During his tenure at Fox, the company significantly expanded its production capacity by creating four film divisions-Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Fox Family Films. Among the hit films produced under his supervision were: Cast Away, Best Picture Academy Award winner Titanic, X-Men, Academy Award winner Moulin Rouge, Independence Day, Ice Age, Entrapment, Big Momma's House, Minority Report, What Lies Beneath, Planet of the Apes, Men of Honor, Sexy Beast, Never Been Kissed, There's Something About Mary, Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, Best Picture Academy Award winner Braveheart, Academy Award winner Boys Don't Cry, Quills, Mrs. Doubtfire, Speed, True Lies, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Full Monty, Dr. Dolittle, The X-Files, Me, Myself & Irene, The Thin Red Line, Ever After, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, Broken Arrow, Courage Under Fire, Soul Food, Anastasia and Waiting to Exhale.
Under Mechanic, the studio also released Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, the new chapter in George Lucas' epic saga, in 1999.
As a result of his leadership, in 1998 Twentieth Century Fox was the number-one studio in worldwide box-office gross. That same year, Fox Music produced five of the top ten selling soundtracks: Titanic, Hope Floats, Doctor Dolittle, Bulworth, and Ally McBeal. In addition, during his reign the studio produced six of the top ten grossing movies of all time and six of the top ten selling live-action videos-both domestically and internationally-including the best-selling video in history, Titanic. Fox produced the number-one grossing films worldwide in 1995, 1996 and 1997 with Die Hard with a Vengeance, Independence Day and Titanic. In all, the studio earned 72 Oscar nominations including 5 Best Picture nominations under his management.
Prior to joining Fox, Mechanic served as President of International Distribution and Worldwide Video at The Walt Disney Studios, overseeing international theatrical, worldwide home video and worldwide pay television. He began at Disney in 1984, subsequently building its home-video units both in the United States and overseas from minor industry players to nearly double the size of their nearest competitors. The division grew from $30 million in revenue to over $3 billion and is now responsible for 15 of the top 20 all-time best-selling videocassettes. He pioneered the concept of direct sales to mass merchants, which has become an important part of the home-entertainment business.
One of Mechanic's critical moves was when he ended a five-year relationship between Disney and Warner Bros. for the overseas distribution of the Disney studio's theatrical product and set up BVI, the first completely new international theatrical distribution organization in more than three decades. In its first full year of operation, the unit became the industry's #1 Distributor.
Prior to this, Mechanic served as both Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Home Video and Vice President of Pay Television Sales for the company. During this period, he also oversaw network specials for Disney Television and his programs were nominated for several Emmy Awards.
He serves on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Board of Counselors for the prestigious USC Film School and the Board of American Friends of the National Film Theatre of England. He has been honored with the Showman of the Year Award by the Producers Guild and has received a Crystal Award from Women in Film. In 1998, he was elected into the Video Hall of Fame, and in 2001 he became the first Hollywood executive to chair the jury of any of the major international film festivals when he served as President of the Jury for the Berlin Film Festival.
Bill Mechanic Facts
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