"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
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.
French manufacturer Orangina Schweppes has partnered with DC Entertainment to produce special cans for its Oasis fruit-drink brand featuring some of the publisher’s most iconic superheroes.
According to The Ephemerist, the promotion is tied to the 75th anniversary of Batman, here portrayed by Mangue Debol. He’s joined by Ramon Tafraise as The Flash, Fambougeoise as Wonder Woman and Orange Presslé as Superman. It’s worth noting that all four heroes seem to be wearing a variation of their New 52 costumes, which don’t often appear in licensing efforts.
You can see closeups at Geek Art.
If you watch DC Entertainment’s promotional web series DC All Access, you’ve likely thought either “Wow, I’d love to get that kind of access” or “I can do better than that.” Whichever the case, you may now get your shot.
DC has announced a social media-driven contest to find a new co-host to join Tiffany Smith on the year-old show, beginning in 2015. (Farewell, Blair Herter?) Here’s what you have to do:
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.
Warner Digital Series and DC Entertainment have partnered with visual-effects company Otoy to develop an immersive entertainment experience that will allow users to explore the Batcave from Batman: The Animated Series through interactive holographic video for virtual-reality displays.
In short, that means fans will be able use devices like Oculus Rift, the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR and forthcoming “glasses-free” light field displays to step into the world of the beloved and influential 1990s cartoon.
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.
Editorial cartoons | The New York Times has apologized to readers who were offended by an editorial cartoon about India’s space program that depicted the country as a man in traditional dress, leading a cow and knocking at the door of the “Elite Space Club.” “The intent of the cartoonist, Heng Kim Song, was to highlight how space exploration is no longer the exclusive domain of rich, Western countries,” reads the apology, signed by editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal. “Mr. Heng, who is based in Singapore, uses images and text — often in a provocative way — to make observations about international affairs. We apologize to readers who were offended by the choice of images in this cartoon. Mr. Heng was in no way trying to impugn India, its government or its citizens.” [The New Indian Express]
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.”
The memorial statue of 5-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin wearing a Superman costume is nearly complete, and should be ready for a planned Oct. 18 unveiling, Heat Vision reports.
The story of the Toronto boy, who died in 2002 of starvation and septic shock after years of abuse by his grandparent guardians, received renewed attention in Canada last fall with a coroner’s inquest, during which Jeffrey’s father testified to his love of Superman. “He wanted to fly,” Richard Baldwin recalled. “He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as Superman] for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Hot on the heels of the high publicized and false rumor that DC movies would be adopting a “no jokes” policy came that shining glimmer of hope, like a Big Red Cheese riding a gigantic ammunition shell through the sky. This week we got more details about the Shazam! movie, most of it serving just to whet my hunger for a major motion picture starring that most stalwart of Fawcett Comics heroes.
Will this be the much feared “grim and gritty” version that many fans had been envisioning since David Goyer and Zach Snyder took the helm of the Justice League, subsequently releasing image after image of scowling, unhappy superheroes? As the news came rolling in, it seemed more and more that it will not. First, it’s going to be produced under New Line, and not the parent Warner Bros. studio that will produce the Justice League movies. New Line president Toby Emmerich, in fact, stated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that “It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character” and that it “will have a sense of fun and a sense of humor.” Oh, Toby… your words are like honey to my ears.
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.”
Business | DC Entertainment parent company Warner Bros. is expected to offer buyouts to an unspecified number of employees as part of an effort to increase profits following a disappointing summer at the box office. The cuts are thought to be spread across the film, television and home entertainment units; if not enough workers accept buyouts, unnamed sources contend the studio may resort to layoffs. Warner Bros. wouldn’t comment on the report. [Bloomberg]
Legal | Hirofumi Watanabe has filed an appeal in Tokyo District Court, seeking to overturn his conviction on charges of sending threatening letters to venues and retailers linked to the Kuroko’s Basketball manga and anime series. Watanabe admitted to all the charges on his first day in court, and after he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, he said, “I’m glad to accept the ruling so I can live over four years in prison,” so this is a reversal for him. [Anime News Network]
MAD may be well past its 1960s heyday, but every once in a while the magazine shows that it’s still capable of surprising us with political satire and social commentary.
The most recent reminder is MAD‘s timely take of Norman Rockwell’s famous 1958 painting “The Runaway,” which memorably depicts a kindly state trooper talking to a little boy at a diner counter. In the magazine’s update, influenced by events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent debate about the militarization of local police forces, the officer isn’t the reassuring presence he might have once been.
With all of the events and announcements tied to Batman Day, the July 23 celebration of the Dark Knight’s 75th anniversary, it’s certainly understandable if some slipped through the cracks. Take, for instance, the pictorial postmark (below) offered by the post office in tiny Bat Cave, North Carolina.
To Batman fans disappointed they missed out on the opportunity, Linns.com has some good news: The postmark received a 30-day extension, meaning there’s still time to add one to your collection. Requests should be sent to BAT CAVE Station, Box 9998, Bat Cave, NC 28710-9998, July 23. Linns even provides instructions on how to ensure you get the cancellation.
Named after a nearby cave on Bluerock Mountain inhabited by several species of bats, Bat Cave is no stranger to Bat-promotion, as this 1989 newspaper article documents efforts by local businesses to capitalize on the release of Tim Burton’s Batman.
Maybe it’s the exhaustion talking, but I can’t stop watching this GIF of Jim Lee, Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Dan DiDio, John Romita Jr. and Scott Snyder from the Entertainment Weekly Social Media booth at Comic-Con International. It may be my favorite thing today, at least until I find the next thing …