Mark Gill told Daily Variety on Wednesday that he and Warner Bros. Pictures prexy of production Jeff Robinov — his direct boss — had “irreparably divergent views” as to the course Warner Independent Pictures should take.
In other words, it was a bad marriage from the outset. Insiders say Gill, who launched the indie unit in 2003, wanted a level of autonomy with which Robinov wasn’t comfortable.
The situation never improved, even with the success of Warner Independent’s breakout docu “March of the Penguins.”
One possible breaking point: In recent days, Robinov nixed Gill’s bid to move ahead with “Spring Break in Bosnia,” which Warner Independent was to produce with Intermedia. Gill played a key role in packaging the film, which stars Richard Gere and Terrence Howard and will be directed by Richard Shepard.
The Weinstein Co. quickly swooped in to pick up North American, Australian and New Zealand distrib rights. The $15 million pic is now being co-produced by Intermedia and Bill Block’s QED Intl.
One of Robinov’s most trusted lieutenants, Warners exec VP of production Polly Cohen, is in final talks to take over for Gill, but no final deal has been inked. She’s well respected but has little indie experience.
The studio has yet to say what it intends for Warner Independent now that Gill’s out.
But Gill’s departure, effective today, comes at an inopportune time, with Cannes just around the corner and big Warners preoccupied with the upcoming release of “Poseidon” and “Superman Returns.”