Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard did not mince words about the prospect of early on-demand movie distribution while speaking at the Variety Studio Presented by AT&T at the Toronto Film Festival.Speaking about proposals to get movies into homes earlier at a premium rate, Bernard said, "I think that is a disaster. It is a disaster coming.""If that happens, it going to be the death of theatrical exhibition because it's just not going to work out," he continued. "It's a...
Along with SPC co-president/co-founder Michael Barker, Bernard is a legend in the global film industry; the pair celebrated the shingle’s 25th anniversary last year. Over a long career that began at UA in 1980, and then continued at Orion Classics, which he also co-founded with Barker, his films have received an astonishing 163 Oscar noms, including several for best picture (“Whiplash,” “Amour,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” to name a few). “Midnight in Paris” was Woody Allen’s biggest commercial hit, and “Crouching Tiger” is the highest-grossing foreign film in North America.
In his first year in business, Bernard helped guide Emma Thompson to a best actress win for “Howards End,” and since then his track record has been the envy of every other studio head; a total of 37 wins (including 2015’s “Son of Saul” for best foreign language film, a best actress Oscar for Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine” and the same prize for Julianne Moore in “Still Alice.”). Last awards season, he was championing Isabelle Huppert for her role in Paul Verhoeven’s harrowing “Elle,” and trumpeting “Toni Erdmann” as a best picture and best foreign film candidate.
His success is even more impressive given the short life span of many companies and executives in the specialty film space. His original business model has proved to be an enduring vision: a diverse slate of indies that also make money.