Time Warner Inc. announced today the consolidation of its filmed entertainment businesses, Warner Bros. Entertainment and New Line Cinema. The combination brings together New Line’s 40-year legacy as the world’s most successful and innovative independent film studio with Warner Bros.’ creative leadership and unparalleled scale and reach in global distribution and marketing.
As part of the consolidation, New Line will be operated as a unit of Warner Bros. New Line will maintain separate development, production, marketing, distribution and business affairs operations, but will closely integrate and coordinate those functions with Warner Bros. to maximize film performance and operating efficiencies, achieve significant cost savings, and improve margins.
In making the announcement, Time Warner’s President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes said: “We are moving quickly to improve our business performance and financial returns. New Line has built a strong franchise of cutting-edge entertainment. We can enhance its value by combining it with Warner Bros. Given the trend toward fewer movie releases, New Line and Warner Bros. will now have more complementary release slates, with New Line focusing on genres that have been its strength. With the growing importance of international revenues, it makes sense for New Line to retain its international film rights and to exploit them through Warner Bros.’ global distribution infrastructure. We can also take better advantage of digital distribution platforms by combining our studios. These changes will enhance our revenue opportunities and drive dramatic cost efficiencies and higher margins at New Line.”
New Line’s Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne have elected to leave the studio, but are in discussions about possible future business relationships with the company.
Mr. Bewkes said: “Bob and Michael have a unique partnership that is noteworthy not only for its stability and longevity, but for its record of innovation and success. They have guided New Line’s growth from a privately held art film distributor to the world’s leading independent film studio that is home to some of the most popular films in entertainment history, including ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Mask,’ ‘Austin Powers,’ ‘Blade,’ ‘Rush Hour,’ ‘Elf,’ ‘Wedding Crashers’ and ‘Hairspray.’ We thank Bob and Michael for their enduring contributions to Time Warner and look forward to a continuing working relationship with them.”
Mr. Shaye and Mr. Lynne said: “New Line has been our respective life’s work as well as our second family. While we’re sad to be leaving, we’re enormously proud to have overseen its extraordinary growth and worked with so many dedicated and talented colleagues. New Line represents innovation, creativity, and independent success. We hope that the company can continue to be a leader in creating entertainment that resonates around the world. We will now focus our efforts on exploring new entrepreneurial opportunities.”