Acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg has replaced Michael Wright as chief executive of Amblin Partners as his production company struggles to find its footing in an increasingly challenging movie market.
Wright is leaving the company after three years, effective immediately, Los Angeles-based Amblin said Tuesday. Wright oversaw hits including “The Girl on the Train” and “A Dog’s Purpose,” but was faulted for being too slow to develop new projects at a time when production companies need robust film lineups to stay competitive, people close to the company said.
Amblin’s March release “Ghost in the Shell” was a big-budget flop, though that project was in the works long before Wright joined the firm.
After leaving Amblin, Wright will serve as an executive producer on two of the studio’s upcoming projects, the company said.
“I … want to express my gratitude to Michael for helping us launch our company and creating a strong foundation to build on in the future,” Spielberg said in a statement.
Wright joined with Spielberg in late 2014 as CEO of what was then known as DreamWorks Studios, replacing Stacey Snider. He came to DreamWorks from the television industry, having served as head of programming at Turner Broadcasting cable channels TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies.
He was not available for comment.
DreamWorks relaunched in 2015 as Amblin Partners, with backing from Participant Media, India’s Reliance Group and Canada’s Entertainment One. The company later secured an investment from Alibaba Pictures, the film arm of Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. Universal Pictures bought a minority stake in Amblin this year.
Jeff Small, who spearheaded the 2015 launch of Amblin Partners, will remain president and co-CEO of the company, overseeing its operations with Spielberg. Small was promoted last year after serving as president and chief operating officer since 2006.