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The movie-making engine of WarnerMedia is getting overhauled.
Warner Max, the feature arm of HBO Max that was to be jointly run by HBO Max and Warner Bros., is being phased out, with Warners and its sister division New Line Cinema now becoming the sole producers.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich will have oversight over all feature output for WarnerMedia, be it streaming or theatrical. Moving forward, all development and production of original feature films for HBO Max will be consolidated under Emmerich and the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, working in conjunction with Casey Bloys on overall platform goals, according to the studio.
Sarah Aubrey, who is HBO Max’s head of content, remains in her position, but as part of the restructuring Jessie Henderson, the head of Warner Max, has decided to leave her post. Nikki Ramey, Warner Max’s senior vp, is segueing to New Line where she will act as a production executive. She will straddle the twin role of development and production responsibilities, reporting to New Line’s president and CCO Richard Brener, as well as overseeing finished film and acquisitions, reporting to Warner Bros. Pictures Group COO Carolyn Blackwood.
Emmerich’s development and production team led by Courtenay Valenti of Warner Bros. Pictures, Richard Brener of New Line and Walter Hamada, who oversees DC-based films, will continue to develop and produce titles that will be distributed theatrically by the motion pictures group as well as direct to streaming on HBO Max.
WarnerMax launched in early 2020 as the feature film creator for the streaming service that debuted in the spring. The aim was to make eight to 10 midbudget movies a year but never ramped up fast enough or got far enough to achieve that goal. It did produce Unpregnant, an original film for HBO Max, and acquired the Seth Rogen comedy American Pickle from Sony in the summer. HBO Max is currently in production on No Sudden Move, directed by Steven Soderbergh. Also, Warners’ adaptation of Roald Dahls’s The Witches, which was slated to open theatrically, debuted on the streamer this week.
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival