As reported by the New York Times, Sony announced on February 24, 2015 that Tom Rothman will become the new Chairman of Sony Picture’s Motion Picture Group. He replaces the former Chairwoman, Amy Pascal, who resigned earlier this month.
Ms. Pascal failed to recover from the embarrassing cyber attack in December last year and the subsequent mishandling of The Interview’s release, the film which reportedly prompted the hacking. Ms. Pascal will continue to work as a producer on Sony’s lot, assisting on the new Spider-Man film and a Ghostbusters reboot starring a cavalcade of female comedians.
The announcement of Rothman as Chairman is seen as an attempt to rebuild the poor finances of Sony Pictures, which has built a reputation in recent years for investing heavily in films that reported only moderate profits (e.g. The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2). Rothman is known for keeping down costs and championing blockbusters. During his time as Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, Rothman oversaw the production of two of the biggest blockbusters of all time – Titanic and Avatar.
Tom Rothman left Fox in January 2013 and was hired in August of the same year by Ms. Pascal to lead TriStar Productions, a subsidiary of Sony dedicated to making moderately budgeted films of high artistic quality.
The selection of Rothman and his reputation of profit over old Hollywood indulgence is part of a larger trend in modern Hollywood. The close of 2014 saw the biggest year-over-year decline in box office in 9 years, and China beat the North American box office for the first time ever in February of this year. Both Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers have similarly put fiscal conservatives in charge of film production.