Kroll & Co., Warner Bros. Acquire Annie Ward’s Upcoming Debut Thriller Novel ‘Beautiful Bad’

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. Pictures, on behalf of Sue Kroll, has taken the film rights to Annie Ward’s debut thriller, Beautiful Bad, which Kroll will produce
through her Kroll & Co. Entertainment banner.
The highly-sought-after novel originally sold …

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. Pictures, on behalf of Sue Kroll, has taken the film rights to Annie Ward's debut thriller, Beautiful Bad, which Kroll will produce through her Kroll & Co. Entertainment banner. The highly-sought-after novel originally sold to Quercus (UK) and Park Row Books (US) in a seven-way auction. With international rights sold in over a dozen territories, the US publication date is set for March 2019. Beautiful Bad tells the story of a thrilling romance and…

Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star Is Born’ Dazzles Critics: ‘Extraordinary,’ ‘Terrific’

“A Star Is Born” had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday, and critics are raving about Bradley Cooper’s remake starring Lady Gaga, giving the film a score of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Critics gave praise for Cooper behind and in front of the camera, but Gaga’s performance was also lauded as “extraordinary.”

“Believe the pre-premiere hype: Lady Gaga is nothing short of extraordinary,” The Film Stage’s Leonardo Goi wrote in his review, while Time’s Stephanie Zacharek wrote, “Cooper has succeeded in making a terrific melodrama for the modern age.”

Also Read: ‘A Star Is Born’ Film Review: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Reinvigorate a Classic

TheWrap’s film critic Alonso Duralde wrote, “For all the reasons that a fourth iteration of ‘A Star Is Born’ — fifth, if you count the 1932 drama ‘What Price Hollywood?’ whose DNA is in every ‘Star’ — shouldn’t and wouldn’t work in 2018, it’s an extraordinary surprise that this new version packs such a wallop … Between Bradley Cooper (as a filmmaker) and Lady Gaga (as a big-screen lead), the title applies to both of them.”

In the film, Cooper plays seasoned musician Jackson Maine who discovers struggling artist Ally (Gaga). She is about to give up on her dream of being a singer until Maine coaxes her into the spotlight. But when Ally’s career takes off, Jackson has to fight against his own inner demons.

The film co-stars Sam Elliott, comedian Dave Chappelle and Andrew Dice Clay. Bill Gerber, Jon Peters, Cooper, Todd Phillips and Lynette Howell Taylor are producing, while Ravi Mehta, Basil Iwanyk, Niija Kuykendall, Sue Kroll, Michael Rapino and Heather Parry serve as executive producers.

Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters wrote the screenplay. Following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, “A Star Is Born” is slated for release on Oct. 5, 2018.

Also Read: ‘A Star Is Born’ Again and Again and Again – Will the Movie Remakes Ever Stop? (Guest Blog)

See reviews below.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: 

“Cooper directs and co-stars in this outrageously watchable and colossally enjoyable new version, supercharged with dilithium crystals of pure melodrama. He appears opposite a sensationally good Lady Gaga, whose ability to be part ordinary person, part extraterrestrial celebrity empress functions at the highest level at all times.”

Stephanie Zacharek, Time

“Cooper has succeeded in making a terrific melodrama for the modern age. This is a story of big personalities and even bigger human mistakes. These days we’re always ready for our own close-ups. What a relief to turn the stage over to someone else for a change.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

“We get a truly fantastic Bradley Cooper performance, playing by far the most sympathetic version of this character we’ve yet seen — the type of heart-stoppingly gorgeous fantasy guy who not only whisks you to a gig in his private jet but also swipes the frozen peas at the checkout, the quicker to apply them to your swollen hand.”

Also Read: Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star Is Born’ to Premiere at Venice Film Festival

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“Taken on its own terms as an unashamedly anachronistic attempt to muster the emotional intensity of the Hollywood melodrama tradition, Cooper’s film must be at least grudgingly acknowledged as a success. And both stars, Gaga in particular, emerge with honour. That might not be enough to draw a wide public, although the film could register respectably with older viewers who want old-fashioned romance with a grittier touch than ‘Mamma Mia!’ and a less artsy one than ‘La La Land.’”

Mara Reinstein, US Weekly

“The fourth retelling of the classic ‘A Star Is Born’ proves the ultimate talent showcase for the New Yorker born Stefanie Germanotta. Playing an aspiring singer named Ally, she croons, dances, plays piano and co-writes her material, and if you told me that she also served as the gaffer and director of photography, I’d believe it. Her buzzy movie has a lot going for it, including a vibrant soundtrack and compelling performances all around. Best Original Song Oscar nods are in the bag. But this petite dynamo’s gifts are the biggest takeaway, by far.”

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly: 

“If the ending is telegraphed from miles away, and the central romance feels more like a gorgeously patina-ed imitation of life than the real thing, maybe that’s because ‘Star’ is less a story now than a myth — not so much reborn as recast, and passed on to the care of the next generation.”

Leonardo Goi, The Film Stage

“Believe the pre-premiere hype: Lady Gaga is nothing short of extraordinary. Packed with several original songs Gaga and Cooper composed with a handful of hit makers (including country legend Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas) and recorded live during filming, ‘A Star is Born’ showcases oodles of Gaga’s preternatural musical talent, but also confirms-if there was ever a need to prove it-her magnetic stage presence. Watching her muster all her courage before joining Cooper on stage to sing before a sold-out stadium is the first in a long series of goosebump-inducing performances.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Oscar Season Kicks Off as ‘First Man,’ ‘Roma,’ ‘A Star Is Born’ Launch at Fall Festivals

‘Beautiful Boy,’ ‘A Star Is Born’ Highlight Toronto Film Festival Lineup

‘A Star Is Born’: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Nail High Notes With Trailer Debut

“A Star Is Born” had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday, and critics are raving about Bradley Cooper’s remake starring Lady Gaga, giving the film a score of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Critics gave praise for Cooper behind and in front of the camera, but Gaga’s performance was also lauded as “extraordinary.”

“Believe the pre-premiere hype: Lady Gaga is nothing short of extraordinary,” The Film Stage’s Leonardo Goi wrote in his review, while Time’s Stephanie Zacharek wrote, “Cooper has succeeded in making a terrific melodrama for the modern age.”

TheWrap’s film critic Alonso Duralde wrote, “For all the reasons that a fourth iteration of ‘A Star Is Born’ — fifth, if you count the 1932 drama ‘What Price Hollywood?’ whose DNA is in every ‘Star’ — shouldn’t and wouldn’t work in 2018, it’s an extraordinary surprise that this new version packs such a wallop … Between Bradley Cooper (as a filmmaker) and Lady Gaga (as a big-screen lead), the title applies to both of them.”

In the film, Cooper plays seasoned musician Jackson Maine who discovers struggling artist Ally (Gaga). She is about to give up on her dream of being a singer until Maine coaxes her into the spotlight. But when Ally’s career takes off, Jackson has to fight against his own inner demons.

The film co-stars Sam Elliott, comedian Dave Chappelle and Andrew Dice Clay. Bill Gerber, Jon Peters, Cooper, Todd Phillips and Lynette Howell Taylor are producing, while Ravi Mehta, Basil Iwanyk, Niija Kuykendall, Sue Kroll, Michael Rapino and Heather Parry serve as executive producers.

Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters wrote the screenplay. Following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, “A Star Is Born” is slated for release on Oct. 5, 2018.

See reviews below.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: 

“Cooper directs and co-stars in this outrageously watchable and colossally enjoyable new version, supercharged with dilithium crystals of pure melodrama. He appears opposite a sensationally good Lady Gaga, whose ability to be part ordinary person, part extraterrestrial celebrity empress functions at the highest level at all times.”

Stephanie Zacharek, Time

“Cooper has succeeded in making a terrific melodrama for the modern age. This is a story of big personalities and even bigger human mistakes. These days we’re always ready for our own close-ups. What a relief to turn the stage over to someone else for a change.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

“We get a truly fantastic Bradley Cooper performance, playing by far the most sympathetic version of this character we’ve yet seen — the type of heart-stoppingly gorgeous fantasy guy who not only whisks you to a gig in his private jet but also swipes the frozen peas at the checkout, the quicker to apply them to your swollen hand.”

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“Taken on its own terms as an unashamedly anachronistic attempt to muster the emotional intensity of the Hollywood melodrama tradition, Cooper’s film must be at least grudgingly acknowledged as a success. And both stars, Gaga in particular, emerge with honour. That might not be enough to draw a wide public, although the film could register respectably with older viewers who want old-fashioned romance with a grittier touch than ‘Mamma Mia!’ and a less artsy one than ‘La La Land.'”

Mara Reinstein, US Weekly

“The fourth retelling of the classic ‘A Star Is Born’ proves the ultimate talent showcase for the New Yorker born Stefanie Germanotta. Playing an aspiring singer named Ally, she croons, dances, plays piano and co-writes her material, and if you told me that she also served as the gaffer and director of photography, I’d believe it. Her buzzy movie has a lot going for it, including a vibrant soundtrack and compelling performances all around. Best Original Song Oscar nods are in the bag. But this petite dynamo’s gifts are the biggest takeaway, by far.”

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly: 

“If the ending is telegraphed from miles away, and the central romance feels more like a gorgeously patina-ed imitation of life than the real thing, maybe that’s because ‘Star’ is less a story now than a myth — not so much reborn as recast, and passed on to the care of the next generation.”

Leonardo Goi, The Film Stage

“Believe the pre-premiere hype: Lady Gaga is nothing short of extraordinary. Packed with several original songs Gaga and Cooper composed with a handful of hit makers (including country legend Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas) and recorded live during filming, ‘A Star is Born’ showcases oodles of Gaga’s preternatural musical talent, but also confirms-if there was ever a need to prove it-her magnetic stage presence. Watching her muster all her courage before joining Cooper on stage to sing before a sold-out stadium is the first in a long series of goosebump-inducing performances.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Oscar Season Kicks Off as 'First Man,' 'Roma,' 'A Star Is Born' Launch at Fall Festivals

'Beautiful Boy,' 'A Star Is Born' Highlight Toronto Film Festival Lineup

'A Star Is Born': Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Nail High Notes With Trailer Debut

‘Birds of Prey’ Revealed: Margot Robbie Film Will Feature Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain, Renee Montoya (Exclusive)

Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain, and Renee Montoya will join Harley Quinn’s girl gang in the Margot Robbie film “Birds of Prey,” TheWrap has exclusively learned.

Robbie will produce “Birds of Prey” and reprise her “Suicide Squad” character, Harley Quinn. The film is centered around a revolving group of female heroes and villains, individuals with knowledge of thew project tell TheWrap.

In addition, TheWrap has learned that the villain in “Birds of Prey” will be a Batman comics villain who has never before appeared on the big screen.

“Birds of Prey” will be produced by Kroll & Co Entertainment’s Sue Kroll and Clubhouse Pictures’ Bryan Unkeless, as well as Robbie.

Also Read: Margot Robbie Teases Harley Quinn Spinoff ‘Birds of Prey’ as ‘R-Rated Girl Gang Film’

Here is a rundown of the “Birds of Prey” characters, who will be familiar to longtime DC comics fans:

-Black Canary, aka Dinah Laurel, is a fantastic hand-to-hand combatant who comes from a family of crime fighters. Her father, Larry Lance, was a police officer, while her mother (also named Dinah) was the original Black Canary.

-Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress, is a vigilante operating out of Gotham City.

-Cassandra Cain is one of the world’s greatest martial artists, and also a vigilante.

-Renee Montoya is a detective working for the Gotham City Police Department. Montoya is openly lesbian, and during The New 52 comics she takes on a costumed identity, becoming the Question.

Cathy Yan is set to direct. Yan is best known for writing and directing her feature debut “Dead Pigs,” which took home the World Cinema Dramatic Award For Ensemble Acting at Sundance earlier this year.

Yan would be the third female filmmaker to join the DC universe with this film, which is still known as the Untitled Girl Gang Movie at Warner Bros. She will also be the first Asian woman to direct a DC film.

Yan was previously a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing and was one of the youngest writers in the paper’s history to pen multiple front-page stories. She is represented by CAA.

As TheWrap first reported, Christina Hodson wrote the “Birds of Prey” spinoff for Warner Bros. and DC Films. Hodson is also writing “Batgirl” for DC.

Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain, and Renee Montoya will join Harley Quinn’s girl gang in the Margot Robbie film “Birds of Prey,” TheWrap has exclusively learned.

Robbie will produce “Birds of Prey” and reprise her “Suicide Squad” character, Harley Quinn. The film is centered around a revolving group of female heroes and villains, individuals with knowledge of thew project tell TheWrap.

In addition, TheWrap has learned that the villain in “Birds of Prey” will be a Batman comics villain who has never before appeared on the big screen.

“Birds of Prey” will be produced by Kroll & Co Entertainment’s Sue Kroll and Clubhouse Pictures’ Bryan Unkeless, as well as Robbie.

Here is a rundown of the “Birds of Prey” characters, who will be familiar to longtime DC comics fans:

-Black Canary, aka Dinah Laurel, is a fantastic hand-to-hand combatant who comes from a family of crime fighters. Her father, Larry Lance, was a police officer, while her mother (also named Dinah) was the original Black Canary.

-Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress, is a vigilante operating out of Gotham City.

-Cassandra Cain is one of the world’s greatest martial artists, and also a vigilante.

-Renee Montoya is a detective working for the Gotham City Police Department. Montoya is openly lesbian, and during The New 52 comics she takes on a costumed identity, becoming the Question.

Cathy Yan is set to direct. Yan is best known for writing and directing her feature debut “Dead Pigs,” which took home the World Cinema Dramatic Award For Ensemble Acting at Sundance earlier this year.

Yan would be the third female filmmaker to join the DC universe with this film, which is still known as the Untitled Girl Gang Movie at Warner Bros. She will also be the first Asian woman to direct a DC film.

Yan was previously a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing and was one of the youngest writers in the paper’s history to pen multiple front-page stories. She is represented by CAA.

As TheWrap first reported, Christina Hodson wrote the “Birds of Prey” spinoff for Warner Bros. and DC Films. Hodson is also writing “Batgirl” for DC.

Matt Reeves’ ‘Batman’ Movie to Focus on Younger Caped Crusader

Filmmaker Matt Reeves’ upcoming “Batman” movie will focus on a younger caped crusader, an insider with knowledge of the project confirmed to TheWrap.
According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, Reeves turned in the first act of h…

Filmmaker Matt Reeves’ upcoming “Batman” movie will focus on a younger caped crusader, an insider with knowledge of the project confirmed to TheWrap.

According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, Reeves turned in the first act of his “Batman” screenplay during the Memorial Day weekend after working on a treatment for a year.

The filmmaker has previously said he set aside an original script written by Ben Affleck and former DC entertainment president Geoff Johns, and is “starting again” on a completely new take. “No. It’s a new story. It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool,” Reeves told MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast last year.

Affleck and Johns wrote their script while the “Argo” Oscar-winner was still set to direct as well as star in “The Batman.”

The concept envisioned by Affleck and Johns featured Deathstroke the Terminator as the main villain, and Joe Manganiello was hired to play the supervillain. Given the changes around the project, Manganiello has said he isn’t sure if he’s still in “The Batman.”

Geoff Johns stepped down as president and chief creative officer of DC Entertainment, the studio announced on Monday. Johns will transition to a new role, with a first-look writer/producer deal at parent company Warner Bros.

The announcement comes just days after the studio said Diane Nelson would exit as DC Entertainment consumer products group president. A source familiar with the situation told TheWrap the moves are part of a larger shakeup at the studio.

Johns’ new role comes as Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are trying to retool their approach to the DC Cinematic Universe. While the film series had its first bonafide hit a year ago with “Wonder Woman,” it failed to turn that into further box office success with “Justice League.” Despite having Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and more of DC’s most famous heroes, “Justice League” only grossed $657.9 million worldwide, $164 million less than what Wonder Woman’s solo outing made a few months prior.

Since “Justice League” was released, an extensive leadership shuffle has taken place at WB and DC. Johns’ right-hand man Jon Berg took a producer deal with Warner Bros., as did longtime WB marketing chief Sue Kroll. Diane Nelson, another DC Entertainment head and twenty-plus year veteran at WB, left the studio earlier this month after a months-long sabbatical.

“Aquaman” will be released on December 21, followed by “Shazam!” in April 2019 and “Wonder Woman 2” in November 2019.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Deadpool 2' Perfectly Mocks the Worst Moment in 'Batman v. Superman'

New Batman Prequel Series Arrives at Epix Ahead of Fox's Final 'Gotham' Season

It Looks Like Jake Gyllenhaal Won't Be the Next 'Batman'

Jonathan Lethem’s ‘The Feral Detective’ Acquired by Kroll & Co

Sue Kroll’s recently launched production banner Kroll & Co. has picked up the rights to Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, “The Feral Detective,” through her exclusive deal at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Lethem’s first detective story since his New York Times bestseller “Motherless Brooklyn” will be published in November 2018, according to the production company’s Wednesday announcement.

“The Feral Detective” centers on Phoebe Siegler, a sarcastic and garrulous woman who heads to California to try to find her best friend’s missing teenaged daughter. When a lead brings her to the stark and seedy desert towns just east of Los Angeles, Phoebe is put in contact with Charles Heist, a laconic, strange private eye with an uncanny ability to find those that don’t want to be found, who reluctantly agrees to help. She dubs him The Feral Detective. As the unlikely pair traverse the stunning desert and its enclaves and get closer to the missing girl, their lives are placed in increasing jeopardy.

Also Read: Gal Gadot, Sue Kroll to Co-Produce Film ‘My Dearest Fidel’ for Warner Bros

Kroll serves as an executive producer on Edward Norton’s film adaptation of “Motherless Brooklyn,” which is currently in post-production and stars Norton, Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin.

“Jonathan is one of America’s greatest storytellers and, without hyperbole, a true literary genius,” said Kroll in a statement. “‘The Feral Detective’ is similarly brilliant, and also a wild, funny, contemporary, and genre-defying piece of literature that represents the type of stories I want to continue to tell through Kroll & Co. I am thrilled to be able to help bring his novel to the screen.”

Lethem added, “It’s a thrill having Sue Kroll capture ‘The Feral Detective’ for the screen. From the moment we first spoke, Sue persuaded me she saw Phoebe and Charles, and their wild ricochet through the book’s barbaric landscape, in uniquely cinematic terms. What luck for me to have Sue find the book and begin to make it her own.”

WME brokered the deal on behalf of Lethem and the novel. Stewart Brookman of Hansen, Jacobson negotiated on behalf of Kroll & Co.

Kroll & Co. recently announced its first acquisition of Peter Kornbluh’s gripping Politico article “My Dearest Fidel: A Journalist’s Secret Liaison with Fidel Castro,” which Kroll will develop and produce alongside Gal Gadot and Jaron Varsano.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Roseanne’ Writers Don’t Know If They’ll Get Severance Pay After ABC Cancellation

Flashback: Bill Cosby and Roseanne Had TV’s Top-Rated Shows for 2 Straight Years in Late ’80s

Trump Scolds Disney CEO Bob Iger Over Roseanne Mess: Where’s My Apology?

Sue Kroll’s recently launched production banner Kroll & Co. has picked up the rights to Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, “The Feral Detective,” through her exclusive deal at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Lethem’s first detective story since his New York Times bestseller “Motherless Brooklyn” will be published in November 2018, according to the production company’s Wednesday announcement.

“The Feral Detective” centers on Phoebe Siegler, a sarcastic and garrulous woman who heads to California to try to find her best friend’s missing teenaged daughter. When a lead brings her to the stark and seedy desert towns just east of Los Angeles, Phoebe is put in contact with Charles Heist, a laconic, strange private eye with an uncanny ability to find those that don’t want to be found, who reluctantly agrees to help. She dubs him The Feral Detective. As the unlikely pair traverse the stunning desert and its enclaves and get closer to the missing girl, their lives are placed in increasing jeopardy.

Kroll serves as an executive producer on Edward Norton’s film adaptation of “Motherless Brooklyn,” which is currently in post-production and stars Norton, Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin.

“Jonathan is one of America’s greatest storytellers and, without hyperbole, a true literary genius,” said Kroll in a statement. “‘The Feral Detective’ is similarly brilliant, and also a wild, funny, contemporary, and genre-defying piece of literature that represents the type of stories I want to continue to tell through Kroll & Co. I am thrilled to be able to help bring his novel to the screen.”

Lethem added, “It’s a thrill having Sue Kroll capture ‘The Feral Detective’ for the screen. From the moment we first spoke, Sue persuaded me she saw Phoebe and Charles, and their wild ricochet through the book’s barbaric landscape, in uniquely cinematic terms. What luck for me to have Sue find the book and begin to make it her own.”

WME brokered the deal on behalf of Lethem and the novel. Stewart Brookman of Hansen, Jacobson negotiated on behalf of Kroll & Co.

Kroll & Co. recently announced its first acquisition of Peter Kornbluh’s gripping Politico article “My Dearest Fidel: A Journalist’s Secret Liaison with Fidel Castro,” which Kroll will develop and produce alongside Gal Gadot and Jaron Varsano.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Roseanne' Writers Don't Know If They'll Get Severance Pay After ABC Cancellation

Flashback: Bill Cosby and Roseanne Had TV's Top-Rated Shows for 2 Straight Years in Late '80s

Trump Scolds Disney CEO Bob Iger Over Roseanne Mess: Where's My Apology?

Gal Gadot Producing, Possibly Starring in Fidel Castro Journalism Drama

Wonder Woman may be headed to Cuba. Gal Gadot is on broad to produce and possibly star in a movie based on Peter Kornbluh’s Politico article “‘My Dearest Fidel’: An ABC Journalist’s Secret Liaison With Fidel Castro.”…

Wonder Woman may be headed to Cuba. Gal Gadot is on broad to produce and possibly star in a movie based on Peter Kornbluh’s Politico article “‘My Dearest Fidel’: An ABC Journalist’s Secret Liaison With Fidel Castro.” Warner Bros. has acquired movie rights for Sue Kroll on behalf of Kroll & Co. Entertainment through her exclusive […]

Gal Gadot, Sue Kroll to Co-Produce Film ‘My Dearest Fidel’ for Warner Bros

Sue Kroll has optioned her first major film option since launching her new production company Kroll & Co. Entertainment in April.

The former Warner Bros. studio executive is teaming with Gal Gadot and Jaron Versano to develop Peter Kornbluh’s Politico article, “My Dearest Fidel: A Journalist’s Secret Liaison with Fidel Castro.” Writer Chris Brancato is set to adapt.

Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired the film rights through its exclusive deal with Kroll’s company.

Gadot will co-produce and the project will be a potential starring vehicle for the “Wonder Woman” actress.

Also Read: Gal Gadot to Voice Herself in Upcoming ‘The Simpsons’ Episode

“When I first read Peter’s article, I was entranced by his thrilling account of a complicated, fascinating woman in the midst of a high-stakes, real-life drama,” Gadot said in a statement. “I knew immediately that I had to be involved creatively with telling Lisa Howard’s story, and am thrilled to be producing this film with Sue.”

The Politico article chronicles the previously untold story of how ABC journalist Lisa Howard engaged in what Kornbluh described as “intimate diplomacy” with Cuba’s revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro. Howard was ABC’s first full-time female reporter and the first woman to anchor her own television news show. Attempting to change the course of the Cold War, Howard’s three trips to Havana were pivotal in advancing one of the most critical partnerships in the history of U.S.-Cuban relations. As Howard positioned herself as one of Castro’s leading American confidants, she became a key asset in the establishment of a top-secret channel between Washington and Havana to discuss reconciliation after the Cuban missile crisis.

“I’m so excited to bring this story to life with great creative partners in Gal, Jaron, Peter, and Chris,” Kroll said. “This is a remarkable true story, anchored by an incredible woman, and lends itself to a dramatic and thrilling cinematic experience.”

Also Read: Former Warner Bros Exec Sue Kroll Launches Own Production Banner on Studio Lot

Gadot, Varsano, Brancato and Kornbluh are represented by WME. Gadot and Varsano are also represented by Robert Offer of Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern and Chris Brancato is with Carlos Goodman of Bloom Hergott.

Stewart Brookman of Hansen, Jacobson negotiated the deal on behalf of Kroll & Co.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Holy Land Goes Hollywood: Gal Gadot, ‘Fauda’ Put Israel in Spotlight

Gal Gadot ‘Moved and Touched’ by Fan Outcry After ‘Wonder Woman’ Received No Oscar Nominations

Wonder Woman Indeed: Gal Gadot Tops IMDb’s Top 10 Stars of the Year

Sue Kroll has optioned her first major film option since launching her new production company Kroll & Co. Entertainment in April.

The former Warner Bros. studio executive is teaming with Gal Gadot and Jaron Versano to develop Peter Kornbluh’s Politico article, “My Dearest Fidel: A Journalist’s Secret Liaison with Fidel Castro.” Writer Chris Brancato is set to adapt.

Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired the film rights through its exclusive deal with Kroll’s company.

Gadot will co-produce and the project will be a potential starring vehicle for the “Wonder Woman” actress.

“When I first read Peter’s article, I was entranced by his thrilling account of a complicated, fascinating woman in the midst of a high-stakes, real-life drama,” Gadot said in a statement. “I knew immediately that I had to be involved creatively with telling Lisa Howard’s story, and am thrilled to be producing this film with Sue.”

The Politico article chronicles the previously untold story of how ABC journalist Lisa Howard engaged in what Kornbluh described as “intimate diplomacy” with Cuba’s revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro. Howard was ABC’s first full-time female reporter and the first woman to anchor her own television news show. Attempting to change the course of the Cold War, Howard’s three trips to Havana were pivotal in advancing one of the most critical partnerships in the history of U.S.-Cuban relations. As Howard positioned herself as one of Castro’s leading American confidants, she became a key asset in the establishment of a top-secret channel between Washington and Havana to discuss reconciliation after the Cuban missile crisis.

“I’m so excited to bring this story to life with great creative partners in Gal, Jaron, Peter, and Chris,” Kroll said. “This is a remarkable true story, anchored by an incredible woman, and lends itself to a dramatic and thrilling cinematic experience.”

Gadot, Varsano, Brancato and Kornbluh are represented by WME. Gadot and Varsano are also represented by Robert Offer of Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern and Chris Brancato is with Carlos Goodman of Bloom Hergott.

Stewart Brookman of Hansen, Jacobson negotiated the deal on behalf of Kroll & Co.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Holy Land Goes Hollywood: Gal Gadot, 'Fauda' Put Israel in Spotlight

Gal Gadot 'Moved and Touched' by Fan Outcry After 'Wonder Woman' Received No Oscar Nominations

Wonder Woman Indeed: Gal Gadot Tops IMDb's Top 10 Stars of the Year

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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Cathy Yan in Early Talks to Direct Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn Movie

Cathy Yan is in early talks to direct Margot Robbie in the next Harley Quinn movie, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Yan is best known for writing and directing her feature debut “Dead Pigs,” which took home the World Cinema Dramatic Award For Ensemble Acting at Sundance earlier this year.

Yan would be the second female filmmaker to join the DC universe with this film, which is still known as the Untitled Girl Gang Movie at Warner Bros. She will also be the first Asian woman to direct a DC film.

Also Read: DC’s ‘Batgirl’ Movie Lands ‘Birds of Prey’ Screenwriter Christina Hodson

The girl gang movie is being written by screenwriter Christina Hodson, and it will be produced by Robbie, Kroll & Co Entertainment’s Sue Kroll, and Clubhouse Pictures’ Bryan Unkeless. Hodson is also writing “Batgirl” for DC.

Yan will not direct the “Gotham City Sirens” or “Harley vs Joker” films also in contention at Warner Bros.

Also Read: Here Are the 3 Harley Quinn Movies in Contention at Warner Bros.

Yan was previously a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing and was one of the youngest writers in the paper’s history to pen multiple front-page stories. She is represented by CAA.

Deadline first reported the news.

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Cathy Yan is in early talks to direct Margot Robbie in the next Harley Quinn movie, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Yan is best known for writing and directing her feature debut “Dead Pigs,” which took home the World Cinema Dramatic Award For Ensemble Acting at Sundance earlier this year.

Yan would be the second female filmmaker to join the DC universe with this film, which is still known as the Untitled Girl Gang Movie at Warner Bros. She will also be the first Asian woman to direct a DC film.

The girl gang movie is being written by screenwriter Christina Hodson, and it will be produced by Robbie, Kroll & Co Entertainment’s Sue Kroll, and Clubhouse Pictures’ Bryan Unkeless. Hodson is also writing “Batgirl” for DC.

Yan will not direct the “Gotham City Sirens” or “Harley vs Joker” films also in contention at Warner Bros.

Yan was previously a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing and was one of the youngest writers in the paper’s history to pen multiple front-page stories. She is represented by CAA.

Deadline first reported the news.

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Warner Bros. Alum Sue Kroll to Launch Production Company With ‘Six Billion Dollar Man’

Longtime Warner Bros. executive Sue Kroll is launching her own production company, Kroll & Co. Entertainment, on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. Kroll, who exited her post as president of worldwide marketing and distribution in January, on Wednesday unveiled her slate, which includes the sci-fi thriller “Nemesis,” with producers Ridley Scott and Jules […]

Longtime Warner Bros. executive Sue Kroll is launching her own production company, Kroll & Co. Entertainment, on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. Kroll, who exited her post as president of worldwide marketing and distribution in January, on Wednesday unveiled her slate, which includes the sci-fi thriller “Nemesis,” with producers Ridley Scott and Jules […]

Sue Kroll Announces Slate For Kroll & Co.: ‘Nemesis’ With Ridley Scott; Untitled Sandra Bullock Comedy; ‘Six Billion Dollar Man’ With Wahlberg & More

Former Warner Bros. global marketing and distribution boss Sue Kroll has announced her upcoming production slate in her new role as producer on the lot with her shingle Kroll & Co. Entertainment.
While it has already been announced that Kroll will be an EP on the upcoming Oct. 5 Bradley Cooper movie A Star Is Born starring Cooper and Lady Gaga, her upcoming slate will include the sci-fi action thriller Nemesis, with producers Ridley Scott and Jules Daly; the YA drama The S…

Former Warner Bros. global marketing and distribution boss Sue Kroll has announced her upcoming production slate in her new role as producer on the lot with her shingle Kroll & Co. Entertainment. While it has already been announced that Kroll will be an EP on the upcoming Oct. 5 Bradley Cooper movie A Star Is Born starring Cooper and Lady Gaga, her upcoming slate will include the sci-fi action thriller Nemesis, with producers Ridley Scott and Jules Daly; the YA drama The S…

Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw Join Edward Norton’s ‘Motherless Brooklyn’

Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Alec Baldwin have joined the cast of Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn.”

Norton writes, directs and stars in the adaptation of the 1999 Jonathan Lethem novel, which just began production in New York City.

The cast also includes Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”), Cherry Jones (“American Crime”), Ethan Suplee (“Chance”), Leslie Mann (“This Is 40”), Josh Pais (“Ray Donovan”), Fisher Stevens, Michael K. Williams (“Assassin’s Creed”) and Robert Wisdom (“The Dark Knight Rises”).

Also Read: Bruce Willis ‘Death Wish’ Trailer Blasted as ‘Alt-Right Fan Fiction’

Norton stars as Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective in 1950s New York who is afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Willis).

Armed only with a few clues and the powerful engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance.

In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York’s power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.

Also Read: Edward Norton, Bella Thorne Join Meryl Streep in Animated Film ‘The Guardian Brothers’

Norton is also producing with his Class 5 Films producing partner Bill Migliore (“Thanks for Sharing”).  MWM Studios’ Gigi Pritzker (“Drive”) and Rachel Shane (“Divergent”) will also produce.  The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Executive producers include Michael Bederman, Adrian Alperovich, Sue Kroll, Robert F. Smith, Brian Sheth and Daniel Nadler.

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Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Alec Baldwin have joined the cast of Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn.”

Norton writes, directs and stars in the adaptation of the 1999 Jonathan Lethem novel, which just began production in New York City.

The cast also includes Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”), Cherry Jones (“American Crime”), Ethan Suplee (“Chance”), Leslie Mann (“This Is 40”), Josh Pais (“Ray Donovan”), Fisher Stevens, Michael K. Williams (“Assassin’s Creed”) and Robert Wisdom (“The Dark Knight Rises”).

Norton stars as Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective in 1950s New York who is afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Willis).

Armed only with a few clues and the powerful engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance.

In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York’s power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.

Norton is also producing with his Class 5 Films producing partner Bill Migliore (“Thanks for Sharing”).  MWM Studios’ Gigi Pritzker (“Drive”) and Rachel Shane (“Divergent”) will also produce.  The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Executive producers include Michael Bederman, Adrian Alperovich, Sue Kroll, Robert F. Smith, Brian Sheth and Daniel Nadler.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Edward Norton, Bella Thorne Join Meryl Streep in Animated Film 'The Guardian Brothers'

That Time Willem Dafoe Found Out About His Oscar Nomination From the Babysitter

Willem Dafoe Lands Cinema Vanguard Award from Santa Barbara Film Fest

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

Inside the Warner Bros Shakeup and What It Means for AT&T Merger

The shakeup at Warner Bros. on Tuesday seems aimed at making the studio nimble enough to deal with the uncertainty in its immediate future: corporate merger, standalone sale or none of the above.

But, for the record, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara went out of his way to deny that this was the case.

“It has zero to do with AT&T,” he told TheWrap in an interview after the restructuring was announced. “It has nothing to do with the contemplation of the merger happening or not happening — it’s what we thought was in the best interest of Warner Bros. short-term and long term.”

Also Read: Hollywood in 2018: The Old Order Ends, a New One Rises

What is indisputable is that a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the studio because of the lawsuit by the Department of Justice against AT&T’s $85 billion bid to buy Warner Bros. parent company Time Warner. This necessarily means the studio has to prepare for conflicting eventualities in the near future.

An individual close to the company told TheWrap that there is no internal clarity over whether the merger will happen or not. But if the merger fails, this executive said, Time Warner is expected to be broken up into parts and sold separately as Warner Bros., HBO and Turner.

Another individual told TheWrap that the fact 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, was significant. This knowledgeable observer suggested that Stephenson’s statements were an olive branch intended to facilitate a settlement with the Department of Justice.

No one involved in the deal seems to believe that divesting CNN is in the cards. An AT&T spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the matter.

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

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s own future is unknown, and he has two more years on his contract. He placed the studio under the clear leadership of Toby Emmerich, who made his reputation at Warner’s New Line Cinema division where he found low-budget cultural hits like the Stephen King adaptation “It.”

By transitioning studio marketing-distribution veteran Sue Kroll to a producing deal — she was in the running for the top job as well — he removes the possibility of political gamesmanship among his senior team.

The new executive configuration may well reflect the most streamlined version of the film studio to make it attractive to potential buyers. There was a sense that a previous triumvirate structure involving Emmerich, Kroll and former production president Greg Silverman left too much uncertainty about who was leading the studio.

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

With increased autonomy, Emmerich will be expected to stabilize the studio’s DC Films unit. It’s a content shop responsible for at least six superhero tentpoles in active phases of development, production and postproduction, including Jason Momoa and Nicole Kidman’s “Aquaman,” due this December, and a planned 2019 sequel to Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman.”

It will take time for Emmerich to fully realize his increased influence and marching orders for the studio’s slate, but Tsujihara is sure of at least one thing — his company cannot and does not want to be Disney.

“Warner Bros. needs to continue doing what it’s always done: producing the biggest, most diverse slate in the business. That’s what’s made us successful. We can’t do what Disney’s done,” he said.

“It’s worked really, really well for them, but it’s not who we are,”  Tsujihara said. “We need to continue to create a balanced slate of all types of movies and all genres.”

Matt Donnelly contributed to this post.

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

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

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

The shakeup at Warner Bros. on Tuesday seems aimed at making the studio nimble enough to deal with the uncertainty in its immediate future: corporate merger, standalone sale or none of the above.

But, for the record, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara went out of his way to deny that this was the case.

“It has zero to do with AT&T,” he told TheWrap in an interview after the restructuring was announced. “It has nothing to do with the contemplation of the merger happening or not happening — it’s what we thought was in the best interest of Warner Bros. short-term and long term.”

What is indisputable is that a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the studio because of the lawsuit by the Department of Justice against AT&T’s $85 billion bid to buy Warner Bros. parent company Time Warner. This necessarily means the studio has to prepare for conflicting eventualities in the near future.

An individual close to the company told TheWrap that there is no internal clarity over whether the merger will happen or not. But if the merger fails, this executive said, Time Warner is expected to be broken up into parts and sold separately as Warner Bros., HBO and Turner.

Another individual told TheWrap that the fact 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, was significant. This knowledgeable observer suggested that Stephenson’s statements were an olive branch intended to facilitate a settlement with the Department of Justice.

No one involved in the deal seems to believe that divesting CNN is in the cards. An AT&T spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the matter.

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s own future is unknown, and he has two more years on his contract. He placed the studio under the clear leadership of Toby Emmerich, who made his reputation at Warner’s New Line Cinema division where he found low-budget cultural hits like the Stephen King adaptation “It.”

By transitioning studio marketing-distribution veteran Sue Kroll to a producing deal — she was in the running for the top job as well — he removes the possibility of political gamesmanship among his senior team.

The new executive configuration may well reflect the most streamlined version of the film studio to make it attractive to potential buyers. There was a sense that a previous triumvirate structure involving Emmerich, Kroll and former production president Greg Silverman left too much uncertainty about who was leading the studio.

With increased autonomy, Emmerich will be expected to stabilize the studio’s DC Films unit. It’s a content shop responsible for at least six superhero tentpoles in active phases of development, production and postproduction, including Jason Momoa and Nicole Kidman’s “Aquaman,” due this December, and a planned 2019 sequel to Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman.”

It will take time for Emmerich to fully realize his increased influence and marching orders for the studio’s slate, but Tsujihara is sure of at least one thing — his company cannot and does not want to be Disney.

“Warner Bros. needs to continue doing what it’s always done: producing the biggest, most diverse slate in the business. That’s what’s made us successful. We can’t do what Disney’s done,” he said.

“It’s worked really, really well for them, but it’s not who we are,”  Tsujihara said. “We need to continue to create a balanced slate of all types of movies and all genres.”

Matt Donnelly contributed to this post.

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

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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.

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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:

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

‘It’ Hovers Past $500 Million at Worldwide Box Office

“It” will pass the $500 million worldwide box office mark on Thursday, Warner Bros. announced.

Andy Muschietti’s critically-acclaimed Stephen King adaptation is also the highest-grossing horror film ever, and in the process broke the 44-year record belonging to “The Exorcist.”

Domestically, the film starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown has grossed $270.4 million since its debut on Sept. 8. The film has broken several other records, including top horror film opening and biggest September opening for any film.

Also Read: Burger King Russia Wants ‘It’ Banned Because Pennywise Looks Like Ronald McDonald

“Crossing $500 million is rarified air for any film, but for a horror film it is history-making, and we could not be prouder,” said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and distribution at Warner Bros. “The filmmakers and cast did more than make a box office hit; they created a communal, must-see moviegoing event that has reverberated around the globe and is still going strong. We congratulate Andy Muschietti, the extraordinary producing team, and everyone involved in ‘It’ on reaching this amazing milestone.”

“It” is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, which was first published in 1986. It tells the story of seven kids who are terrorized by a shapeshifting predator that takes on their fears. Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard and Wyatt Oleff also star.

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‘It’ Child Actors First Saw Pennywise on Camera: ‘We Wanted Their Reactions to Be Real’ (Video)

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“It” will pass the $500 million worldwide box office mark on Thursday, Warner Bros. announced.

Andy Muschietti’s critically-acclaimed Stephen King adaptation is also the highest-grossing horror film ever, and in the process broke the 44-year record belonging to “The Exorcist.”

Domestically, the film starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown has grossed $270.4 million since its debut on Sept. 8. The film has broken several other records, including top horror film opening and biggest September opening for any film.

“Crossing $500 million is rarified air for any film, but for a horror film it is history-making, and we could not be prouder,” said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and distribution at Warner Bros. “The filmmakers and cast did more than make a box office hit; they created a communal, must-see moviegoing event that has reverberated around the globe and is still going strong. We congratulate Andy Muschietti, the extraordinary producing team, and everyone involved in ‘It’ on reaching this amazing milestone.”

“It” is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, which was first published in 1986. It tells the story of seven kids who are terrorized by a shapeshifting predator that takes on their fears. Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard and Wyatt Oleff also star.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'It' Child Actors First Saw Pennywise on Camera: 'We Wanted Their Reactions to Be Real' (Video)

Watch Pennywise's Creepy A-ha Moment Dancing to 'Take on Me' and Other Classic Songs (Video)

What Would Pennywise Have to Say to Make You Come Down in the Sewer? Twitter Answers

‘Conjuring’ Universe Surpasses $1 Billion at Global Box Office

New Line Cinema’s “Annabelle: Creation” has taken the “Conjuring” universe past the $1 billion benchmark at the global box office, the studio announced Friday.

“We are thrilled with the success of ‘Annabelle: Creation’ and enormously proud to continue bringing this hugely popular ‘Conjuring’ franchise to theaters everywhere,” said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and distribution at Warner Bros. “We congratulate our colleagues at New Line Cinema, our astute marketing and distribution teams, and everyone who put their collective creative energies together to tell such wonderfully frightening stories for movie audiences around the world to enjoy.”

“Creation” on its own has earned $110 million worldwide after it opened to a stellar $35 million earlier this month. In addition, “Creation” scored the highest industry opening weekend of all time for a horror film in numerous international markets. The first “Conjuring” film, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, has grossed $318 million globally.

Also Read: ‘Annabelle: Creation’ Conjures Surprise $35 Million at Box Office

Next up in the series is the “Conjuring” spin-off “The Nun,” which will be based on the character appearing in the second film. “The Nun” will be directed by Corin Hardy and will be released in theaters July 13, 2018. The studio is also in active development on “The Conjuring 3” and “The Crooked Man,” the latter of which is also drawn on a character appearing in “The Conjuring 2.”

James Wan directed the first two “Conjuring” films, with Peter Safran and Rob Cowan producing. However, Wan did not direct the first “Annabelle” film but produced alongside Safran, with John R. Leonetti directing. “Creation” was directed by David F. Sandberg and produced by Wan and Safran.

Fun fact: New Line could sell 9,174,311 Annabelle dolls for $1 billion.

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New Line Cinema’s “Annabelle: Creation” has taken the “Conjuring” universe past the $1 billion benchmark at the global box office, the studio announced Friday.

“We are thrilled with the success of ‘Annabelle: Creation’ and enormously proud to continue bringing this hugely popular ‘Conjuring’ franchise to theaters everywhere,” said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and distribution at Warner Bros. “We congratulate our colleagues at New Line Cinema, our astute marketing and distribution teams, and everyone who put their collective creative energies together to tell such wonderfully frightening stories for movie audiences around the world to enjoy.”

“Creation” on its own has earned $110 million worldwide after it opened to a stellar $35 million earlier this month. In addition, “Creation” scored the highest industry opening weekend of all time for a horror film in numerous international markets. The first “Conjuring” film, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, has grossed $318 million globally.

Next up in the series is the “Conjuring” spin-off “The Nun,” which will be based on the character appearing in the second film. “The Nun” will be directed by Corin Hardy and will be released in theaters July 13, 2018. The studio is also in active development on “The Conjuring 3” and “The Crooked Man,” the latter of which is also drawn on a character appearing in “The Conjuring 2.”

James Wan directed the first two “Conjuring” films, with Peter Safran and Rob Cowan producing. However, Wan did not direct the first “Annabelle” film but produced alongside Safran, with John R. Leonetti directing. “Creation” was directed by David F. Sandberg and produced by Wan and Safran.

Fun fact: New Line could sell 9,174,311 Annabelle dolls for $1 billion.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Conjuring 2' Spinoff on 'Crooked Man' Character in Development at New Line

Corin Hardy to Direct 'Conjuring' Spinoff 'The Nun'

Here's Why 'The Conjuring 2' Might Be a Bigger Hit Than 'Captain America: Civil War'

Comic-Con 2017: Warner Bros Bringing ‘Justice League,’ ‘Ready Player One’ to Hall H

“Justice League,” “Ready Player One” and “Blade Runner 2049” will be part of the slate presented at Warner Bros.’ panel at Comic-Con on July 22, the third day of the annual convention.

The studio is also bringing “Aquaman” to Hall H, and “Justice League” stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher will be on stage to present the upcoming film.

During the “Ready Player One” panel, director Steven Spielberg will present with stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and T.J. Miller. To present the long-awaited “Blade Runner 2049,” actors Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Lennie James and Mackenzie Davis will be on stage with director Denis Villeneuve.

Also Read: Comic-Con Day Two: ‘Defenders,’ ‘Preacher,’ ‘Walking Dead’ Lead TV-Heavy Day in Hall H

The Warner Bros. presentation will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, with Chris Hardwick moderating.

“Every year we look forward to Comic-Con and every year we–along with our wonderful actors and filmmakers–eagerly share our enthusiasm for the upcoming Warner Bros. slate,” said President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution Sue Kroll. “Coming off the success we’re enjoying with ‘Wonder Woman,’ we are more excited than ever to interact with the fans, thank them for their ongoing support, and give them a taste of the incredible films we have for them in the coming months and into 2018.”

The studio will also host several activities throughout the convention and around town. On Wednesday, July 19, Warner Bros. is showing “Annabelle: Creation,” followed by a Q&A with director David F. Sandberg and stars Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson and Anthony LaPaglia.

Also Read: Comic-Con: 20th Century Fox, Netflix Kick Off Convention’s First Day

Fans can also hop on an “IT”-inspired virtual reality installment the following day. On Thursday, Comic-Con attendees can visit a panel for “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” with stars Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena and Zach Woods.

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Comic-Con: ‘Marvel’s Inhumans’ and ‘Teen Wolf’ Lead First Day TV Programming

Netflix Announces Comic-Con Hall H Panels for ‘The Defenders’ and ‘Stranger Things’

Sorry Fanboys, Joss Whedon Is Not Attending Comic-Con 2017

“Justice League,” “Ready Player One” and “Blade Runner 2049” will be part of the slate presented at Warner Bros.’ panel at Comic-Con on July 22, the third day of the annual convention.

The studio is also bringing “Aquaman” to Hall H, and “Justice League” stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher will be on stage to present the upcoming film.

During the “Ready Player One” panel, director Steven Spielberg will present with stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and T.J. Miller. To present the long-awaited “Blade Runner 2049,” actors Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Lennie James and Mackenzie Davis will be on stage with director Denis Villeneuve.

The Warner Bros. presentation will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, with Chris Hardwick moderating.

“Every year we look forward to Comic-Con and every year we–along with our wonderful actors and filmmakers–eagerly share our enthusiasm for the upcoming Warner Bros. slate,” said President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution Sue Kroll. “Coming off the success we’re enjoying with ‘Wonder Woman,’ we are more excited than ever to interact with the fans, thank them for their ongoing support, and give them a taste of the incredible films we have for them in the coming months and into 2018.”

The studio will also host several activities throughout the convention and around town. On Wednesday, July 19, Warner Bros. is showing “Annabelle: Creation,” followed by a Q&A with director David F. Sandberg and stars Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson and Anthony LaPaglia.

Fans can also hop on an “IT”-inspired virtual reality installment the following day. On Thursday, Comic-Con attendees can visit a panel for “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” with stars Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena and Zach Woods.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Comic-Con: 'Marvel's Inhumans' and 'Teen Wolf' Lead First Day TV Programming

Netflix Announces Comic-Con Hall H Panels for 'The Defenders' and 'Stranger Things'

Sorry Fanboys, Joss Whedon Is Not Attending Comic-Con 2017

‘Netflix My Ass’ Aftermath: Ted Sarandos Says Sony Chief Tom Rothman Called to Explain (Exclusive)

Sony Motion Picture Chairman Tom Rothman made waves by shouting “Netflix, my ass!” on stage at CinemaCon last week  — but he rang up Netflix Chief Content Office Ted Sarandos the very next day to smooth things over.

“He was very quick to reassure me it was a joke, as one of his biggest customers,” Sarandos told TheWrap Friday in a wide-ranging chat from the streaming giant’s new Hollywood offices. (A rep for Sony had no comment.)

The Rothman comment was meant to reassure the convention of movie exhibitors that studio films can and should be enjoyed at the multiplex — not at home through streaming platforms like Netflix.

Also Read: Sony Film Head Debuts ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Trailer, Disses Competition: ‘Netflix My Ass’

The Sony exec was hardly alone in making references to anxious conversations about theatrical release windows — and while Sarandos is aware of them, he’s too busy listening to his customers, he said.

“Netflix has been a champion of consumer choice, and the windowing of theatrical movies is the only thing in the media that hasn’t been impacted by the internet,” Sarandos told TheWrap.

“Do you think it’s going to stay like that? Denying people what they want is not good business,” he continued.

This is the second year that day-and-date release models, which make films available for paid video-on-demand the same day they hit theaters, have been a focal point at the Las Vegas convention.

Also Read: ’13 Reasons Why’ Is All About Sexist Microaggressions (Commentary)

“We need to address the challenges of the marketplace,” Warner Bros. President of Worldwide Marketing Sue Kroll told exhibitors during her presentation. “We are consistent and long-time partners. Together is the way to move toward the future that will be beneficial and profitable for all of us.”

After screening breathtaking footage from his upcoming war epic “Dunkirk,” director Christopher Nolan bluntly said that the only way to experience his film was “through theatrical distribution.”

But Sarandos signaled that even stalwart studios are recognizing that change may be inevitable. “The reason why it’s such a heated debate is because they know it’s what consumers want,” he said. “If you believe that day-and-date would mean empty movie theaters, then you’d better start moving.”

The film that got Rothman excited, by the way, was Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049” — a massive-scale, effects-laden action show that studios have become dependent on as consumers increasingly seek out home-based entertainment through cable and streaming services.

But this Christmas, Netflix is releasing its own tentpole-style effects-driven feature, David Ayer’s supernatural cop thriller “Bright,” starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton with a reported budget of $90 million.

Also Read: Top 20 Best Netflix Original Series, Ranked From Great to Phenomenal (Photos)

While the company is planning a limited theatrical release after it begins to stream, Sarandos thinks most customers will have an at-home experience that’s comparable to the theater. “I think that people want to go out on Friday night and [also] have a differentiated experience. Screens are getting bigger, the viewing experience of 4k streaming is comparable in fidelity to most movie theaters,” Sarandos said.

“If you want to distinguish yourself, create a better experience. Holding consumers at bay is just going to lead to piracy and shrinking attendance. I believe that people will choose a great night out, sometimes.”

Sarandos called up a fine-dining analogy.

“Let’s say you have a great steakhouse, are they going to ban consumers from eating steak at home?” he said with a smile.

“Food is day and date, and people still go to great restaurants,” he concluded.

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Sony Motion Picture Chairman Tom Rothman made waves by shouting “Netflix, my ass!” on stage at CinemaCon last week  — but he rang up Netflix Chief Content Office Ted Sarandos the very next day to smooth things over.

“He was very quick to reassure me it was a joke, as one of his biggest customers,” Sarandos told TheWrap Friday in a wide-ranging chat from the streaming giant’s new Hollywood offices. (A rep for Sony had no comment.)

The Rothman comment was meant to reassure the convention of movie exhibitors that studio films can and should be enjoyed at the multiplex — not at home through streaming platforms like Netflix.

The Sony exec was hardly alone in making references to anxious conversations about theatrical release windows — and while Sarandos is aware of them, he’s too busy listening to his customers, he said.

“Netflix has been a champion of consumer choice, and the windowing of theatrical movies is the only thing in the media that hasn’t been impacted by the internet,” Sarandos told TheWrap.

“Do you think it’s going to stay like that? Denying people what they want is not good business,” he continued.

This is the second year that day-and-date release models, which make films available for paid video-on-demand the same day they hit theaters, have been a focal point at the Las Vegas convention.

“We need to address the challenges of the marketplace,” Warner Bros. President of Worldwide Marketing Sue Kroll told exhibitors during her presentation. “We are consistent and long-time partners. Together is the way to move toward the future that will be beneficial and profitable for all of us.”

After screening breathtaking footage from his upcoming war epic “Dunkirk,” director Christopher Nolan bluntly said that the only way to experience his film was “through theatrical distribution.”

But Sarandos signaled that even stalwart studios are recognizing that change may be inevitable. “The reason why it’s such a heated debate is because they know it’s what consumers want,” he said. “If you believe that day-and-date would mean empty movie theaters, then you’d better start moving.”

The film that got Rothman excited, by the way, was Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049” — a massive-scale, effects-laden action show that studios have become dependent on as consumers increasingly seek out home-based entertainment through cable and streaming services.

But this Christmas, Netflix is releasing its own tentpole-style effects-driven feature, David Ayer’s supernatural cop thriller “Bright,” starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton with a reported budget of $90 million.

While the company is planning a limited theatrical release after it begins to stream, Sarandos thinks most customers will have an at-home experience that’s comparable to the theater. “I think that people want to go out on Friday night and [also] have a differentiated experience. Screens are getting bigger, the viewing experience of 4k streaming is comparable in fidelity to most movie theaters,” Sarandos said.

“If you want to distinguish yourself, create a better experience. Holding consumers at bay is just going to lead to piracy and shrinking attendance. I believe that people will choose a great night out, sometimes.”

Sarandos called up a fine-dining analogy.

“Let’s say you have a great steakhouse, are they going to ban consumers from eating steak at home?” he said with a smile.

“Food is day and date, and people still go to great restaurants,” he concluded.

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Sue Kroll On Windows Elephant In The Room: “We Need To Address The Challenges Of The Marketplace” – CinemaCon

Warner Bros worldwide distribution and marketing chief Sue Kroll, while praising how successful the theatrical business is during Warner Bros’ CinemaCon session, spoke about what’s been on everyone’s minds here at the confab: The future of changing windows and the means by which people consume content.
“Everyone in this room is facing challenges and opportunities — it’s being talked about in the hallways and meeting rooms this week,” said Kroll, without calling out…

Warner Bros worldwide distribution and marketing chief Sue Kroll, while praising how successful the theatrical business is during Warner Bros’ CinemaCon session, spoke about what’s been on everyone’s minds here at the confab: The future of changing windows and the means by which people consume content. "Everyone in this room is facing challenges and opportunities — it’s being talked about in the hallways and meeting rooms this week,” said Kroll, without calling out…

Sue Kroll Honored as Humanitarian of the Year by Venice Family Clinic

Sue Kroll, the president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures, was honored with the Humanitarian Award by the Venice Family Clinic at the Silver Circle Gala Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton. “At Warner Bros., as you know, I deal with a lot of different superheroes,” Kroll said upon accepting her award…. Read more »

Sue Kroll, the president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures, was honored with the Humanitarian Award by the Venice Family Clinic at the Silver Circle Gala Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton. “At Warner Bros., as you know, I deal with a lot of different superheroes,” Kroll said upon accepting her award.... Read more »