Executive named president of production

New Line’s Richard Brener is staying on as Toby Emmerich’s right-hand man and has been promoted to prexy of production.

Move comes two weeks after Emmerich was appointed president and chief operating officer of the scaled-down mini-major.

The 35-year-old Brener joined the company in 1995 as a temp and rose through the ranks to story editor and senior VP. He’s been serving as New Line’s No. 2 production exec after a promotion to senior exec VP-COO in early 2007.

Brener’s well-regarded within Hollywood, particular in development of comedies and genre pics, so the appointment will be seen as a signal that New Line’s emphasizing its core strengths.

He’s managed New Line’s relationships with key talent such as Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn, and he is best known for having overseen the 2005 hit “Wedding Crashers” and the “Final Destination” franchise. He’s also supervised on “Monster in Law,” “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” “The Wedding Singer” and New Line’s next two releases: “Harold and Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” opening late this month, and “Sex and the City: The Movie,” bowing in late May.

Warner Bros. plans to eliminate most of the 600 jobs at New Line, but the mini-major will maintain its own development, creative and production teams as well as its own marketing, publicity and business affairs staff. Warners is taking over distribution of completed New Line pics.

Time Warner announced Feb. 28 that it was folding New Line into Warner Bros. as part of a move designed to save $50 million annually, with New Line to make six to eight pics per year. Emmerich has indicated that New Line will focus on creating niche films in the vein of “Wedding Crashers” and “Freddy vs. Jason” along with occasional tentpoles such as “The Hobbit.”

“Richard has a keen sense for material in different genres and a fantastic track record,” said Emmerich.  “He also has excellent talent and filmmaker relationships, as well as the utmost respect of the New Line staff.”

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