Overview: Warner saw the pleasures and the pitfalls of its tentpole strategy in 2004, hitting the heights with “Harry Potter” and the lows with “Catwoman.” Still, it became the first studio to cross the $2 billion mark overseas. Under Mark Gill it also launched indie division Warner Independent Pictures, which is gradually finding its identity in the marketplace. “Overall it’s been a good year for us,” says production president Jeff Robinov. “I feel really good about the diversity in our slate of pictures, where even within our tentpole strategy we’ve tried to work with interesting filmmakers on our big films.”
Winners and losers: The boy wizard from Hogwarts and the sword-and-sandals epic “Troy” helped the studio’s huge overseas numbers, even as a certain feline comic book translation failed to land on its feet. A co-financing strategy limited the studio’s exposure on “Alexander,” while “The Polar Express” outwitted its poor critical response to deliver solid box office.
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Award prospects: WB’s financial investment in such Oscar contenders as “The Aviator,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Million Dollar Baby” gives the studio a much stronger awards position than in years past.
The year ahead: The studio continues to play the tentpole game, pinning its hopes on such highly anticipated projects as Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” the Keanu Reeves sci-fi pic “Constantine,” Tim Burton’s “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” and Mike Newell’s “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”