The New York Times profiles president of production at Warners, Jeff Robinov, painting him as the heir apparent to Alan Horn as he finds new ways to do business at the studio. The piece looks at his recent takeover of DC’s operations:
Driven by its need to replace Harry Potter, not to mention the continued appeal of superheroes, Warner recently announced a major reorganization of DC Comics. The goal is to quickly and more fully exploit its characters, something Time Warner’s corporate bureaucracy has hampered in the past.
The Walt Disney Company’s $4 billion purchase of Marvel Entertainment just over a month ago has increased the pressure on Warner to succeed this time. Warner is expected to announce a DC slate in the coming months populated by characters like the Flash and Wonder Woman.
Central to Mr. Robinov’s approach to DC is to avoid cookie-cutter representations and take risks when it comes to hiring directors and choosing a cast. Fully backing a filmmaker’s vision has become a hallmark of his style, ranging from the odd “Watchmen,” which was a modest success, to the candy-colored “Speed Racer,” which was a flaming disaster, to “The Dark Knight,” a home run.
“He is trying not to cling to the things that have worked in the past,” said Christopher Nolan, who directed “The Dark Knight” and is working on another Batman sequel.
Also mentioned is Robinov’s hands-on style of being the kind of boss whose name you hate to see come up on the phone:
In a knife-in-the-back industry, Mr. Robinov is known for wielding a blade in the front, something that has resulted in more than a few wounded egos. “As an agent, all I wanted was an answer,” Mr. Robinov said of his blunt style. “Sometimes it’s a hard message to hear and sometimes it’s a hard one to give.”
While DC kremlinologists previously had to closely inspect Paul Levitz’s trash basket to get an idea of what was going on, Robinov may be the new man to scrutinize. He’s certainly taken quite an interest in DC’s doings — reportedly back in the fall, Robinov himself sat in on a number of meetings where DC’s current top brass had to explain just what it was they did.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.