NEW YORK (AP) — Former 20th Century Fox chief Tom Rothman has been named chairman of Sony's Motion Picture Group, replacing Amy Pascal as studio head and effectively concluding Sony's shake-up following the damaging hacking scandal.
Sony Pictures co-chairman and chief executive Michael Lynton announced Rothman's promotion Tuesday. Since late 2013, Rothman has been running the rejuvenated TriStar Productions at Sony.
In more than a decade running Fox Filmed Entertainment, Rothman oversaw the two biggest box-office grossers ever: "Avatar" and "Titanic." He is known for both budget-consciousness and a deep passion for movies, even hosting screenings of classic films on the Fox Movie Channel.
"Tom's creativity, strong talent relationships and track record of enduring films and commercial success are unparalleled in this industry and exactly what we are looking for to grow our film business," Lynton said in a statement. "Having run Fox Filmed Entertainment during a time of great successes and growth for that studio, and then producing at TriStar here at SPE (Sony Pictures Entertainment), Tom knows this business inside and out like few others do."
Rothman will oversee Sony's Motion Picture Group and report to Lynton, who remains chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sony also announced that Lynton's contract has been extended.
Rothman succeeds longtime Sony chief Pascal, who exited earlier this month after troves of embarrassing emails were leaked in the hacking attack around the release of "The Interview." Pascal apologized for racially insensitive remarks in emails between her and producer Scott Rudin about President Obama. She is launching a major new production venture at Sony, where Pascal will produce, among other projects, the studio's "Spider-man" series.
Rothman led Fox to more than $40 billion in worldwide box office and some 150 Academy Award nominations, and founded the art-house label Fox Searchlight. Sony said that he will work with Pascal "to ensure a smooth and orderly transition into his new role."
"I have had the pleasure of working closely with the exceptionally talented teams at SPE for the past year, and I am excited to build on those relationships in this new role," said Rothman. "I want to thank Michael and Amy for their support ever since I came to the lot with TriStar."
With TriStar, Rothman has prepped a handful of much-anticipated dramas including the 3-D "The Walk" from Robert Zemeckis, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing tightrope-walker Philippe Petit, and Ang Lee's adaptation of the Iraq veteran novel "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." Sony said Rothman will continue to oversee his TriStar slate in the near term.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP