Thomas Rothman, Chairman of Fox Film Entertainment

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, May 5, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The boffo box office for this past weekend is an indication of summer being here. Take a look at these numbers with 20th Century Fox’s X2: X-Men United (search) leading the way, the summer of sequels appears to be off to a very strong start. Joining me now is Tom Rothman. Tom is the chairman of Fox Film Entertainment, and like this channel, are both parts of the News Corp. empire, as we like to call it.

Tom, good to have you, congratulations.

TOM ROTHMAN, CHAIRMAN, FOX FILM ENTERTAINMENT (NWS): Nice to be here, thank you very much.

CAVUTO: There were a lot of people wondering whether this thing would measure up. I guess that’s been readily dismissed.

ROTHMAN: Yes it has. We needed today make it bigger, better and bolder, and it was. That’s the fundamental rule of sequels, you’ve got to improve on the first movie. And we were fortunate enough to do that, the audience responded, the critics responded and we exploded.

CAVUTO: You rolled the dice by going as early as you did, kicking this off, why did you do that?

ROTHMAN: Well, it is interesting, actually, the beginning of May has become an explosive weekend. We did push the boundaries this time, because X2 went not only in America, but it went in 90 countries worldwide, that’s the largest...

CAVUTO: What is the risk in doing that?

ROTHMAN: Well, the risk in doing that is that you haven’t had a chance to build up awareness in the rest of the world, and it is a logistical nightmare. You to get the movie dubbed and subtitled and printed. You have to actually get it out there marketed and push it.

CAVUTO: Is this the way the world is going to go now?

ROTHMAN: I think for some movies. It helps us with the piracy problem. There is now the global village, as we all know, and there is also a universal impact. X2, actually this past weekend, did more box office in one weekend on a worldwide basis than any movie in history.

CAVUTO: Are you surprised there were a lot of people whom even as soon as you put up those numbers were saying, but it didn’t do $100 million?

ROTHMAN: That’s the way of the world. No, actually, not surprised that people say that. And you know, again, everything has its perspective and its time, and it would be silly to be anything less than thrilled about it. And again, as I do say, it is 85 here, but it is 150 worldwide, which has never been done before, exceeded Lord of the Rings, actually.

CAVUTO: All right. What is your biggest threat down the pike as far as competition?

ROTHMAN: Coming? Well, obviously there are a lot of big movies coming, Matrix (search) and the Jim Carrey movie will do well. And.

CAVUTO: Yes. Matrix is the one that could be the most immediate threat to you.

ROTHMAN: Yes, but when you have a movie, fortunately, what our picture did was it played to everybody. That is the good news.

CAVUTO: But these two play to roughly the same audiences, don’t they?

ROTHMAN: No, actually, well, fortunately.

CAVUTO: Although The Matrix is rated R, right?

ROTHMAN: The Matrix is rated R. Ours is rated PG-13. So we have a younger audience. But we played broadly. Our exit polls show that women like the movie as much as men, older people, which is, I hate to tell you, over 25, that’s a terrible thing...

CAVUTO: That’s amazing. Only in this business.

ROTHMAN: Only in our business. So you’re 25 and off the clock. But they liked it just as well as kids did. So, when you have this level of broad playability, we should be able to play well into the summer, well into June, July, et cetera.

CAVUTO: So when all is said and done, what do you think this movie takes in?

ROTHMAN: I don’t know. I really don’t.

CAVUTO: Easily 200, right?

ROTHMAN: Yes. It should. It should. It should. It should certainly - the first one did close to, I think, to 160 and opened at 50, so we’ve done substantially more than that in the first weekend.

CAVUTO: What, are we pushing this back so summer movies start in like Presidents Day now?


ROTHMAN: Well, it’s coming. What it’s going to be, I’ll tell you the truth, is a year-round business. And I think that will be good for the audience and good for the theater owners, too.

CAVUTO: Year-round headaches for you.

ROTHMAN: Yes. That’s true.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you pulled this one out. Thomas, congratulations.

ROTHMAN: Well, thank you very much.

CAVUTO: Thomas Rothman, Fox Film Entertainment chairman.

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