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Jobs to be cut 'across the studio,' Warner Bros. CEO tells staff

MoviesBusinessWarner Bros.Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.Time Warner Inc.Tom CruiseRupert Murdoch

Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara told employees on Thursday that there will be job cuts "across the studio," but did not say how many positions would be eliminated or when.

In a note to staff, Tsujihara said the company is "in a position of unparalleled strength."

"To maintain this position, we are constantly reviewing our global businesses to make sure we’re operating as efficiently and effectively as possible," he wrote. "We are doing our best to minimize staff reductions. However, and it pains me to say this, positions will be eliminated—at every level—across the studio."

Tsujihara said the memo was sent in response to speculation and internal rumors about coming staff reductions at the Time Warner Inc.-owned studio.

This comes after Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting began offering buyouts to older workers last month.

Time Warner, run by Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes, recently fought off a takeover attempt by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. 

After rejecting Fox's $80-billion bid, Time Warner signaled to Wall Street that it would make cuts accross the board. The company has promised to lay out a comprehensive business plan this fall.

"Since I became CEO, I’ve been working with the studio’s senior management team to create a plan to position Warner Bros. for future growth," Tsujihara said in the memo. "This will require us to reduce costs and reallocate resources to our high-growth businesses."

The studio's movies have grossed about $1.08 billion in the U.S. and Canada so far this year, which is down nearly 15% from the same period in 2013, according to Box Office Mojo. That tally puts the studio in third place, behind 20th Century Fox and Disney.

Movies from all studios have grossed $7.25 billion domestically, down roughly 5% from last year.

Although the studio has counted some successes this year, including "The Lego Movie" and "Godzilla," it has also had some disappointments.

"Edge of Tomorrow," a big-budget sci-fi movie starring Tom Cruise, has grossed just more than $100 million domestically, and the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore romantic comedy "Blended" took in just $46 million at home.

Its next major release is the family film "Dolphin Tale 2," starring Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr.

"Despite the challenges we face, we need to focus on the tasks at hand, maintain the sense of excellence that has defined our company for more than 90 years, and move forward knowing that, regardless of any organizational changes, we will remain the industry’s gold standard," Tsujihara wrote.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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MoviesBusinessWarner Bros.Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.Time Warner Inc.Tom CruiseRupert Murdoch
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