Warner Bros. Studios Chief Confirms Layoffs

CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s memo says an unspecified number of employees will be let go from the studio

Last Updated: September 4, 2014 @ 6:35 PM

Warner Bros. Studios plans to start laying off staffers in a bid to increase profitability, according to a memo obtained by TheWrap on Thursday from CEO Kevin Tsujihara.

“We are doing our best to minimize staff reductions,” wrote Tsujihara. “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.”

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

This summer the studio saw dismal returns on films such as Adam Sandler‘s “Blended” and Clint Eastwood‘s “Jersey Boys.” While it saw solid global returns on Tom Cruise‘s “Edge of Tomorrow” and monster pic “Godzilla,” Warner Bros.’ domestic box office for 2014 sits at $1.08 billion, in third place behind Fox and Disney. That’s substantially lower than its $1.86 billion box office take at the same time in 2013.

Also read: Warner Bros. Sets ‘Nice Guys’ Release for Summer 2016

Parent company Time Warner turned down a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch for $80 billion, which is forcing frugality throughout its subsidiaries. Buyouts have already started at Turner, which includes TBS and CNN.

Read the full memo below from CEO Kevin Tsujihara:

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted you to hear directly from me about our plans for the Studio. In recent days, we have started to hear rumors here at the company and to read misinformation in the press, so I’d like to set the record straight. I know that the hard work and dedication of every employee around the world is the key to Warner Bros.’ success, and I am sorry for the distraction this situation brings to the workplace.

At Warner Bros., we work with the world’s most extraordinary storytellers, and our focus has always been to provide the creative environment and financial resources they need to realize their vision.  Our commitment to that won’t change. In fact, we’re investing more than ever in our film and television productions.                                                         

Since I became CEO, I’ve been working with the Studio’s senior management team to create a plan to position Warner Bros. for future growth, maintaining our position as the industry’s leader in quality and scale–all while safeguarding our traditions and legacy. This will require us to reduce costs and reallocate resources to our high-growth businesses.

Here at Warner Bros., we are currently in a position of unparalleled strength. To maintain this position, we are constantly reviewing our global businesses to make sure we’re operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. We are doing our best to minimize staff reductions. 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.

Despite the challenges we face, we need to focus on the tasks at hand, maintain the sense of excellence that has defined our company for more than 90 years, and move forward knowing that, regardless of any organizational changes, we will remain the industry’s gold standard.

Thank you, again, for your support and dedication to this company.

Warm regards,

Kevin Tsujihara

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