Ousted Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara received an emotional thank you at the top of the studio’s CinemaCon 2019 presentation on Tuesday in Las Vegas.
Warner Bros. Film Chairman Toby Emmerich addressed the annual convention of movie theater owners, taking a victory lap for the diverse and top-earning films the studio released this year. After highlighting his key executive talent, Emmerich noted one major contributor “who isn’t here in Vegas today, but who has left his mark indelibly on Warner Bros. history.”
Tsujihara exited the company in mid-March after a third investigation into sexual impropriety, surrounding the casting of an actress named Charlotte Kirk. Some staffers in the film unit were deeply shaken by his unexpected exit, Variety previously reported, with many of those individuals believing his termination was unwarranted.
Emmerich credited Tsujihara with “leading us to become a more diverse and inclusive studio in our executive ranks, and more important., with our talent in front of and behind the camera.”
A highlight reel recapping 2018 praised cultural sensations like “Crazy Rich Asians” directed by and starring an all-Asian cast, as well as the juggernaut “Aquaman” led by Jason Momoa. Executives present for WB included DC Films chief Walter Hamada, Warner Bros. president of production Courtenay Valenti, New Line chiefs Carolyn Blackwood and Richard Brener, and studio marketing honcho Blair Rich.
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Tsujihara had headed the studio since early 2013. He’d been with Warner Bros. since 1994, starting out in business development and rising through the ranks in home entertainment. At the time of his dismissal, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said the move was “in the best interest” of all employees.
Emmerich thanked Tsujihara on behalf of all the WB leadership, and imparted a personal wish for “godspeed.”