Every year, Variety of Southern California honors an individual for his or her commitment to the causes and mission of Variety the Children’s Charity and the children we serve, as well as his/her position in the entertainment community.
The 2016 recipient of the Variety Heart of Show Business Award is Rory Bruer, President, Worldwide Distribution for Sony Pictures. Bruer is the consummate Sony Pictures Entertainment employee: he has spent his entire career in the motion picture industry at Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Sony Pictures Releasing.
He began as a studio mail boy at Columbia Pictures in 1977 and, a year later, he was given the opportunity to take on several training positions for his launch into distribution.
In 1980, the company transferred Bruer to New Orleans where he occupied various roles, including New Orleans Sales Representative. In 1983, he returned to Los Angeles to serve as Los Angeles Sales Manager, a position he held until 1986 when he transitioned to TriStar Western Division District Manager.
In 1994, his role as TriStar Western Division Manager was merged into Sony Pictures Releasing Western Division Manager. He held that post until 2000 when he was promoted to Executive Vice President, General Sales Manager for Sony Pictures Releasing.
The next step in his career would come in 2002 when Bruer would be elevated to President, Domestic Distribution SPR. His first film in that capacity was the worldwide blockbuster Spider-Man™. Bruer stated that the opening day of Spider-Man was “the best day in his professional career.” Spider-Man set a new Columbia Pictures box office record, one it held until the release of Spider-Man™ 3 in 2007. In 2008, he was promoted to his current role.
Since he began overseeing domestic distribution in 2002, Bruer has orchestrated the release of some of the studio’s biggest hits, including Spider-Man 1, 2 & 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2, the four most recent James Bond adventures (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre), The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Sausage Party, Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2, 21 and 22 Jump Street, The Equalizer, Heaven Is for Real, Grown Ups 1 and 2, This Is the End, Men in Black 3, Captain Phillips, American Hustle, 2012, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, The Smurfs, The Karate Kid, District 9, Salt, Hancock, Men in Black II, Hitch, and countless others. He is currently working on the distribution planning of such highly anticipated films as Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Dark Tower, Passengers, and Jumanji.
Bruer has been active in charity and philanthropic work his entire career, partnering with a number of organizations such as Variety – the Children’s Charity of Southern California. In January of 2005, he was named President of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. Two years later, he became Chairman. Bruer actively supports many other charities, including STEP, for which he serves as Chairman, and Habitat for Humanity.