Former Fox Executive Tom Rothman Takes Top Job at Sony Pictures
Even though Sony Pictures has a lot to be happy about following their new deal to share Spider-Man, with Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige producing a new franchise for the webslinger, the studio is still recovering from a rough end to 2014. Sony Pictures was the victim of a major cyber attack that saw many embarrassing and revealing things revealed in private company documents and e-mails. Once the dust settled on the debacle, which included the threatened release of The Interview, the studio's longtime co-chair Amy Pascal stepped down from her position. And now a replacement has been found, but it doesn't sound good.
Variety reports it will be Tom Rothman, a former 20th Century Fox executive and currently head of the revived TriStar Productions, who will take Pascal's job as head of Sony's Motion Picture Group. Rothman is best known for his time spent at 20th Century Fox, where he worked for 18 years in their feature film division. Rothman was responsible for founding Fox Searchlight, one of the first specialty film divisions specializing in awards contenders and indie films. In addition, he worked as president of prouction from 1996 to 1998 and followed that up with time spent as president of of 20th Century Fox Film Group.
While Rothman was at Fox, he had his hand in many successes including the X-Men franchise, the Ice Age film series, Cast Away, Walk the Line, Slumdog Millionaire, The Devil Wears Prada, Juno, Avatar and Titanic. That's a pretty stellar line-up of successes, where the studio saw over 150 Academy Awards nominations, won three Best Picture Oscars, and earned over $30 billion in worldwide box office sales. So why is this potentially bad news?
Well, Rothman has become infamous for being a meddlesome executive, being annoyingly involved in productions that led to disastrous outcomes. Most famously, Rothman is credited with ruining X-Men: The Last Stand by letting go of Matthew Vaughn and hiring Brett Ratner, not to mention micromanaging the spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine, doing things such as demanding that some sets be repainted without even telling director Gavin Hood. Rothman was also vehemently opposed to a Deadpool movie and adamantly fought to keep Sentinels out of the X-Men franchise, against fan wishes.
But one of the reasons Rothman is desirable in this position, beating out other candidates such as Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, is because he knows how to churn out blockbusters and make them cheaply, making way for solid profits. This is show business after all. However, considering the fact that Sony is in the midst of getting Spider-Man back on track, hiring someone like Rothman is worrisome when you look at that track record with comic book movies at Fox (don't get us started on how he ruined Fantastic Four or made other ill-advised decisions).
Anyway, Sony is looking to save money and get some big, successful films under their belt, and Rothman will likely be able to help in that capacity. The executive says, "I am grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to lead the Motion Picture Group. I have had the pleasure of working closely with the exceptionally talented teams at SPE for the past year, and I am excited to build on those relationships in this new role." We just hope he let's Kevin Feige do what needs to be done with Spider-Man and doesn't turn this into a huge mess. That's the last thing Spider-Man fans want to see happen. Thoughts?