×

Toby Emmerich Recalls Rachel McAdams’ Chemistry Read With Ryan Gosling

In the span of one year, Toby Emmerich ascended to the chairman role at Warner Bros. Picture Group, shepherded the studio’s record-breaking slate at the worldwide box office, and was selected as the latest recipient of the PGA’s Milestone Award, a kudo that has previously gone to execs including Donna Langley and Robert Iger.

Among the big hits released under Emmerich’s watch last year: “Aquaman,” “A Star Is Born” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” is racking up awards season recognition, while “Crazy Rich Asians” defied Hollywood expectations for a movie with an all-Asian cast.

“You cannot get too caught up in other people’s perceptions of success or failure,” Emmerich says. “And you shouldn’t allow yourself to be cowed when you do fail. Striking out is part of the game. But you have to play to win, and you rarely win when you play not to lose.”

Emmerich became president and chief content officer for Warners in 2016 after a long run rising through the ranks at sister studio New Line. His early credits there date back to the early 1990s as an executive music producer on films including “Above the Rim” and “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.”

“There is a much more immediate relationship between audiences and films than ever before, but what hasn’t changed is that great stories and great storytellers are the lifeblood of our business,” he says. “Quality is still the best strategy in the motion picture business.

“It sounds simple, but you need to know who you are making a film for. That dictates everything else.”

Emmerich is especially proud of serendipitous moments when he helped filmmakers bring their projects to life.

“Like working with Nick Cassavetes on casting for ‘The Notebook’,” says Emmerich, recalling Rachel McAdams’ chemistry read with Ryan Gosling on that New Line project. “It was pure magic.”

Another prize moment: when the studio bought “Elf” out of turnaround for Will Ferrell and Jon Favreau went to meet with Ferrell on the set of “Old School,” joining forces on that hit movie.

“I hope that I am remembered as someone who chose films and filmmakers that I believed in,” Emmerich says, “and every once in a while got it just right — enabling movies that stood the test of time.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Empty movie theater

    Theater Owners Create $2.4 Million Fund for Cinema Workers

    The National Association of Theatre Owners and the Pioneers Assistance Fund have created an initial $2.4 million fund to provide financial assistance to movie theater employees who need help due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organizations said Monday that the first part of the initiative is a grant program that will provide a stipend to [...]

  • Bob Chapek Bob Iger Disney

    Bob Iger to Give Up Salary, Other Senior Disney Executives to Take Pay Cuts

    Disney has joined the list of companies implementing sizable pay cuts for senior executives amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis. Bob Iger, who shifted from chairman-CEO to executive chairman last month, has opted to forgo his salary for the year. Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as CEO, has taken a 50% pay cut. [...]

  • Sundance Horror Movie 'Relic' Picked Up

    Sundance Horror Movie 'Relic,' Starring Emily Mortimer, Picked Up By Film Constellation

    London-based production, finance and sales company Film Constellation has boarded the critically-lauded “Relic,” the debut feature from Natalie Erika James. The film, which stars Emily Mortimer (“Shutter Island”), Robyn Nevin (“The Matrix Trilogy”) and Bella Heathcote (“The Neon Demon”), had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the Midnight section. The film, which [...]

  • Judy Movie 2019 renee zellweger

    Korea Box Office: ‘Judy’ Debuts on Top as Cinemas Slump to Historic Lows

    The South Korean box office, which has been widely affected by coronavirus and has fallen to historic lows, was further hit by leading exhibitor CJ-CGV’s recent decision to shut 35 complexes nationwide, and to reduce screenings at those theaters remaining in operation. Opening on Wednesday (Mar. 25), Oscar-winning drama “Judy” debuted on top of the [...]

  • 'Elephant' Review: Less Majestic Than the

    'Elephant,' Narrated by Meghan Markle: Film Review

    Of all the members of the animal kingdom we think of as akin to humans — chimps, dolphins, whales, perhaps (if we’re being honest about it) our dogs — elephants may be the most movingly and preternaturally aware. Because you can see how intelligent they are. You see it in a chimp’s face, too, of [...]

  • Ken Shimura

    Japanese Comedian Ken Shimura Dies of Coronavirus at 70

    Ken Shimura, a comedian who was a fixture on Japanese television for decades, died on Sunday evening from the coronavirus, the Japanese media reported Monday. He was 70, and immediately before his illness had been set for his first starring role in a feature film. Shimura entered a Tokyo hospital on March 20 with fever [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content