When Sony Pictures hired Michael De Luca, a longtime film executive who had produced hits like The Social Network and Moneyball, to be co-president of production at its Columbia Pictures division last March, the studio announced that De Luca would share the job with Hannah Minghella, the former head of Sony Pictures Animation. As if to ward off gossip about the odd arrangement, the company assured industry onlookers that there was no tension between the two new co-presidents. "Together, Hannah and Mike will be a formidable team,” Doug Belgrad, the pair's new boss, told Deadline.
Now, documents appearing to show detailed pay information for Sony Pictures executives might contain a new source of drama: evidence that De Luca may be paid nearly a million dollars more than Minghella for essentially the same job.
According to a pay spreadsheet found in an apparent trove of internal documents from Sony Pictures, courtesy of an anonymous hacker group that put the documents on Pastebin earlier this week, De Luca is on target to earn $2.4 million (including bonuses) in 2014, while Minghella is on track to earn $1.6 million.
Minghella's "annual rate" as of October 21, 2014 was $850,000, according to the spreadsheet, significantly less than De Luca's $1.5 million base salary. The document says that Minghella, who joined Sony Pictures in 2005, is eligible to receive an additional $300,000 under the company's performance-based bonus plan, called Aspire, and various other bonuses. No Aspire bonus amount is listed for De Luca, perhaps because he only joined the company in March. Neither De Luca nor Minghella responded to requests for comment.
While I can't verify the authenticity of the spreadsheet's numbers – Sony Pictures still hasn't responded to my requests for comment – the seeming gap between De Luca's pay and Minghella's pay could raise questions about a gender disparity at Sony Pictures. (As I reported yesterday, 16 of the 17 Sony Pictures executives listed as having the highest base salaries are men.)
In most respects, Minghella (a star in her own right, who supervised hits like Zero Dark Thirty, the Jump Street franchise, and both Spider-Man films) and De Luca have received equal billing. In March, Minghella and De Luca spoke to the Wrap about rumors of a power struggle, and dismissed them. "While we're going to have our own individual slates, we're very much together making high-level decisions about the slate as a whole," Minghella said.
That partnership may get harder, if the pay discrepancy hinted at inside the leaked documents is legitimate. In any case, between the damage done to Sony Pictures' computer systems, the full-length movie leaks it's working hard to contain, and the damage to morale caused by all of these unwanted revelations, it's going to be a pretty uncomfortable next few weeks in Culver City.