Earlier this month Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal was pushed out of her role in the wake of the company's embarrassing hack attack, and today the studio is starting its new era. Former 20th Century Fox head Tom Rothman has been named as Pascal's replacement, where he'll serve as the chair of Sony's Motion Picture Group.
Rothman is a Hollywood veteran, having been at Fox for nearly two decades. There he oversaw huge blockbusters like Titanic, Avatar, and the X-Men franchise. He left in 2012, and joined Sony in 2013 to bring the company's TriStar movie label back to life. TriStar subsequently co-produced films like Elysium and the Evil Dead reboot.
Rothman oversaw 'Titanic' and 'Avatar'
Variety reports that some of the other candidates that were up for the gig included Michael De Luca, Sony's current president of production, and Doug Belgrad, president of Sony's Motion Picture Group. Belgrad, however, was considered to be one of Pascal's top lieutenants — not an asset when Sony was no doubt looking for a change. De Luca and Belgrad are staying with Sony Pictures, according to reports, and Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton has also extended his contract.
As for what this will mean at the theaters, the answer is likely to be a strategic move towards as many blockbuster-ready films as possible, made as cheaply as possible. "We're going to be lean and mean and efficient, and my job is to make hits," Rothman said when he first signed up with TriStar, and with Sony now focusing on making its divisions profitable — or else — he seems tailor-made for the bigger job. Amy Pascal, on the other hand, was known for taking creative risks; it's not like a movie about Mark Zuckerberg was a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination. And while sometimes those paid off (The Social Network, Zero Dark Thirty) Pascal struggled in recent years with big-budget blockbusters (White House Down, After Earth, and what's probably best described as "The Spider-Man Debacle").
Rothman will have a lot of catching up to do, but he's already got one ace up his sleeve: the new Spider-Man the company is co-producing with Marvel.