Will Warner Bros. Discovery finally change old leadership in film biz?

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The Warner Bros. film division, based in Burbank, sees big leadership changes under new CEO David Zaslav. Photo by Shutterstock.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who took the helm in 2021, is changing the guard at the film studio. Many thought he might take his time and immerse himself in the movie business before making decisions about leadership roles. 

Toby Emmerich will step down as film chair of the Warner Bros. studio, and will run his own production company. Veteran producers Michael De Luca and Pamely Abdy will now be in charge of Warner Bros. films.

Zaslav is said to be imitating Disney’s Bob Iger vertical strategy – where Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel report to the CEO. Zaslav will create three verticals that all report directly to him. 

Puck News’ Matt Belloni says, “He's saying, ‘You know what, let's replicate the most successful business model in the history of movies, which is what Disney has done.’ … Zasloff wants to move towards a studio that can be less risky than what Warner Bros. has been, and have direct accountability for these divisions.” 

Many of the names in rotation at the top levels of the film business have been around for decades, and the lack of new executive talent is an ongoing issue.

Belloni says, “Especially in film, it's the same musical chairs of people that just go round and round to these different jobs. If you look back to the 70s and 80s, you had 30-somethings running studios. The best and the brightest in the country got out of school and they went to Hollywood, they made their name and made millions of dollars. Those people are now going to Silicon Valley. They're not coming to Hollywood.” 




Kim Masters