With box office heavy weights like “Avatar” and “Titanic” under his belt, American film executive Tom Rothman has a long track record of leading the way for the creation highly successful films.
Those two movies, the all-time highest grossing silver screen productions, are just the tip of the iceberg for the Maryland-born Rothman, who has come a long way since he started his professional life as an English teacher and varsity soccer coach.
These days Rothman is the chairman for a new undertaking involving Sony Pictures, where he will lead the charge to make movies and television shows under TriStar, a partnership dubbed TriStar Productions. Judging from Rothman’s past career successes, Rothman’s new role brings an element of exciting promise to this fledgling joint venture.
The 1976 Brown University graduate completed his education at Columbia Law School in 1980, where he earned the highest academic honor as a James Kent Scholar. Rothman then brought that work ethic to the United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit as a law clerk in 1981.
Rothman went on to spend four years as a lawyer with the entertainment law firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, marking the beginning of his decades-long association with the movie and television industries.
By 1986 Rothman had co-produced the critically acclaimed “Candy Mountain” with Robert Frank and the black-and-white independent film, “Down By Law” with Jim Jarmusch. A year later, Rothman was named Executive Vice President of Columbia Pictures, where he managed all sides of movie production. By 1989 Rothman moved on to Worldwide Production for the Samuel Goldwyn Company, where he took the lead in the creation of widely recognized independent films like “Henry V,” “Longtime Companion” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Over the years Rothman also helped jump start the careers of some well-known filmmakers including Anthony Minghella, who won an Academy Award for Best Director as a result of “The English Patient,” and Kenneth Branagh, who wrote, directed and starred in the adaptation of “Henry V.”
In 1994 Rothman started his 18-year career with Fox, having founded Fox Searchlight and serving as president of the up-and-coming film production outfit. Rothman remained in leadership positions during his time there, having served with Jim Gianopulos as chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Filmed Entertainment until he left the company in late 2012.
Rothman’s run at Fox brought the company the most favorable profit margins of any film studio – movies made under the Fox banner brought in about $30 billion at the box office.
Some of the films produced during Rothman’s tenure include “Cast Away,” “Black Swan” and “Walk the Line,” and he brought television audiences shows such as “Modern Family” and “Glee.”
Steven Spielberg selected Rothman to produce one of his latest works, “Robopocalypse.” One of his other upcoming projects is an untitled 2015 film starring Meryl Streep and directed by Robert Zemeckis.