Thursday, May 23, 2024

Hollywood Shuffle: Warner Bros. Gets MGM’s Leadership Team In Latest Revamp


Hollywood is a weird world. A long time ago Mike DeLuca was the rising star at New Line Cinema, part of Warner Bros. But some movies went sour, some other things weren’t positive, and DeLuca was out. Toby Emmerich replaced him.

Two decades later, Emmerich had moved up to run Warner Bros. from New Line as various execs came and went, were pushed out or overtaken. That’s the biz.

Now today, DeLuca returns to Warner’s as the new chief, replacing Emmerich, who will leave to produce very good movies, I’m sure. DeLuca comes from MGM with Pam Abdy. They had a slate of strong films at MGM like “Licorice Pizza” and “Respect” but they had a terrible marketing and PR effort that showed no respect. MGM was sold to Amazon, DeLuca and Abdy abdicated, but they’ve risen like phoenixes at WB.

Crazy, huh?

Toby did a very good job at Warner’s but the studio could not get their middle of the road movies, maybe awards worthy, to get any traction. One by one they failed. They were quality films, too. One of the headscratchers was “Just Mercy,” which I thought was going to be their prestige movie in 2019. But it just died on the vine. What can you do?

No matter who runs the studio, there will be emphasis on the DC Universe, with an effort to catch up to Marvel. Not clear if that’s possible. The recent “Suicide Squad” movie should have been a bigger hit. If I were DeLuca and Abdy I’d try to get Sue Kroll to come back. She’s a genius and could sell sand to the Arabs. She knows how to market a movie. (And please do not bring any MGM people to WB.)

Of course, it’s a different world now. When DeLuca was at New Line, there was no such thing as streaming. At MGM, there wasn’t either. (It was hopeless over there.) So the new chiefs have HBO and HBO Max at their disposal for synergy, and they will use it to good advantage.

And away we go!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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