The eulogies are on following Thursday's twin killing of Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures by the executioners at Warner Bros. — or perhaps more accurately, by hooded, high-ranking Time Warner axeman Jeff Bewkes, to whom some today are attributing the death penalty that ended in nearly 75 lost jobs between the two mini-majors. While we still suspect that WIP's demise in cosmically linked to its acquisition of the poisonously atrocious Alan Ball film Towelhead (another blogger disagrees, citing Funny Games instead), at least a few other observers have more official diagnoses from the murder scene.
As first foreseen here last week, bad news rolled into Picturehouse HQ today in the form of a batch of pink slips. Warner Bros, is shuttering the art-house/indie/foreign distribution arm in the wake of its belt-tightening at Picturehouse's parent company New Line; we're a little more surprised, however, to read that Warners is also closing shop at Warner Independent Pictures. We knew Jeff Robinov and Alan Horn were unhappy with the boutique business, but Jesus. Picturehouse chief Bob Berney and WIP boss Polly Cohen, tagged for a possible (if implausible) power-sharing arrangement as recently as last week, are both being shown the door, as are both offices' staffs in New York and Los Angeles. We'll be following up later with word on that rumored independent venture of Berney's, but in the meantime, the full press release from Warner Bros. follows after the jump.
A few notes kicked under the door at Defamer HQ hint that the end may be near for Picturehouse, the Oscar-winning art house shingle plunged into limbo in February after its parent company New Line was absorbed by the Warner Bros. mothership. We have yet to hear where company president Bob Berney will wind up, though a popular rumor has him sharing power at Warners' other struggling boutique outpost, Warner Independent Pictures, with current WIP boss Polly Cohen. We posit at least one more underdog alternative as well — plus a prognosis for the remaining Picturehouse output — after the jump.