Deal near for WB's Robinov

Studio set to extend contract

Warner Bros. is about to extend Jeff Robinov's contract as president of the Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

The move should contribute a sense of stability at the studio, where the top brass -- chairman and CEO Barry Meyer and president and COO Alan Horn -- are expected to step down in 2011 after their current two-year contracts expire.

It also would appear to position Robinov as a possible heir to Horn, overseeing the studio's film operations, as Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes decides on new leadership at the studio.

The pending contract extension was first reported Sunday at A Warners spokesman had no comment.

Robinov, a former literary agent at ICM, joined Warners in 1997 as a senior vp production. He moved up to executive vp and in 2002 was named president of production.

In November 2007, as part of a studio reorganization, he was promoted to president of the newly formed Warner Bros. Pictures Group, overseeing domestic and international marketing and distribution as well as production.

During his tenure, Robinov has had a hand in such successful Warners tentpoles as the Harry Potter movies and Christopher Nolan's reboot of Batman.

Although he tried to lead Warners into the specialty film arena with the creation of Warner Independent Pictures in 2003, that led to a dead end; WIP closed down last year.

At the same time, Warners successfully absorbed a stripped-down New Line Cinema, which has been responsible for a string of recent hits for the studio including "Sex and the City," "Four Christmases" and this weekend's boxoffice chart-topper "The Final Destination."

Thanks to such movies as "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and surprise success "The Hangover," Warners is the year's leader in domestic boxoffice, having collected $1.43 billion as of Thursday, good for a 20.6% market share, Nielsen EDI said.