Sony Pictures has named Tom Rothman as a replacement for Amy Pascal.
Amy Pascal stepped down as co-chair following a debilitating cyber attack that revealed her private emails.
Hollywood veteran Tom Rothman, 60, who will become the chairman of Sony’s motion picture group, spent 18 years at 20th Century Fox and helped bring Titanic and Avatar to the big screen.
He left Fox in 2012 and has been chairman of TriStar Productions, a joint venture with Sony, since 2013.
The entertainment division of Sony Corp said that Michael Lynton would remain its chief executive and chairman. Tom Rothman will report to him.
Michael Lynton said: “Tom’s creativity, strong talent relationships and track record of enduring films and commercial success are unparalleled in this industry.”
Amy Pascal, one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, stepped down as co-chair of Sony Pictures earlier this month.
She was the highest-profile victim of the November cyber attack and reportedly commented on the viewing habits of President Barack Obama in a derogatory manner in an email to producer Scott Rudin.
The attack by a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace prompted Sony to cancel the planned release of the film The Interview. It depicted the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The group was linked with North Korea and US authorities believe the attack was retaliation for the studio’s decision to make The Interview. Amy Pascal had been one of the champions of the film.
She will start a production company backed by Sony in May that will produce new Spider-man movies, among others.
In his TriStar role, Tom Rothman has overseen several anticipated dramas including The Walk by Robert Zemeckis that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ang Lee’s adaptation of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a novel by Ben Fountain about the Iraq war.
Sony said Tom Rothman will remain responsible for the TriStar productions in the near future.
The custody of Spider-Man will be shared by Sony Pictures and the Walt Disney after the companies signed a deal that means the web-slinging superhero could appear in a future Avengers movie.
The deal comes after Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 under-performed at the box office last year.
Despite a respectable $709 million box office haul, it was the lowest-grossing of Sony’s five Spider-Man films so far.
The character could now appear Marvel films such as Iron Man and Thor.
However, the timing of the deal makes it likely his first outing will be in 2017’s Captain America: Winter Soldier. The character already appears in the comic book version of the story.
Marvel will then co-produce the next solo Spider-Man outing, financed by Sony Pictures, which will be released in 2017.
Kevin Feige, the Marvel boss who has overseen 10 consecutive box office blockbusters, including Avengers Assemble and Guardians of the Galaxy, will be involved in all future creative decisions about Spider-Man.
He will work alongside Amy Pascal, the Sony executive who recently stood down following a cyber-attack that saw her private emails leaked.
Fans have been clamoring for Spider-Man to join Marvel’s roster on the big screen for more than a decade.
The character is part of the Marvel’s comic book empire, but Sony has owned the film rights since 1999, when it paid a reported $7 million.
Evil Dead director Sam Raimi first brought the character to the big screen, with Tobey Maguire in the lead role.
More recently, the series was rebooted, with Andrew Garfield inside the iconic red and blue suit and Marc Webb directing.
The new deal effectively spells the end for Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker and his superhero alter-ego, reported the LA Times.
Sony had been casting around for ways to re-invigorate the franchise after his second outing failed to break the $1 billion mark at the box office last May.
A third Amazing Spider-Man film was postponed to 2018, while a spin-off film, The Sinister Six, focusing on Spider-Man’s most notorious enemies, was slated for 2016.
There was also discussion of introducing a female set of heroes in their own films; and a potential film based around Peter Parker’s Aunt May.
At the same time, Sony was holding discussions with Marvel – as revealed in emails leaked as a result of last year’s cyber-attack.
Those emails showed that Marvel was pushing for Spider-Man to appear in the next Captain America movie; while Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad wanted a Marvel-produced Spider-Man movie in which Sony retained “creative control, marketing and distribution.”
Although those talks were said to have stalled in December, the new announcement effectively fulfils all of those criteria.
It has also led to Marvel reshuffling the release dates of its upcoming movies.
The next Thor movie would have gone head-to-head with a new Spider-Man movie in the summer of 2017. It will now move to November of that year, shunting a film based on the Black Panther character into the following year.
The two-part Avengers: Infinity War movies, however, will not budge.
Sony Pictures’ co-chair Amy Pascal has decided to step down following a debilitating cyber attack that revealed her private emails.
Amy Pascal will start a production company that will launch in May 2015.
She has already apologized for certain revelations that came as a result of the leaked emails.
Last month, Sony condemned the “vicious” attack, which led it to suspend the release of the film The Interview.
“I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home,” said Amy Pascal in a statement.
She added that her transition to a production role had been discussed “for some time”.
As part of the agreement, Sony will fund Amy Pascal’s production company for at least the next four years, and it will retain distribution rights.
Sony did not immediately name a successor to Amy Pascal, leaving Michael Lynton as the sole head of one of Hollywood’s biggest production studios.
Amy Pascal was one of the highest profile Sony names whose emails were leaked as part of the hack.
She reportedly commented on the viewing habits of President Barack Obama in a derogatory manner in an email to producer Scott Rudin.
Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin both subsequently apologized for the emails, with Amy Pascal saying in a statement at the time: “The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am.
“Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.”
On November 24, Sony revealed that it had been the subject of a hack by a group calling themselves Guardians of Peace (GOP).
GOP was later traced back to North Korea, who US authorities believe instituted the attack in retaliation for Sony’s decision to produce The Interview, in which North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is killed.
The group gained access to the company’s network and stole huge amounts of internal information, including emails and copies of films, such as Annie, that had not yet been released.
Although Sony did withdraw The Interview before its planned release, it ultimately made it available to view online and allowed it to be shown at some cinemas.
The Interview made about $15 million through downloads alone over its first three days of distribution.
North Korea has attacked new US sanctions in response to a major cyber-attack against Sony Pictures.
The US placed sanctions on three North Korean organizations and 10 individuals after the FBI blamed Pyongyang for the cyber-attack.
North Korea praised the attack on Sony but denied any involvement in it.
It came as Sony Pictures was about to release The Interview, a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Sony initially cancelled plans to screen The Interview, before deciding to release it online and at a limited number of cinemas.
The sanctions imposed on January 2 are believed to be the first time the US has moved to punish any country for cyber-attacks on an American company.
Announcing them, White House officials told reporters the move was in response to the Sony hack, but the targets of the sanctions were not directly involved.
In response, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency on January 4 quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying: “The policy persistently pursued by the US to stifle the DPRK [North Korea], groundlessly stirring up bad blood towards it, would only harden its will and resolution to defend the sovereignty of the country.
“The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap <<sanctions>> against the DPRK patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnancy and hostility toward the DPRK.”
US sanctions were already in place over North Korea’s nuclear program but analysts said the new sanctions were designed to further isolate the country’s defense industry.
Sony’s controversial comedy The Interview has become the company’s most-downloaded title of all time, just 4 days after its release on December 24.
The Interview was downloaded more than 2 million times as of December 27, making back $15 million, a third of its $44 million budget.
The movie, about a fictional American plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, had previously been pulled from release over security fears.
It angered North Korea and may have triggered a cyber attack on Sony.
The hack, from a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace, led to the leaking of confidential information including upcoming movie scripts, confidential emails and actors’ salaries.
Sony halted the release after unspecified threats of attacks against theaters.
The FBI later said its investigation into the hacking attack pointed the finger at North Korea. The country denied involvement, but described the hack as a “righteous deed”.
Sony said in a statement on December 28 that The Interview was made available in the US and Canada through Google services YouTube and Play, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and its dedicated website in HD versions for 48-hour rental at $5.99 and for purchase at $14.99.
The Interview made $15 million in its first three days on sale.
There was also a “strong turnout” for the movie’s limited theater release, after major US chains backed out of screening it.
Sony’s move to cancel The Interview‘s release had garnered criticism in the US including from President Barack Obama, who said it meant freedom of expression was under threat.
North Korea has berated President Barack Obama over the release of The Interview movie in the US.
The Interview is about a fictional plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea’s National Defense Commission (NDC) also accused the US of shutting down the country’s internet – and used a racial slur to describe the “reckless” Barack Obama.
Sony Pictures had originally pulled The Interview after a cyber-attack and threats.
The company later reconsidered, releasing the comedy on Christmas Day.
A number of critics – including President Barack Obama – had warned that freedom of expression was under threat if the movie was shelved.
The controversial film was shown in some US cinemas and online, with several hundred independent theaters coming forward and offering to show the film. However, larger cinemas decided not screen it.
Kim Jong-un’s potential difficulty is that The Interview – which casts the North Korean leader as a malign, vain buffoon – has been widely reviewed as funny and astute.
In a statement on Saturday, an NDC spokesman denounced the US for screening the “dishonest and reactionary movie hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK [North Korea] and agitating terrorism”.
President Barack Obama, the statement said, “is the chief culprit who forced the Sony Pictures Entertainment to indiscriminately distribute the movie”, blackmailing cinemas in the US.
It added: “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.”
The NDC also accused also Washington of “groundlessly linking the unheard of hacking at the Sony Pictures Entertainment to the DPRK”.
Sony Pictures had initially pulled the film after suffering an unprecedented hacking attack at the hands of a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace.
The hackers also threatened to carry out a terrorist attack on cinemas showed the film on its scheduled release date of Christmas Day.
Last week, the FBI said its analysis pointed the finger at North Korea. However, many cyber-security experts have come forward to dispute this assertion.
At the time, North Korea denied being behind the attack but described it as a “righteous deed”.
North Korea subsequently suffered a severe internet outage.
Sony Pictures Entertainment is looking at different channels to release The Interview after scrapping its opening following a cyber-attack blamed on North Korea.
The studio said it had only canceled the film’s Christmas Day release after cinemas pulled out.
Sony said it was considering releasing it “on a different platform”.
President Barack Obama called the cancelation “a mistake”.
North Korea denied involvement and has now urged a joint inquiry with the US.
The FBI said on December 19 that the Pyongyang government was responsible.
The Interview depicts the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Responding to the president’s comments, Sony Pictures chief executive and chairman Michael Lynton said the studio had not made an error in canceling the release.
“We have not given in, we have persevered,” he told CNN.
A Sony statement said the decision had been based on “the majority of the nation’s theatre owners choosing not to screen the film”.
“Without theatres, we could not release it in the theatres on Christmas Day. We had no choice,” the statement added.
“It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.”
Script details, salary data and private email correspondence were leaked in the wake of November’s huge cyber attack.
Hackers then issued a warning referring to the 9/11 terror attacks, saying “the world will be full of fear” if The Interview was screened.
North Korea earlier this month denied allegations that it was responsible for the hack. An article in the state-run KCNA news agency, quoting the country’s top military body, called the suggestions “wild rumor”.
The Interview features James Franco and Seth Rogen as two journalists who are granted an audience with Kim Jong-un.
The CIA then enlists the pair to assassinate him.
The Interview‘s canceled release drew criticism in Hollywood, with some calling it an attack on the freedom of expression.
Los Angeles will be host to the Sparkle Singing Challenge, sponsored by Sony Pictures and Myspace, happening Saturday, July 14th, beginning at 12:00 p.m.
The Los Angeles winner will receive $500 in cash and a chance to compete for the national Grand Prize. The Grand Prize winner will win a trip to New York, an appearance on BET’s 106 & Park, a recording session with the Punch Monkeys producer & writing team, and a Myspace homepage feature!
The challenge is also taking place nationwide the same day in the following markets: New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Charlotte, St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and Philadelphia.
Sparkle movie, starring Whitney Houston, opens August 17th in theaters everywhere
The St. Louis singing contest will take place at the NASCAR Speedpark
St. Louis Prize: The winner will receive $500 in cash, a $25 BEBE gift card and a chance to compete for the Grand Prize.
Amateur singers between the ages of 13 and 40 will be asked to sing a 60 second a capella version of one of two songs: Celebrate, or Something He Can Feel. Clips from the songs, official rules, along with more information about the contest, can be found at www.myspace.com/sparkle.
In the LA Area: To pre-register and reserve audition spots ahead of time, email [email protected] or call (323) 330-8867.
Sparkle, starring Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston, Derek Luke, Mike Epps, Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick and CeeLo Green, opens August 17th in theaters everywhere.
For more information on Sparkle, visit sparkle-movie.com
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Follow on Twitter: @sparklemovie #CelebrateSparkle