Warner Bros. Shakes Up Senior Film Ranks, Ending a Power Struggle


Mr. Tsujihara positioned the shake-up, which included a promotion for Ms. Kroll’s longtime lieutenant, Blair Rich, as necessary to enhance the studio’s competitiveness. Warner is Hollywood’s No. 1 supplier of television shows and operates a vast video game publishing business. But movies have lately been a soft spot.

A decade ago, Warner reigned as Hollywood’s dominant studio. That position has now been claimed by Walt Disney Studios, and Warner has struggled with whipsawing results. “Wonder Woman,” “It” and “Dunkirk” were smash hits for Warner last year. But the studio also had marketplace misfires like “Justice League” and “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.”

Noting evolving audience tastes and the disruption caused by technology, Mr. Tsujihara said in a statement that the studio needed to “adapt our operations to stay ahead of these changes.”

Ms. Rich, a convivial executive with strong filmmaker relationships, will now lead Warner movie marketing, reporting to Mr. Emmerich. (Ms. Kroll reported directly to Mr. Tsujihara.) Ron Sanders will take over Ms. Kroll’s theatrical distribution duties, reporting to Mr. Emmerich, while retaining control of gaming and home entertainment, reporting to Mr. Tsujihara.

The shuffling ends a bake-off period at Warner that started in 2013 when Mr. Tsujihara announced that four executives would jointly run the movie division. One of them, Dan Fellman, retired in 2015. A second, Greg Silverman, was ousted in 2016 after a mixed track record. That left Mr. Emmerich jockeying with Ms. Kroll.

In addition to becoming a producer with a three-year deal — “Motherless Brooklyn” is another in-the-works Warner movie she will join — Ms. Kroll will serve as “special adviser” to Mr. Tsujihara on the restructuring, Warner said. An indefatigable executive widely respected in Hollywood, even by those who crossed swords with her, Ms. Kroll joined Warner in 1994.

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