Christopher Nolan Gets DEG’s Inaugural ‘Vanguard’ Award at 4K UHD Summit

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan was presented with the first-ever DEG “Vanguard” award at the 4K UHD Summit in L.A. on Nov. 6. The event, held at the Skirball Cultural Center, was produced by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and the UHD Alliance. Prese…

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan was presented with the first-ever DEG “Vanguard” award at the 4K UHD Summit in L.A. on Nov. 6. The event, held at the Skirball Cultural Center, was produced by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and the UHD Alliance. Presenting the award to Nolan (above left) was Ron Sanders (above right), president of […]

Veteran Warner Bros Executive Veronika Kwan Vandenberg Steps Down After 30 Years

Veteran Warner Bros. Pictures executive Veronika Kwan Vandenberg is stepping down as president of international distribution, the studio announced Monday.
She’ll transition to an advisory role before leaving the lot at the end of the year. Her su…

Veteran Warner Bros. Pictures executive Veronika Kwan Vandenberg is stepping down as president of international distribution, the studio announced Monday.

She’ll transition to an advisory role before leaving the lot at the end of the year. Her successor is Tom Moller, who currently serves as EVP in international.

Kwan Vandenberg’s move continues an old-guard exodus like that of former marketing honcho Sue Kroll and, before her, Greg Silverman.

Several leadership changes have come with news of her departure. They are as follows, according to a memo sent to studio employees obtained by TheWrap:

Jim Wuthrich has been named President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment and Games, with full oversight of those businesses. Jim will report to Ron Sanders and work closely with Blair Rich who oversees home entertainment marketing of new theatrical releases.

Jessica Schell, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Film, for Home Entertainment will continue to report to Jim Wuthrich and jointly report to Wuthrich and Rich on the slate.

David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, will continue to run the videogame division reporting to Wuthrich. 

More to come. Read the announcement:

Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President, International Distribution and Growth Initiatives, Warner Bros. Pictures, will transition from that role to serve as Special Advisor to Ron Sanders, President, Worldwide Theatrical Distribution and Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Kwan Vandenberg plans to leave the Studio by year’s end.

“Veronika has led our international film distribution division since 2000, and Warner Bros. could not have had a better representative in the global marketplace,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. “She’s highly regarded, well-liked and recognized as a great partner by filmmakers, exhibitors and her peers. Her deep knowledge of the business, the international markets and her longstanding relationships have helped us achieve great results. As a China specialist, Veronika was tremendously helpful in shaping our theatrical vision in that complex market. We thank her for everything she’s done for the Studio and look forward to working with her through this transition.”

“Warner Bros. has been my second home and family for almost 30 years. I’ve had the great fortune to work with so many talented, creative and visionary people and I shall miss them all,” said Kwan Vandenberg. “I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished over the years and I’m particularly proud of the great team we have in place. I want to thank Toby and Kevin (Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO) for their support, and I look forward to working with Ron. I have spent many years traveling for the job, so I am especially looking forward to spending time with my family and taking some time for myself, and I am excited about what this new chapter in life will bring.”

“As I used to say at CinemaCon, a bientot, auf wiedersehen, xie xie, arigato, gracias mis amigos.”

In her most recent position, Kwan Vandenberg had oversight of the Studio’s international theatrical distribution activities, including local productions and a special focus on theatrical strategy in China. In her role focusing on film distribution in China, Kwan Vandenberg worked closely with Gillian Zhao, Warner Bros.’ Executive Vice President and Managing Director for China, and together they negotiated Warner Bros.’ first film investment partnership with Wanda and Tencent.

Prior to her current post, Kwan Vandenberg served as President, Worldwide Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, where she was instrumental in helping realign the international and domestic distribution divisions and setting the release dates to fully maximize the global revenue-generating potential of Warner Bros.’ theatrical releases. She also served as President of International Distribution for 15 years, overseeing all international sales and distribution matters, cultivating and growing relationships with exhibitors, film makers, partners, producers, peers and colleagues, representing the company on the MPA International Theatrical committee.

Throughout her tenure with Warner Bros., Kwan Vandenberg oversaw the distribution of over 350 titles (including local-language titles), amassing over $40 billon in box office receipts. The Studio has been a market leader, ranking #1 or #2 12 of the last 17 years, including five years over $3 billion at the international box office. During this period, she oversaw the release of 30 films that grossed over $500 million, including 15 over $600 million. Kwan Vandenberg was involved in managing the Studio’s most successful film series, including the eight Harry Potter films (with last film in the series becoming the Studio’s highest international grossing-film at $960 million), “Fantastic Beasts,” Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy, Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy, “The Matrix” trilogy, the Sherlock Holmes films, the New Line horror universe (including “The Conjuring,” “Annabelle” and “IT,” which has become the highest-grossing horror film of all-time), the “Hangover” films, with “Hangover 2” becoming the highest-grossing R rated comedy internationally, and the DC superhero universe. Kwan Vandenberg also oversaw all of Clint Eastwood’s films, including “Gran Torino,” ($119 million internationally), the companion pieces “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” and “American Sniper” ($197 million internationally). Additionally, she worked closely with Ben Affleck in bringing his directorial hits “The Town” and Academy Award Best Picture winner “Argo” to international audiences.

Kwan Vandenberg’s accomplishments also include shepherding the first film ever to release simultaneously in every major country at the same hour around the world (“The Matrix Revolutions” in 2003 which went on to gross $460 million and became the then-highest R rated movie of all time).

Kwan Vandenberg joined Warner Bros in 1990 and rose through the ranks to become one of the youngest presidents at the studio in 2000. Prior to Warner Bros., she worked in international marketing for Lorimar Film Entertainment and at the German American Chamber of Commerce.

Kwan Vandenberg grew up living in six countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia before moving to the United States, and speaks fluent German in addition to her knowledge of French and Cantonese.

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Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara: ‘We Face Headwinds in Every One of Our Businesses’

Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara made moves on Tuesday to stabilize his film studio against an uncertain $85 billion merger with AT&T, but his company’s challenges are not just in media consolidation, he told TheWrap.

“We face headwinds in every single one of our businesses. Each are more competitive than they were yesterday,” Tsujihara told TheWrap shortly after promoting Toby Emmerich from studio president and chief creative officer to chairman of the motion picture group.

He also upped executives Blair Rich and Ron Sanders to key marketing and distribution roles left vacant by a departing Sue Kroll, a 23-year studio veteran who will become a producer on the lot from her SVP marketing role.

Also Read: Warner Bros Leadership Shake-Up: Toby Emmerich to Run Studio, Sue Kroll Steps Down

“The key thing we need to do is maintain our cultural relevance. I don’t think it’s healthy the way the business is becoming so binary — either so successful or so challenging,” Tsujihara said of the industry’s reliance on tentpole films like the superhero fare that brought Warner Bros. nearly 19 percent of the theatrical market last year, second only to Disney.

“As an industry, we need to continue to create a balanced slate of all types of movies and all genres. Current economics make that challenging, but requires you to have fresh, high-quality movies, because of television and all the other options,” he said.

He’s got the right hire in Emmerich, who made a name for himself as a producer and procurer of relevant and innovative low-to-mid-budget genre titles that return big. Last year’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “It” starring Bill Skarsgard made a staggering $700 million worldwide on a $35 million budget.

Warner Bros. posted a reported an all-time high profit of a $1.7 billion last year thanks to the DC Films unit (“Wonder Woman,” “Justice League”) and a savvy extension of the Harry Potter universe (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”).

Also Read: DC Films Shakeup: Warner Bros Promotes Walter Hamada to Production Head of Unit

The executive ceded this that this success came at a time of “more vertical integration than ever before.”

Tsujihara has been one of the most outspoken media executives when it comes to evolving consumer taste — specifically around the theatrical release window, virtually all studios are warily trying to shorten the time between a film’s debut in theaters and home entertainment or streaming availability.

TheWrap asked if conversations were still going on between the studio and American theater owners, who are vehemently opposed to reducing the current 90-day exclusivity period they enjoy with new releases.

“Shrinking windows closer? I can’t say that we are,” Tsujihara said,  adding that the average consumer does not distinguish a theatrical release from a pay TV window or an iTunes debut these days.

“We’ve got to make it more seamless for consumers to find what they want when they want it,” he said.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Warner Bros Leadership Shake-Up: Toby Emmerich to Run Studio, Sue Kroll Steps Down

‘Animaniacs’: Hulu, Warner Bros. Partner on ’90s Cartoon Reboot

DC Films Shakeup: Warner Bros Promotes Walter Hamada to Production Head of Unit

Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara made moves on Tuesday to stabilize his film studio against an uncertain $85 billion merger with AT&T, but his company’s challenges are not just in media consolidation, he told TheWrap.

“We face headwinds in every single one of our businesses. Each are more competitive than they were yesterday,” Tsujihara told TheWrap shortly after promoting Toby Emmerich from studio president and chief creative officer to chairman of the motion picture group.

He also upped executives Blair Rich and Ron Sanders to key marketing and distribution roles left vacant by a departing Sue Kroll, a 23-year studio veteran who will become a producer on the lot from her SVP marketing role.

“The key thing we need to do is maintain our cultural relevance. I don’t think it’s healthy the way the business is becoming so binary — either so successful or so challenging,” Tsujihara said of the industry’s reliance on tentpole films like the superhero fare that brought Warner Bros. nearly 19 percent of the theatrical market last year, second only to Disney.

“As an industry, we need to continue to create a balanced slate of all types of movies and all genres. Current economics make that challenging, but requires you to have fresh, high-quality movies, because of television and all the other options,” he said.

He’s got the right hire in Emmerich, who made a name for himself as a producer and procurer of relevant and innovative low-to-mid-budget genre titles that return big. Last year’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “It” starring Bill Skarsgard made a staggering $700 million worldwide on a $35 million budget.

Warner Bros. posted a reported an all-time high profit of a $1.7 billion last year thanks to the DC Films unit (“Wonder Woman,” “Justice League”) and a savvy extension of the Harry Potter universe (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”).

The executive ceded this that this success came at a time of “more vertical integration than ever before.”

Tsujihara has been one of the most outspoken media executives when it comes to evolving consumer taste — specifically around the theatrical release window, virtually all studios are warily trying to shorten the time between a film’s debut in theaters and home entertainment or streaming availability.

TheWrap asked if conversations were still going on between the studio and American theater owners, who are vehemently opposed to reducing the current 90-day exclusivity period they enjoy with new releases.

“Shrinking windows closer? I can’t say that we are,” Tsujihara said,  adding that the average consumer does not distinguish a theatrical release from a pay TV window or an iTunes debut these days.

“We’ve got to make it more seamless for consumers to find what they want when they want it,” he said.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Warner Bros Leadership Shake-Up: Toby Emmerich to Run Studio, Sue Kroll Steps Down

'Animaniacs': Hulu, Warner Bros. Partner on '90s Cartoon Reboot

DC Films Shakeup: Warner Bros Promotes Walter Hamada to Production Head of Unit

Warner Bros Leadership Shake-Up: Toby Emmerich to Run Studio, Sue Kroll Steps Down

In a significant studio shakeup under the shadow of a looming merger, Warner Bros. on Tuesday promoted Toby Emmerich to chairman of the motion picture group, with veteran marketing-distribution head Sue Kroll stepping aside to a production deal.

Emmerich will now effectively lead the major studio, allowing Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara to step back from day-to-day management.

Meanwhile, Kroll will transition into a three-year producing deal starting in April with her duties running distribution and marketing handed to two other veteran Warner Bros. executives.

Also Read: How ‘Justice League’ Became a ‘Frankenstein’ (Exclusive)

Blair Rich becomes president of worldwide marketing, reporting to Emmerich. Ron Sanders, previously head of home entertainment, becomes president of worldwide distribution, reporting to both Emmerich and Tsujihara.

The shakeup happens as telecom giant AT&T attempts to complete its $85 billion acquisition of studio parent Time Warner. But that merger has been thrown into question by a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice under antitrust provisions. A trial is expected in March.

Kroll will stay on to oversee awards campaigns and the release of Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” which comes out on March 30. Kroll will take on producing duties on two high profile films, Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” and a long-in-the-works adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s novel “Motherless Brooklyn.”

Also Read: The ‘Justice League’ That Might Have Been: We’ve Seen the Script (Exclusive)

Sue Kroll

The move is the biggest shakeup at the studio since a triumvirate structure was put in place in 2015, with Emmerich, Kroll and Greg Silverman put in charge of the studio. Silverman left in December 2016.

Kroll is one of the most experienced executives in Hollywood, having been at Warner Bros for more than 20 years. Rich has been her deputy and is seen as a rising talent at the studio.

Tsujihara has another year on his contract, and his future at the studio is likely dependent on whether the merger with AT&T happens. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is expected to step down when and if that occurs.

Regardless, Tsujihara will step back from day to day operations of running the studio in favor of Emmerich, whose sleeper hit “It” was one of the most profitable movies of last year, taking in $700 million worldwide on a $35 million budget.

Also Read: Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara MIA at CinemaCon Presentation

“We need to constantly adapt our operations to stay ahead of [these] changes, while preserving our creative excellence,” Tsujihara said in a statement. “Bringing together film and home entertainment marketing and distribution will allow us to strategically manage film titles through their entire lifecycle. We’ll be better able to respond to consumer demand, while still creating unique theatrical and home entertainment experiences, and provide increased benefits to our filmmaking, exhibition and retail partners.”

Emmerich said, “I’m humbled and honored to have this opportunity to help continue Warner Bros. Pictures’ legacy of creativity, innovation and excellence. We will remain focused on being the first choice for the world’s best filmmakers, whether they’re making their first film or their 34th. “

In interviews for his bombshell book, “Fire and Fury,” author Michael Wolff has cited White House advisers as saying the AT&T merger with Time Warner is “never going to happen.”

But others have said that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson recently went out of his way to praise President Trump’s tax bill, citing the creation of thousands of jobs for his company. Some observers have suggested that this was an olive branch intended to facilitate a settlement with the Department of Justice.

Warner Bros. came in second for film studio market share in 2017, thanks to the success of “Wonder Woman” and New Line’s sleeper horror hit “It.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

DC Films Shakeup: Warner Bros Promotes Walter Hamada to Production Head of Unit

AT&T, Time Warner Extend Merger Agreement – Again

Warner Bros. Crosses $2 Billion at Domestic Box Office for First Time Since 2009

In a significant studio shakeup under the shadow of a looming merger, Warner Bros. on Tuesday promoted Toby Emmerich to chairman of the motion picture group, with veteran marketing-distribution head Sue Kroll stepping aside to a production deal.

Emmerich will now effectively lead the major studio, allowing Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara to step back from day-to-day management.

Meanwhile, Kroll will transition into a three-year producing deal starting in April with her duties running distribution and marketing handed to two other veteran Warner Bros. executives.

Blair Rich becomes president of worldwide marketing, reporting to Emmerich. Ron Sanders, previously head of home entertainment, becomes president of worldwide distribution, reporting to both Emmerich and Tsujihara.

The shakeup happens as telecom giant AT&T attempts to complete its $85 billion acquisition of studio parent Time Warner. But that merger has been thrown into question by a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice under antitrust provisions. A trial is expected in March.

Kroll will stay on to oversee awards campaigns and the release of Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” which comes out on March 30. Kroll will take on producing duties on two high profile films, Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” and a long-in-the-works adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s novel “Motherless Brooklyn.”

Sue Kroll

The move is the biggest shakeup at the studio since a triumvirate structure was put in place in 2015, with Emmerich, Kroll and Greg Silverman put in charge of the studio. Silverman left in December 2016.

Kroll is one of the most experienced executives in Hollywood, having been at Warner Bros for more than 20 years. Rich has been her deputy and is seen as a rising talent at the studio.

Tsujihara has another year on his contract, and his future at the studio is likely dependent on whether the merger with AT&T happens. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is expected to step down when and if that occurs.

Regardless, Tsujihara will step back from day to day operations of running the studio in favor of Emmerich, whose sleeper hit “It” was one of the most profitable movies of last year, taking in $700 million worldwide on a $35 million budget.

“We need to constantly adapt our operations to stay ahead of [these] changes, while preserving our creative excellence,” Tsujihara said in a statement. “Bringing together film and home entertainment marketing and distribution will allow us to strategically manage film titles through their entire lifecycle. We’ll be better able to respond to consumer demand, while still creating unique theatrical and home entertainment experiences, and provide increased benefits to our filmmaking, exhibition and retail partners.”

Emmerich said, “I’m humbled and honored to have this opportunity to help continue Warner Bros. Pictures’ legacy of creativity, innovation and excellence. We will remain focused on being the first choice for the world’s best filmmakers, whether they’re making their first film or their 34th. “

In interviews for his bombshell book, “Fire and Fury,” author Michael Wolff has cited White House advisers as saying the AT&T merger with Time Warner is “never going to happen.”

But others have said that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson recently went out of his way to praise President Trump’s tax bill, citing the creation of thousands of jobs for his company. Some observers have suggested that this was an olive branch intended to facilitate a settlement with the Department of Justice.

Warner Bros. came in second for film studio market share in 2017, thanks to the success of “Wonder Woman” and New Line’s sleeper horror hit “It.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

DC Films Shakeup: Warner Bros Promotes Walter Hamada to Production Head of Unit

AT&T, Time Warner Extend Merger Agreement – Again

Warner Bros. Crosses $2 Billion at Domestic Box Office for First Time Since 2009