William M. Mechanic
May 12, 1950
William M. Mechanic (born May 12, 1950) is an American film producer. He is the chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films.
At present, he serves on the board of counselors for USC School of Cinematic Arts, and the Board of BFI Southbank (formerly known as the National Film Theatre) American Friends. He has also served on the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has been honored with the Showman of the Year Award by the Producers Guild of America. He is in the Video Hall of Fame, and has received a Martini Shot Mentor award from Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards in 1999. He has served as an executive for Walt Disney Studios and Fox Filmed Entertainment.
He graduated from Michigan State University in 1973 with a degree in English.
From 1978 to 1982, he worked for Select TV Programming Inc., as vice president of programming. He also held the position of vice president of pay TV and post-theatrical markets for Paramount and senior creative executive at Paramount Pictures.
Following a position at Paramount Pictures, Mechanic moved to 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 notched the majority of the all-time best-selling videos. Mechanic pioneered the concept of direct sales to mass merchants, which has become an important part of the home entertainment business today. At the Walt Disney Studios, where he served as president of international distribution and worldwide video, he oversaw international theatrical, worldwide home video, and worldwide pay television.
Mechanic is married to Carol Mechanic. They have a daughter named Erin Mechanic.
One of Mechanic's critical moves occurred 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 Buena Vista International (BVI). In its first full year of operation, the unit became the industry's No. 1 Distributor. It was the first completely new international theatrical distribution organization in more than three decades.
Mechanic had also served as both senior vice president of Walt Disney Home Video and vice president of pay television sales for the Walt Disney Company. During this period, he also oversaw network specials for Disney Television that received several Emmy Awards nominations.
In 1994, he became the chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Filmed Entertainment., which is a corporate division of News Corporation. In his new position, Mechanic was responsible not only for Fox's home video activities, but for production, marketing, distribution, international theatrical activities, and pay TV as well.
Fox produced the number-one grossing films worldwide in 1995, 1996 and 1997 with Die Hard with a Vengeance, Independence Day and Titanic.
As a result of his leadership, in 1998, Twentieth Century Fox was the number-one studio in worldwide box-office gross revenue. That same year, Fox Music produced five of the top ten selling soundtracks: Titanic, Hope Floats, Dr. 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.
Under his management, in all, the studio earned 72 Oscar nominations including 5 Best Picture nominations.
In June 2000, it was reported that Bill Mechanic was leaving under intense pressure from Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox parent News Corp, and the mogul's No. 2 executive, Peter Chernin. Mechanic confirmed in an interview that he was leaving, calling it a resignation. But other sources said Chernin fired Mechanic, and informed Murdoch about it.
In 2001, he became the president of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival.
In 2006, he became the jury of international competition at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
In 2007, he became the head of the jury of the Lion of the Future prize for first-time filmmakers at the Venice International Film Festival.
In 2010, Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman produced the 82nd Academy Awards.
In 2015, Bill Mechanic produced Hacksaw Ridge.
Currently, Mechanic is producing movies through his independent production company, Pandemonium Films.
|The New World|
|2009||Coraline||BAFTA Children's Award – Best Feature Film|
American Film Institute Awards – Best 10 Movies
Nominated – The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
|2016||Hacksaw Ridge||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture|