I’ve just confirmed that Mark Gill has been pushed out as president of Warner Independent Pictures before renewal of his contract, which expires in August. He was on the phone to his staff tonight. This is the guy who snagged March of the Penguins for $1 mil, made gazillions for Warner Bros. and won an Oscar for the studio. So if I were a Time Warner shareholder, I’d be asking a lot of rude questions right now of management. Oh, and the very able Warner Bros. Pictures spokesperson Stacey Ivers doesn’t work there anymore either. Really, this only confirms what I know: movie moguls are complete morons. Gill’s newly minted two-year Warner Bros. production deal is clearly a sop to keep his mouth shut about Day One internal warring with his boss, Warner Bros. production prez Jeff Robinov. Yes, yes, we know they were like oil and water. Poor Mark: first Harvey, then Jeff; is there no end to your suffering at the hands of ugly megalomaniacs? (See my LA Weekly October 23, 2002, column about Gill’s nasty final day as president at Miramax, And Stay Out.) It even looks like Robinov’s evil-doing that the press release announcing Gill’s ankling Tuesday night did not contain one mention of his many contributions to the parent company, not even the Penguin pic. Jeff, you’re a putz for doing that.
I’ve squirmed for years about how Warner Bros. has received a gigantic hall pass from showbiz media because, first, PRwoman Barbara Brogliatti ruled with such an iron-fist, and, second, Alan Horn hid from almost every interview request unless it was about his Prius, and, third, the studio did better than others success-wise (which isn’t saying much) despite the occasional kick-in-the-nuts. But this nonsense now of pushing out the personable Gill and the popular Ivers, and the embarrassment of the bloated $200+ mil budget and expected box office sinking of Poseidon, and the anticipation that the M. Night Shyamalan flick Lady in the Water will bomb, makes everyone there into easy targets. Let the bad press begin! (I’ll have more later.)