16 February 2019
Tom Rothman is a veteran film executive who launched the all-time blockbusters Titanic and Avatar. Photo: Bloomberg
Tom Rothman is a veteran film executive who launched the all-time blockbusters Titanic and Avatar. Photo: Bloomberg

Sony names new movie studio chief in aftermath of cyberattack

Sony Pictures Entertainment has named veteran film executive Tom Rothman, a force behind the blockbusters Titanic and Avatar, to head its movie studio in a revamp prompted by the fallout from a cyberattack.

Rothman, 60, is replacing Amy Pascal, who suffered public embarrassment after hackers leaked emails she had written to other Hollywood executives, Reuters reported.

Rothman will probably push for more franchise development as he did at Fox, where he launched the X-Men, Planet of the Apes and Ice Age movies. He is likely to start his new job in the next week or so, sources close to the company said.

Rothman was known for financial discipline when he co-led Fox Filmed Entertainment from 2000-2012.

In 2013, he became chairman of TriStar Productions, a joint film and television venture with Sony, and has pulled together a slate of films with directors like Jodie Foster and stars George Clooney and Meryl Streep.

Rothman will report to Michael Lynton, who will continue to run the Japanese corporation’s global entertainment business. His contract was extended for an undisclosed number of years, Sony said in a statement.

Lynton had several choices inside Sony for Pascal’s replacement, including her deputy, Doug Belgrad, and Columbia Pictures production president Michael De Luca.

“Tom’s creativity, strong talent relationships and track record of enduring films and commercial success are unparalleled in this industry and exactly what we are looking for to grow our film business,” Lynton said in the statement.

Pascal and Lynton announced this month that she was stepping down as studio chief and moving to a production deal on the lot with Sony’s financial backing.

The executive shuffle comes after hackers launched a devastating cyberattack on the studio in November, angered by the Sony Pictures comedy The Interview, the report said.

The movie, championed by Pascal, revolves around a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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