Shortly after promoting Walter Hamada to lead its superhero movie division, Warner Bros. has had another executive shake-up with Toby Emmerich being promoted to chairman while Sue Kroll has lost her longtime job as the company’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution.
Before this, Emmerich was chief content officer. Kroll, meanwhile, while still be working for the company as a producer. It is also being reported that the company’s CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, will be taking less direct involvement in the film-making process.
The apparent purpose of these moves is to enhance the company’s franchises, most particularly the DC Extended Universe. Already far behind their rival, the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is owned by Disney, the five superhero films set in this series have all been divisive at best and turned out lower than expected profits, with the notable exception of last year’s Wonder Woman. Many credit this with a lack of a coherent vision for the franchise (which, to be fair, ties into its goal of being more director-led than the tightly controlled MCU).
Aside from the DCEU, Warner Bros. has several other powerful franchises going right now, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and LEGO animations.
Hopefully Emmerich will be able to put and/or keep these series on track. As it stands, he has some experience, having overseen the company’s work on successful properties like The Lord of the Rings and The Conjuring horror films. (Interestingly, Hamada also has ties to the latter franchise, as do James Wan and David F. Sandberg, the directors of the next two DCEU films, Aquaman and Shazam.) With Disney recently empowered by its acquisition of Fox, Warner Bros. is going to need a lot of talent and luck to stay competitive.