EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Warner Bros Theatrical Ventures is in for a major shakeup, one that will put former studio chief Alan Horn atop the studio’s theatricals division. I’ve heard that Gregg Maday, who has long headed the studio’s stage ventures, is being let go, and that Raymond Wu will be elevated to the top slot. Word is that he might share the top job with another executive, and that a top candidate is Mark Kaufman. He’s the former New Line executive who moved with Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne when they started the production company Unique Features. But Kaufman was also the hands-on exec in the movie transfer of the hit stage musical Hairspray and the stage transfer of Elf, hatched from the hit New Line movie. I hear all this is imminent. Both execs will report to Horn, who retired as studio chairman last spring. Overhauling this division becomes one of Horn’s major priorities.
While Warner Bros has a Sam Mendes-directed adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the offing (it goes into rehearsals in late 2012, after Mendes finishes James Bond, and will open Easter 2013 in the UK), the move follows last weekend’s costly closure of Baby It’s You, the Floyd Mutrux-penned musical based on the songs of the Shirelles. There was also Lestat, an unsuccessful transfer of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. Elf has been a bright spot and is expected to be trotted out as a holiday perennial. Maday came from CBS Television with big plans to do a musical version of Batman that never really got off the ground. (more…)