As expected, Thomas Tull, and his Legendary Entertainment, have parted ways with Warner Bros. and is currently in talks with Sony, Fox Studios and Universal for a new distribution and co-financing deal.
The news isn’t that surprising as there has been mention of a rocky relationship between the two for the past few months, as well as the fact that Tull hired former Warner Bros. Television chief Bruce Rosenblum, who joined Legendary as president of TV and digital media.
Current WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara is said to be responsible for Rosenblum’s departure.
Variety cites the reason for Legendary leaving is DC Entertainment, specifically the movies, as Warner Bros. wants to retain control of the future DC movies.
Tull’s Legendary Entertainment shared in the success of Nolan’s Batman franchise as well as the Man of Steel, as Tull co-financed the productions.
It’s said WB wants to retain the profits, something similar it has done with other tentpoles like Harry Potter.
Regarding the future of Legendary Entertainment, it’s being reported that Universal looks to be the best option as Universal has more of what Tull wants, which is a studio that has access to more than just films, with TV shows, digital content and comic books as well.
A deal with Universal could give Tull and his future productions access to the likes of Universal Studios Theme Parks as well as NBC.
While it hasn’t been stated that outgoing WB film president Jeff Robinov’s departure was a part of the reason, Robinov backed projects that Legendary co-financed with WB including the Nolan films as well as The Hangover. Nolan’s latest big-budget film, Interstellar, is now at Paramount, with WB only partially involved.
Warners recently announced Robinov’s replacement, which is a “new leadership team” that will directly report to Tsujihara; see below for more.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Announces New Leadership for Warner Bros. Pictures Group
(June 24, 2013 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced a new leadership team to run Warner Bros. Pictures Group, capitalizing on the proven strengths of a number of longtime Studio executives. Sue Kroll will now serve as President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures; Greg Silverman will now serve as President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures; and Toby Emmerich will continue as President and COO, New Line Cinema, while adding responsibility for Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures. The announcement was made today by Kevin Tsujihara, CEO, Warner Bros., to whom all three executives will report.
Working closely with the management team, Dan Fellman, whose contract has been extended, will continue in his role as President, Domestic Distribution, reporting directly to Tsujihara. Veronika Kwan Vandenberg will continue as President, International Distribution, and ultimately assume responsibility for worldwide distribution, taking on the domestic distribution function upon the planned retirement of Fellman. Kwan Vandenberg will report to Kroll who, in addition to her marketing and distribution responsibilities, will continue to be involved in all aspects of Warner Bros. Pictures’ and New Line Cinema’s releases.
“Warner Bros. is the world’s preeminent motion picture studio with one of the most talented executive benches in the industry,” said Tsujihara. “Collectively, this team has more than 100 years at the company and broad experience across the film business, which will ensure that Warner Bros. Pictures continues as a respected leader in production, marketing and global distribution. I have every confidence that we will continue to deliver the industry’s most compelling, popular and successful movies.”
“This marks an exciting new chapter in the storied history of Warner Bros. Pictures,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman, Warner Bros. “We are in the midst of another terrific year, and our film division will continue to thrive well into the future under this realigned organization.”
Kroll was named President, Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures in January 2008 and has led enormously successful campaigns for a broad range of motion pictures, including most recently “Man of Steel,” “The Great Gatsby” and last year’s Academy Award Best Picture winner, “Argo.” Other prominent campaigns include the billion-dollar blockbusters “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” as well as “Inception” and the final installments of the Harry Potter series.
Silverman has been President, Production, Warner Bros. Pictures since April 2011 and played a key role in recent box-office successes, including “The Great Gatsby,” directed by Baz Luhrmann, “Argo” from director Ben Affleck and “The Dark Knight Rises,” directed by Christopher Nolan. As a creative executive, Silverman also shepherded the commercially successful and critically acclaimed “300,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Hangover” and the global phenomenon “Inception,” among other films.
As President and COO of New Line Cinema since March 2008, and President of Production for seven years prior to that, Emmerich has overseen such diverse features as the Academy Award-winning blockbuster “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and 2005’s highest-grossing comedy, “Wedding Crashers,” as well as “He’s Just Not That Into You,” “Horrible Bosses,” the “Journey” franchise and the “Final Destination” films.