Alan Horn on joining Warner Bros: ‘I see myself as a consultant’

It’s been more than 10 years since Alan Horn left his position as President and COO of Warner Bros. As the CEO admitted at the time, he didn’t jump – he was pushed or pushed, despite overseeing such successes as the Harry Potter franchise and The Dark Knight triple. “The idea of ​​me leaving, you know, didn’t come from me,” Horn said. New York times In 2011. “I think they wanted a younger, better-looking department.”

Horne’s discontent was quickly tempered by one of the “best revenge is living well” stories in Hollywood history: he became president of Walt Disney Studios and held that position until January 2021. He remained creative director until his retirement at the end of last year.

Now 79, Horne’s career took another turn as Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav appointed him as a corporate advisor. Announcing the move, Zaslav Horn hailed him as “one of the most respected studio directors in the industry”.

Talk to Horn The Hollywood Reporter About his plans to work with Michael De Luca and Pam Abdi, the co-chairs and CEOs of Warner Bros. Pictures, and other aspects of his new position.

How do you see your role?

The word we use is advisor and that’s exactly how I see myself. I see myself as a consultant, and a consultant, if you will. I’m there to help, to give advice as appropriate. My role is to support David Zaslav and his team, including Mike and Pam and my old friends at Warner Bros. I know a lot of people out there and just want to support.

Will you read scripts?

I will read as required. I haven’t met Mike and Pam yet to really talk about how I can be helpful. David is a very experienced businessman, a very successful leader and director, but he has never run a film company. I will be available to help fill in the blanks.

Will you have a role in relation to the capital? (The unit is currently overseen by De Luca and Abdi, but the permanent leadership is not yet resolved.)

I think we can all agree that the capital is a very important intellectual property foundation. I expect to participate in the capital.

Will you have a role in green lighting projects?

I will be a consultant for Operation Green Light. My understanding is that David has the last word. It will be my turn to contribute to the thinking. I really try to stay in the lane as a consultant/consultant and give my experience and opinion on things, including the green stuff. But it will be their decision – David, Mike and Pam – how they decide to act.

What about other regions? You are very familiar with the Warners.

it’s the truth. David is responsible for everything related to Warner Bros. , [but] It is true that I spent 12 years there. To the extent that I can contribute thought, of course I will, whatever the subject matter. But the goal is to focus on theatrical image production for traditional theatrical release and broadcast. The company is highly committed to motion picture production.

Did you and Zaslav talk about windows?

I believe in the traditional theatrical experience, and I also know that live streaming is here to stay. It’s the new normal. I think these are all in-progress decisions for every studio. They have to decide the balance. That will be David’s decision. He is the Chief Executive Officer, Commander in Chief.

How much time will you spend in this job?

I’ve been offline for a full seven months now in retirement. I hope this arrangement will give me a kind of renewed balance in life. This kind of work half the time. I need to be with my family too. I’m working hard to define this in a way that is acceptable to David Zaslav and acceptable to me as well. The words we used are “help transition”, as he makes the transition from a highly experienced director to the world of theatrical film. This is where I have spent many decades. I hope to be useful. We are taking it slow.

Are you going to the office?

I have a constant worry about COVID and David said kindly, “No problem, work from home for a month or two, see how it goes.” There is no pressure. I am keen to be around people. I haven’t had COVID yet. My wife did not get COVID. It’s just COVID, or I would have gotten an office there right away. My assistant will take an office there right away, but he’s a much smaller guy.

Are you back a lot?

I was there two weeks ago and saw old friends – [former studio chief] Toby Emrich [president of production and development at Warner Brothers Pictures] Courtenay Valente, [business affairs chief] Steve Spira. I said hello to the guards at the gate and the guard at [main studio] Building. It was a sweet nostalgia to say hi again.

Do you have anything to do with Spira’s return? (Spera left his position in 2020 but returned in June.)

David asked me about Steve. I think Bob Daley said something [Zaslav]. Steve is a good friend and a great CEO.

Have you talked to your former co-workers at Disney about this role?

I wanted to give them a heads up. Bob Iger already knows. I called Bob Chuck, then Alan Bergman. Then I reached out to the heads of both studios and got most of them. I wanted all of them to hear from me. I was very grateful and pleased with their kind response.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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