Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group Names Sanford Panitch President, Columbia Pictures

[Culver City, CA - June 3, 2016] Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) Motion Picture Group Chairman Tom Rothman today announced that Sanford Panitch will become President of Columbia Pictures. Panitch will replace Doug Belgrad who will segue from his post in July to a multiyear production and finance pact with the company. Panitch will continue to oversee the international local language production operation he has built since coming to Sony, and will report to Rothman.

"This is an exciting day," said Rothman. "We are moving forward to shape the new Columbia Pictures. I have worked with Sanford for over 15 years and my confidence in him is absolute. His big film background and international expertise fits exactly with our expanded global emphasis and ambitions. He is ready to go and Columbia, which has a burgeoning slate, will not miss a beat."

"I also want to once again thank Doug for all he has done for Columbia and congratulate him on his new venture," Rothman added. "To succeed with our strategy, we must have the very best creative suppliers in the business making films for us. I know without question Doug will be exactly that. We are delighted, and fortunate, to help turn his longtime dream into a reality."

"I am honored to be given the opportunity to help run one of Hollywood's most storied and iconic labels," said Panitch. "With the growth of International, the need to produce content with broad global appeal for Columbia Pictures has never been more important. For me there is no line between domestic and international, we are in a global industry. Doug is one of the great executives, and has been a fantastic colleague, and I am looking forward to continue to work with him during the transition and in his new company."

"Doug has been a trusted leader and I congratulate him on his new venture," said Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. "Doug knows this business inside and out and we are very happy he will be staying in the SPE family as a supplier. I also want to congratulate Sanford, whose expertise and overall approach to international markets is in lock-step with our industry's focus on global audiences. He will be great for Columbia."

Panitch joined SPE in June, 2015 as President of International Film & Television. Over the last nine months, Panitch has overseen a new International Production Group for SPE, the now vibrant division is producing local language film content in more than 10 countries including Japan, Korea, Mexico, UK, Spain, Germany, Brazil, India and China. Panitch currently oversees development, production, acquisitions, distribution, marketing, strategic planning and all business development of the International Production Group. There are currently 24 International Production films scheduled for release.

The company is also in pre-production on two Chinese films and distributing Hindi language films in India. Through Panitch, SPE also became the international distributor on Stephen Chow's Mermaid, China's highest grossing movie of all time which also broke records in Sony territories for Chinese language films.

Prior to joining SPE, Panitch was the founder and president of Fox International Productions, a division of 20th Century Fox. Before establishing the division, Panitch served as President of Filmed Entertainment at New Regency and was Executive Vice President of Production at 20th Century Fox where he was the executive on Titanic. In his various roles he has overseen films such Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Seven, Man on Fire, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Dr. Dolittle, Big Momma's House, Don't Say a Word, Fight Club, among many others.

Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group has an exciting slate to look forward to including Ghostbusters, Inferno, Magnificent Seven, The Dark Tower, Passengers, Spider-Man, The All-New Animated Smurfs, The Equalizer 2, Resident Evil, Baby Driver, Trainspotting 2, Jumanji and Blade Runner, to name a few.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to