Warner Bros. Pictures

By Ken Kawada

Courtesy of Deadline

Brief Overview

The Warner Brothers Pictures was founded on April 4, 1923, and it is one of the major studios in Hollywood. The studio handles production and distribution of films, and finances or co-finances their films. They collaborate with other studios such as Village Roadshow Pictures, Castle Rock Entertainment and RatPac-Dune Entertainment. The studio is known for producing  award winning films such as The Dark Knight, Inception and Argo. [1]

Key Executives

Greg Silverman

Courtesy of Deadline

Silverman is the President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production for Warner Brothers Pictures. Appointed in June 2013, he oversees the studio’s development activities, global production and budget. He also works with the studio’s senior management to seek opportunities for the company. [2]

Steven S. Spira

Courtesy of Variety

Spira is the President, Worldwide Business Affairs for Warner Brothers Pictures. Promoted on January 2004, he is responsible for overseeing the business aspects of the studio’s operations that include development, production and distribution of films. [3]

Sue Kroll

Courtesy of Film Independent

Kroll is the President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution for Warner Brothers Pictures. She oversees the strategic creation and marketing campaigns for the studio’s international releases. [4]

Recent Releases

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Courtesy of Movie Wallpapers

 

Continuing the success of Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Warner Brothers Pictures released its latest sequel on December 2, 2013, just in time for the award season. The film follows the titular character, Bilbo Baggins as he continues his journey with the dwarves to reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug. Based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel of the same name, this anticipated sequel is the second film in the The Hobbit franchise. [5]

The film’s release was the fourth best opening weekend for the month of December, slightly behind the first Hobbit film. On Metacritic, the film received an average review score of 66 out of 100, which indicates generally favorable reviews from critics. Many critics have highlighted the overall improvement from the first film in the series, but still criticized the length. [7]

It has grossed over $950 million at the worldwide box office to this date, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 2013. The Desolation of Smaug received 3 nominations at this year’s Academy Awards, including best visual effects.  [6]

The LEGO Movie

Courtesy of Forbes

 

This 3D animated film is this year’s unexpected hit. Starring the voices of Christ Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman and Will Arnett, the film tells the story of an ordinary LEGO construction worker, mini-figure who joins a quest to stop an evil tyrant from destroying their world. [8]

The film’s mass appeal to both children and adults contributed to the film’s success at the box office. The studio has already announced a sequel for the film, potentially starting a new franchise for Warner Bros. As of now, the sequel is set to be released in 2017. Jared Stern and Michelle Morgan were hired to pen the script for the sequel, but it is still unknown whether writer/director of the first film, Phil Lord and Chris Miller will return. The plot is also still yet to be determined. [9]

The film received an average review score of 82 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating an universal acclaim from critics. The film’s release was the second best opening weekend for the month of February, behind Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Grossing over $400 million to this date on a $60 million budget, the film is projected to continue its success in Blu-Ray and DVD sales. [10] [11]

300: Rise of an Empire

Courtesy of Nerdlocker

 

7 years after the release of their blockbuster film, 300, the studio finally released the long anticipated sequel on March 7 of this year. The film was initially scheduled to be released last August, but due to unknown circumstances, the film was pushed back to March of this year. Based on Frank Miller’s yet to be published graphic novel Xerxes, the film tells a story of Greek general Themistokles, and his charge against the Persian forces led by Xerxes and Artemisia. Zack Synder, who directed the first film in the series, served as the writer and producer for this film. [12]

As of April, the film has grossed over $300 million on a $110 million budget. 67.9% of the total gross comes from the international market. Compared to its predecessors, the film is not as successful, but still on a good track thanks to the international market. On the critic side, the film had a similar average review score with its predecessor, scoring 48 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reviews. Fans of the first film have criticized the storyline, but praised the visual style. [13] [14]

86th Academy Awards

Courtesy of International Business Times

In addition to the financial success for Warner Brothers Pictures, the studio also collected 21 nominations at the 86th Academy Awards, personal best for Warner Brothers. Gravity, which was released last October, tied with American Hustle for most nominations. By the end of the night, Gravity won seven awards, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron, who was the first Hispanic director to ever win in the category. Spike Jonze’ Her also received 5 nominations, including Best Picture. The film eventually won Best Writing for an original screenplay. The studio won a total of 10 Oscars by the end of the night. [15]

Financial

In 2013, Warners Brothers Pictures had the most successful theatrical year in company history, taking the number one spot in domestic, international and worldwide box office. The studio cumulated $1.893 billion in domestic box office, and $3.145 in international box office, surpassing the $5 billion mark, which is the first for the studio and only the second time that the feat has been achieved by any studio in Hollywood. Bolstered by the successes of films like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Gravity, and Man of Steel, Warners Brothers was able to beat other major competitors like Disney. [1] [16] [17]

Coming Soon…

Warner Brothers Pictures will be releasing Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp, and directed by cinematographer, Wally Pfister, making his directional debut. Pfister is a usual collaborator of Christopher Nolan, known for The Dark Knight and Inception. As of now, the critical reception has mostly been negative, which can greatly impact the box office result. Hoping to continue their success from last year, they will be releasing more blockbusters as we approach the summer season. Godzilla, Edge of Tomorrow and Jupiter Ascending are other films that are slated to be released later this year. [18]

 

Sources

[1] Warner Bros. Pictures

[2] Greg Silverman

 [3] Steven S. Spira

[4] Sue Kroll

[5] The Hobbit IMDB

[6] The Hobbit Box Office Mojo

[7] The Hobbit Metacritic

[8] The LEGO Movie IMDB

[9] Cinema Blend, The LEGO Movie Sequel 

[10] The LEGO Movie Metacritic

[11] The LEGO Movie Box Office Mojo

[12] 300: Rise of an Empire on IMDB

[13] 300: Rise of an Empire Box Office Mojo

[14] 300: Rise of an Empire Metacritic 

[15] The Hollywood Reporter Oscar Coverage

[16] Warner Bros. Leads Global Market Share

[17] Comingsoon.net Warner Bros. Pictures  2013 Box Office

[18] Deadline Hollywood coverage on WonderCon

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