Legendary Pictures, like any major production company, has had its share of hits and misses, but its remarkable to see what an impact it’s had in the realm of genre movies. Its first picture was Batman Begins and it wisely got in on the ground floor of the some of the biggest franchise of the 21st century.
Part of the success comes from the vision of CEO Thomas Tull, who founded in the company in 2000. However, after selling to China’s Dalian Wanda Group for a reported $3.5 billion in early 2016, Tull is now stepping down from the studio. While he had retained his title of CEO following the sale, THR reports that “Wanda became frustrated with his management and recent projects such as The Great Wall and the currently-shooting Pacific Rim 2.”
Tull was more involved than most studio CEOs going so far as to form the story for The Great Wall with screenwriter Max Brooks and personally push for Godzilla and Pacific Rim simply because he was a fan of the material. According to a press release, while Tull will move on to other business endeavors, he will remain a producer on the monsterverse (i.e. Kong: Skull Island, the Godzilla sequels, and Kong vs. Godzilla) as well as the new adaptation of Dune.
We wish Tull all the best in his future endeavors and we hope that Legendary will be able to succeed without his leadership.
Here’s the press release:
STATEMENT FROM WANDA CULTURAL INDUSTRY GROUP AND LEGENDARY ENTERTAINMENT
Thomas Tull has resigned from Legendary Entertainment and effective immediately will assume the role of Founding Chairman of the company he established and led as Chairman and CEO since 2005. Wanda Cultural Industry Group has named Dr. Jack Gao, Group Senior VP & CEO, International Investments and Operations, Wanda Cultural Industry Group as Interim CEO, Legendary Entertainment while the Company pursues the identification of a full-time CEO.
Wanda acquired Legendary in January 2016 and in a year’s time has built a solid platform and business to expand the release of the studio’s tentpole films into China and beyond. Wanda will also continue to fully support Mary Parent and her creative team with the resources needed to develop and produce its existing and future film slate.
“We are thankful to Thomas for his founding vision of Legendary as well as his commitment, leadership and partnership this past year. He will forever be part of the Company’s already rich legacy and powerful DNA,” said Gao. “As we move forward, Wanda aims to transform Legendary into a next generation studio of the future with a far-reaching creative and global platform. We look forward to working with the creative team to manage our already viable film slate with more to come in the near future.”
Stated Tull: “Building Legendary has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I have had the unique opportunity to be at the forefront of where the business is going and lead an incredible group of people as we innovated the way we thought about the film and television business, and the possibilities of collaboration between the west and the east. After a year of transition, I know that the Company is stable with great leadership, so at this point I am able to leave and pursue the new interests and endeavors I have been planning.”
Under his stewardship, Thomas Tull built Legendary Entertainment into a leading media company with film, television, and digital and publishing businesses. During his time, in aggregate, Legendary’s associated productions realized grosses of more than $13 billion worldwide with films such as Godzilla, 300: Rise of an Empire, Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, the Dark Knight trilogy and the Jackie Robinson biopic 42.
Tull plans to focus time on his Tull Investment Group which invests in life science, media and technology companies such as Magic Leap, Oculus Rift, Pinterest, Heal and Zoox. Tull serves on the Board of Directors of Hamilton College, his alma mater, and Carnegie Mellon University. He also sits on the boards of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the National Football Foundation, the San Diego Zoo, the Smithsonian Institution and is part of the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers ownership group, where he also holds a board seat.
Tull will retain the title of Founding Chairman and remain a stakeholder in Legendary; he will remain involved as a producer on the Monsterverse movies and Legendary projects based on Dune.