Somebody help me out here because this is weird. Warner Bros. has two dependent distribution arms, Warner Independent and Picturehouse, under its wing, and Defamer‘s Stu Van Airsdale is reporting that Picturehouse, seen by most veterans of the trench as the more shrewdly guided, successful and geared-up of the two, may soon be shut down? What?
A story posted this evening by Variety‘s Anne Thompson said that Picturehouse chief Bob Berney and Warner Independent prexy Polly Cohen are “likely” to accept a bicoastal power-sharing arrangement that will preside over a merged operation — Warner Indiepicturehouse.
“We have yet to hear where Berney will wind up,” Van Airsdale writes, “though a popular rumor has him sharing power at Warners’ other struggling boutique outpost, Warner Independent Pictures, with current WIP boss Polly Cohen.” I commented last night that this sounds like a post-Ides of March power-sharing deal between Octavian and Marc Antony. I’ve been told all along that Berney has been squeamish about the deal that Warner Bros. has wanted him to go with.
Van Airsdale has also reported another scenario with Berney “starting fresh at a new company underwritten with hedge fund cash, [which] would suit him well with Cannes on the horizon and Warners’ decreasing overall interest in the volatile indie marketplace. Warner Bros. would gladly get out anytime, but we hear they’re willing to move ahead with Berney if he’s interested.”