Warner Media Chief Content Officer Ann Sarnoff Talks About New Models

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As CEO and President of Warner Media Studios and Networks, Ann Sarnoff oversees all of the content the media giant creates for its own platforms – from HBO Max to TB and Adult Swim, to its movie studio and video game. – as well as those which it sells to others, like Ted Lasso of AppleTV +. Today, its division has approximately 400 ongoing television productions in the United States, another 100 around the world, as well as 25 films in production or post-production.

Last December, she made the controversial decision to simultaneously distribute the studio’s next 18 films, starting with Wonder Woman 1984, in theaters and on HBOMax, at no additional cost to subscribers. The move sparked a backlash for planning a full year of depressed theatrical results which now with the rise of the Delta variant seems prescient. Sarnoff has been criticized for failing to notify talents of the change that would impact their box office pay; the studio solved this problem by paying $ 200 million to redeem the majority of the box office bonuses. Its decision to pay these bonuses before the films are released contrasts with Disney’s decision to wait to pay the bonuses until after the films are released in theaters, which has attracted a lawsuit against Scarlett Johansson.

In an exclusive interview on the Warner Brothers Lot, Sarnoff spoke about its release strategy, ramping up production to serve HBO Max and other buyers, and the future of cinema after the pandemic.


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