Currently working with Sony Pictures on a joint venture that has revitalized a studio known for a string of box office hits in the ’80s and ’90s, Tom Rothman adds a new chapter to an already distinguished career. It’s a career that includes nearly 20 years serving as the chairman of the company that he created, Fox Searchlight. Under his watch, Fox Searchlight became the most profitable of the major movie studios, generating over $30 billion in revenue from a series of successful projects.
Born in Baltimore, Rothman earned a degree in English and American Literature from Brown University. After obtaining a law degree from Columbia Law School, he worked as an attorney up until the mid-1980s. He then made the switch to a behind-the-scenes film career in 1986 when he served as a co-producer of the movies Down By Law and Candy Mountain. By 1987, he was Executive Vice President of Columbia Pictures. As president of Worldwide Production for the Samuel Goldwyn Company, Rothman primarily focused on highly acclaimed independent films, most notably Henry V and The Madness of King George.
It didn’t take long Rothman to develop a solid reputation within the film industry. By 1994, he decided it was time to venture out on his own. It’s a decision that resulted in the creation of a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox called Fox Searchlight. During his time as the head of this company, he oversaw the production and distribution of a series of critically and commercially successful projects, including The Devil Wears Prada, Black Swan, Master and Commander, Rio, the X-men franchise, the Ice Age movies and the internationally acclaimed film, Slumdog Millionaire (source: official website).
Rothman also worked with Fox to produce a handful of successful television projects, including Glee, Modern Family and Homeland. After resigning as chairman and chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment in 2012, Rothman was tapped by Steven Spielberg to produce his much talked about film adaptation of Robopocalypse for Dreamworks. That same year, he became director Priceline.com, Inc.
Mr. Rothman is now working with Sony as part of a joint venture to relaunch TriStar Productions. The new company represents an effort to reestablish TriStar as a major motion picture studio. The original TriStar, formed in 1982, was responsible for a series of box office hits, including The Natural with Robert Redford, a pair of Rambo films, the Look Who’s Talking series, Basic Instinct with Sharon Stone and the Oscar-nominated movies Jerry Maguire and As Good as It Gets.
The film executive is extensively involved in many aspects of the film industry, serving on the National Council on the Arts, a body responsible for making recommendations on grant applications. Rothman is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Sundance Institute and the American Film Institute. As the head of TriStar Productions, Rothman announced plans to oversee the production of at least four feature films per year. In 2013, Elysium became the studio’s first big-budget film project since 1998’s The Mask of Zorro.