By David Poland



CULVER CITY, Calif., July 22, 2014 – Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the studio’s Chairman of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, announced today that he will leave Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) to pursue other opportunities effective August 1.

“I have had a great 22 years here at Sony Pictures and have worked for and with some amazing people,” said Blake. “I have tremendous respect for Michael and Amy, and I wish them and the great team at Sony nothing but the best.”

“I want to thank Jeff for his 22 years of loyal commitment and service to SPE,” said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “We are grateful for his incredible achievements and accomplishments. Jeff has had a unique ability to positively impact nearly everyone at the Company. We will miss him and wish him the best in the future.”

Commenting on the announcement, Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group said, “I have worked side-by-side with Jeff for more than two decades. He is the best partner anyone could ever want. We have benefitted greatly from his wisdom and genius. As sad as I am about his decision to leave, we all wish only the best possible things for him.”

During his tenure at SPE, Blake has helped the studio set many industry and companywide records. He led the marketing campaigns for all five Spider-Man films, the studio’s biggest franchise, which is now nearing $4 billion in box office revenue worldwide. The first Spider-Man film, in 2002, was the first film in the motion picture industry to reach $100 million in domestic box office in its opening weekend. The third Spider-Man film, in 2007, was the first film ever to open to more than $150 million domestically.

Blake was responsible for the launch of all of the films in the Men in Black and Robert Langdon franchises. He also oversaw the marketing and distribution of the three most successful films in the James Bond franchise, including Skyfall, which earned over $1.1 billion in box office gross globally and became the most successful film ever released in the United Kingdom. Blake led the campaigns for 15 films starring Adam Sandler, which together grossed more than $2.6 billion in worldwide box office, and 11 films starring Will Smith, which grossed more than $3.8 billion total in worldwide box office. In 2006, he set a new studio record for worldwide box office – a record he bettered in 2009 and again in 2012. Since 2000, he has been responsible for the launch of 94 #1 films.

Blake joined SPE in 1992, becoming President of Sony Pictures Releasing two years later. He has served as Vice Chairman of SPE since 2002 and as Chairman of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing and Distribution since 2005.

Prior to joining SPE, Blake worked at Paramount Pictures and the Walt Disney Company. He holds a B.A. in economics from Northwestern University and a J.D. from Whittier College of Law. Blake is a member of the California Bar Association.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

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~ David Simon