Fire Sale at Hachette

cityfile · 03/24/09 10:49AM

• Hachette is looking to sell a big bunch of magazines, including Road & Track, Car & Driver, American Photo, Boating, Cycle World, Sound & Vision, and Flying. Package deals available; financing not so much. [AdAge, MW]
Dick Parsons will step down from the Time Warner board in May. [Crains]
• Time Warner is buying a stake in Ron Lauder's European TV company. [PC]
• Discovery chief David Zaslav is "cable's fastest rising star," according to Forbes. Also: You're welcome to call him "Zazz" if you'd like. [Forbes]
• More on the media tour that Eliot Spitzer has been on recently. [NYO]
• It seems the Obama administration is looking at ways to avoid the "filter of the mainstream media." That sounds familiar, doesn't it? [Politico]
• Further proof that CNBC sucks, assuming you need some. [MediaMatters]
• Barry Meyer and Alan Horn will spend two more years at Warner Bros. [THR]
• George Lopez has a new talk show on TBS. Contain your excitement. [NYT]

Spirited Fans Move to Death-Threat and Hate-Mail Phase of 'Harry Potter' Fever

STV · 09/09/08 01:00PM

We don't traffic in empathy much around here — especially for studio heads — but you can't help but feel a bit sorry for Alan Horn these days, who has been reduced to peering under his car in a paranoid state before each trip to and from the Warners lot, searching for some Harry Potter fan's homemade peat-moss explosive affixed to his gas tank with frog spit and the hovering air of revenge. Surely he knew what he was getting into when he pushed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from this November to July 2009 (he's already apologized), but still, no one deserves to live under the type of shrieking death-threat duress graphically laid out by The Wall Street Journal:

STV · 08/21/08 07:00PM

Breaking the Spell: As we mentioned last week, the soul-shattering news that Warner Bros. planned to bump Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to Summer 2009 was met with instant derision, scorn and boycott petitions in the global Potter fan community. In between counting his Dark Knight cash and stuffing it in envelopes addressed to Fox, however, studio boss Alan Horn drafted a memo to assuage a billion broken hearts: "Many of you have written to me to express your disappointment," he begins. "Please be assured that we share your love for Harry Potter and would certainly never do anything to hurt any of the films. ... The decision to move [Potter] was not taken lightly, and was never intended to upset our Harry Potter fans. We know you have built this series into what it is, and we thank you for your ongoing enthusiasm and support." Next up for Horn: That long-overdue apology to EW. [Hollywood Newsroom]

Fans' Wizard Hats Droop With Anger, Sorrow as Warners Pushes Back 'Harry Potter 6'

STV · 08/14/08 07:00PM

Warner Bros. sent surprising word today that it has bumped Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from a release this November all the way back to July 17, 2009 — a savvy numerological strategy landing Potter exactly one year's worth of Fridays from its opening day for The Dark Knight. Studio boss Alan Horn officially attributed the move to more practical considerations, however, namely the fact that Warners' vibrant content chain is missing a few links next summer thanks to the writer's strike. But don't get any ideas about Jonze-esque hold-ups or other snags, added Jeff Robinov:

Joel Silver, 'Rocknrolla' Among the Inventory on Display at Warner Bros. Fire Sale

STV · 08/13/08 11:20AM

Add another "maybe" to our speculation about Joel Silver's future at Warner Bros.: Reports today indicate that the slumping superproducer is shopping around Guy Ritchie's Rocknrolla, a Dark Castle project scheduled for release by WB in October. Maybe. Now Lionsgate and Sony are supposedly in talks to pick up the action/crime thriller lest Warners overextend itself this fall with titles inherited from New Line (Pride and Glory), Picturehouse (The Women) and Warner Independent (Slumdog Millionaire, Towelhead). We think this falls into the "content is king" model evinced recently by Alan Horn, Barry Meyer and the higher-ups at Time Warner — as in, "This content is kind of terrible... Do we really have to release this?" At least that's the impression Horn apparently left with LAT BFF Patrick Goldstein:

5 Burning Questions We Still Have For 'Content Kings' at Warner Bros.

STV · 08/12/08 02:15PM

We took the better part of two days to process the NYT's recent recognition of Warner Bros. as the crown jewel at Time Warner, where Jeff Bewkes, Barry Meyer, Alan Horn and Co. are venerated at length for emphasizing "content" (i.e. their film and TV properties) ahead of "distribution" outlets like AOL, DVD and on-demand services. It's an oddly situational success story; in fact, it opens with WB chairman Meyer literally inhaling the incoming fax telling him The Dark Knight made $66 million on opening day, and namechecks Two and a Half Men among a handful of TV series that are finding lucrative traction internationally. There's also the HBO factor and the Turner channels' flourishing as well. And while we can't and/or wouldn't argue any of these points, a ceremonious Warners rimjob also seems untimely. After all, what did Meyer do with his Speed Racer faxes on opening weekend? That and a few more pressing questions after the jump.1. What about Speed Racer? Warners' legacy is one of adventurous flops and sturdy gambles, not messianic cultural events like TDK. If the point is a "content" state-of-the-union, then it's worth noting that the studio also dropped the summer's biggest bomb. For which, by the way, we love them; Where the Wild Things Are isn't likely to fare much better, but it is nice to know it's there. 2. What about Warner Independent and Picturehouse? The slimmed-down New Line earns a cursory mention, but its return to genre-junk roots is one of Time Warner's signature (and slightly desperate) content revisions since the AOL merger. And the axed Picturehouse — which had a strong summer of Mongol and Kit Kittredge after winning three Oscars in February — was all about "content" that's hit and missed just as regularly as the mother ship. 3. What about Get Smart? Again, the sturdy gamble is the thing: A hit that's grossed $200 million worldwide, will land equally hard on DVD and VOD and has sequels on the way. Screw TDK, really — Bewkes needs more like this, and he needs them recognized. 4. Did you know that Charlie Sheen makes $800,000 per episode of Two and a Half Men? A bit of rehash of an earlier question here at Defamer, we know, but a phenomenon we've come to now grudgingly accept knowing that T&HM is the flagship of a $4 billion television empire. Not that we get it; feel free to continue discussing below. 5. Whither questions and actual answers about new media revenues? Just because Tim Arango is writing all about Warners' precious "content" doesn't mean Bewkes can get away without answering his own query, "[T]he consumption of entertainment products is growing rapidly... The question is how do you offer it, and how do you get paid for it?" And this guy wonders why TW stock still hovers around $16. Come on, Jeff.

'Where The Wild Things Are' Gets New Release Date: Never

STV · 07/11/08 06:40PM

We hoped you liked the clip "test footage" of Spike Jonze's troubled adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, which made the rounds in February amid rumors of the $75 million film's slow demise at Warner Bros. We're reading now that that may be all you see for at least a few more years while Jonze tinkers and tweaks on Warners' watch, prompting Alan Horn to offer an update today to his bloggy BFF Patrick Goldstein.

Warner Bros.: Hey, Why Is No One Paying Attention To Our Cheaper Flops?

mark · 10/09/06 01:59PM

Today's NY Times' looks at the strategy that Warner Bros. executives are embracing going forward from the bomb-strewn summer (Superman Returns, Lady in the Water, The Ant Bully, and, of course, Poseidon) that's left the studio in sixth place at the box office this year: tucking their heads between their knees and hoping that one of their "smaller" movies (like, say, that little Scorsese flick) performs above expectations, buying them enough job security to make it to next year's guaranteed blockbuster, Harry Potter. In the story, shellshocked-but-resolute WB muckity-mucks Jeff Robinov and Alan Horn lament that people have harped on their higher-profile disasters, while ignoring all the money they've proudly lost on lower-budgeted projects: