After weeks of internet rumblings and grumblings over his murky future, Jeff Robinov officially parted ways with Warner Bros., where he’d been president of the studio’s Pictures Group for the last seven years, guiding the development of blockbusters like The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, and last year’s Oscar-winner, Argo. Monday’s Warner Bros. press release made no mention of its deposed executive, choosing instead to herald its new leadership team of Sue Kroll, Greg Silverman, and Toby Emmerich, a triumvirate that will report to Kevin Tsujihara, who became CEO in January after an intense competition with Robinov and TV exec Bruce Rosenblum to succeed the retiring Barry Meyer. (Rosenblum resigned his Warner Bros. position last month and has since joined Legendary Entertainment.)
Robinov has a contract with Warner Bros. that doesn’t expire until the end of the year, but there are reports that his representatives are already maneuvering to sever that professional relationship now so he would be free to take his talents — and talent — to another studio. Though he’s famous for being abrasive, the former ICM agent cultivated a stable of revered directors who’ve made Warner Bros. home in recent years, including the Wachowskis, Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan, and Baz Luhrmann. Where he ultimately lands could impact the plans for these heavyweight directors who had been reliably in Warner’s fold.
Robinov could quickly find a home at a rival studio — though there aren’t any obvious prestige vacancies right now — but one place Robinov probably won’t end up is wherever Legendary soon calls home. At Warner Bros., Robinov and Legendary’s Thomas Tull outgrew their usefulness for each other, especially when they ended up squabbling over credit and the profits from The Dark Knight Rises last year. Legendary and Warner Bros. have had an exclusive and lucrative co-financing agreement since 2005, and this year, it’s yielded 42, The Hangover III, Man of Steel, and the upcoming Pacific Rim. But Tull is currently meeting with other studios to see if there’s a better deal to be had, and he expects to land a new home by the end of the summer. Or… Robinov’s exit might open the door for Legendary to stick with Warner Bros. (Their current agreement lasts until the end of the year, and they’re contracted to collaborate on next year’s Godzilla reboot and 300 sequel.) “We’re going through a process and we’re talking to everyone, including [Warner Bros.],” Tull said last week, before Warner Bros. announced its leadership shake-up, according to Deadline. “If we end up staying with them, great. If it turns out it’s time for a new chapter, I will be grateful for our time with them.”
Legendary Pictures had no comment on the recent developments at Warner Bros.