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Below is Toby Emmerich’s departure note to staff at Warner Bros on Wednesday. As we reported this morning, the chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group is segueing to a lucrative five-year production deal on the lot, so he’s not going far. He apparently was offered to stay, but would have had to cede oversee on Warner Bros. Animation and DC, an option the former New Line President didn’t want.
Word is that former MGM film bosses Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy will arrive at Warners on August 1. As Emmerich points out here, in the interim, DC features head Walter Hamada, COO Carolyn Blackwood, Warner President of Production Courtenay Valenti and New Line head Richard Brener will continue to report to Emmerich.
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Even with De Luca coming in, should Brener and Blackwood opt to stay, it’s the New Line gang back together. It’s an interesting revolving door considering Emmerich took over for De Luca at New Line in 2001 when the executive responsible for Seven and Austin Powers was ousted after a string of unsuccessful pics.
There is a successful life after studio mogul-dom as a producer. Sure, it’s typically the parachute deal given to titans, and there’s been several who’ve dimmed out. But, there are some great examples of studio heads who’ve gone on to have blockbuster track records including former Warner Bros president of worldwide production Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who has generated billions for Paramount with the Transformers franchise, and former president of Buena Vista Motion Picture Group Nina Jacobson, who has steered the $3 billion-grossing Hunger Games franchise and is mushrooming the Crazy Rich Asians franchise for Warners. Over at Sony, former co-president of production Matt Tolmach has been an invaluable producer who has overseen and shepherded big event titles for the studio including the Venom and Morbius movies and the revived Jumanji franchise.
It will be intriguing to see Emmerich’s accomplishments in this next phase of his career.
Here’s Emmerich’s gracious note to his team:
After 21 years at New Line and Warner Bros., and a lot of long walks and soul-searching conversations with Zas, I’ve decided to step down from my role as Chairman at the end of the summer. Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy will be coming in to take the reins at the WB Pictures Group. In the interim, Walter, Carolyn, Courtenay and Richard will continue to report me.
Throughout these 21 years – from New Line on Robertson through 2.0 in Burbank to the amazing Warner Bros. Pictures Group I’m so privileged to work with now – we as a team have dreamed big, achieved bigger, and managed to stay true to each other and to the art form that draws all of us to this company and this business. Most of all, we’ve made some beautiful, challenging, bar-raising, paradigm-shifting movies that have left the world a little richer, a little scarier, and a lot more fun – from ELF to Wedding Crashers, from The Notebook to IT, six movies from Middle Earth and of course, The Batman.
I’ve been given a lot of credit for our successes, but on each and every film there have been talented executives and team members from development, deal making, physical production, marketing and distribution that have over delivered and made magic happen. These are your successes as much as they are mine and I am forever grateful for all of your creative vision, passion and tireless devotion to your projects and filmmaking teams.
I’ll always love this Studio and will be here to guide the motion picture group through the summer as Mike and Pam transition to their leadership roles at its end. Mike and I worked together at New Line, and he’s a super talented and creative executive.
Carolyn, Courtenay, Richard and Walter will still lead this group as fearlessly as they always have. I’ll be cheering them and all of you on from a production company office on this beautiful lot. I’m proud of all of it and can only say thanks. I’ll see you on the other side.
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