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Warners Looks Ahead

Laura Holson outdid herself in NYT's lengthy Sunday Business section examination of the state of Hollywood's health. She takes a close look at Warner Bros., arguably the industry's most robust studio, which has been slashing its workforce and reorganizing its digital units to prepare for tough times ahead. Yes, the sky is falling, and WB's chief Barry Meyer and his studio head Alan Horn are smart enough to see it coming. She also interviews Warner production head Jeff Robinov, as we did not too long ago. The studio may be promoting itself, as David Poland suggests in his Hot Button Blog at Movie City News (which is a daily must-read for anyone interested in what's going on in Hollywood) but fact is Holson uses her access to the suits at WB to explore the very real market forces facing the studios today--using the richest studio to do it. Yes, she downplays the Carl Icahn factor. But Poland refuses to accept the rapid changes that are upon us. He also likes to tilt at the journalism establishment that gets more high-level access than he does. His independence gives him the freedom to say whatever he wants! At the NYT, Holson has to tread more carefully. That story took months to prepare, and she crammed a lot into it.
ON A SIMILAR NOTE, Patrick Goldstein raises a good point in today's LAT column about Jimmy Iovine and 50 Cent's new movie, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'". How do the studios, owned by corporations and slave to the bottom line, stay hooked to the street and relevant? This is a question Robinov and other production heads responsible for finding commercial material that will reach audiences are all asking themselves as they face dwindling margins for error.

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  • Risky Biz blog takes a deep, daily look at the film industry's ups, downs and deals from around the world and the heart of Hollywood. It is edited by media and entertainment journalist Steven Zeitchik, with contributions from The Hollywood Reporter's worldwide team of film editors and reporters. Zeitchik is a Los Angeles-based writer for THR and also has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.




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