Is Marvel and Sony's upcoming Spider-Man reboot already in trouble? It could be after Sony's announcement that Tom Rothman is now in control of the studio.
Tom Rothman has been confirmed as the head of Sony Pictures, replacing Amy Pascal, who stepped down earlier this year following the hacking furor the enveloped the studio in November.
Speaking to the LA Times after his appointment, Rothman outlined his ambition for the studio, declaring, "My job is to give a sense of stability and forward motion. I've got a good up-close look. My first task is building on the foundation they have."
There's no denying the fact that Rothman is an extremely qualified candidate for the role. The 60-year-old previously worked as a Fox film executive, and he ran Fox Filmed Entertainment for 12 years alongside Jim Gianopulos.
He has helped to bring the likes of Titanic and Avatar, both of which grossed $2.1 billion and $2.7 billion at the box office, respectively, into cinemas, while he reportedly has close relationships with the likes of George Clooney and Ang Lee too.
Meanwhile, he has developed a reputation as a fiscally responsible studio-head, and it's widely believed he will immediately try to reduce the budgets and high dollar deals that films and actors are receiving at Sony.
However, there is one solid reason why Marvel fans may be worried that Rothman has taken over at Sony; his track record with superhero films, both critically and financially, is very weak.
Let's look at the evidence. While Rothman was in control at Fox the likes of Daredevil, Elektra, Fantastic Four, and Fantastic Four: The Silver Surfer were released. These are widely regarded as the worst films in the history of the modern superhero genre.
The highest grossing of these blockbusters was 2005's Fantastic Four with $330 million, but the issues run deeper than their box office. Each of these films failed to connect with an audience, while they also didn't pay tribute to the coveted source material they were based upon. The Fox superhero films, in comparison with Christopher Nolan's coveted Dark Knight trilogy, also failed to take a mature or serious look at the characters. Instead, critics felt they were just lame adaptations with errant tones that lacked definition and were riddled with cliched cinematic tropes.
His involvement with X-Men, Fox's most successful comic-book franchise, is also suspect. Rothman's insistence that X-Men: The Last Stand be fast-tracked into production so that it could be released in May 2006 led to Bryan Singer, who had previously directed X-Men and X-Men 2 so successfully, departing the project.
Despite the fact that Layer Cake's Matthew Vaughn and Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, both of whom are highly regarded filmmakers (something they've since proved with Kingsman: The Secret Service and The Avengers, respectively), were interested in replacing Singer as director, the critically maligned box-office savant Brett Ratner was instead hired to oversee production. And while it was relatively successful, Last Stand is still regarded as a disappointment.
Rothman is also believed to have put immense pressure on X-Men Origins: Wolverine director Gavin Hood, to the the point that his micro-management wrecked the finished film. Collider has even alleged that Rothman came on set, and insisted they on repainting the sets without even consulting Hood.
Meanwhile, Robert Liefeld, the creator of Deadpool, also sent out a tweet that insisted Rothman had single handedly kept the origin story of the character from being made during his time at Fox.
Tom Rothman single handedly kept Deadpool from getting made at Fox. Not a fan. Scratches Sony off the list....According to Comic Book Movie, there is actually a reason for all of these issues. Rothman allegedly despises comic book movies, and he only puts them into production because he knows just how popular and lucrative they are.
— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) February 24, 2015
Meanwhile, Rothman is also believed to be the reason why there is such a bad relationship between Fox Studios and Marvel, something that doesn't bode well for Marvel and Sony's upcoming Spider-Man collaboration.
Rothman will work in close conjunction with Amy Pascal, who is producing the upcoming Spider-Man reboot alongside Marvel's Kevin Feige, on the series.
Hopefully, he will have learnt from his mistakes. Because, if he hasn't, the new Spider-Man franchise could already be a lost cause.
[Image via BP]