Warner Bros. Offers Details on Coming Layoffs

A studio spokesperson calls the cost cutting “substantial,” but it’s “a budget number and not a head count”

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 27: CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment Kevin Tsujihara speaks onstage during Warner Bros. Pictures' “The Big Picture”, an Exclusive Presentation Highlighting the Summer of 2014 and Beyond during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for CinemaCon)
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Warner Bros. is planning “substantial” budget cuts but hasn’t settled on a number of layoffs, a company spokesperson told TheWrap on Wednesday.

“The plans are still in process,” Dee Dee Myers, Warner Bros.’ EVP of corporate communications said. “We’re reducing costs and it will result in reduced overhead, but the plans are not done.”

As part of a plan put in place a year ago each division will decide on how to manage cuts to meet an overall budget figure that the company has not disclosed. “It’s substantial,” Myers said, “but it’s a budget number and not a head count.”

Also read: Warner Bros. Studios Chief Confirms Layoffs

Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed layoffs were imminent in a memo to staff in early September.

“We are doing our best to minimize staff reductions,” wrote Tsujihara in the memo. “However, and it pains me to say this, positions will be eliminated — at every level — across the Studio. In making these decisions, we will follow all applicable protocols. Your divisional and departmental leadership will share more information with you about these changes in the months ahead.”

Insiders believe that the production side could be hurt the least, if at all, given Tsujihara’s stated commitment to increasing content creation.

Myers said the plan calls for cutting costs in areas of the company that are not growing substantially and reinvesting in areas which are showing growth.

Also read: Warner Bros. Promotes Courtney Armstrong to Executive Vice President of Worldwide Business Affairs

In August 2014, the studio’s parent company Time Warner turned down a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch for $80 billion which forced frugality throughout its subsidiaries. Buyouts have already started at Turner, which includes TBS and CNN. The takeover bid may have accelerated the layoffs, but they were likely in the works regardless of Murdoch’s advances.

The studio has about 8,000 employees and saw $5.03 billion in worldwide grosses in 2013.