Warner Brothers Shuts Down Picturehouse, Warner Independent

According to Anne Thompson’s Variety Blog, art house studios Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures, who brought us such great films as Pan’s Labyrinth, The Painted Veil, The Orphanage, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Before Sunset, and Good Night and Good Luck, have officialy been canned by their mother studio, Warner Bros. I don’t know about you, but I think that is an awesome and impressive list of movies, but for one reason or another, the sub-studios have failed to make a profit. Warner Bros. feels that whatever special projects it has in store for us, they can be handled by New Line Cinema. Earlier in the year there were rumors flying around that New Line also faced elimination. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to settle for the next “Freddy” sequel rather than a potential oscar-winning art house feature.

“With New Line now a key part of Warner Bros., we’re able to handle films across the entire spectrum of genres and budgets without overlapping production, marketing and distribution infrastructures,” said Alan Horn, Warner Bros. President & COO. “After much painstaking analysis, this was a difficult decision to make, but it reflects the reality of a changing marketplace and our need to prudently run our business with increased efficiencies. We’re confident that the spirit of independent filmmaking and the opportunity to find and give a voice to a new talent will continue to have a presence at Warner Bros.”

Picturehouse President Bob Berney said that the studio will release the final three films in stock(Mongol, Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl, and The Women) at the Cannes Film Festival as planned, during which he will look for investors, partners, and check out the new films premiering there. This is not the end of him.

“Bob is an incredibly talented film executive and made Picturehouse an important player in the world of independent film in a relatively short time,” said Horn. “I’m extremely grateful to Bob and the entire team at Picturehouse. Their accomplishments and the films they created speak volumes about their dedication to and understanding of the art of film.”

Meanwhile, Warner Independent President Polly Cohen is likely to stay at the studio with a production deal, even though Warner Bros. isn’t exactly known for funding independent films.

“Working with Polly and her team at Warner Indpendent has been great for me personally and a valuable experience for the company,” said Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. “I’d like to thank everyone at Warner Independent for their passion and dedication to independent films and filmmakers. They were involved with some very important films and helped further the talents and careers of a number of writers and directors, and between Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line, we’ll continue to nuture those relationships and produce those types of films.”

The management teams from both companies will be meeting in the near future with executives from Warner Bros. to discuss the status of projects already in development, as well as the distibution of completed films.


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