Tom Rothman (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)
It’s a strong endorsement for the hard-charging executive, who took over Sony’s film business in 2015 during a tumultuous period for the studio. When he assumed the role, Sony had just endured a devastating cyber hack that had laid bare its inner workings and jeopardized its relationships with key talent. It also found itself punching up against rivals such as Warner Bros. and Disney, which boasted more established franchises.
At Sony, Rothman has had several notable successes, including luring Quentin Tarantino to direct “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” rebooting the Spider-Man franchise with Tom Holland and forging a deal with Marvel to produce the web-spinner films, and transforming “Jumanji,” a two-decade old Robin Williams movie, into a viable new film series starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Even Rothman’s critics would note that his intensity has helped revitalize the film unit, though it still faces challenges from deep-pocketed media companies such as Netflix, Comcast and Disney, all of which have streaming services, something Sony largely lacks.
Under the new deal, Rothman has added CEO to his chairman title. He will continue to oversee all aspects of Sony’s motion picture businesses including leading its various movie brands, which include Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, 3000 Pictures, Sony Pictures International Productions, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. He will continue to report to Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
During the pandemic, Rothman was able to forge deals to sell certain Sony releases, such as “Fatherhood” with Hart and the Tom Hanks World War II drama “Greyhound,” to streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV Plus.
“Tom has expertly led the dramatic turnaround of the Motion Picture Group during some of the most tumultuous years in our industry’s history,” said Vinciquerra. “SPE’s record profits over the last three years are in large part due to Tom’s sharp eye for great content and ability to attract top talent. Our industry has never experienced the kinds of complex challenges we face today, and we know our film group is in very good hands with Tom at the helm.”
“I thank all of my colleagues here in Culver City and around the world for their hard work and belief,” said Rothman. “Together, we have consistently made enduring cultural impact, and being a part of that is the greatest of all the many great privileges of this job in this era. I am a fortunate fellow indeed.”
Rothman previously led 20th Century Fox’s film division alongside Jim Gianopulos (the current Paramount Pictures head). He joined Sony in 2013 to revamp the TriStar label.
Upcoming Sony releases include “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and “Uncharted” starring Holland and Mark Wahlberg.
Variety's Brett Lang contributed to this post.