Steve Papazian, who has been with the company for 47 years and through the various incarnations of management at the studio — from Terry Semel and Bob Daly, through Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov to the current regime of Kevin Tsujihara — is leaving his President of Worldwide Production post and is now Worldwide Production Executive. He will serve as a consultant on physical production for the next two years.
The trusted executive, who started in the mailroom at the company, is a seasoned physical production executive who has worked on some of the studios biggest films during his long stint. Those include the Matrix, Hobbit and the Harry Potter series of films, Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-getting films — from Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby to American Sniper and Sully — and Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight films. Papazian most recently oversaw physical production on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
As President, Worldwide Physical Production for Warner Bros. Pictures, Papazian was responsible for overseeing all aspects of physical production for films produced by the studio and New Line Cinema domestically and in locations around the world.
“I’ve worked with Steve on a number of films over the years and his encyclopedic knowledge of global locations and infrastructures has been invaluable,” said Clint Eastwood when the studio made the announcement. “Steve and his team are an incredible resource and have helped get our productions the access, locales and landmarks that become a key part of a well-told story.” The filmmaker said he was happy to know that “his expertise will still be available to us.”
Added Nolan in a statement:, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Steve on some extremely challenging and complex projects over the last 16 years. His knowledge of film craft and production techniques are second to none, and I’m looking forward to using him as a resource to draw on and a guide to listen to for as long as he’ll let me.”
Other films produced during Papazian’s tenure include the global hits Interstellar, San Andreas, Godzilla, Man of Steel, The Great Gatsby, and the Academy Award Best Picture winners The Departed and Argo.
“Warner Bros. truly is home to me. I’ve been very fortunate to spend all but two years of my professional life here and could not be prouder of the company or my colleagues,” said Papazian in a statement. “While almost every aspect of the business has changed over the years, what hasn’t changed is that this is a great company that I love to come to work at every day.”
Papazian began his career in the Warner Bros. mailroom in 1968. After holding various positions in Studio Accounting, he joined the Warner Bros./Columbia task force initiating the merger of Warner Bros. and Columbia Studio Operations.
Then in 1972, he joined the office of the President as the executive assistant responsible for the operation of the merged Burbank Studio Facilities. In 1977, he was promoted to VP of Production Services, The Burbank Studios, responsible for all facets of Production Facilities, both operational and strategic planning.
In 1981, he returned to Warner Bros and, for the next four decades, held a variety of posts in physical production across the studio, including the television and film divisions. During his tenure at Warner Bros. Television, he oversaw the productions of Murphy Brown, Night Court, Growing Pains and China Beach. In 1989, he even produced the NBC pilot Nikki & Alexander.
In late 1993, Papazian left Warner Bros. to join Universal Television as Executive VP, Production. He returned again to Warner Bros. in January 1996 as Executive VP, Worldwide Feature Production and then in July 2002 was promotion to what President, Worldwide Physical Production/
“Between Warner Bros. and the Burbank Studios, Steve has spent 47 years on our lot, literally starting in the mailroom and working his way up the ranks,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. in a statement. “Steve has done an incredible job of managing the busiest and best physical production team in the movie business. He’s been a key part of the Studio’s film success over the last two decades, and we’re glad that he’s agreed to extend his tenure here at Warner Bros.”