Set up on the Culver City, Ca. Sony Pictures lot that Mosko used to call home, Studio 8 would welcome Mosko as movie producer Robinov’s counterpart in the TV space, multiple individuals familiar with the talks told TheWrap.

The well liked and hard-charging Mosko exited SPE in June 2016, after contract discussions with then-Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton broke down. His dearture made waves after nearly 25 years on the lot.

Also Read: Steve Mosko Goes Shopping: Tribune Media Tops on His List (Exclusive)

While Sony Pictures will distribute Studio 8 films like Kodi Smitt-McPhee’s “Alpha” and Matthew McConaughey’s “White Boy Rick” this year, their first-look deal is up for renewal toward the end of 2018, the insiders said. It’s unclear if the company would stick around, though Lynton has long since departed as SPE CEO and has since been replaced by Tony Vinciquerra.

It’s safe to say Mosko has had his pick of opportunities, including a possible acquisition of embattled Tribune Media that Mosko engaged Moelis & Co.and Guggenheim Partners in, TheWrap exclusively reported at the time.

Robinov formed Studio 8 after a long run at Warner Bros., where he departed in 2013 as Warner Bros. Picture Group President. The company was a minority investor in the Sony-distributed Ange Lee film “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”

News of the Mosko discussions was first reported by Variety.

Bob Iger, Kathleen Kennedy Form Hollywood Sexual Misconduct Commission Chaired by Anita Hill

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Hollywood top executives — including Disney CEO Bob Iger, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and WME’s Ari Emanuel — have formed and are funding a special commission to combat sexual misconduct in the industry.

The commission is chaired by Anita Hill, who made headlines with sexual harassment accusations against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during Thomas’ confirmation hearings in the early 1990s.

“We will be focusing on issues ranging from power disparity, equity and fairness, safety, sexual harassment guidelines, education and training, reporting and enforcement, ongoing research, and data collection,” said Ms. Hill in a late Friday statement. “It is time to end the culture of silence. I’ve been at this work for 26 years. This moment presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to make real change.”

Also Read: Did Minnie Driver Drag Matt Damon Over Sexual Misconduct Comments?

Dubbed The Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, it also includes members Bryan Lourd, Co- Chairman, Creative Artists Agency; Jeff Shell, Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; Jim Gianopulos, Chairman/CEO, Paramount; Leslie Moonves, Chairman/CEO. CBS Corp.; Carol Lombardini, President, Alliance Motion Picture and Television Producers; and Chris Silbermann, Founding Partner, ICM Partners, among others. (See full list below). 

The Commission aims to “lead the entertainment industry toward alignment in achieving safer, fairer, more equitable and accountable workplaces — particularly for women and marginalized people,” according to a statement obtained by TheWrap. The goal is “to tackle the broad culture of abuse and power disparity.”

“The Commission will not seek just one solution, but a comprehensive strategy to address the complex and inter-related causes of the problems of parity and power,” Kennedy said. “The fact that so many industry leaders–across film, television, music, digital, unions, agencies, ATA, AMPAS, television academy and guilds–came together, in one room, to explore solutions speaks to a new era.”

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The commission will reconvene immediately after the first of the year.

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal, women and men alike have been more vocal about speaking out against unwanted sexual advances and contact. And Hollywood and media figures have been at the center of the storm of news coverage for several weeks, now. The accusations have been many, and the reaction and fallout has been swift across the industry.

See the full list of committee members here:

Ari Emanuel, Co-Chair, William Morris Endeavor; Bob Iger, Chairman/CEO, Disney; Bryan Lourd, Co-Chairman, Creative Artists Agency; Carol Lombardini, President, Alliance Motion Picture and Television Producers; Chris Silbermann, Founding Partner, ICM Partners; David Young, Executive Director, Writers Guild of America; Dawn Hudson, CEO, Academy Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences; Gabrielle Carteris, President, Screen Actors Guild / AFTRA; Jeff Blackburn, SVP Business Development, Amazon; Jeff Shell, Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; Jeremy Zimmer, CEO, United Talent Agency; Jim Gianopulos, Chairman/CEO, Paramount; Karen Stuart, Executive Director, Association of Talent Agents; Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman/CEO, Warner Bros; Maury McIntyre, President/COO, Television Academy; Mike Miller, 4th International VP/Dept. Director, Motion Picture & TV Production/IATSE; Russ Hollander, Executive Director, Directors Guild of America; Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Group; Susan Sprung, Associate Executive Director, Producers Guild of America; Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix; Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman/CEO, Sony; Julie Greenwald, Chairman/COO, Atlantic Records; Leslie Moonves, Chairman/CEO. CBS Corp., Neil Portnow, President, Recording Academy NARAS.   

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SPE Boss Talks “Opportunities” Stemming From Pending “Sea Change” Disney-Fox Deal, Vows To Grow Company, Not Sell

Read on: Deadline.

While expected for a while, the official announcement today of a proposed $52.4 billion Disney acquisition of prime 21st Century Fox assets no doubt is creating anxiety at the other big entertainment companies, which are suddenly being dwarfed by the new Disney, which would combine two major film studios and two TV ones, in addition to a host of other entities.
Likely to assuage concerns, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO  Tony Vinciquerra today sent an internal memo…

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins Jumps to Become Sony Pictures TV Chairman

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins is leaving to become Sony Pictures TV chairman, opening the door for Hulu board member Randy Freer to run the streaming service.

Hopkins, who has been atop Hulu since 2013, will take Steve Mosko’s old, vacant gig. Mosko left Sony last year after two dozen years with the company.

Freer, who will soon run things at Hulu from Los Angeles, was president and chief operating officer of Fox Networks Group for the past four years. He ran Fox Sports Media Group before FNG.

Also Read: ‘Casual’ to End on Hulu After Season 4

At Sony, Hopkins will oversee all television production, distribution and marketing operations globally for the studio, as well as SPE’s media networks business, per the company. Sony counts “The Goldbergs,” “S.W.A.T.,” “Shark Tank,” “Outlander,” “Better Call Saul” and a bunch of game shows among its current TV series.

Hopkins’ late-November move will also bring about a change at Sony Pictures Entertainment’s (SPE) TV business hierarchy. Going forward, the heads of Sony Pictures Television’s domestic and international TV production, distribution, advertiser sales and research, marketing and Sony Pictures Worldwide Networks will now report to Hopkins. He’ll report to Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of SPE.

Prior to Hopkins’ years at Hulu, he was president of Distribution for Fox Networks.

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Semiconductors Power Sony to Strong Q1, Studio Loses $86 Million

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Strong growth across its multiple business segments, particularly semiconductors, helped Sony report first-quarter earnings that blew past expectations, but its studio continues to lose money.

Late Monday Los Angeles time, Sony reported revenue of $16.6 billion and earnings of 56 cents a share for the three months ended June 30, which the company classifies as its fiscal first quarter. That was well ahead of the $14.9 billion in revenue and earnings of 15 cents a share Sony hauled in during the same period last year. It also topped analyst estimates, which were revenue of $15.2 billion in revenue and earnings of 48 cents a share.

Big quarters from business segments like semiconductors, which increased its revenue 41 percent, and imaging products, whose sales grew 27 percent, should help take pressure off Sony’s film studio in what remains a challenging time on its Culver City lot. Since it last reported earnings, Sony has brought on a new studio chief, tapping former Fox TV executive Tony Vinciquerra to replace Michael Lynton, who left to focus on his duties as chairman of Snapchat parent Snap Inc. And while the pictures division had its revenue jump 13 percent compared with the first quarter last year, driven by strong TV sales, it still lost 9.5 billion yen (about $86 million dollars), making it the company’s only unprofitable segment.

Also Read: Sony Pictures TV Names Jeff Frost President, Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter Co-Presidents

And while Sony had a couple notable summer box office successes with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Baby Driver,” it’s still in fifth place among all major studios with 8.2 percent market share through July 23. To further complicate matters, Texas private equity firm Lone Star’s LStar Capital backed away from a $200 million slate financing deal with the studio earlier this month, as TheWrap exclusively reported. Its TV division also took a major blow, losing Sony Pictures Television Presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to Apple last month.

However, the studio looks to have better days ahead, starting with “Spider-Man’s” success — the film has reeled in nearly $634 million worldwide since its July 7 release. Earlier Monday, Sony announced that it had acquired a majority stake in anime distributor Funimation in a deal that valued the company at about $150 million and gives it some of the genre’s most popular titles, including “Dragon Ball Z”, “Cowboy Bebop” and “My Hero Academia.”

Investors are also giving the larger company a vote of confidence: Sony’s stock is up 47 percent year-to-date.

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Sony Pictures TV Names Jeff Frost President, Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter Co-Presidents

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has named Jeff Frost as president of Sony Pictures Television Studios (SPT), the company announced on Monday. Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter have been selected as co-presidents.

Together, the three individuals will comprise a new “Office of the President” to oversee all domestic production and programming. This follows Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg stepping down as SPT presidents last month to head for Apple.

Frost was previously executive vice president of U.S. business affairs for SPT. He joined Sony in 2008 from ABC Studios, where he was senior vice president of business affairs for traditional production and digital media.

Also Read: Why Sony, LStar Movie Finance Deal Fell Apart: Flops, ‘Ghostbusters’ and Feet on Desk (Exclusive)

Parnell and Clodfelter joined SPT in 2003 and 2006, respectively. They both served as executive vice president of U.S. drama development and programming at SPT.

“Jeff, Chris and Jason are the perfect team to run our U.S. television business,” Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra said in a statement Monday. “Over the last several weeks, I have been able to see firsthand the strong leadership qualities possessed by Jeff, Chris and Jason, the high energy and vitality of everyone in their groups and throughout SPT, and the outstanding collaboration that exists between them all.”

Also Read: Apple Hires Sony Pictures TV Chiefs Jamie Erlicht, Zack Van Amburg to Oversee Video Programming

Frost said in a statement that he is “thrilled” about his new role and is “honored to work with some of the most talented and creative individuals and teams in the business.”

“I am particularly excited about working with Chris and Jason,” he continued. “The landscape of our business continues to rapidly evolve, and SPT is in an ideal position to take advantage of industry shifts due to our diversity of programming and ability to air across a broad array of broadcast, cable and digital platforms. We have had great success over the past 10 years, and I look forward to working with the team to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead.”

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More Sony Drama! $200 Million Movie Financing Deal On Thin Ice (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Texas-based LStar Capital, a subsidiary of private equity company Lone Star Funds, has pulled the plug on its $200 million slate financing deal with Sony Pictures, multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation have told TheWrap.

LStar, which has been a financing partner on about 30 Sony films since closing its slate deal in 2014, has stopped making new contributions to the fund after suffering a series of box-office flops such as “The Brothers Grimsby,” “Concussion” and “Passengers,” according to one individual with knowledge of the situation.

It’s unclear how much the company has already invested in the fund and how much more was expected.

The withdrawal of new funding comes after LStar engaged advisers earlier this year to sell its Sony library to cover some of its losses on the 25 percent equity stake in the studio’s films, according to two individuals familiar with the move.

Also Read: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’: How Big Box Office Debut Still Trailed Tobey Maguire’s Original

The size of those losses is not known but insiders say the value of LStar’s Sony library has been diminished greatly in value — not great news for Sony, which owns the other 75 percent equity in the titles.

And no new investors have stepped up in the two months since the deal has been shopped, deterred in part by the absence from the fund of one of the studio’s rare box office hits — this month’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which LStar did not finance — according to another individual who said LStar’s fund has been one of the worst performing film-financing funds of all time.

LStar did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment. Benjamin Waisbren, a Chicago attorney who brokered the LStar-Sony deal, also did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Sony declined to comment.

Also Read: What Does Sony $1 Billion Write-Down Mean?

Another individual familiar with the deal said LStar fulfills their 25 percent obligation on a per-film basis, and has until next week to onboard Sony’s next release “The Emoji Movie.”

The $50 million animated text icon project hits July 28, and Sony is not sweating the minority investment should it not come through, the insider said.

LStar pulled out of another Sony movie that disappointed at the box office, last summer’s disappointing big-budget reboot of “Ghostbusters.” The finance company’s most successful Sony film was the animated “Hotel Transylvania 2,” which reeled in $473 million worldwide in 2015.

Sony hasn’t been devoid of other hits — “Spider-Man: Homecoming” has grossed nearly $300 million worldwide since its July 7 release and the TriStar division’s “Baby Driver” has zoomed to $77 million globally on an estimated $24 million budget — but neither of those films were financed by LStar.

Also Read: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Spins $117 Million Opening Weekend

LStar’s move is a blow to Tom Rothman, who took over for Amy Pascal as chairman of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group in February 2015 and has weathered a series of box office misfires. In January, the studio’s parent company took a $962 million write-down on its production and distribution unit.

“Rothman has a real problem,” a finance executive with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap. “Performance at the studio continues to be terrible under his leadership, and ‘Spider-Man’s’ recent success is attributed to Marvel, not Tom. No one wants to fund risk there, and LStar pulling the plug early is terribly embarrassing. Even worse, the debacle devalues the price someone would pay for Sony’s film unit, if it were for sale — something corporate executives in Japan are very concerned about.”

The studio’s other films in development include a live-action “Barbie” movie, Tom Hardy’s “Venom” and “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” a sequel to 2011’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

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New Sony Pictures Chief Tony Vinciquerra Brings New Media Skills and a Steady Hand

New Sony Pictures Chief Tony Vinciquerra Brings New Media Skills and a Steady Hand

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

For most moguls, six years outside of Hollywood’s executive suite could mean the end of an entertainment industry career. But new Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra spent his time on the outside learning exactly the skills he needs to ensure the embattled company’s survival.

As a senior advisor to TPG Capital — whose portfolio companies include disruptors Uber and Airbnb — Vinciquerra returns to the Hollywood C-suite with decades of content and distribution experience. But he’s also gained insight into the emerging business models the company needs to innovate,  insiders told TheWrap.

And he has the unflappability Sony needs now, they said.

Also Read: Tony Vinciquerra to Replace Michael Lynton as Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman, CEO

The former chairman of Fox Networks Group has been a front runner to replace Michael Lynton as Sony Pictures’ CEO since early spring. A handshake deal was reached last Friday and the 61-year-old Vinciquerra tucked in to his weekend making calls to free himself from conflicts presented by his TPG role, one insider familiar with the negotiations told TheWrap.

Those include his seat on the board of Bob Simonds’ STXFilms — a spot he’ll rescind amicably, the individual said. He also holds advisory roles at media companies Machinima, Univision and Pandora.

“I was surprised,” said a former top Fox executive who worked with Vinciquerra, who didn’t expect him to come back to the day-to-day stress of running a studio. “He’s still a very relevant executive who has seen what the new entertainment economy looks like.”

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Walt Disney International Chairman Andy Bird and current Fox Networks Chairman Peter Rice had reportedly been floated as candidates, but none emerged as confidently as Vinciquerra to replace Lynton, who assumed the role in 2004 and nursed the studio through its darkest hour, a 2014 hack by North Korea that President Obama called the worst in American corporate history.

Here’s what Vinciquerra is inheriting: a busy TV division run by Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who stepped in for the bullish and charismatic Steve Mosko last year. Both have expired, unrenewed deals, an insider on the lot said.  Then there’s the motion picture group, still struggling to find footing under Vinciquerra’s old Fox colleague, Tom Rothman.

Rothman’s own deal is up in 2018, the individual said. Vinciquerra will not make any abrupt staff changes when he takes Lynton’s office, multiple Sony insiders said, though he’ll closely study the lines of business.

“Tony is a very even-keeled, thoughtful guy with an enormous background on all things distribution, and a lot of experience in managing creatives as well,” said the former Fox executive, who, like other insiders quoted in this story, spoke on condition of anonymity. “He always gave creatives leeway to do things, but also instilled a sense of fiscal discipline.”

Vinciquerra’s reputation as a custodian of the books was likely a big factor in his landing the job. Sony’s film studio hasn’t placed higher than fourth in market share since 2012 and finished fifth last year, just 0.3 percent higher than sixth-place Paramount, despite releasing 7 more movies during the year.

Expensive misfires like “Ghostbusters,” which grossed just $230 million worldwide on an estimated $144 million budget, contributed to the studio’s 4 percent dip in revenue between its 2016 and 2017 fiscal years – a time when Disney was setting box office records. Earlier this year, Sony took a nearly $1 billion writedown tied to its pictures division when it lowered future profit forecasts.

Sony has had some hits — earlier this year, Screen Gems’ “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” made $312 million worldwide on a $40 million budget. (But $160 million of that was in China where box office splits are much less favorable to studios.) Its upcoming slate appears mixed: “Spider-Man: Homecoming” should be a reliable draw, but “The Dark Tower” and “The Emoji Movie” are riskier bets. Scarlett Johansson’s “Rough Night” should work.

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The former Fox exec said Rupert Murdoch’s empire was known for its watchful financial eye, and Vinciquerra’s training in that environment could help Sony tighten its belt on the TV side, as well. He said when he was at Fox, he remembers Sony’s TV deals being “incredibly rich.”

“Fox is one of the most financially disciplined companies,” he said. “Anyone that came from Fox sat in front of Rupert Murdoch. You need to know your s— and know it very well. There’s sort of a discipline you find at Fox that you won’t find at any other company.”

Furthermore, Vinciquerra’s steady hand — the former Fox exec said he’d never seen the new SPE boss lose his cool when faced with adversity — should be an asset at a studio that’s still recovering from the hack.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Tony Vinciquerra to Replace Michael Lynton as Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman, CEO

Antoine Fuqua Sets First-Look Deal With Sony, Includes ‘Equalizer 2’

Sony Reports Soft Q4, Full-Year Earnings as Foreign Exchange and Film Writedown Take Toll

Sony Update: New Candidate Emerges In Former Fox Exec Tony Vinciquerra

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: With Jim Gianopulos getting closer to a deal to run Paramount and the town all abuzz with who might come into the vice-chair role below him, we are hearing a bit more about the Sony Pictures’ executive job with a new candidate now emerging in Tony Vinciquerra, a highly capable executive and the senior advisor for technology, media and telecom sectors at TPG Capital.
He, of course, is also the former chairman of Fox Networks Group with a history rich in…