In a Wednesday memo to his staff obtained by Variety, Zaslav told studio employees that he will create “three distinct film segments around Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, and DC-Based Film Production.” These units will presumably report to Zaslav directly. The CEO said the idea was workshopped with the outgoing film group chairman Toby Emmerich, a veteran executive he called “a great leader and a friend to me and to many.”
Earlier this morning, official word came that Emmerich will be replaced by former MGM film leaders Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy at the end of the summer. Shortly after the memo was circulated, Warner Bros. Discovery sent an official notice calling the structure “long-range,” and added that De Luca and Abdy will oversee operations on all three units until clarity comes for Warner Animation and DC Films (both of which have leaders presently in place).
Emmerich has accepted a production deal on the Warner lot. In his own memo to his team, the 20-plus year company veteran said he’d be “rooting” for the motion picture group, and that he’d “see them on the other side.”
Regarding De Luca and Abdy, Zaslav said the pair were “supremely talented creative leaders with a proven track record of success,” and that he looked forward to “seeing them take this nearly century-old iconic studio to even greater heights of excellence in film.”
Read Zaslav’s full memo:
This morning, Toby Emmerich informed his team of his decision to step down as chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group and launch his own production company. I have known Toby for years, he is a great leader and a friend to me and to many, and I am very happy for him, and even more thrilled that he has chosen to remain a part of our Warner Bros. Discovery family through this new production venture. We’re also grateful to him for agreeing to stay at the helm of Warner Bros. Pictures Group through a transition period this summer.
Over the last few months, Toby and I have been talking about the best structure for Warner Bros. Pictures Group and the idea of creating three distinct film segments around Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, and DC-Based Film Production. I have greatly appreciated his insight and partnership throughout this process and feel confident this is the right strategy for our company going forward.
It was during these same discussions that Toby first shared with me his desire to start his own production company. I told him he had my absolute support. He is incredibly talented with a well-deserved reputation throughout the industry as a bold, creative visionary. While at the helm of New Line Cinema and then the entire Warner Bros. Picture Group, he has been a driving force behind a diverse collection of highly successful movies and series, including The Notebook, Elf, Crazy Rich Asians, A Star Is Born and The Batman. I have no doubt he will deliver even more exceptional, one-of-a-kind stories in his new capacity, and I look forward to continuing our working relationship for many years to come.
We have a deep history of world-class production here at Warner Bros. Discovery, and our intent going forward is to tell more of the best stories and to share them with an even bigger audience around the world. Toby and his team will play an important and valued role in this endeavor, we’re so glad to have them join us, and we can’t wait to see what they will create in the months and years ahead.