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Reflecting his current clout at the studio which has seen major changes within its executive ranks over the past year, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich took charge of the studio’s CinemaCon presentation for the first time when he appeared onstage at the exhibitor’s convention on Tuesday.
Last year, Sue Kroll, then the studio’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution, was the top Warners executive onstage in Las Vegas, where Hollywood studios and theater owners meet up each year. But Kroll left the top job in January, with Blair Rich taking over as marketing chief, while on the distribution side, Ronald Sanders was named worldwide president of theatrical (he also heads up home entertainment).
“This is my first time addressing all of you at CinemaCon,” Emmerich said. “2017 was our best year ever with more than $5.1 billion at the global box office, led by Wonder Woman, It and Dunkirk.” It was also the first time onstage for domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein, who joined Emmerich.
The convention comes as the Trump administration continues to battle in court to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, the studio’s corporate parent.
But Emmerich, who ran Warner Bros.’ New Line unit before moving over to the studio proper in 2017, was ready to make the case for it, saying, “We pride ourselves on our varied slate. We love making all kinds of movies for all audiences. And that will continue to be our business plan going forward. The broad scope of our slate gives us an advantage. And we have built our reputation on being filmmaker-driven.”
He continued, “We’ve made some changes to the motion picture group, and some of these names might be new to you. I believe our team is the best in the business.”
In keeping with tradition, the Warners presentation included a parade of stars tied to its upcoming movies, with Will Arnett serving as master of ceremonies. (Arnett and other talent had to deal with technical difficulties, repeatedly noting that there was a bad echo when taking the stage inside The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.)
Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina appeared to promote their female-fronted heist pic, Ocean’s 8 (due out June 8), while Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis and Leslie Bibb showed up for the comedy Tag (June 15).
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu joined Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan and other castmembers to discuss that film, set to open Aug. 17, which separately had an early screening Monday in downtown Los Angeles.
Looking past summer, Eddie Redmayne was among the castmembers who introduced footage from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, due out Nov. 16.
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