Michael De Luca, Pam Abdy to head Warner Bros. Pictures Group; Toby Emmerich steps down

Mumbai: Former MGM film executives Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy have been appointed co-chairpersons and CEO of Warner Bros. Pictures Group. They replaced longtime studio executive Toby Emmerich who has announced that he is stepping down as Warner Bros. head.

Each of the divisions including Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, DC-Based Film Production, and Warner Bros. Feature Animation will break into three distinct segments - Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, and DC-Based Film Production. Each will have its own separate leadership. 

The decision is part of the company's new long-term strategy. In the meanwhile, the segments are still managed by the film group, with De Luca and Abdy in charge of day-to-day operations. De Luca and Abdy were MGM Studios' motion picture group chairman and president, respectively. They decided to leave after Amazon acquired MGM.

Simultaneously, Toby Emmerich will launch his own production company at Warner Bros. studio, focused on film, television and streaming. Warner Bros. Discovery will finance Emmerich's ventures and hold distribution rights to films & series as part of an exclusive five-year deal.

Screenwriter and producer Emmerich has been president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Pictures Group since 2017. Previously, he served as president and chief operating officer of New Line Cinema. He joined Warner Bros. in 1992 as a dual development and music executive and has worked there for the past 30 years.

In a statement, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said, "I have known Toby for many years and have tremendous respect for his vision and ability to create extraordinary cinematic experiences. He has led a best-in-class studio team and was the driving force behind an incredible, diverse collection of films and series. Toby is also an exceptional person and longtime friend to me and to many and I am personally very happy to continue our working relationship. I am thrilled that he's chosen to remain a part of our Warner Bros. Discovery family with this long-term production deal and look forward to seeing the fantastic stories that he and his team will create for us in the years ahead." 

Speaking about his venture, Emmerich said, "It has been an honour and a pleasure to be part of this storied company these last three decades and to lead the world-class Warner Bros. film studio team, and I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to accomplish together. This seemed like the perfect time to transition to something new and I am excited to be pursuing my passion for storytelling in a more hands-on way with my own production company." 

Further, on the newly appointed co-chairpersons and CEO of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Zaslav said, “Michael and Pam are supremely talented creative leaders with a proven track record of success. We are thrilled to welcome them both to our Warner Bros. Discovery family, and look forward to seeing them take this nearly century-old iconic studio to even greater heights of excellence in film.”

With a global box office collection of $5.57 billion in 2018, Warner Bros. Pictures Group achieved its most successful year ever under Emmerich's leadership.

Films such as “Aquaman” - the most popular DC Superhero film ever and Warner Bros’. second-biggest title of all time - “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” “Ready Player One,” “The Meg,” “Rampage,” “A Star is Born,” “The Nun,” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” helped Emmerich fuel this success. Also, the studio in 2019 delivered the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, DC's “Joker,” which grossed $1.08 billion worldwide and won two Academy Awards, as well as the horror sequel “IT Chapter Two.”

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