Warner Bros. redesign : Toby Emmerich leaves the film studio

Warner Bros. cinema chief Toby Emmerich will step down as head of one of Hollywood’s biggest movie studios, in a major shakeup following the company’s recent merger with Discovery.

The David Zaslav-led parent company has tapped longtime producers Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy to oversee the Warner Bros. film division. Burbank-based, as well as smaller label New Line, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment. .

Emmerich, a veteran of the company, will take on a production contract with the studio.

De Luca and Abdy recently ran MGM’s film operations, but announced in April that they would be leaving the Beverly Hills company this summer, leading to rampant speculation over where they would land. Earlier this year, Amazon struck an $8.5 billion deal to buy MGM, home of the “Creed” and James Bond films.

Warner Bros. has one of the biggest movie slates in the business, which includes DC superhero movies and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise. But De Luca and Abdy will not be in charge of everything.

Sources say Zaslav wants to create a structure similar to the Walt Disney Co.’s film business, with separate film divisions that have their own creative heads reporting directly to him. De Luca and Abdy will lead the combined Warner Bros.-New Line. DC movies and Warner Bros. Animation will have their own leaders, who have not been determined. Until these cadres are identified, the units will report to De Luca and Abdy.

Emmerich and Zaslav had been discussing the change for some time, people familiar with the matter said. When Zaslav determined he wanted to go with the trifurcated structure, Emmerich opted out for the production pact.

Warner Bros.’ Biggest Challenge will be to continue developing the DC series and figuring out what to do with the Harry Potter-adjacent “Fantastic Beasts” films, which have suffered a steep decline.

Representatives of Warner Bros. Discovery did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Zaslav has moved quickly to go under the hood and make changes to the combined company since the merger closed in April. The Warner Bros. merger. Discovery ended the studio’s tumultuous era under AT&T ownership. The Dallas phone company spun off Warner Bros., HBO, CNN and other media operations to partner with Discovery in a $43 billion deal.

Hollywood studio chiefs move through the company like players in a game of musical chairs, the same people rotating in top jobs for decades.

De Luca served as president of production at Time Warner-owned New Line Cinema until he was fired in 2001 following a disastrous series of box office flops, including “Little Nicky” and “13 Days”.

His replacement: Emmerich, who previously ran New Line Music.

Emmerich remained with New Line through various periods of success and turmoil, eventually becoming president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Film Group. in 2017, replacing Greg Silverman. Emmerich was promoted to president the following year.

After leaving New Line, De Luca played producer roles and was for a time an executive at Sony Pictures before landing a production deal with Universal in 2015. As a producer, he is known for films such as “Fifty shades of Grey”. “Moneyball” and “Captain Phillips”.

Emmerich was known for his friendly approach to studio management. As a creator himself, Emmerich wrote the American sci-fi drama “Frequency” in 2000, starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel, which was released by New Line.

But as head of cinema at Warner Bros. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Emmerich had to try to skillfully mend barriers after the company decided to put all of its movies on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously, a decision that infuriated directors and actors. .

Now Warner Bros. releases movies in theaters for 45 days before streaming. DC’s most recent release, Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” grossed over $760 million at the worldwide box office.

Emmerich’s departure is the latest major leadership change for the entertainment company as part of the combination with Discovery, known for profitable reality shows such as “House Hunters” and “90 Day Fiancé.” Ann Sarnoff has left her position as head of studios and media networks at Warner Bros. in April.

The shakeup comes as Zaslav seeks to achieve $3 billion in savings from the merger. Zaslav was applauded by the industry’s creative community, who thought he would be more talent-friendly than former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar. But the honeymoon phase has faded amid reports that the Discovery boss is reviewing projects, including Warner Bros.’ $250 million production deal. with Bad Robot by JJ Abrams.

Under AT&T, led by John Stankey, Warner Bros. endured a turbulent era of AT&T that saw the exit of several senior executives. Warner Bros. Chairman Kevin Tsujihara left in 2018 amid a sex scandal involving an actress.

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