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Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO Tom Rothman steps down - why you should care

09.17.2012

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Well wow. 

Many of us film fans have been in a begrudging sort of relationship with Fox over these last years, wherein we keep going to watch their adaptation of various comic book and genre properties only to walk out frustrated time and time again with the creative decisions made by the studio.  The thing is, if Fox has made a decision in the last ten or so years regarding its comic book properties that you didn't like, there's a very good chance that the decision was mainly due to the mind of one man: Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, Tom Rothman. 

But he announced on Friday that he is stepping down, meaning that January 2013 will mark the beginning of something like a new focus for Fox.  "The film leadership will now be consolidated under current (co-)Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos and television operations will be realigned as a stand-alone unit under News Corporation.  In conjunction with Rothman’s departure, News Corporation announced a reorganization of its studio operations that separates the film and television production units. As a result, the film business will now assume the name Twentieth Century Fox Film, and is comprised of Twentieth Century Fox Film, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios, Fox International Productions, and Fox Home Entertainment."  Insofar as fundamental differences go, Rothman has always been more involved on the creative side of the things while Gianopulos has consistently centered his focus more on the international business side.

A report has also surfaced with The Los Angeles Times that further illuminates the situation, one which says that Rothman has more been forced out than anything else due to to recent business decisions such as passing on TED and opposing the distribution deal signed with Dreamworks Animation.

Just a few of the films he has shepherded into existence over his eighteen-year tenure include: LIFE OF PI, TAKEN, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, BLACK SWAN, WALK THE LINE, JUNO, BORAT, the X-MEN and ICE AGE franchises, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, MINORITY REPORT, MOULIN ROUGE, AVATAR, TITANIC.  Not to mention the fact that during Rothman's tenure, Fox Films has been "nominated for over 100 Academy Awards, won three Best Pictures, and earned in excess of $25 billion in worldwide box office sales."  Rothman also founded (and championed) successful specialty film production unit Fox Searchlight, which gave us quite a few of the better movies from Fox over the last eighteen years.

Can't argue with that, I guess.

Australia red carpet premiere

That's of course Hugh Jackman on the left, then Jim Gianopulos, then Baz Luhrmann, and then finally Rothman.

Extra Tidbit: Actually, I'm going to anyway. As much as I appreciate Fox Searchlight - does this shift mean that Fox is going to stop generally making exceedingly strange and frustrating decisions with its comic book properties, or are we just going to be getting a new person to blame for them? What do you think?

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