7 months ago



The Business Executive Suite Steve Bersch The veteran film exec sounds off on the state of indie moviemaking, taking over Screen Gems and the surprising most profitable division at Sony By Tatiana Siegel It’s an impressive stat that comes with a small asterisk: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions president Steve Bersch, 61, runs the most profitable division within the studio. The caveat is that with just 20 employees, SPWA doesn’t carry the same overhead as, say, Columbia Pictures, given that it is not a releasing entity. Still, during his 10-year stint, SPWA boasts films such as Arrival, the Insidious franchise, Spotlight, Whiplash, Foxcatcher, Don’t Breathe and the upcoming Tom Hanks-starring RÉSUMÉ CURRENT TITLE President of Screen Gems and president of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions PREVIOUS JOB COO, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment BIG HIT The Insidious horror franchise’s four films have grossed $517 million worldwide Photographed by Michele Thomas Greyhound. On Jan. 19, Bersch’s purview expanded even further when he took the reins of Screen Gems following the announcement that Clint Culpepper was exiting after a 28-year run at the genre label. There was little time to celebrate considering that Bersch was busy negotiating a slew of deals on the ground at Sundance, where he acquired worldwide rights to the John Cho internet thriller Search for $5 million, and all international rights to Debra Granik’s drama Leave No Trace and ↑ Bersch, photographed Feb. 1 at his Culver City office on the Sony lot, says, “The job of acquisitions when you’re buying at the script stage is twofold: to predict execution and marketability.” the Nick Offerman-led Hearts Beat Loud. The company had previously nabbed a wide swath of international territories for Paul Dano’s directorial debut, Wildlife, which was well reviewed after its Sundance premiere. Bersch, a Berkeley grad (“I’m a longsuffering Cal fan”) and father of two, talked to THR about his busy festival, the most profitable SPWA film and Screen Gems’ future. GROOMING BY SU HAN AT DEW BEAUTY THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 38 FEBRUARY 7, 2018