Warner Bros. Entertainment is one of the world's largest producers of film and television entertainment. It is currently a subsidiary of the WarnerMedia conglomerate, with headquarters in Burbank, California, USA, and is perhaps best known for production the adventures of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.
Warner Bros. is known for Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Warner Bros. classic cartoon characters greatest all time is the adventures to life: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd. Warner Bros. includes several subsidiary companies, among them Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Family Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Television, New Line Cinema, New Line Home Entertainment (formerly New Line Home Video), Warner Home Video, Castle Rock Entertainment, Turner Entertainment, Dark Castle Entertainment, DC Comics, and the remnants of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc., although the former Hanna-Barbera studio is now known as Cartoon Network Studios and is under Turner Broadcasting. Bugs Bunny, a cartoon character created as part of the Looney Tunes series, serves as the company's official mascot in 1938 or 1940.
The company prefers that its name be spelled "Bros.", not "Brothers". It's currently going bankrupt.
The corporate name honors the four founding Warner brothers, Harry Warner (1881–1958), Albert Warner (1883–1967), Sam Warner (1887–1927) and Jack L. Warner (1892–1978). The three elder brothers began in the exhibition business in 1903, having acquired a projector with which they showed films in the mining towns of Pennsylvania and Ohio. They opened their first theatre, the Cascade, in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1903. (The original theater is still standing, and is being renovated as the centerpiece of the ongoing downtown revitalization in New Castle, hoping to attract tourists.) In 1904, the Warners founded the Pittsburgh-based Duquesne Amusement & Supply Company (the precursor to Warner Bros. Pictures) to distribute films. Within a few years this led to the distribution of pictures across a four-state area. By the time of World War I they had begun producing films, and in 1918 the brothers opened the Warner Bros. studio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Sam and Jack Warner produced the pictures, while Harry and Albert handled finance and distribution in New York. In 1923, they formally incorporated as Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. and producing films released through Goldwyn Pictures.
The first important deal for the company was the acquisition of the rights to Avery Hopwood's 1919 Broadway play The Gold Diggers from theatrical impresario David Belasco. However, what really put Warner Bros. on the Hollywood map was a dog, Rin Tin Tin, brought from France after World War I by an American soldier. Rinty was so popular that he starred in 26 films, beginning with The Man from Hell's River in 1924, and is credited with making the fledgling studio a success.
As the studio prospered, it gained backing from Wall Street, and in 1924 Goldman Sachs arranged a major loan. In 1924, Goldwyn Pictures merged with Metro Pictures to form Metro-Goldwyn Pictures and distributing WB films. With this new money Warners bought the pioneer Vitagraph Company which had a nation-wide distribution system, and as a bonus got an experimental synchronized-sound process called 'Vitaphone'. They also plunged into radio, establishing radio stations in several major cities, among them KFWB in Los Angeles. Warners also joined the mad race to buy and build theaters. In late 1924, Metro-Goldwyn Pictures merged with Louis B. Mayer Pictures to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and again distributing WB films.
At the urging of Sam Warner, the company committed to develop Vitaphone, and in 1926 began making films with music and effects tracks. When this proved popular, they took the next step and offered, in October 1927 a picture with dialogue, one that would revolutionize the business, The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson. The movie was a sensation, launching the era of "talking pictures" and banishing silent movies. But unfortunatly, the brothers missed the premiere of The Jazz Singer due to Sam's funeral.
Flush with cash thanks to the success of The Jazz Singer, in 1928 Warner bought the Stanley Company, a major theater chain. This gave them a share in rival First National Pictures, of which Stanley owned one-third. In a bidding war with William Fox, Warner bought more First National shares, and gained control in 1929. The Justice Department agreed to allow the purchase if First National was maintained as a separate company. But when the depression hit, Warner asked for and got permission to merge the two studios; soon afterward Warner Bros. moved to the First National lot in Burbank. Though the companies merged, Justice required Warner to produce and release a few films each year under the First National name until 1938. For thirty years, certain Warner productions would be identified (mainly for tax purposes) as 'A Warner Bros. - First National Picture.'
In 1930, MGM dropped the distribution of Warner Bros. films to be replaced by RKO Radio Pictures.
Under production head Darryl F. Zanuck, Warners in the 1930s became known for gritty, 'torn from the headlines' pictures that some said glorified gangsters. Warner stars tended to be tough-talking, working-class types, among them James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Edward G. Robinson and Barbara Stanwyck. After Zanuck was succeeded by Hal B. Wallis in 1933, the studio tried for a more sophisticated style, offering melodramas (or 'women's pictures'), swashbucklers, and expensive adaptations of best-sellers, with stars like Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Paul Muni and Errol Flynn.
Warner's cartoon unit began modestly in 1930 as a free-standing company owned by Leon Schlesinger at the Warner Bros' cartoon characters starring Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies in were created origins 1930 and 1931 respectively. Several former Disney animators, including Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, Jack King, and Friz Freleng offered tame cartoons starring Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid and Buddy. However, with the arrival of Tex Avery and the creation of Termite Terrace, the unit developed a fast-paced, irreverently insane style that made them immensely popular world-wide. Warner Bros' four most iconic famous cartoon characters including Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny in were created origins 1935, 1937, 1937 and 1938 respectively. Warner bought Schlesinger's cartoon unit in 1944, and in subsequent decades characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck became central to the company's image.
The record attendance figures of the World War II years made the Warner brothers rich. The gritty Warner image of the 1930s gave way to a glossier look, especially in women's pictures starring Davis, de Havilland and Joan Crawford. The 1940s also saw the rise of Humphrey Bogart from supporting player to major star. And in the post-war years Warners continued to create new stars, like Lauren Bacall and Doris Day.
On January 5, 1948, Warner offered the first color newsreel, covering the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl.
Warner was a party to the U.S. vs Paramount Pictures, et al. anti-trust case of the 1940s. This action, brought by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, claimed that the five integrated studio-theater chain combinations restrained competition. The Supreme Court heard the case in 1948, and ruled for the government. As a result Warner and four other major studios were forced to separate production from exhibition. In 1950, RKO dropped the distribution of Warner Bros. films to be replaced by Premier Productions. Early in 1953, the Warner theater holdings were spun off as Stanley Warner Theaters. With no more theaters to fill there was no need to produce thirty pictures a year, and no need for expensive contract-actors or for costly staff. After fifty years in the business the Warners saw the system winding down, and agreed to sell the studio to a bank-led syndicate. Only after the deal was completed in 1956 did elder brothers Harry and Albert Warner learn that the leading investor in the bank's syndicate was youngest brother Jack, who now had control of what had been a family business. Even in an argument-prone family like the Warners, this was too much, and led to a rupture in family relations. For the rest of their lives the brothers did not speak to one another. But Jack was solely in charge at Warner Bros. Pictures.
For a time Warner Bros. rebounded, specializing in adaptations of popular plays like The Bad Seed, No Time for Sergeants and Gypsy: A Musical Fable. There was also a successful television unit, offering popular series like 77 Sunset Strip and Maverick. Already the owner of extensive music-publishing holdings, in 1958 the studio launched Warner Brothers Records. But by the 1960s, the company was winding down. There were few studio-produced films and many more co-productions (for which Warner provided facilities, money, and distribution), and pickups of independently made pictures. In 1967, Jack gave in to advancing age and the changing times, selling control of the studio and its music business for $78 million to Seven Arts Productions, run by the Canadian investors Elliot and Kenneth Hyman, whose Associated Artists Productions had once owned the pre-1948 Warner film library. In late 1967, Premier dropped the distribution of Warner Bros. films to be replaced by Paramount Pictures. The company, including the studio, was renamed Warner Bros.-Seven Arts. In 1967 - Warner Bros acquires DC Comics - DC's three most other popular heavyweights public studio superhero characters including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
Two years later the Hymans accepted a cash-and-stock offer from an odd conglomerate called Kinney National Company. Originating as a chain of funeral parlors, Kinney had grown by buying service businesses like parking lots, office cleaners, and a Hollywood talent agency, Ashley-Famous. It was Ted Ashley who led Kinney-head Steve Ross to the purchase of Warners, and Ashley became the new head of the studio, again called Warner Bros. Pictures. In 1970, Paramount dropped the distribution of Warner Bros. films. Although the movie-going audience had shrunk, Warner's new management believed in the drawing-power of stars, signing co-production deals with the big names of the day, among them Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood. This star-driven policy carried the studio successfully through the 1970s to launch NAS and 1980s. Abandoning the mundane parking lots and funeral homes, the re-focused Kinney renamed itself in honor of its best-known holding, Warner Communications. In the 80's Warner Communications branched out into other business, such as Atari video games, and the Six Flags theme parks.
To the surprise of many, flashy, star-driven Warner Communications merged in 1989 with the white-shoe publishing company Time, Inc. Though Time and its magazines claimed a higher tone, it was the Warner Bros. film and music units which provided the profits. In 1997 Time Warner sold the Six Flags unit. The takeover of Time-Warner in 2000 by then-high-flying AOL did not prove a good match, and following the collapse in "dot-com" stocks, the AOL name was banished from the corporate nameplate.
In 1995, Warner and station-owner Tribune Company of Chicago launched The WB Network, finding a niche market in teen-agers. The WB's early programming included an abundance of angsty teenage fare like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 7th Heaven and Dawson's Creek. In 2006 Warner and CBS Corporation decided to close the The WB and CBS's UPN and jointly launch The CW Television Network.
In the late 1990s, Warners obtained rights to the Harry Potter novels, and released feature film adaptions of the first in 2001, the second in 2002, the third in 2004, and the fourth in November 2005. The fifth is slated for June 2007.
Over the years, a series of mergers and acquisitions have helped Warners (the present-day Time-Warner subsidiary) to accumulate a diverse collection of movies, cartoons, and television programs.
In the aftermath of the 1948 anti-trust suit, uncertain times led Warners in 1956 to sell its 650 of its pre-1948 films and cartoons to a holding company which became Associated Artists Productions (AAP). Two years later AAP sold its holdings to United Artists (UA), which held them until 1981, when MGM bought UA. Three years later Turner Broadcasting System, having failed to buy MGM, settled for ownership of the MGM/UA library. This included all pre-1986 MGM features as well as the pre-1948 Warner material. Ownership of the classic Warner films came full-circle when Time Warner bought Turner, although technically they are held by Turner Entertainment while Warner is responsible for sales and distribution.
These acquisitions, among others, mean that Warner owns almost every film they've made since inception (excepting certain films Warner merely distributed, such as the United States Pictures catalog, except for Battle of the Bulge, which WB still owns). Certain of John Wayne's Warner films are owned by Batjac, Wayne's company. Seven years after its 1964 release, rights to My Fair Lady reverted to CBS, which had backed the theatrical production. (Interestingly, 35 years after that, CBS and Warner Bros. will form The CW Television Network, as mentioned above.)
As noted, Warner owns all pre-1985 MGM titles; a majority of the RKO Radio Pictures library; and a portion of United Artists material (most of this under its Turner subsidiary). In addition Warner has acquired the Hanna-Barbera Productions television cartoons; most of Lorimar's television and film holdings (including the Allied Artists / Monogram library; most ancillary rights to Castle Hill Productions library (which includes early UA material); and a few films released by others, such as the 1956 version of Around the World in Eighty Days; most of the Saul Zaentz film library; the post-1974 Rankin-Bass library; and Castle Rock Entertainment films made after Turner acquired Castle Rock (except The Story of Us).
UA donated pre-1949 Warner Bros. nitrates to the Library of Congress and post-1951 negatives to UCLA's film library. Most of the company's legal files, scripts and production materials were donated to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products
The logo since 2019 Beginning in 1984, Warner Bros. Consumer Products was created by Dan Romanelli to license the rights of the Warner Bros. library to other companies to make merchandise. When the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film was in production, that was when WBCP really became relevant. The merchandising campaign to promote the film, was the largest one in history to promote a feature film. Through WBCP licensing the rights to Batman, the studio made over $500 million through the merchandise alone.
In 1998, when Warner Bros. sold their 49% of Six Flags, Warner Bros. Consumer Products began licensing the characters of WB such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman for use in the parks.
Under Romanelli, Consumer Products oversaw the licensing of Warner Bros. properties, and Warner Bros. Studio Stores. Under Mr. Romanelli's guidance, Warner Bros. Consumer Products had grown from a small licensing enterprise to a multi-business powerhouse that included Warner Bros. Worldwide Licensing, Warner Bros. Studio Stores, wbstore.com, Worldwide Publishing, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Kids' WB! Music, WB Toys and the recently announced Live Events department.
Romanelli announced he was stepping down June 20, 2006. Brad Globe who joined Consumer Products in February 2005 as the Executive Vice President was appointed to replace him.
Brad Globe, who was made President in 2006, announced August 28, 2015, that he would be stepping down. Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment, took over in interim. In January 2016, it was announced by Nelson that Pam Lifford, would be the new President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, replacing Globe.
On March 16, 2016, it was announced by Lifford, that Disney veteran Soo Koo who was the North American Vice President of Creative for Fashion and Home at Disney Consumer Products and Disney Stores, was joining as the new CCO for Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment
The themed entertainment branch of Warner Bros. began in the early 1970s with the development of their first theme park Warner Bros. Jungle Habitat. The park opened to the public July 19, 1972. Located in West Milford, New Jersey, the 1,000 acre park was a wildlife preserve and drive through safari park. Under the leadership of President Rafael De La Sierra, the park saw over 500,000 guests in its first year.
Although initially successful, the park failed to attract repeat visitors. In 1975 Warner Bros. proposed a $20 million expansion to the park. The city was divided on the expansion fearful that it would cause further congestion on the roadways. On November 2, 1976, the town narrowly voted against the park expansion. Following the vote Warner Bros. announced the closure of the park, and that they would sell off the land.
It wasn't until the late 1980s when Warner Bros. began dabbling in the theme park industry again. Terry Semel President and Chief Operating Officer of Warner Bros. had a great working relationship with Graham Burke an executive from Village Roadshow. Together the two of them came up with the idea for a theme park on the Gold Coast of Australia. Since theme park veteran and former President of Disneyland was already employed with the company, Semel and Burke went to C. V. Wood with their idea. Once he was on board, Wood was appointed the President of the newly created Warner Bros. Recreational Enterprises to oversee the design, development and construction of the new park dubbed Warner Bros. Movie World.
The new park opened June 3, 1991 after nearly two years of construction. The 415-acre (168 ha) park, which focused on the film industry was a massive success. Unfortunately, Wood died less than a year after the opening of the park. But advisor under Wood, Nicholas Winslow was appointed the new president. Due to the success of the first park, expansion became the overall goal and Winslow along with his team began scouting locations for more parks.
In 1993, the perfect location was found in Germany with the former Bavaria Film Park in Bottrop-Kirchhellen, which had closed earlier that year. The site was selected for its high population, its convenient site access and the incentives given by the German government. At a press conference in December 1993, Warner Bros. announced its plans for the second Movie World park. The company went on to invested $250 million into the demolition of the old park and construction Warner Bros. Movie World Germany. The construction lasted roughly two years and the park's grand opening happened June 29, 1996.
By the time Parque Warner Madrid was in development, TimeWarner decided they wanted to get out of all of their fixed asset businesses, i.e. their theme parks as well as their Warner Bros. Studio Store's. By 1999 Warner Bros. had shrunk Warner Bros. International Recreational Enterprises until it was nothing more than a division under Consumer Products. Six Flags went on to complete the construction of Parque Warner Madrid and operate it. Until 2004 when they sold their shares of the park to Warner Bros.
It was announced May 2, 2016, that Peter Van Roden was appointed Senior Vice President of Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment.
Warner Bros. Movie World
Parque Warner Madrid
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Cartoon Network Amazone Locations of current Warner Bros. resorts.
Warner Bros. Movie World
Main article: Warner Bros. Movie World
A joint effort between Warner Bros. Recreational Enterprises and Village Roadshow Theme Parks, a concept for a theme park began forming in 1989. Warner Bros. Movie World was envisioned by C. V. Wood and opened on June 3, 1991, in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The park opened as a salute to the entertainment industry, allowing guests the opportunity to become part of the movie to re-enact scenes. The park also offered a learning opportunity to showcase the behind the scenes hard work that goes into making a blockbuster film. In 2006 TimeWarner sold their stock in the park to Village Roadshow Theme Parks relinquishing ownership of the park.
Parque Warner Madrid
Main article: Parque Warner Madrid
Opening April 5, 2002, as Warner Bros. Movie World Madrid was a joint venture between Warner Bros. Recreational Enterprises and Six Flags. Although only owning 5% of the park Six Flags still operated it. The parks majority shareholder being the community of Madrid with 40%. In 2004, Six Flags would sell all their European parks to StarParks except Warner Bros. Movie World Madrid which was sold to TimeWarner. At the end of the 2004 season the park was renamed Warner Bros. Park. It was then renamed again in 2006 to Parque Warner Madrid. The park saw expansion in 2014 with the opening of a new water park dubbed Parque Warner Beach.
Cartoon Network Amazone
Main article: Cartoon Network Amazone
Cartoon Network Amazone is an entirely Cartoon Network branded water park in Sattahip, Chonburi, Thailand. Opening officially October 3, 2014, the water park is run by The Amazon Falls Company who licenses the Cartoon Network name, and characters from Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Main article: Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Warner Bros. World Warner's fourth branded theme park outside the United States, opened July 25, 2018. Located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi it features six themed areas, and it set to open its first hotel Warner Bros. Hotel in 2021. It is the second theme park outside the United States that bears the Warner Bros. name that they do not own. Rather the characters and WB name is licensed to it through Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment.
Warner Bros. Jungle Habitat
Main article: Warner Bros. Jungle Habitat
Originally opening in 1972 in New Jersey, Jungle Habitat was Warner Bros. first venture into the theme park industry. Although the park was initially successful it failed to attract repeat guests. After an expansion proposal was voted against by the city Warner Bros. closed the park in 1976.
Warner Bros. Movie World Germany
Main article: Movie Park Germany
Formerly being a non-profitable theme park, Warner Bros. purchased the land that was Bavaria Film Park in 1994 and began construction on Warner Bros. Movie World Germany. With a star-studded grand opening celebration June 29, 1996, the park formally opened to the public the following day. In 1999, Time Warner sold the park to Premier Parks (now Six Flags Entertainment Corporation), who continued to operate the park under license from Warner Bros. as part of their European Parks division until selling the park to StarParks, a subsidiary of Palamon Capital Partners, in 2004. The company then re-branded the park as Movie Park Germany in 2005, removing all Warner Bros. themes and licensing.
Abandoned and misreported concepts
In the 1970s Warner Bros. and DC Comics had started planning a new theme park, The Amazing World of Superman. It was set to be built in Metropolis, Illinois, and was set to open in 1972. Unfortunately due to the gas embargo the plans fell through.
In the 1990s under the leadership of Nicholas Winslow various locations were looked at for the possibility of building the next Warner Bros. Movie World Park.
On February 13, 1996, at a press conference in London, England Winslow along with fellow executive Sandy Reisenbach represented Warner Bros. at the announcement of Warner Bros. Movie World England. At the time Recreational Enterprises was working with the Mills & Allen International group, the then-owner of regional television stations Anglia and Meridian Television, to develop the park. The project was projected to cost £225 million to develop the 150-acre site in Hillingdon and to build the new sound stages and attractions, it was estimated to create 3,000 jobs for the surrounding area. By the next day the project was being vigorously opposed by objectors, including three local Members of the U.K. Parliament from the Conservative Party. Plans for Movie World England were cancelled later that year with no large announcement.
Later on in 1996, Winslow took a trip to Pudong, Shanghai to discuss building a park in China. However, things did not line up, with Warner Bros. slowing down their theme park division and the land being too expensive Warner Bros. Movie World Shanghai was abandoned. Later on Disney ended up buying the land for the Shanghai Disney Resort.
Properties outside Warner Parks
Due to various licensing agreements from Warner Bros. Consumer Products, some Warner-owned franchises are represented in competitors parks in United States and in some countries in Asia. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter a themed land featuring characters and settings from the Wizarding World has operated at Universal Orlando since June 18, 2010. With duplicates opening at Universal Studios Japan July 15, 2014, and Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7, 2016. Under Warner Bros. 2007 agreement with Universal Parks & Resorts has the rights to uses the Wizarding World characters and settings until July 1, 2019, at which point they will have to renew their rights. The rights will then expire June 30, 2024, in the event of another renewal the rights will then expire June 30, 2029.
Since the late 1990s Warner Bros. Consumer Products has licensed the rights of characters of DC Comics, Looney Tunes, and Hanna-Barbera to Six Flags for usage throughout the United States in theme parks, excluding the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
- List of Warner Bros. films
- List of New Line Cinema films
- New Line Cinema
- List of New Line Cinema animated films
- New Line Cinema animated films
- New Line Home Entertainment
- Mordden, Ethan. The Hollywood Studios. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
- Schatz, Robert. The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era. New York: Pantheon, 1988.
- Sklar, Robert. Movie-Made America. New York: Vintage, 1994.
- Warner, Jack L. My First Hundred Years in Hollywood.
- Gabler, Neal. An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood. New York: Crown Publishers, 1988.
- Warner Bros Animation Wikia
- Warner Bros Cartoons Wikia
- Warner Bros Entertainment Wikia
- A Warner Brothers Retrospective
- Warner Bros. at the Internet Movie Database
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