In a surprise move, Warner Bros Entertainment chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara has signed production topper Greg Silverman to a new multi-year deal despite the movie studio suffering one of the worst box office spells in its history.
There was rampant speculation last year that Silverman would be ousted from his position as president of creative development and worldwide production after Warner Bros. suffered a string of costly misfires that included “Jupiter Ascending,” “Pan,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Our Brand Is Crisis” and “In the Heart of the Sea.” The studio finished the year a distant third in domestic market share with less than 14% at $1.6 billion despite releasing the largest number of titles.
Warner Bros. also landed in third place in 2014. In every year between 2004 and 2013, the studio had finished in first or second. Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” which opened on Christmas 2014, was by far Warner’s best performer last year. Two other titles — George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Rocky revamp “Creed,” co-produced by MGM, generated strong grosses and are receiving awards season recognition.
Re-upping Silverman represents a strong vote of confidence by Tsujihara in Silverman’s executive talents and in the prospects for the studio’s upcoming slate, which includes DC properties “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League”; Harry Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”; Clint Eastwood’s “Sully”; a trio of Lego animated movies; and Christopher Nolan’s World War II project “Dunkirk.”
About three years ago, Tsujihara announced that the movie studio would be run by a three-member committee consisting of Silverman, marketing and distribution chief Sue Kroll and New Line Cinema head Toby Emmerich.
Silverman originally joined Warner Bros. in 1999 as a junior production exec and worked on “The Matrix,” “A Perfect Murder” and “Cats and Dogs.” He then joined Revolution Studios as senior VP before returning to Warners in 2002 as VP of production. He was promoted to senior VP in 2004, exec VP in 2006 and exec VP of creative development and production in 2009.
News about Silverman was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.