NewsWire: New Line production chief DeLuca out of a job - Reuters/Variety
New Line production chief DeLuca out of a job
Reuters - January 17, 2001
LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) - After a dismal 2000 when high-profile films like Adam Sandler's "Little Nicky" tanked at the box office, New Line Cinema production president Michael De Luca is out of a job, trade newspaper Daily Variety reported Wednesday.
A New Line spokesman was not immediately available to comment but the 35-year-old De Luca, once considered a wunderkind in the film business, has been rumored to be on the hot seat since "Little Nicky" debuted in November.
Expectations for the film had been high, but while its premiere weekend gross of $18.1 million proved to be a solid opening, the movie was panned by critics and audiences trailed off sharply after the debut.
Indeed, in mid-December, New Line parent AOL Time Warner Inc. warned of a shortfall in 2000's earnings, and in part blamed the performance of "Little Nicky" which at the time had taken in just under $40 million at domestic box offices.
De Luca joined New Line when he was only 19 years old and has spent all of his 16 years in the film business at the maker of low-to mid-budget movies known for being just on the edge of mainstream Hollywood.
He has been production president at the studio for the past eight years, with chief responsibility for approving films.
Over his years there, De Luca has been responsible for huge hits like the "Austin Powers" movies starring comedian Mike Myers and "The Mask" with Jim Carrey. He's also fostered the studio's relationships with cutting edge talent such as Paul Thomas Anderson, director of "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia."