Warner Bros Entertainment is the division within media giant Time Warner which houses its substantial film and television production and distribution businesses. In recent years it has been one of the world's most consistently successful movie studios as a result of movie mega-franchises Harry Potter, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and Batman/The Dark Knight. As a result, it was the #1 studio by US box office for three consecutive years between 2008 and 2010. It reclaimed that position once again for 2013 and returned to the top spot for 2017 as a result of the huge success of Wonder Woman and sleeper hit It. The group's equally substantial television production division is responsible for such global successes as Friends, the West Wing and ER as well as more recent hits including The Big Bang Theory and Two & A Half Men. In 2018, Warner Bros will become a unit of AT&T, provided the latter's proposed acquisition of Time Warner survives a court challenge from the Department of Justice.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Jan 2018: Sue Kroll, Warner Bros' long-serving president of worldwide marketing & distribution, is stepping down after 24 years at the company to become an inhouse producer. Her role will be split. Blair Rich moves up to president of worldwide marketing; Ron Sanders, already president of home entertainment, adds responsibility for worldwide theatrical distribution. Both men will continue to report to Toby Emmerich, who was promoted from CEO to to chairman of the Warner Bros Pictures Group.
Adbrands Weekly Update 4th Jan 2018: Walt Disney was undeniable champion of the US (and global) movie box office in 2017. On release for just the last two weeks of the year, Star Wars: The Last Jedi roared to the top of the US charts with ticket sales of almost $540m, overtaking Disney's live action Beauty & The Beast. That crowdpleaser retained its title as the global #1 with box office of $1.26bn. (Last Jedi has yet to open in several global markets, including China). Another Disney release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, was the #4 movie in the US behind Warner Bros' Wonder Woman, one of the year's most unexpected box office sensations. Globally, though, Disney shared the top honours with Universal Pictures, whose Fate of the Furious and Despicable Me 3 were the #2 and #4 movies. In terms of combined US box office takings, Disney held the #1 spot with $2.4bn, ahead of Warner with $2.0bn. (Without the contribution from Last Jedi, Disney and Warner would have been on level pegging). Universal ranked #3 at $1.5bn while 20th Century Fox had $1.3bn. Sony, Lions Gate and Paramount held the next three places. However, the biggest contributing factor in the numbers was the record highs reached by ticket prices. Total US takings were still down a little over 2% from 2016 at $11.17bn, while total admissions in volume terms are thought to have hit a 27-year low. The downturn in the US was offset by surging attendance (and ticket prices) in international markets. Total cinema takings are expected to top $40bn for the first time in history, helped by a 20%-plus surge in China to $8.6bn.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Jun 2017: Warner Bros ended a run of critical (though not financial) flops for its DC superhero series with the release of Wonder Woman, which not only received almost universally positive reviews, but also looks set to be a spectacular box office success. It also represents a triumph for female filmmakers, not least director Patty Jenkins. Weekend US box-office of over $100m marked a record opening for any movie directed by a woman, and one of the top three for the year to-date. International markets generated another $122m, making Wonder Woman likely to be Warner's most successful release this year.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th May 2017: Warner Bros appears to have scored the first movie mega meltdown of the summer with a disastrous opening for its big budget medieval romp King Arthur, from Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie. Industry buzz puts the cost of the flick at around $300m to make and market, but despite a massive national opening across more than 3,700 screens, it took less than $15m at the US box office in its opening weekend. International theatres added around another $29m. Warner got off to a cracking start this year with The Lego Batman Movie and Kong: Skull Island, but its three subsequent releases have been big disappointments. CHiPs and Unforgettable had the benefit of low budgets to recover, but King Arthur makes for an appropriately legendary fail.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Jan 2017: Final figures for December confirmed a record-year for movie studios in 2016, with total box office reaching a new high of $11.38bn. The year's undisputed champion was Walt Disney. Despite fewer releases than any of the rival majors (just 16 in 2016 compared to 37 from Warner Bros), it topped $3bn in takings, equivalent to a staggering 26.4% share of the market. No studio has ever before even got close to that sum The previous record holder was Universal last year with $2.4bn, or just over 21% share. Disney had no fewer than six of the Top Ten releases, and was the only studio with not just one but three new releases taking over $400m. And that doesn't include the holdover takings from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released at the end of 2015. Warner Bros came in second for 2016, but more than $1bn behind at with $1.9bn. Fox, Universal, Sony and Paramount made up the next four places.
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