In an interesting twist/sign of descent into desperation, Sony Pictures has named Charles Sipkins, a PR crisis response expert, as its new head of communications. Sipkins previously worked at the Los Angeles office of Sard Verbinnen & Co., a firm famous for “helping to rehabilitate reputations of companies and executives that have been sullied by the press.”
Sony didn’t give The Hollywood Reporter much in the way of details, but that didn’t stop the magazine from editorializing a bit and guessing that this new, big-deal hire might have something to do with the fact that none of the studio’s would-be big-budget hits (After Earth, Elysium, White House Down) have connected with audiences this summer.
It’s probably no coincidence that Sipkins has a history working with “activist investor” Daniel Loeb of hedge fund Third Point, who has spent much of the summer blasting the studio’s “flops” and calling out management for a “complete lack of accountability and poor financial controls.”
No punches pulled, then. Sounds like someone bowed under pressure, no? Here’s Will Smith and family reacting to the news: