In Hollywood as in baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. We hear that the benighted CBS Films — which has produced nothing but bombs since it launched this year, including Extraordinary Measures, The Back-up Plan, and last weekend’s underperformer Faster — is sacking its chief operating officer, Bruce Tobey. We also hear that CBS Films president Amy Baer has brought in Lionsgate executive Wolfgang Hammer to right the ship.
Insiders tell us that Hammer — who acquired the Miley Cyrus comedy LOL and who also helped package Lionsgate’s forthcoming Taylor Lautner action-thriller, Abducted, will be charged with bringing greater flexibility to the studio’s productions. Until now, CBS Films sought to make films reflective of the audience of the CBS television network: mainstream, broad, down-the-middle fare.
It’s a surprising move for any Hollywood studio — usually, the standard operating procedure after a rafter of turkeys is to shoot your marketing chief out of a cannon, not your business guy — but somebody had to go.
In the meanwhile, Hammer, who’ll report to Baer, will oversee acquisitions, co-productions, business and legal affairs, as well as international distribution — something the Austrian-born exec knows plenty about, having previously worked at Media Rights Capital. A formal announcement is expected sometime tomorrow, after staff are informed of the change tonight.