Home Entertainment Warner Bros. executives Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy accept the PGA Milestone Award: “Go to the Mat for the Story and the Musicians They Trust,” they say. Mr. Ron Howard

Warner Bros. executives Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy accept the PGA Milestone Award: “Go to the Mat for the Story and the Musicians They Trust,” they say. Mr. Ron Howard

Warner Bros. executives Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy accept the PGA Milestone Award: “Go to the Mat for the Story and the Musicians They Trust,” they say. Mr. Ron Howard


Seven months after landing the coveted top jobs at Warner Bros Motion Picture studios, co-chairpersons Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy were bestowed with the PGA Milestone award Saturday night. The pair paid respect for their mega industry mentors; remembered emotionally their cinematic New York City and New Jersey youths; and gave a shoutout to their new boss, Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

“I see I’ve entered the twilight portion of my career where they start giving you body-of-work awards … sort of like getting that AARP mailer for the first time. Sorry to have dragged you into this, Pam. Pam is way younger than I am, as you can all see,” De Luca joked soon after taking the stage after Ron Howard’s warm introduction to the packed crowd at the Beverly Hilton.

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“As studio heads, they quietly revolutionized industry practices,” beamed Howard, who regaled how the twosome gave a “brave greenlight” for his Thai cave rescue movie Thirteen Lives at MGM as the industry was coming out of lockdown.

“Most ambitious and experienced directors want to work with them,” emphasized Howard. “They’ll go to the mat for the story and the artists they believe in.”

A reel showed highlights from both Abdy and DeLuca’s career: read Garden State, Revenant, Freedom Writers for Abdy, and Austin Powers, Dumb and Dumber, and more for De Luca. Garden State director Zach Braff in the reel shared how Abdy literally jumped in the pool to test the temperature during production, and to make it warmer for the actors got access to a oil truck that had hot water in it. David Fincher, who made Seven with De Luca at New Line, said the exec “saved my life.” Adam McKay, who made Anchorman with De Luca at DreamWorks, exclaimed, “He starts with the love of movies and the business follows.” Gina Prince-Bythewood, who made Love & Basketball at New Line, said that De Luca “believed in the script.” Said Creed III filmmaker and star Michael B. Jordan: “The two of them are a dynamic duo, they are legends.” Joker filmmaker Todd Philips, who is making the sequel at Warners, also expressed his gratitude to the duo.

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De Luca, who cut his teeth at New Line making such movies as the Austin Power franchise as well as early Paul Thomas Anderson films, recalled his childhood in New York City, watching Close Encounters at the Ziegfeld theater in Manhattan in 1978 (“the opening with that light and that big bass going off”) as well as Star Wars at the Loews Astor Plaza.  

He said he was “envious” (but in a good way) of young audiences who get that cinema feeling he received when he was younger, but with today’s films like Everything, Everywhere All at Once and Top Gun: Maverick.

He thanked the room: “Pam and I would be nowhere without artists like the ones who were in our reel an like the ones we worked with.”

“We’ve had the good fortune to be present when some filmmakers made their major debuts, and nothing is more exciting than being there to see a new artist start or grow their career.” 

“We’re passionate about new voices getting their shot as well,” added De Luca.

De Luca returned to current day at Warner Bros (he and Abdy took on the top motion picture jobs there in June) with a big thank you to Zaslav.  

“Thank you, David. It’s the job of a lifetime and we’d do it for free….ok not really, don’t get too excited – it’s a metaphor. Don’t get excited,” said De Luca, the Oscar nominated producer of The Social Network, Moneyball and Captain Phillips.  

Other shout-outs De Luca gave were to former New Line boss Bob Shaye (“gave me my first shot”); DreamWorks founders Steve Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg (“for teaching me how to dream big”); former Sony motion picture chief Amy Pascal (“for showing me what pure movie-love looks like as a business”); his Social Network and Captain Phillips producing partner Scott Rudin (“for teaching me what producing actually is”); Kevin Ulrich (“for caring about theatrical movie-going when it mattered most”); and Universal Entertainment Group Chairman Donna Langley (“for being the best friend and best example of a walking miracle who can do anything and everything better than anyone I’ve ever seen attempt anything.”)

It was at Uni where De Luca produced the mammoth, $1.3 billion-grossing adult franchise Fifty Shades of Grey.

Also regaling childhood cinematic memories, Abdy said: “I grew up in New Jersey, I didn’t know there was a place for me in the film business. I just didn’t see where I fit in. Then a teacher at Emerson College recommended a book to me about the amazing Dawn SteelIt was called They Can Kill You But They Can’t Eat You. And that was it – I found my path, I found my place.”

Abdy thanked that professor, David Roderick, as well as “Danny DeVito, Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg. You hired me as an intern and set me on my path. You taught me about great producing – to get to set first, leave last, and it must be on the page.” Howard mentioned in his intro that Abdy originally trained as a dancer, but a shattered foot, Steel’s book and an internship at Jersey Films changed everything.

“Sherry Lansing, Karen Rosenfelt, John Goldwyn, Tom Jacobson, Donald De Line and the late Alli Shearmur – rest in peace. You believed in me and taught me how to be a studio exec,” she added, as well as “Donna Langley, Mary Parent and Kevin Huvane for being in my corner since I was an assistant.”

And of course, De Luca and Zaslav.

“Huge thanks to David Zaslav for literally my dream job and your passion for movies and the business.  You are a great boss and leader,” Abdy said.

She called De Luca “my best friend and partner” and “a visionary.”

De Luca and Abdy are part of a great club in regards to previous PGA Milestone honorees, a list that includes George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, Louis B. Mayer, Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Bob Iger, Sherry Lansing, Clint Eastwood, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, James Cameron, Ted Sarandos, Donna Langley and more.



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