Michael De Luca has been confirmed as the new head of production at DreamWorks Pictures, ending weeks of speculation as to whether the former New Line production chief would join the DreamWorks fold. De Luca reports directly to DreamWorks Pictures co-head Walter Parkes and studio principal Jeffrey Katzenberg.

De Luca takes over the post which had been temporarily filled by Katzenberg after Bob Cooper departed the studio in July 1999. He will be responsible for overseeing development and production of the studio's films as well as the day-to-day operations of the division.

De Luca left New Line in January this year a week after 120 staff at the company were let go as part of a company-wide restructuring. He was replaced by Toby Emmerich. De Luca had begun his career at New Line 16 years previously as an intern and had overseen New Line's run of hits throughout the 90s including The Mask, the Austin Powers films, Dumb And Dumber, The Wedding Singer, Rush Hour and Se7en. He also oversaw some of the studio's biggest flops - The Island Of Dr Moreau, Last Man Standing, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Town And Country and Little Nicky.

DreamWorks is currently enjoying what looks like it will be its biggest ever hit with Shrek; its comedy Evolution directed by Ivan Reitman opens next weekend, with Woody Allen's The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion, Steven Spielberg's AI (to which Warner Bros has worldwide theatrical distribution rights) and Rod Lurie's The Castle to come later in the year.