Warner Bros. Film Group Cuts Staff in Marketing, PR in Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group has cut roughly 15 jobs in New York and Los Angeles, several insiders familiar with the company told Variety.

The reduction comes with a consolidation of the marketing and public relations teams under Blair Rich, president of worldwide theatrical and home entertainment marketing. The cuts were not related to or dictated by the ATT-Time Warner merger, one of the individuals said, but rather the result of a months-long analysis of the departments.

Cuts included Executive VP of international publicity Lance Volland and 20-plus year veteran Ernie Johnston in promotions and field publicity, two of the individuals said, as well as some at the assistant level. Rich has been evaluating legacy systems and encouraging staff to think globally on the lot, another insider added.

Domestic and international publicity teams that once acted as separate and redundant operations are now combined under the purview of Michelle Slavich, a YouTube transplant who was named head of global publicity and strategy under Rich five months ago. No further cuts are expected.

“Back in January, we announced a restructure of our film and home entertainment businesses to enable us to remain competitive while facing an evolving business environment that grows more global every day,” Rich wrote in a memo to staff obtained by Variety.

A studio spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

It was reported on Tuesday that Lynne Frank, president of international marketing and worldwide planning, would depart the studio for new opportunities at the end of the year after finishing campaigns on the “Fantastic Beasts” sequel and “Aquaman.” Another PR senior VP, Courtney Rogge, is said to be leaving the studio for another gig.

The studio is sliding into the holiday and awards corridor with several wins under its belt, kicking off in June with the success of all-female “Ocean’s 8” reboot, the landmark romcom smash “Crazy Rich Asians” and shark thriller “The Meg.” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s “A Star Is Born” remake is also a big earner and Oscar front runner.


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