Elizabeth Gabler Inks Content Deal With Sony Pictures Entertainment and HarperCollins (EXCLUSIVE)

Matt Donnelly and Brent Lang

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Elizabeth Gabler is joining Sony Pictures Entertainment in an innovative media deal that will see the veteran executive produce film and TV content based on HarperCollins books.

Gabler was the longtime steward of Fox 2000, which was shuttered after the Walt Disney Company acquired much of 21st Century Fox in March. She will bring her entire development team of Erin Siminoff, Marisa Paiva, Nikki Ramey and Molly Saffron to Sony at the end of August.

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Her yet-to-be-named company will be based on the Sony’s Culver City lot, and enjoy a first-look deal across platforms in a multiyear pact. Gabler will work with Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group chief Tom Rothman and HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray.

“For the past two decades our division has thrived by building a film slate based principally on adaptations of literary properties, both fiction and non-fiction,” Gabler said in a statement.  “We have always felt that HarperCollins is part of our family and it is now an honor and a privilege to create a true partnership with Brian Murray and his amazing global team. 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.”

Variety broke the news of Gabler’s deal and Sony later followed that story up with an official announcement. In a release, Rothman, who has been trying to bring Gabler over for years, called the executive and Murray “the gold standard at their respective jobs.” Years ago, Rothman was interested in having Gabler run TriStar, one of Sony’s film brands.

Since Disney took over Fox, the producer had been weighing a future with one of her former Fox bosses — Rothman at Sony or Jim Gianopulos at Paramount Pictures. One individual close to her negotiations said a factor in choosing Sony over Paramount was that Viacom, Paramount’s owner, is expected to propose recombining with CBS in the coming weeks. That will make publisher Simon & Schuster, a top Harper Collins rival, part of its corporate family. Gabler had originally been expected to continue her work at Disney, but the studio ultimately decided that her movies were not financially successful enough to fit their model. Disney has primarily been in the business of making major tentpole productions such as Marvel adventures, Star Wars sequels, or Pixar movies.

Gabler is known for risky and rewarding tastes, having produced original films like “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Life of Pi,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” and “Love, Simon” on her specialty label. Many of these movies are based on literary properties.

Disney will release several remaining Fox 2000 titles in the coming months, including “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” the Amy Adams and Gary Oldman thriller “The Woman in the Window” and the Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass film “News of the World.” All three are adaptations of HarperCollins titles.

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