Warner Independent Pictures and Picturehouse Shut Down!
As we all know, New Line Cinema folded in under Warner Brothers back in February, which also meant the converging of both of the studios' independent divisions: Warner Independent Pictures and Picturehouse. In a "surprising move" today, Warner Brothers president and COO Alan Horn announced that it was shutting down both WIP and Picturehouse instead of combining them under one banner. This is definitely a sad day for everyone at both indie studios, especially since I have a good friend who works at WIP. The status of films in development and set for release from both studios has yet to be decided, but initial speculation shows that they may just get distributed by Warner Brothers on a whole. It sounds like to me WB is becoming the real powerhouse in Hollywood now.
"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," announced Warner Bros. president and COO Alan Horn. "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 businesses with increased efficiencies. We're confident that the spirit of independent filmmaking and the opportunity to find and give a voice to new talent will continue to have a presence at Warner Bros."
When you look at the big picture, Warner Brothers as a studio on its own is becoming the big powerhouse - let me explain. Not only are they now officially distributing and/or making the money on all New Line Cinema movies, including the upcoming Sex and the City movie as well as The Hobbit eventually, but now they're adding even more to their line-up. It hasn't been determined whether they'll keep movies that are currently in production, but I don't know why they wouldn't. What I mean is that it seems like Warner Brothers itself is going to distribute movies for four individual studios all by themselves - that's ridiculous!
Warner Independent Pictures, founded in 2003, has distributed films like Good Night, and Good Luck, A Scanner Darkly, The Science of Sleep, In the Valley of Elah, Snow Angels, and Funny Games in its 5 year run. Upcoming films included Towelhead, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, The Rum Diary, Queen of the South, and Bryan Singer's The Mayor of Castro Street. Picturehouse, founded in 2005, has distributed films like Pan's Labyrinth, Rocket Science, The King of Kong, and The Orphanage in its 3 year run. Upcoming films included Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, The Women, and Amusement.
And with that, I think it's time to say "good night and good luck" to everyone at WIP and Picturehouse.
Reader Feedback - 10 Comments
How is Warner not a powerhouse already? I don't think whatever Spanish import Guillermo Del Toro "presents" is going to make them that extra half bil. And your concern for the many newly unemployed is touching
Andrew Wickliffe on May 8, 2008
Wow! Did this come out of left field or what? But I have a question. When you say they will be brought together under one banner, does that mean under WB like everythign else or will it be a new division that just combines Picturehouse and WIP. I am not 100% surprised with Picturehouse going under but I am quite shocked about WIP. I guess Fox Searchlight (one of the things Fox is good at) is the only Indie studio left in town, well that and Focus. Also, isn't Miramax under WB too????
Ryan on May 8, 2008
Call them specialty divisions, mini-majors, production companies, or distributors, but don't call them indie studios. They are neither studios nor independent. Also, to answer your question, Miramax Films is owned by The Walt Disney Company. Fox Searchlight and Focus Features aren't the only ones left either. You're forgetting Paramount Vantage and Sony Pictures Classics. I'm not even counting Rogue Pictures, Screen Gems, Castle Rock Entertainment, Fox Atomic, and Hollywood Pictures, all of which are owned by studios.
John on May 8, 2008
This was really surprising to me and very disappointing. I wish someone who draw a diagram of who owns what...I can never keep it straight.
Janet on May 8, 2008
yepp this is dissapointing.. and todayy i watched A Scanner Darkly for the first time...
Rigo on May 9, 2008
Sorry. I did forget Vantage and SPC. However I don't think Rogue, Screen Gems and Castle Rock are under this same type of genre spectrum.
Ryan on May 9, 2008
Why Warner Indy productions? WHY? They were doing so well.
xerxex on May 9, 2008
@Ryan Rogue Pictures is a specialty division that focuses on producing horror movies (primarily with low budgets). I mentioned Screen Gems, Castle Rock, etc. because they fall under studio owned mini-majors much like Miramax Films, which you mentioned (and doesn't produce genre films either). @xerxex They actually haven't been doing well in terms of box office. Their last profitable film was Good Night and Good Luck, which was made in 2005. I figure the studio would rather put money towards New Line Cinema, which is odd, because they're not really known for small and offbeat art house pictures.
John on May 10, 2008
what a blow, WIP was always good for a movie or 2 worth watching that werent main stream. real gems
Jont on May 19, 2008
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