Belloni: Studio Chief Summit; All 7 Top Film Executives, Nothing Off-Limits

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Matthew Belloni on October 30, 2019.

“By most accounts,” writes Matthew Belloni in The Hollywood Reporter, “the traditional film business is under siege. Netflix and its competitors have commodified the moviegoing experience, placing an increasing premium on the ‘theatricality’ of studio product ­— meaning films that people will actually pay money to see in theaters. That, in turn, has created a Dickensian economy of the haves (pre-branded gotta-see blockbusters, dominated by Disney) and the have-nots (with exceptions, the rest of studio slates, which fight for audience scraps every weekend). By some estimates, the ‘Big Six’ studios, which shrank to five this year with Disney’s absorption of 20th Century Fox, will atrophy even further in the next five years, replaced by Netflix, Amazon and other nascent streaming services — including those from Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal that will compete with, and be seeded by, their studio siblings, perhaps giving new life to traditional studios not as theatrical distributors but as verdant farms for streaming content. Where does that leave the people who actually make the films? At this fraught moment, The Hollywood Reporter gathered for the first time the seven executives who now run the ‘majors’: the Big Five plus Amazon and Netflix, which releases many more films per year than its traditional rivals. What’s notable is how intertwined these executives are. Alan Horn, 76, chief creative officer and co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios, formerly ran Warner Bros., where the studio’s current film chairman, Toby Emmerich, 56, led sister label New Line Cinema. New Line is where current Universal filmed entertainment group chairman Donna Langley, 51, got her start, and for years at Universal she worked alongside Scott Stuber, 50, who now heads film for Netflix. Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos, 67, once ran the Fox studio alongside Tom Rothman, 64, who now serves as chairman of Sony’s Motion Picture Group. They joined Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, 55, for a candid conversation October 14 that delved into everything from Netflix viewership transparency (or lack thereof) to China censorship to on-screen violence and the changing economics of a business in transition. The discussion has been edited here for length and clarity. …

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About Jeffrey Burman 5244 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at

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