WB group hug for Robinov


UPDATED 8:37 p.m. PT Nov. 26, 2007

As part of a studio reorganization, Jeff Robinov has been named president of the newly created Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

WBPG moves the studio's film production, marketing and distribution operations as well as Warner Independent Pictures under one umbrella, with Robinov -- who served as Warners president of production -- as its head. He will continue to report to Alan Horn, president and COO of Warners, who retains final greenlight power on Warners films.

The presidents of domestic and international marketing and distribution, all of whom had been reporting to Horn, will now report to Robinov, who takes over the post in January. He will maintain oversight of all aspects of creative production and have increased input and involvement on projects from initial pitch to exhibition, with the heads of physical production, postproduction, theatrical music and Warner Independent continuing to report to him.

Robinov also will continue to share oversight of the studio's direct-to-platform production arm, Warner Premiere, with the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

Robinov's promotion had been expected, though it could not have come without an overhaul of the studio's structure, with the previous hierarchy leaving him no place to advance. The restructuring also could lead to a long-rumored promotion for executive vp production Kevin McCormick.

The promotion will give Robinov more input into the marketing side, something that the exec has been known to take issue with inside the company. He said he had no imminent plans for what changes, if any, he would make in the marketing and distribution of Warners' movies.

"(Right now) I'm looking forward to getting more involved and understanding the process better," he said.

Robinov also said the streamlining of the moviemaking process at the studio should not result in less creativity.

"If you look at the movies that are the most successful, there's a freshness to them," he said. "I think there's a risky element to them, and I think that's important for us to do. I don't see how this structural change will take away from that."

WBPG has been created to streamline the studio's film production process. Its goal is to bring the film side of Warners in line structurally with Warner Bros.' television and home entertainment operations.

"It's a move that Barry (Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment) and I have been talking about and been implementing for a couple of years," Horn said. "Bruce Rosenblum is already president of the Warner Bros. television group, and Kevin Tsujihara was announced as president of the home entertainment group almost a year ago. It was our thought that it would be good for the company to have, if you will, a third leg of the stool and a motion picture group that would be complementary to the other two, and they would function in a parallel universe and work together as Barry and I manage the company from more of an overview."

The restructuring will enable Horn to work more closely with Meyer as the company moves into other areas, including expanding, what Meyer called, its "international footprint."

"(Alan) and I are taking a major trip to India in January to look at prospects there," he said. "We're building a games business; we're building online branded television services all over the world. We have this initiative in the Middle East," Meyer said. "This will free up Alan to help me more on some of those areas and get him farther away from the day to day of running the motion picture group."

Robinov was promoted to president of production in 2002. He joined the studio in 1997 as senior vp production before being promoted to exec vp in 2000.

Before coming to the studio, Robinov spent three years as an agent with ICM, handling the careers of such writer-directors as the Hughes brothers, the Wachowskis and Academy Award winner Chris McQuarrie. He started his career as an agent at Writers & Artists.