About Tom Rothman
Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s
Motion Picture Group
Tom Rothman is Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group. In that role, Rothman oversees the entirety of the studio’s motion picture businesses worldwide including that of Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures International Productions, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. The company has offices and operations in over forty countries across the globe.
Rothman joined Sony Pictures in 2013 as Chairman of TriStar Pictures before being promoted to Chairman, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group in February 2015. Since then, he has led a full turnaround of its motion picture business, returning it to strong profitability. His strategy embraces a global approach, investing in significant IP and franchises, and supporting original works by signature filmmakers. He has reignited and launched multiple active franchises including Spider-Man, Venom, and Uncharted; and new installments of Jumanji, Ghostbusters, Insidious, Don’t Breathe, Peter Rabbit, Zombieland, Baby Driver, and Bad Boys. He has brought multiple topflight directors and producers to the studio including Greta Gerwig, Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright, Jon Watts, Jason Reitman, Ang Lee, Denzel Washington, David Leitch, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and many others.
During his tenure the motion picture group has experienced several of its most profitable years ever; most notably fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020. Driven by tentpoles such as Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jumanji: The Next Level and Bad Boys For Life, fiscal year 2020 (April 2019 – March 2020) was the studio’s best in over a decade in terms of both ultimate profitability and operating income. That same year the studio was honored with 20 Academy Award® nominations, including two for Best Picture. Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019) made $373 million worldwide and garnered 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. The success of that film demonstrated the viability and vitality of original filmmaking and distinct filmmakers — a key pillar in Rothman’s turnaround strategy. Little Women (2019) grossed $219 million worldwide and earned six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. In summer 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home became Sony Pictures’ highest-grossing movie of all time with $1.13 billion worldwide. Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) propelled the franchise to over $1.7 billion globally and showcased the strength of Sony Pictures’ library. Bad Boys for Life (2020), which was released in theaters in January prior to theater closures, became the highest-grossing movie of the year domestically and the highest-grossing installment in the franchise at $430 million worldwide. It drove Sony Pictures to #1 in 2020 market-share in North America.
Other notable box office successes under Rothman’s tenure include Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), which became the highest-grossing Columbia-owned film in the 100-year history of Columbia Pictures (a record now exceeded by the studio’s Spider-Man: Far From Home). In 2018, Venom grossed over $850 million worldwide and officially launched Sony Pictures’ own Universe of Marvel Characters. The third installment of the Hotel Transylvania franchise, Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation, became Sony Pictures’ highest-grossing animated film worldwide with $528 million. In 2018, revolutionary animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse won the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature, marking the first win for Sony Pictures Animation and breaking a six-year Disney win streak in the category.
Fox Filmed Entertainment:
Previously, Rothman served as Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment (FFE) from 2000 – 2012. He left FFE in January 2013, following the most profitable decade in the company’s history and after its split from parent News Corporation and reorganization into 21st Century Fox. In this capacity, he oversaw one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion picture and television product, including Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Fox Searchlight (which Rothman founded in 1994 and which has won three Best Picture Oscars), Blue Sky Animation and Twentieth Century Fox Television. Rothman’s overall tenure at Fox spanned more than eighteen years — longer than any creative head in the studio’s history, with the exception of the legendary Darryl Zanuck. Prior to his role as Chairman and CEO of FFE, he held the positions of President of Twentieth Century Fox Film Group, President of Production for Twentieth Century Fox and President of Fox Searchlight.
A few of the many varied and enduring Fox films made under his oversight include: Lincoln, Life of Pi, Descendants, Cast Away, Master and Commander, Black Swan, Walk the Line, Juno, Slumdog Millionaire, The Fully Monty ,The Devil Wears Prada, Borat, the X-Men series, Marley and Me, Little Miss Sunshine, Minority Report, Moulin Rouge, Boys Don’t Cry, Man on Fire, Sideways, Waiting to Exhale, the Ice Age series, The Simpsons Movie, Something About Mary, The Crucible, and the then top two grossing movies of all time: Titanic and Avatar. During his tenure, Fox films garnered over 150 Academy Award® nominations, won three Best Picture Oscars, and earned in excess of $40 billion at the worldwide box office. Hit series from TCFTV included: Modern Family, Glee and Homeland. Under Rothman all four of the company’s major film production divisions were headed by women, all of whom had been mentored through the ranks at Fox.
From 2007 – 2012 Rothman wrote and hosted a television series, “Fox Legacy,” which includes almost fifty essays on the history of classic films. The show has received favorable notices in many publications, including the New York Times. Rothmancontributed to The Movie Business Book edited by Jason E. Squire, which is a reference used at film schools worldwide.
Additional Career and Life:
Prior to Fox, Rothman was President of Worldwide Production for the Samuel Goldwyn Company. While at Goldwyn he was responsible for such films as Henry V, Longtime Companion, Truly Madly Deeply, Much Ado About Nothing, Wild at Heart, Eat Drink Man Woman, The Wedding Banquet and The Madness of King George. He discovered and championed numerous filmmakers who went on to great international acclaim including Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella and Kenneth Branagh. During his tenure, the company’s pictures won the Palme D’Or at Cannes three times.
Rothman came to Goldwyn in 1989 from Columbia Pictures where he was Executive Vice President, working for David Puttnam and Dawn Steele. Before joining Columbia, Rothman was a partner at the New York entertainment law firm Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein and Selz where he represented major industry figures in all arts-related fields including publishing, theatre, film, television, music, dance and photography, including many independent filmmakers such as Spike Lee and Jim Jarmusch. In 1986, he co-produced Robert Frank’s Candy Mountain and Jarmusch’s Down By Law, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival.
Rothman began his work life as an English teacher and soccer and lacrosse coach at the Salisbury School in Connecticut and was later a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
He graduated from Brown University in 1976, with Honors in English and American Literature, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and was an All New England selection in Division I Lacrosse. In 1980 he graduated from Columbia Law School as a two-time James Kent Scholar — the school’s highest academic honor.
Rothman serves on the Board of Directors of Booking Holdings Inc. the world’s largest online travel agency, parent company of Priceline, Booking, Open Table and Agoda.
Among Rothman’s many awards and distinctions are lifetime achievement recognitions from the Producers Guild of America, the IFP East, and the Academy of Science Fiction Films. He has received showman of the year awards from Variety and the Publicist Guild. Columbia University honored him with the Arthur B. Krim Award for outstanding leadership in entertainment, and he was presented with the Corwin Award for Human Relations from the American Jewish Committee.
In 2015, President Obama appointed, and the Senate confirmed, Rothman to the National Council on the Arts. The Council advises on the National Endowment for the Arts’ policies and programs and makes recommendations on grant applications.
Rothman is a longstanding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has long been active in the non-profit arts and education areas. In addition to his work for the NEA, he is on the board of California Institute for the Arts and is also an emeritus member of the Corporation of Brown University and of the Sundance Institute Board, where he actively served for over 20 years. He has worked as a teacher and fundraiser for Mentor L.A. Partner Schools, an organization that honored him for his commitment to public education. He has been a prime supporter of the Fulfillment Fund, an educational mentoring group that celebrated him at its STARS benefit. He is involved in numerous other civic and philanthropic activities including fundraising for The Jewish Home for the Aging, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (which honored him at its Dinner of Champions event), PXE International, and Harlem Lacrosse.
Rothman is married to Jessica Harper, a multitalented actress (Stardust Memories, Suspiria, Phantom of the Paradise, My Favorite Year, Minority Report, See), singer/songwriter (Nora’s Room) and author (The Crabby Cook, and numerous children’s books). They have two daughters. As a sports enthusiast, he continues to ski, play tennis, golf (badly) and at least show up to a weekly basketball game. He grew up in Baltimore and remains a passionate devotee of the city’s particular charms. He calls people “hun,” roots for the O’s and the Ravens, and believes lacrosse is the coolest sport on earth. Indeed, in 2013, the Brown University Coaching Chair in lacrosse was named in his honor, proving finally what Jessica said about his playing career: “the older you get, the better you were.”