Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara Announces Layoffs

Kevin Tsujihara - H 2013
Getty Images

Kevin Tsujihara - H 2013

Tsujihara says there will be cuts across the studio

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced layoffs in a memo to staff Thursday.

Tsujihara said Warner Bros. is doing its best to "minimize staff reductions," but that "positions will be eliminated — at every level — across the Studio." The memo does not specify how many positions will be cut.

The memo came in response to recent reports that were causing concern among employees. The announcement refutes reports that buyouts were on the table and is part of Tsujihara's attempt to communicate with staff throughout the process. While Warners had a difficult summer at the box office — as of Aug. 1, its revenues were down 39.5 percent from 2013 — sources suggest the layoffs are unrelated to this dip.

Godzilla, the studio's top earner, grossed $507.9 million globally and Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow took $364 million. Misfires included Adam Sandler's Blended and Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys.

Warners currently ranks third in terms of its share of the year's domestic box office, with its collective take of $1.065 billion putting it behind 20th Century Fox, which is first with 17.3 percent and $1.227 billion, and Disney, which is second with 16.7 percent and $1.184 billion. The studio has collected $2.7 billion worldwide for 2014.

Time Warner recently rejected Rupert Murdoch's $80-billion takeover bid, adding to the pressure of the company's CEO Jeff Bewkes, who has promised investors he can create more value at the company. Buyouts have also begun at the company's Turner division, which includes CNN and TBS.

Read the full memo below.

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted you to hear directly from me about our plans for the Studio. In recent days, we have started to hear rumors here at the company and to read misinformation in the press, so I'd like to set the record straight. I know that the hard work and dedication of every employee around the world is the key to Warner Bros.' success, and I am sorry for the distraction this situation brings to the workplace.

At Warner Bros., we work with the world's most extraordinary storytellers, and our focus has always been to provide the creative environment and financial resources they need to realize their vision. Our commitment to that won't change. In fact, we're investing more than ever in our film and television productions.

Since I became CEO, I've been working with the Studio's senior management team to create a plan to position Warner Bros. for future growth, maintaining our position as the industry's leader in quality and scale — all while safeguarding our traditions and legacy. This will require us to reduce costs and reallocate resources to our high-growth businesses.

Here at Warner Bros., we are currently in a position of unparalleled strength. To maintain this position, we are constantly reviewing our global businesses to make sure we're operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. We are doing our best to minimize staff reductions. However, and it pains me to say this, positions will be eliminated—at every level—across the Studio. In making these decisions, we will follow all applicable protocols. Your divisional and departmental leadership will share more information with you about these changes in the months ahead.

Despite the challenges we face, we need to focus on the tasks at hand, maintain the sense of excellence that has defined our company for more than 90 years, and move forward knowing that, regardless of any organizational changes, we will remain the industry's gold standard.

Thank you, again, for your support and dedication to this company.

Sept. 4, 11:03 p.m. An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the amount of Rupert Murdoch's Warner Bros. takeover bid. THR regrets the error.