Time Warner drops ax on New Line

Company cuts 450 jobs from studio

It’s the end of the line for most of New Line, with Time Warner cutting 450 jobs as part of its earlier decision to fold the studio into Warner Bros.

The pinkslips, announced Monday afternoon, leave New Line with 40-50 employees. A Time Warner spokesman said about 40 New Line employees are being offered jobs within Warner Bros.

Notifications of the dismissals began Monday and will continue Tuesday.

New Line is expected to remain in its West Hollywood headquarters on Robertson Boulevard rather than move to the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. The WB unit also will continue to operate a New York office, but it’s unclear where that will be located.

New Line 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 topper Jeff Bewkes announced Feb. 28 the conglom 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. Prexy-chief operating officer Toby Emmerich has indicated 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.”

That decision ended New Line’s 40 years as an independent studio, with toppers Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne ankling.

In mid-March, longtime production chief Emmerich was appointed to his new post at the scaled-down shingle. Two weeks ago, senior exec VP-chief operating officer Richard Brener agreed to stay on as Emmerich’s right-hand man, with a promotion to prexy of production.

Other New Line production execs expected to stay include Sam Brown, Michael Disco and Michele Weiss.

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