Thursday, May 08, 2008

The tragedy was in plain sight, but nobody thought it would hit this hard. As word spread today that Warner Bros. planned to close its specialty divisions Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures, shifting all projects currently in development to the larger studio and its recently absorbed subdivision New Line, a mournful tone took hold of the independent film industry. "It is a sad day when any film company, large or small, bites the dust," said President of THINKfilm Mark Urman. "One had heard and one had even considered that this was a possible scenario. It's still surprising when you see it in print."

The announcement reverberated throughout the day, as it became clear that all Picturehouse and Warner Independent employees -- seventy-four combined -- just lost their jobs. "This was a strategic decision that came after a lot of careful consideration," said Alan Horn, Warner Bros.' president and CEO, in an e-mail to indieWIRE. "We have been thinking about this for a couple of months, since Time Warner put New Line under our company." Following in step with a statement he issued earlier in the day, Horn argued that the decision resulted from a need to consolidate their interests. "To have three theatrical development, marketing, production and distribution arms, essentially serving the same function and even competing with one another on various levels does not make economic sense," Horn said. "That's a bottom line reality."

Read more in indieWIRE...

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