Kevin Tsujihara is stepping down as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment after six years. The move comes less than a week after a story broke in The Hollywood Reporter that Tsujihara was allegedly involved in a relationship with a young actress in exchange for movie auditions and roles. Tsujihara sent an apology letter for his conduct to employees last week, but it was fairly clear he’d probably be out of a job sooner rather than later. Not only was this behavior inappropriate, and not only did this story cause potential harm to WB’s all-important stock price, but Tsujihara has overseen a number of missteps in his role as Warner Bros. CEO, not the least of which being the handling of the DC Comics franchise.
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said on Monday:
“It is in the best interest of WarnerMedia, Warner Bros., our employees and our partners for Kevin to step down as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Kevin has contributed greatly to the studio’s success over the past 25 years and for that we thank him. Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the Company’s leadership expectations and could impact the Company’s ability to execute going forward.”
Warner Bros. has finally found a new direction for DC in the wake of Wonder Woman and Aquaman’s success—namely focusing on standalone entries rather than an interconnected universe—but it’s still not without drama as Ezra Miller is now rewriting The Flash script himself in a bid to keep the role.
Under Tsujihara’s watch, Warner Bros. also expanded the Wizarding World franchise with the Fantastic Beasts series, although last year’s sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald underperformed a bit. Fantastic Beasts 3 is due to start filming later this year.
It’ll be interesting to see who gets Tsujihara’s old job, and how he or she approaches the current and upcoming slate of WB releases. But given how terribly Tsujihara mishandled the DCEU, it can’t get any worse can it?