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Warner Bros. is expected to begin layoffs today that will result in the elimination of about 1,000 jobs globally as part of company-wide streamlining effort.
Variety reports that the cuts, which amount to more than 10 percent of the studio’s 8,000-person workforce, are anticipated in two waves, with roughly half starting this week. The process will be completed by the end of the year.
CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced last month that the studio aims to reduce costs by $200 million annually, which will be used to fund an ambitious film and television slate that includes at least 10 DC Comics-based films, J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series, and more LEGO offerings. Film and television production divisions are expected to be spared the brunt of the cutbacks, while home entertainment, marketing, distribution, administration and “other non-production related divisions” will be among the hardest hit.
Although the upcoming DC Comics film slate was the headline-grabbing news from this morning’s Time Warner investor presentation, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara also announced the studio is seeking to reduce costs by $200 million annually as part of company-wide streamlining effort. That’s about double what some reports indicated ahead of today’s meeting.
How much of that will be a result of layoffs has yet to be revealed, but Variety maintains Warner Bros. is expected to cut between 900 and 1,000 jobs, or about 10 percent of its worldwide workforce.
Forsaking the sunshine of Florida for the cooler climate of New York, Captain Citrus is making the trip north this week for New York Comic Con.
You remember Captain Citrus, the weird, anthropomorphized orange that served put in three years as the mascot of the Florida Department of Citrus, which turned to Marvel Custom Solutions over the summer to give the character a $1 million makeover. Now he’s John Polk, a Florida orange grower who draws his power from … mysterious solar pods. It’s a little odd, sure, but nowhere near as weird as a giant orange that drinks orange juice.
Turner Broadcasting has announced it will eliminate 1,475 jobs, about 10 percent of its workforce, as part of streamlining measures by corporate parent Time Warner that will also affect Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The company, whose properties include CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and TNT, will make the cuts over the next two weeks through a combination of buyouts, layoffs and the elimination of unfilled positions. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 975 of the jobs will come from Turner’s metro-Atlanta operations; CNN Worldwide will lose about 300.
Warner Bros. Entertainment could eliminate as many as 1,000 jobs — more than 10 percent of its worldwide workforce — as part of studio-wide cutbacks confirmed earlier this month, Variety reports. However, the studio insists that although the cuts will be “substantial,” it hasn’t settled on the exact number of layoffs.
“The plans are still in process,” Dee Dee Myers, Warner Bros.’ new executive vice president of corporate communications, told TheWrap. “We’re reducing costs and it will result in reduced overhead, but the plans are not done.”
Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed impending layoffs across the studio in a memo sent Thursday afternoon to employees. Although no date or numbers were given, Deadline suggests the cuts will likely take place in the fourth quarter.
“We are doing our best to minimize staff reductions,” wrote Tsujihara, who was named CEO in January 2013. “However, and it pains me to say this, positions will be eliminated — at every level — across the Studio.”
Warner Bros.’ subsidiaries include DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Home Video and New Line Cinema. It also co-owns The CW with CBS Corporation.
Although reports earlier this week indicated the studio would offer buyouts before it resorted to layoffs, there’s no mention of that approach in the memo. In fact, it would seem buyouts are off the table, as Tsujihara’s introduction makes it clear he wanted”to set the record straight” following “misinformation in the press.”
Marvel has partnered with Disney Consumer Products to kick off “Marvel Super Hero September,” an ambitious national marketing campaign showcasing the company’s characters — and its brand. Marvelkids.com is being relaunched as part of the effort.
Timed to coincide with Marvel’s 75th anniversary celebration, the initiative encourages the public to “Power Up Like a Marvel Super Hero,” while spotlighting some of the properties that aren’t heating up the box office at the moment. It’s the first of what’s envisioned as an annual event.
Characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars appeared together on stage Monday for the first time ever as the entertainment giant touted its powerhouse brands ahead of the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.
According to Variety, Disney is once again the world’s top licensor, with a record $40.9 billion in retail sales last year, up from $39.4 billion in 2012. With looming films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Big Hero 6 and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, based on Marvel comics, the live-action Cinderella and Star Wars: Episode VII, plus the Star Wars Rebels animated television series, that seems unlikely to change in the near future.
Samsung on Thursday announced a partnership with Marvel designed to showcase the graphic capabilities of its new Galaxy Tab S tablets, a direct challenger to the Apple iPad.
With the July release of the Galaxy Tab S, users will receive a free three-month subscription to Marvel Unlimited, the digital service that features more than 13,000 issues from the publisher’s catalog. Over the next year, tablet owners will also receive early peeks at Marvel Studios films, including The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as access to Marvel One-Shots and other content.
The agreement also calls for “the world of Samsung Mobile” to be seamlessly integrated into the Marvel Universe, both on the screen and on the page, which translates as product placement in films and comic books. That’s of course nothing new for movies — indeed, Marvel’s The Avengers was used to debut the new Acura supercar — but it’s not seen quite as often in comics. That said, Marvel has inserted (if not exactly “seamlessly integrated’) sponsored logos into its pages, through in-story signs, billboards and T-shirts.
The Florida Department of Citrus is hammering out a roughly $1 million deal for Marvel to give its mascot Captain Citrus a superhero makeover in an effort to market orange juice to teens and children.
The Lakeland, Florida, Ledger reports that the contract, expected to be finalized later this month, calls for Marvel to transform the cartoonish anthropomorphized orange (above) into a buff male superhero who will preach the nutritional benefits of orange juice. The company will publish 1 million comics for free distribution through schools, summer camps and the like, and create an additional two stories to be released online.
Another 2.5 million Captain Citrus inserts will be included in the Blu-ray and DVD release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which arrives Sept. 9.
As Marvel prepares for the August premiere of its biggest movie gamble to date, Guardians of the Galaxy, we’ve seen its publishing division reposition what once was an oddball, third-tier concept as a first-rate, if still oddball, franchise, first with the flagship title written by Brian Michael Bendis and next with Rocket Raccoon by Skottie Young.
As interesting as that transformation may be, I’m utterly fascinated by how Marvel’s parent company Disney has gone all in on merchandising an adaptation of a comic that, this time last year, no one outside fan circles had ever heard of. Granted, with the production budget for Guardians of the Galaxy in the neighborhood of $150 million (and probably nearly that much for marketing), the studio can’t afford to be timid.
Still, Disney Consumer Products has lined up more than 50 licensees, from Hasbro and LEGO to Mad Engine and Freeze, for what it views as Marvel’s Next Big Thing, at least as far as merchandise is concerned.
“It is always exciting to launch something new in consumer products, as we did with Iron Man in 2008,” Paul Gitter, senior vice president of licensing for Marvel at Disney Consumer Products, said in a statement. “By showcasing what is unique about this amazing new film we are able to develop a third Marvel franchise that can be at retail alongside our powerhouse franchises of The Avengers and Spider-Man. Continuing to diversify the Marvel offerings for consumers is a key strategy of ours.”
In what VentureBeat dubs an acqui-hire, digital comics distributor turned eBook distributor Graphicly will shut down as its key employees, including co-founder Micah Baldwin, join self-publishing platform Blurb.
“None of the assets per se are coming over, but we are talking to publishers who were on Graphicly,” Baldwin told TechCrunch. “We are hopeful that Graphicly users will take their content and manage it with Blurb, and maybe print their books there, too.”
A digital-comics pioneer, Graphicly was initially envisioned as “iTunes for comics,” a phrase commonly associated with competitor comiXology, which, aided by early deals with Marvel and DC Comics, came to dominate the market. Graphicly, which for nearly three years owned comics news/podcast site iFanboy, announced in April 2012 that it would move away from distributing comics on its own app and instead focus on providing visually based books and comics to eBook platforms like Apple’s iBooks, Amazon’s Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook.
“After spending four years working on digital publishing, it became clear that we were telling half the story,” Baldwin said in a statement. “Print is not dead, it’s wildly important in the natural growth of creators, but it too is only half the story for self-publishers now. Combining the best in class print platform from Blurb, with all the ebook learning the Graphicly team has accrued over the past four years, was just too compelling an opportunity to pass up.”
According to Blurb, the addition of the six Graphicly employees will double the size of its eBook team.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has unveiled the No. 88 National Guard/Superman Chevrolet SS he’ll drive Sunday at Charlotte International Speedway in North Carolina as part of a new three-year promotional partnership between DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Hendrick Motorsports.
The new paint scheme brings with it a slew of related merchandise, from die-cast miniature cars to T-shirts to drink koozies, already available on the NASCAR website.
Superman, Batman, The Flash and Green Lantern will team up with NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as part of a new promotional partnership between DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Hendrick Motorsports.
Announced today, the three-year deal is geared toward marketing NASCAR to a younger demographic with initiatives like car paint schemes featuring DC superheroes, and print and digital comics co-starring the Hendrick drivers. Continue Reading »
Kadokawa, the Japanese publisher of such manga as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sgt. Frog and Cowboy Bebop, has announced plans to acquire video game company From Software.
According to Siliconera, Kadokawa Group will purchase 80 percent of From Software’s stock — a deal expected to be finalized by May 21 — and position the developer alongside the existing Kadokawa Games to work on the company’s core properties.