The eulogies are on following Thursday's twin killing of Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures by the executioners at Warner Bros. — or perhaps more accurately, by hooded, high-ranking Time Warner axeman Jeff Bewkes, to whom some today are attributing the death penalty that ended in nearly 75 lost jobs between the two mini-majors. While we still suspect that WIP's demise in cosmically linked to its acquisition of the poisonously atrocious Alan Ball film Towelhead (another blogger disagrees, citing Funny Games instead), at least a few other observers have more official diagnoses from the murder scene.
For starters, outgoing Picturehouse president Bob Berney told Variety that Warners' abdication of the art house is purely philosophical:
"Their decision was not to be in this business," he said. "It's not a reflection on me or Picturehouse. It's not their world."
Berney has no specific plans for a new job. "A lot of people want to do something — companies, investors. I am confident at the end of the day I will find something, but it needs to be a place that fits," he said. Berney added that he and several others from Picturehouse will be in Cannes as scheduled. WIP is sending a smaller contingent than originally planned.
[A]m I genuinely sad for the good people of these two companies? Yes. Will I make some phone calls for a few of them when they write, looking for new jobs? Yes. But is losing two companies that put out less than 10 films a year and grossed less than $50 million a year total each on average, even with the financial backing - however lame - of major studios? Not a tragedy... just a reasonable business choice from businessmen who were not terribly smart or reasonable when they launched these divisions in the first place.
In other words: We may mourn, but the numbers don't. That's entertainment.