TheWrap has revealed new details regarding yesterday’s shake-up over at Warner Bros. Pictures and why the marketing for Zack Snyder‘s Justice League kept the film from cracking $100 million at the box office in its opening weekend.
The studio announced yesterday that it was restructuring global theatrical and home entertainment operations with Chief Content Officer Toby Emmerich being promoted to Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman, taking over for CEO Kevin Tsujihara. While Emmerich now has the authority to greenlight pictures at the studio — which is said to have a major impact on the future of DC films at the studio — Tsujihara still has the authority to stop them.
“Toby has green light, I have red light.” Tsujihara said.
It was also announced that feature film marketing and distributing executive Sue Kroll was transitioning to a producer role. The announcement of the behind-the-scenes changes at the studio comes one month after Warner Bros. restructured its DC films division following the box office disaster that was Justice League. Co-president of production Jon Berg stepped down from his position, replaced by The Conjuring and IT producer Walter Hamada.
Both Tsujihara and Emmerich reportedly opted not to delay the release of Justice League in order to preserve bonuses they may not have gotten should they not have remained with the studio following the WB’s looming merger with AT&T. Kroll herself was responsible for the marketing campaign on the DC team-up flick.
The new report from the trade sheds some light on how Justice League failed to make $100 million in its opening weekend, coming up short with a franchise-low opening of $93 million for the current cinematic universe. An insider with knowledge of the project said that the lack of Superman featured in the film’s marketing campaign kept the film from having a stronger performance in its opening weekend:
“The bizarre decision not to have Superman included in the marketing stopped ‘Justice League’ from potentially hitting $100 million opening weekend and thus changed the narrative from it being a failure from the outset.”
An insider added that superhero movies themselves weren’t Kroll’s specialty as the former marketing executive “hated superhero movies.”
UPDATE: Kroll has released a statement saying that rumors of her hating superhero movies are “simply not true.” You can read the full statement below.
“That’s simply not true. I love Superhero movies. I’ve always considered it an honor to market films that fans feel so passionately about. And I think our track record stands for itself. As for the Justice League campaign, I stand behind everything we did. It was a strategic and creative campaign, and I am immensely proud of the work done by all of us.”