Dismissal notices have been sent to some top- and middle-level Columbia Pictures executives as the studio trims its staff in preparation for a merger with Tri-Star Pictures at the first of the year.
There was no official word Thursday on how many of the Burbank studio's executives were dismissed. However, one report indicated that at least 50 people were let go.
Among those leaving Columbia are Fred Bernstein, president of worldwide production; Stanley G. Robinson, senior production vice president, and publicist John C. Flinn, who served under several regimes at Columbia.
When Columbia Pictures and Tri-Star merge, the resulting entity will be called Columbia Pictures Entertainment, with the Columbia Pictures unit headed by Dawn Steel, who replaced David Puttnam. Puttnam bowed out after less than one year on the job after learning that he would have to answer to CPE President Victor Kaufman.
The dismissals were expected.