New Line Becomes Part of Warner Bros.

Posted on March 1, 2008

New Line Cinema just got absorbed into Warner Bros. It will be an independent film company no more.
Roll the credits on New Line Cinema, the 40-year-old studio behind such iconic movie franchises as "The Lord of the Rings," "Austin Powers" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street." The company will lay off hundreds of employees between its Los Angeles and New York facilities and be merged into its corporate sibling, Warner Bros.

The consolidation marks the end of the line for the once scrappy producer that prided itself on taking creative risks that other studios wouldn't. But in recent years New Line strayed from its street-smart roots with a slew of costly flops that ended its role as a big-time player in the volatile movie business. In a sign of retrenchment that is increasingly prevalent in Hollywood, the company will now focus on making fewer movies limited to the kind of smaller, low-cost "genre" horror and comedy pictures upon which it built its name.

New Line becomes the latest free-standing Hollywood studio to abandon its ambitions as a full-fledged company in a market in which bloated overhead and soaring production and marketing costs have squeezed profits amid flat movie attendance and sagging DVD sales. It comes just as the studio is to release today what could be one of its most promising comedies in a long time, the basketball spoof "Semi-Pro" starring Will Ferrell.
New Line has 600 employees, many of whom will be let go. New Line won't have the power to greenlight, market or distribute new films. And everything has to be cleared through Warner Bros. It's a sad day for New Line employees, that's for sure.

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