Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes played down reports on Wednesday of tension between Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures as the film financier nears the end of his current deal with the studio and said the focus was on "problem-solving."
He told analysts Wednesday that the relationship is not "contentious," despite recent stories in TheWrap and the New York Times suggesting that Legendary CEO Thomas Tull was meeting with rival studios and considering leaving Warner Bros. when his deal expires at the end of 2013.
"There is problem-solving going on," Bewkes acknowledged.
However, Bewkes added that the studio was confident that it could continue to field a "robust slate of films" even if Legendary decides to leave, although he did say that he expected to have ongoing conversations about keeping this key partner in the Warner fold.
"We have very high regard for Legendary," he said.
A spokesman for Legendary declined to comment.
Legendary has been a key source of investment on many of Warner Bros.'s biggest hits, providing capital for the likes of "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Hangover" and the upcoming "Man of Steel." Tull is also a hands-on producer of many of the studio's biggest projects, and is fully financing big-budget movies that under the current deal are being released by Warner Bros.
TheWrap reported last week that Tull's relationship with Warner Bros. studio chief Jeff Robinov (pictured above left) has become strained because of his belief that Robinov has undercut him among their peers. Tull was also disturbed by rampant rumors that there was strain between himself and "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan, which was untrue.
Also fueling speculation that all is not well was a lawsuit that Tull filed against Roy Lee and Dan Lin, two leading producers at Warner Bros. Tull fired the two men from his planned remake of "Godzilla."