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Sony Extends Studio Chief Calley's Contract

February 26, 2003|Claudia Eller | Times Staff Writer

In a move that was widely expected in Hollywood, John Calley extended his contract as chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment for two years.

Under the new agreement, the 72-year-old executive will remain with Sony Corp.'s Culver City-based studio through March 2005.

Earlier speculation saw Calley retiring in favor of Joe Roth, a film industry veteran whose Revolution Studios is affiliated with Sony Pictures. But Calley, who has run Sony's entertainment unit since 1996, made clear that he wished to remain on the job after having briefly considered retirement two years ago.

Last year, Sony Pictures set an industry record with $3 billion in worldwide box-office receipts from such blockbusters as "Spider-Man," "Men in Black 2," "Mr. Deeds" and "XXX." Helped by exploding DVD sales, the unit was a major contributor to the parent company's strong third-quarter earnings.

Roth's Revolution, of which Sony owns 7.5%, remains a major force at the studio. This year, the company will deliver 10 films, or nearly half of Sony's total release schedule.

Calley was unavailable for an interview Tuesday.

The executive joined Sony Pictures in 1996 after serving as head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Co.'s United Artists division, which he revitalized with such hits as "GoldenEye" and "The Birdcage."

Earlier, Calley was partnered with director Mike Nichols and produced films that included the Oscar-nominated "The Remains of the Day" and "Postcards From the Edge." From 1968 to 1981, he was a top executive at Warner Bros., after which he took a 13-year, self-imposed hiatus from Hollywood's executive ranks.

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