Warner Bros. has signed worldwide marketing and distribution president Sue Kroll to a new multi-year contract, Variety has learned.
The move is described by insiders as a sign of confidence in Kroll’s abilities by Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara. Kroll’s future has been a subject of speculation in recent months, as Warner Bros. suffered a series of box office misfires such as “Pan,” “Jupiter Ascending” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Last spring’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” grossed $872.2 million globally, but some analysts were disappointed it failed to hit $1 billion.
Going forward, the studio has high hopes for “Suicide Squad,” a comic-book adaptation with Will Smith, and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a Harry Potter spinoff. However, “The Legend of Tarzan,” a new version of the Ape-Man saga, is facing fierce commercial headwinds. It opens in July.
Kroll has been with the company for 22 years. She is credited with helping the company’s marketing and distribution arms become more realigned toward the foreign film market, a source of growing box office revenue. Kroll also organized successful marketing campaigns for the Harry Potter and the Hobbit franchises, the Dark Knight trilogy and “American Sniper.”
Despite the box office troubles, Tsujihara has signaled that he plans to keep his top lieutenants in place. In January, he signed production chief Greg Silverman to a new multi-year deal.
The studio has made changes in the oversight of its DC Comics films in the wake of “Batman v Superman’s” poor reviews. Last month, the studio announced it will give oversight of its superhero movies to Warner’s executive VP Jon Berg and DC’s chief operating officer Geoff Johns. It also promoted Batman actor Ben Affleck to an executive producer role on the upcoming “Justice League” movie.
Kroll joined Warner Bros. Pictures in 1994, rising up the ranks with stints in international marketing, international channels and other divisions. She became president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures in January 2008, and her responsibilities were expanded to include international distribution in June 2013. Last year, Kroll added North America to her portfolio, following domestic distribution head Dan Fellman’s retirement.
The studio did not say when Kroll’s new contract will expire.