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Clint Culpepper out at Sony’s Screen Gems

Taraji P Henson
Taraji P. Henson stars as Mary in Screen Gems’ “Proud Mary.”
(Dana Starbard / CTMG)

Clint Culpepper, the longtime president of Sony Pictures’ Screen Gems label, is stepping down from his role at the studio, a company spokesman said Friday.

Culpepper has served as president of the Screen Gems division, focused on relatively low-budget comedies, horror movies and films focused on African American audiences, since 2001.

Under Culpepper, Screen Gems became best-known for profitable hits, including the “Think Like a Man” series, the “Resident Evil” franchise and “Don’t Breathe.” But the unit has recently struggled to consistently churn out hits. The company’s latest film, “Proud Mary,” starring popular actress Taraji P. Henson as a hitwoman, disappointed at the box office last weekend.

The shakeup is part of a broader consolidation of Screen Gems and Sony Pictures’ worldwide acquisitions business, which increasingly overlap, according to a person close to the company who was not authorized to comment. Steve Bersch, president of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, will take over for Culpepper, overseeing Screen Gems in addition to his current duties, the knowledgeable person said.

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As head of Worldwide Acquisitions, Bersch also oversees Sony’s low-budget production unit, Stage 6 Films, and faith-based division, Affirm Films. The acquisitions unit’s recent successes include the international release of “Arrival” and Blumhouse’s horror sequel “Insidious: The Last Key.”

In a memo to staff, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group Chairman Tom Rothman praised Culpepper’s long career at the studio and said the executive would continue his career at the company with a production deal.

“He has an indelible legacy, and I want to thank him for his years of extraordinary commitment to [Sony Pictures Entertainment],” Rothman said. “Luckily for us, he will still be a large part of our family, continuing to produce hit movies for Sony. Screen Gems is a vital part of the company and will continue to be so.”

Variety first reported Culpepper’s exit.

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ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

@rfaughnder


UPDATES:

3:05 p.m.: This article was updated with more information about Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.

This article was originally published at 1:30 p.m.


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