Elizabeth Gabler, the Fox film executive responsible for movies including Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” and “Hidden Figures,” is joining rival Sony Pictures.
Culver City-based Sony and HarperCollins Publishers on Monday said they have made a multiyear deal for Gabler to create films for the studio based on literary material. Gabler and her team will develop and produce movies based on books from, but not limited to, the HarperCollins catalog, the companies said.
Sony will have first right of refusal to release Gabler’s movies theatrically, but her new yet-to-be-named company also will be able to produce material for television and streaming platforms, the companies said. Financial details were not disclosed. Her new venture, co-financed by Sony and HarperCollins, will be based on the Sony studio lot.
Gabler previously was head of 21st Century Fox’s Fox 2000 label, which was known for such acclaimed movies as “The Fault in Our Stars,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Love, Simon” and “The Hate U Give.”
Walt Disney Co. acquired 21st Century Fox this year and, in a surprise move, decided to shut down the Fox 2000 label as it laid off Fox film staff. Disney’s studio leadership now oversees labels including Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight.
Disney committed to finishing the Fox 2000 films already underway, including “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” set for an August release. Disney has reportedly delayed the release of Fox 2000’s Amy Adams film “The Woman in the Window” for reshoots.
Gabler was long expected to join one of the studios now run by former Fox executives. Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures is run by former Fox film chief Jim Gianopulos, and Sony Pictures’ film group is led by ex-Fox studio boss Tom Rothman.
The new partnership with HarperCollins, the world’s second-largest consumer book publisher, and Sony should allow Gabler to continue to focus on projects in her sweet spot: ones that have a literary flair and commercial appeal.
In a statement, Rothman lavished praise on Gabler and HarperCollins president and chief executive Brian Murray, calling them “the gold standard at their respective jobs.”
“Let’s face it, no one makes more hits than Elizabeth,” he said. “Trust me, I know.”
In joining Sony, Gabler will be bringing with her employees from Fox 2000, of which she served as president since 1999.
“The only person I know who could have made this a reality with Brian is my mentor, friend and inspiration, Tom Rothman, and my team and I are deeply grateful for the opportunity to become part of the powerhouse that is Sony Pictures Entertainment,” Gabler said in a statement.