Bill Mechanic is at work on a slate of first-rate, high-quality commercial motion picture projects through his independent production company, Pandemonium.
Through Pandemonium, he executive-produced Terrence Malick’s The New World, starring Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, and Q’Orianka Kilcher; and produced Walter Salles’ Dark Water, starring Jennifer Connelly. His next projects as producer are David Fincher’s Torso, with a script by Ehren Kruger for Paramount Pictures; and The C.O. (aka The Desmond Doss Story) with Casey Afleck attached to star, and a script from Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan. He has in development new films with directors Paul Haggis, Philip Kaufman, John Woo, Mark Pellington and Richard Donner.
Prior to forming Pandemonium, Mr. Mechanic was chairman and chief executive officer of Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment for seven years. As such, he oversaw all operations of the studio including worldwide feature film production, marketing and distribution activities; as well as all worldwide operations for Fox Video, Fox Interactive, Licensing and Merchandising, and Fox Music.
During his tenure at Fox, the company produced such hit films as James Cameron’s Titanic (which became the highest-grossing film, and the top-selling video, in movie history) and True Lies, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away and What Lies Beneath, Bryan Singer’s X-Men, Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day, Jon Amiel’s Entrapment, Raja Gosnell’s Big Momma’s House and Never Been Kissed, George Tillman Jr.’s Soul Food and Men Of Honor, Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s There’s Something About Mary and Me Myself & Irene, Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry, Philip Kaufman’s Quills, Chris Columbus’ Mrs. Doubtfire, Jan De Bont’s Speed, John McTiernan’s Die Hard with a Vengeance, Peter Cattaneo’s The Full Monty, Betty Thomas’ Dr. Dolittle, Rob Bowman’s The X-Files, John Woo’s Broken Arrow, Andy Tennant’s Ever After, Edward Zwick’s Courage Under Fire, Forest Whitaker’s Waiting to Exhale and Hope Floats, Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line, Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo+ Juliet, and Don Bluth and Gary Goldman’s Anastasia.
Following successful new theatrical re-releases of the three original Star Wars movies, Twentieth released Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, the new chapter in George Lucas’ epic saga, in 1999. Greenlit by Mr. Mechanic but released after his departure from Fox were Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, and sequels to the franchise projects Mr. Mechanic had greenlit, such as the X-Men franchise.
Under Mr. Mechanic’s tenure, Twentieth Century Fox was the number one studio in worldwide box-office gross in 1998. That same year, Fox Music produced five of the top ten best-selling soundtracks: Titanic, Hope Floats, Doctor Dolittle, Bulworth, and Ally McBeal. Also during his tenure, Fox produced the number one-grossing movie worldwide for three consecutive years; Die Hard with a Vengeance, Independence Day, and Titanic; shared the Best Picture Academy Award twice, for Braveheart and Titanic; won the Best Actress Oscar for Boys Don’t Cry (Hilary Swank); and earned 42 Oscar nominations in total.
He came to Fox from the Walt Disney Studios, where he served as president of international distribution and worldwide video, overseeing international theatrical, worldwide home video, and worldwide pay television. Under him, the company’s home video division grew from $30 million in revenue to over $3 billion in revenue and is notched the majority of the all-time best-selling video cassettes. Mr. Mechanic pioneered the concept of direct sales to mass merchants, which has become an important part of the home entertainment business.
He also set up Buena Vista International, the first completely new international theatrical distribution organization in more than three decades.
Mr. 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.
Before joining Disney in 1984, Mr. Mechanic held the position of vice president of pay TV and post-theatrical markets for Paramount and senior creative executive at Paramount Pictures. From 1978 to 1982 he worked for Select TV Programming Inc., as vice president of programming.
Mr. Mechanic serves on the board of counselors for USC Film School, and the Board of 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; is in the Video Hall of Fame; and has received a Crystal Award from Women in Film.
He has also been president of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival, and chairman of the international jury at the Venice International Film Festival.