When Tom Rothman departed his top post as 20th Century Fox in 2012, he left behind a company that he had worked at for 18 years. Overseeing the production and distribution of a stunning amount of hit movies, Rothman’s skill for selecting, producing, and releasing movies in unmatched within the industry. His knowledge of the film industry and awareness of trends call to mind the expertise of studio honchos from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Indeed, it was Rothman who founded and served as the first president of Fox Searchlight, a start-up division within Fox. Not only did Fox Searchlight produce a slew of award-winning movies, but it did so almost immediately. Rothman demonstrated that there was a place for “arthouse” films in the world of commerce.
Working as a Fox executive in various capacities, he was a crucial element in the production of many profitable films during his tenure. The films that Rothman oversaw were nominated for an astonishing 150 Oscars. Three of them won Best Picture. Titanic and Avatar, two James Cameron films that redefined what was possible for visual effects in film, were produced by Fox and smashed box office records. The ultimate film buff, Rothman even hosted a show called “Fox Legacy,” which let viewers in on some of the secrets of filmmaking.
Not long after he left Fox, Rothman was tapped to launch TriStar Productions at Sony. His duties include producing four movies a year (production schedule here) and overseeing television production with BBC. It’s a natural fit for Rothman, who also had some television hits on his hands while working for Fox.
He expressed a great deal of satisfaction with his new post and seemed thrilled to be working with Sony Pictures Entertainment top brass executives Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal. Rothman also pointed out that his main objectives always include pleasing his bosses and making money for shareholders. This is a rare gift of Rothman’s; he is able to spot artistic talent and nurture it while cutting out unnecessary expenses that often weigh down studios.
In the years to come, it seems practically inevitable that his sophisticated blend of skills will put TriStar Productions in an enviable position.