Movie producer Michael De Luca won’t be joining Paramount Pictures after all.
De Luca, the former Sony Pictures executive who produced “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the latest Oscars telecast, has rebuffed an offer to run the struggling Viacom Inc.-owned studio’s film division under Jim Gianopulos, according to people familiar with his plans.
Viacom has set its sights on Gianopulos to replace Brad Grey, Paramount’s former chairman and chief executive, who was ousted last month after a long stretch of financial troubles and box-office duds. De Luca was in contention for the top job but was courted for the the No. 2 studio position instead.
De Luca declined the position because he believed that it “wasn’t the right fit,” according to a person familiar with De Luca’s thinking who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. Paramount did not have an immediate comment.
That leaves Paramount in search of another executive to help rebuild the storied Melrose Avenue studio, which lost $445 million last year. Gianopulos, who ran 20th Century Fox Film for 16 years, emerged last week as the front-runner for the top job.
The idea was that Gianopulos would provide global industry know-how for the studio, while De Luca would serve as a much-needed creative force overseeing the company’s movie slate. Gianopulos, who is said to have secured a formal offer from the company, has not said whether he will accept the Paramount job.
Other people who have been considered for executive posts at Paramount include former Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairman Rob Friedman, film producer Scott Stuber and former Warner Bros. topper Jeff Robinov.
De Luca will continue in his role as a producer for Universal Pictures, which released “Fifty Shades of Grey” and last month’s sequel “Fifty Shades Darker.” De Luca joined Universal in 2015 after leaving his post as president of production for Sony’s Columbia Pictures banner. He has also held executive positions at New Line Cinema and DreamWorks.