Richard A. Rowland was an American studio executive and film producer.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rowland was the head of Metro Pictures Corporation from 1915 to 1920, a studio he founded in 1915 along with Louis B. Mayer. Mayer left in 1918 to form his own studio. Metro did most of its productions in Los Angeles and in New York City where it occasionally leased facilities in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Among Metro?s productions were: The Eternal Question, with Olga Petrova, ; The Divorceé, with Ethel Barrymore ; What People Will Say?, directed by Alice Guy Blache. In 1919, when Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford formed United Artists to protect their work and control their careers, Rowland, then head of Metro Studios, famously remarked that “the lunatics have taken over the asylum”.
He later sold Metro to Marcus Lowe in 1920 and subsequently became an executive at Fox. Lowe was acquiring studios to help feed product to his theater chain. A few years later, Lowe merged Metro with recently acquired Goldwyn Picture Corporation to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM.
Rowland played a key role in the setting of standards and improving the speed of movie projection to improve the quality of the experience as a member of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers.