Duo sign on for another two years at studio

Barry M. Meyer and Alan Horn have signed on for another two years at Warner Bros., continuing their decade-long partnership in the top slots at the studio.

Warner Bros. had no comment about the duo reupping on Monday, when word began circulating around town. Meyer, 65, will stay on as chairman and CEO while Horn, 66, remains president and chief operating officer.

The duo have headed the studio since October 1999, when they replaced longtime toppers Terry Semel and Bob Daly. At that point, Meyer had served five years as exec VP and chief operating officer while Horn had been the co-founder and chairman of Castle Rock Entertainment.

Warner Bros. has remained at or near the top of studio rankings during the Meyer-Horn tenure and is coming off a strong 2008, with domestic box office at an industry record $1.78 billion and international grosses at $1.81 billion. The studio’s “The Dark Knight” became only the fourth film to top $1 billion in combined domestic and foreign box office.

Meyer, who began at Warner Bros. in 1971 as a TV exec, also oversees Warner Bros. Television Group and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. Horn also has oversight of all theatrical and home entertainment.

Studio has continued to focus on tentpoles such as the Harry Potter and Batman franchises but has also seen recent successes with “Gran Torino,” “Yes Man,” “Four Christmases” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.” “Watchmen,” co-financed by Paramount, has underperformed to some extent after Warner reached a settlement in January following a contentious legal battle with Fox over distribution rights.

With parent company Time Warner facing a declining stock price, Warners was forced to absorb New Line Cinema last year and to shutter the Warner Independent and Picturehouse labels. The studio announced earlier this year that it was cutting 10% of its worldwide staff by eliminating 200 open positions, laying off 300 workers and outsourcing 300 information technology and accounting jobs.

Warner’s decision to keep the reupping of Meyer and Horn initially under the radar contrasts with how Paramount and Universal announced extensions for their top execs earlier this year.

Par announced in early January that Brad Grey had re-signed as chairman and CEO through January 2014. A few weeks later, Universal said Marc Shmuger and David Linde had signed on for another four years, keeping them on as chairmen through 2013.

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