Bringing an end to the fantasy casting that has so captivated our nation’s teens, Sony has finally named a replacement for Amy Pascal, who recently stepped down to pursue her longtime dream of being fired. According to Variety, Tom Rothman will step in as the studio’s new head of its motion picture group—an outsider who’s being brought in rather than promoting a Sony veteran. The decision likely stems from the embarrassing fallout of the Sony hack, with Sony executives not sure they want to be associated with anyone who works for Sony right now.
As Variety notes, it’s also due to Rothman’s reputation for being cost-effective when he was running Fox’s film arm, where he oversaw both Titanic and Avatar—two of the highest-grossing movies in history, which Rothman reportedly opposed making. He famously, similarly opposed numerous elements of X-Men (such as it having too many X-Men), clashed repeatedly with its franchise’s directors and drove away Bryan Singer, demanded it cut the Sentinels because he doesn’t like giant robots, and, of course, hired Brett Ratner.
Variety credits all this to Rothman’s “hands-on management style,” something that’s also manifested in clashes with directors like I, Robot’s Alex Proyas (whom he’s rumored to have tried driving out of the business altogether), and pushing for PG-13 ratings on movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Alien Vs. Predator, and A Good Day To Die Hard. It also admits Rothman has a reputation for having a “prickly personality and a temper,” in addition to his reputation for mercilessly slashing budgets, demanding family-friendly rewrites, passing on new ideas in favor of strip-mining old properties, and turning seemingly surefire Marvel properties like Daredevil and Fantastic Four into kiddie glop.
“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,” said Sony’s CEO Michael Lynton, heralding the passage of the studio out of its darkest chapter into what sounds like a slightly less dark chapter.
Still, as Deadline notes, Rothman’s history is steeped in “arthouse fare” from his days running Samuel Goldwyn Jr.’s company, and more recently he’s had some success focusing on smaller, weirder movies over at TriStar, where he’ll continue to oversee the rest of the slate he was developing during this transition. So perhaps things are different now?
“Finding new franchises will be a major focus for Rothman,” says Deadline. Oh. Well, good luck with that.