The Wrap: Tom Rothman on the New TriStar and Lessons From His Hollywood Hiatus

Source: The Wrap

Tom Rothman hasn’t had a studio job for nearly a year, but the former Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman and CEO said spending a few months outside the Hollywood echo-chamber has filled him with a renewed enthusiasm for the movie business.

It’s an industry he finds himself embracing once more — thanks to a new partnership with Sony Pictures that will see him reinvigorating the TriStar brand. As part of the joint venture, Rothman will be tasked with fielding four movies a year and developing television programming. He will report to Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO and Chairman Michael Lynton and Co-Chairman Amy Pascal.

The newly minted chairman of TriStar Productions talked to TheWrap about his ambitions to transform the division into a home for great filmmakers and his belief that the movie business is still capable of producing daring and original work.

You must have had choices, why Sony Pictures? What was it about the structure of this partnership that appealed to you?
What was appealing is Amy and Michael. They are absolutely terrific executives and I’ve known them forever. My father always taught me most important thing was who you were in business with. Well, I trust and believe in them completely.

As for the structure, there’s also the great mix of having a fair amount of independence, but also tremendous support from senior level executives.

Do you know what kind of pictures you will be making?
That’s easy. Hits. No, we have a strategy and I don’t want to say too much about the kind of movies that we will make, but I think there are a lot of counter-programming opportunities right now.

One thing I have learned is that when it comes to content ventures, you have to build them up. You have to be patient and you can’t do things just to do them.

Why did you decide to revive the TriStar name?
This is a venerable brand with great emotional resonance. It has great equity, particularly with talent. There’s a lot of great goodwill there.

In its heyday, TriStar was known as something of a filmmakers studio, working with directors like Barry Levinson, Woody Allen and Cameron Crowe. Is that a legacy you’d like to continue?
That would be great. I certainly aspire to that. I suppose one of the hallmarks of my career has been that I have managed to work with some great filmmakers and to make films that have been both creative and commercial successes.