LOS ANGELES — In a surprise move, Sony’s American-based film company said it would revive its semi-dormant TriStar unit as a movie and television joint venture in partnership with Thomas E. Rothman, who this year stepped down as chairman and chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
The new venture comes as Sony faces pressure from the activist shareholder Daniel S. Loeb to increase returns from its entertainment divisions. The move promises to reboot a film and television label that until the late 1990s was operated as a fully staffed studio, run in parallel with Sony’s Columbia Pictures unit.
“On the poetic side, I’m a film buff, and I like being with something historical,” Mr. Rothman said of his reason for reviving the unit, which will be called TriStar Productions, rather than starting from scratch. At the same time, he said, the prospect of significant investment from Sony, and TriStar’s good will within Hollywood’s creative ranks, give the rebuilt studio an edge.