Sony Pictures Entertainment has formed a joint venture with Tom Rothman, the former co-chairman of 20th Century Fox, in a deal that comes as the studio's parent company faces pressure to spin off its entertainment assets.
Mr Rothman – who left Fox recently after 18 years with the studio, a period when it released blockbusters such as Titanic and Avatar – will release up to four movies a year through Sony's Tri-Star label, according to several people familiar with the situation.
His imminent move to the Sony studio lot in Culver City comes as Daniel Loeb, the activist investor, is agitating for Sony to spin off its entertainment group, which includes the film and television studio and Sony's music company.
Mr Loeb's Third Point hedge fund has spent $1.1 billion building a stake in Sony of about 7 percent. In an investor letter this week he accused the company of treating the US entertainment assets as a "red-headed stepchild".