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Warner Bros shakes up film studio's hierarchy

Warner Bros shakes up  film studio's hierarchy

NYT Syndicate

Ending a power struggle in its senior ranks, Warner Bros recently gave control of worldwide film production, marketing and distribution to Toby Emmerich, who rose through the studio by finding hits like It and shepherding The Lord of the Rings movies.
Sue Kroll, one of Hollywood's highest-ranking female executives, will leave Warner's management team on April 1 to become a producer on the studio's lot, where she will have offices next to Clint Eastwood and work on films like a remake of A Star Is Born. Kroll had run Warner's film marketing and distribution division.
"I love movies, and working even more closely with the filmmakers who bring great stories to life is both a great opportunity and an exciting new challenge for me," Kroll said in a statement. In an email to employees, Kevin Tsujihara, the studio's chairman and chief executive, called her"a legend in the marketing world."
The changes are being made as Warner anticipates new corporate oversight. AT&T is fighting the Justice Department for approval of its $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner, the studio's parent company.
Tsujihara positioned the shake-up, which included a promotion for Kroll's longtime lieutenant, Blair Rich, as necessary to enhance the studio's competitiveness. Warner is Hollywood's No 1 supplier of television shows and operates a vast video game publishing business. But movies have lately been a soft spot.
A decade ago, Warner reigned as Hollywood's dominant studio. That position has now been claimed by Walt Disney Studios, and Warner has struggled with whipsawing results. Wonder Woman, It and Dunkirk were smash hits for Warner last year. But the studio also had marketplace misfires like Justice League and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Noting evolving audience tastes and the disruption caused by technology, Tsujihara said in a statement that the studio needed to"adapt our operations to stay ahead of these changes."
Rich, an executive with strong filmmaker relationships, will lead movie marketing, reporting to Emmerich. (Kroll reported directly to Tsujihara.) Ron Sanders will take over Kroll's theatrical distribution duties, reporting to Emmerich, while retaining control of gaming and home entertainment, reporting to Tsujihara.
The shuffling ends a bake-off period at Warner that started in 2013 when Tsujihara announced that four executives would jointly run the movie division. One of them, Dan Fellman, retired in 2015. A second, Greg Silverman, was ousted in 2016 after a mixed track record. That left Emmerich jockeying with Kroll.
In addition to becoming a producer with a three-year deal ” Motherless Brooklyn is another in-the-works Warner movie she will join ” Kroll will serve as"special adviser" to Tsujihara on the restructuring, Warner said. An indefatigable executive widely respected in Hollywood, even by those who crossed swords with her, Kroll joined Warner in 1994.

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