×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toby Emmerich Named Warner Bros. Chief Content Officer, Greg Silverman Ousted

Warner Bros. is shaking up its executive team, ousting creative development and production chief Greg Silverman and promoting Toby Emmerich to president and chief content officer.

Emmerich previously served as president and COO at New Line Cinema, where he was known for his strong relationships with talent and for guiding horror and raunchy comedy hits to the big screen. He played an integral role in the production of “The Conjuring,” “Horrible Bosses,” “Wedding Crashers,” and the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” films.

Emmerich’s top deputies at New Line, Richard Brener and Carolyn Blackwood, will now oversee that division, according to sources.

The studio spin is that Silverman is stepping down to launch an independent production company that will work with Warner Bros. Though Silverman was liked personally and signed a three-year contract extension earlier in 2016, top brass at Warner Bros. and its parent company Time Warner had become increasingly concerned about a number of costly film flops that hit theaters while he was running production. Those failures include “Pan,” “In the Heart of the Sea,” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” The company’s leadership was also unhappy with the poor critical reception for “Suicide Squad” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” two DC Comics adaptations intended to kick off an ambitious series of interconnected superhero films.

Silverman did oversee some hits during his tenure, among them “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “American Sniper.”

In a sign of his new power, Warner Bros. said that Emmerich will share green-light authority with Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara to determine which projects are ultimately made by Warner Bros. Pictures Group’s production entities. The promotion elevates him above Sue Kroll, the worldwide marketing and distribution chief. She serves on the green-light committee, but does not have final say on which pictures get made.

Emmerich’s promotion comes as Warner Bros. is trying to rebuild its slate of top franchises. The studio sees DC Comics, Lego-branded animated fare, and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” as the three major properties it can build its future around. Though Emmerich is known for his story sense and creative chops, as well as fiscal prudence, he is not widely associated with those large-scale blockbusters. There have been exceptions, such as the J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations and “San Andreas,” but his greatest successes have been mid-budget horror films and comedies.

Emmerich has a close relationship with Tsujihara and is also well-liked by Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes. The company’s New York leadership likes that Emmerich is seen as low-maintenance. The corporate chiefs have long felt there was too much infighting going on at the Hollywood operation and that it reflected poorly on the company.

After Tsujihara took over Warner Bros. in 2013, he instituted a tripartite structure that had Silverman, Kroll, and Emmerich serving as co-equals. But some directors and producers privately complained that this egalitarianism led to a clashing of egos and left the studio without the strong creative direction it needed.

Warner Bros. will invest in Silverman’s new venture, sources tell Variety. The company believes that the former production chief has valuable relationships with Chinese players and a wide network of contacts.

Emmerich will continue to be the final authority at New Line and will remain in charge at Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, the company’s live stage play division.

The executive shuffle with Silverman and Emmerich also comes at a time of great corporate upheaval. Time Warner recently announced that it had reached a deal to sell itself to AT&T for $85.4 billion. That pact still needs regulatory approval.

More Film

  • Ventana Sur: 10 or So Takes

    Ventana Sur: Drilling Down on This Year’s Edition

    BUENOS AIRES —  11 takes on the biggest Ventana Sur yet, in initiatives and initial business announcements: 1.CANNES’ MOST DARING MOVE? Over the last decade, film festivals two biggest growth roadmaps have run through strengthening their industry heft, aiding an ever more challenged independent film business, and to morph into all-year-round structures. The Cannes Festival [...]

  • Ian Schrager Ian Schrager, New York,

    Studio 54 Co-Creator Ian Schrager Wants to 'Set the Record Straight'

    In the 1970s, Studio 54 was the epicenter of New York nightlife. With wildly theatrical sets, a guest list of celebs, and jet-setters that included everyone from Andy Warhol to Grace Jones, and a pulsating disco beat, the nightclub helped define the Me Decade. But its reign was short lived. In 1980, founders Steve Rubell [...]

  • 'The Favourite,' 'Black Panther' Lead Critics'

    'The Favourite,' 'Black Panther,' 'First Man' Lead Critics' Choice Movie Nominations

    Fox Searchlight’s “The Favourite,” directed by rising art-house star Yorgos Lanthimos, led the field of film nominees for the 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. announced Monday. The period comedy, a biting send-up of the court of Queen Anne, received 14 nominations including best picture, director, actress (Olivia Colman), supporting actress [...]

  • Blood Window, BIFFF Partner On TV

    Blood Window, Brussels International Fantastic Film Fest Partner on TV Initiative

    Argentina’s Ventana Sur, certainly one of Latin America’s most important meet-marts, announced today that its Blood Window sidebar will collaborate with INCAA – the country’s national film-TV body, which co-runs Ventana Sur with Cannes – and the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF) on the B2 Genre TV project, the first such program aimed at [...]

  • Film Factory Boards Andrés Wood’s Fox-Distributed

    Film Factory Boards Andres Wood’s Fox-Distributed ‘Arana’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Entertainment has boarded “Araña,” directed by one of Chile’s foremost filmmakers, Andrés Wood, and distributed in North and Latin America by 20th Century Fox. Produced by Alejandra García at Santiago de Chile’s Wood Producciones, “Araña” is co-produced by Brazil’s BossaNovaFilms and Argentina’s Magma Cine, two of Southern America’s [...]

  • Tim Roth, Thierry Fremaux and Gaspar

    Tim Roth, Gaspar Noe Join Thierry Fremaux at Cannes Festival Cinema Week

    BUENOS AIRES — Kicking off with the Cannes Festival’s Palme d’Or winner, Hirokazu Kor-eda’s “Shoplifters,” and framing  multiple Cannes winners, the 10th Cannes Festival Cinema Week will feature a masterclass by Tim Roth, before a projection of “Reservoir Dogs,” and a presentation by Gaspar Noé of his Directors’ Fortnight hit “Climax.” Curated and M.C-ed by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content