What’s Tom Rothman looking for in his new deal with Sony? “Hits!”
“I’ve always made money for my bosses and shareholders and I sure in heck intend to now,” Rothman said via phone on Thursday, several hours after Sony announced a partnership with the exec to revive TriStar Productions.
Rothman, who ankled his post at Fox last year, said he chose Sony in part because of its “divisional” approach. The exec has been holed up in an office on the Sony lot for the past several months. In the terms of his new deal, Rothman will produce around four movies annually for the studio.
“We had a divisional approach to content creation (at Fox),” Rothman said, referring to Fox’s various producing arms including Fox Searchlight, Fox 2000 and animation house Blue Sky Studios, in addition to 20th Television and Fox 21. “Sony has the same approach, and I believe in that approach.”
Sony’s divisions include Columbia, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Sony Pictures Classics.
Rothman also said he sees a lot of opportunities in television, which he oversaw for Fox during the last three years of his co-chairmanship.
“Televison has managed to make the very complicated character work,” Rothman said, adding that was partially due to the fact that television is not as marketing-driven as films are. “Television right now is fertile … I believe that, ultimately, is ultimately going to be a great thing for the movie audience because it does show that you can aim high with audiences. I don’t mean highbrow, I mean high quality.”
During his time with Fox, Rothman earned both praise and criticism for his micro-managing style, which helped keep costs down but also turned off some fellow employees and talent. But parent company News Corp. and its chairman Rupert Murdoch frequently praised the profitability of the film studio, which produced critical hits like “Black Swan,” “Life of Pi” and “The Descendants.””I tried to be fiscally prudent so that I could be creatively reckless,” Rothman said, brushing off criticisms that Sony overspends on some of its bigger tentpoles. “Those generalizations are not always accurate (and) it’s a grave mistake to generalize.”