Dan Fellman steps down from Warner Bros; Kroll named president worldwide distribution

MUMBAI: Hollywood’s theatrical distribution legend Dan Fellman is all set to leave Warner Bros. Pictures at year’s end. As Warner Bros. Pictures enjoys its unprecedented 15th consecutive billion-dollar-plus year at the US box office, Fellman, who serves as president, domestic distribution, will hang his boots at the studio at the end of the year, capping a 37-year career with Warner Bros.

In the light of this development, Warner Bros has consolidated the studio’s domestic and international film distribution into a global function, wherein Sue Kroll has been promoted to Warner Bros. Pictures president, worldwide marketing and distribution. Kroll will report to Warner Bros chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara.

Additionally, Veronika Kwan Vandenberg has been promoted to Warner Bros. Pictures president, worldwide distribution.

Speaking on Fellman, Tsujihara said, “While Dan’s role was to run domestic distribution for Warner Bros., he really helped shape and lead the entire theatrical distribution business. It goes without saying he’s been an invaluable asset to the company, and he’s also been incredibly important and helpful to me personally. A couple of years ago, I asked him to stay on to help me - and Warner Bros. - through the executive transition. He graciously agreed, and now we’re at a place where we both feel the time is right to make this change. We will miss him tremendously.”

Under Fellman’s leadership of domestic distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures has become the only studio to gross more than $1 billion domestically for 15 consecutive years (including 2015) as well as to have more than 70 movies earn more than $100 million domestically.

He was instrumental in the industry’s conversion to digital cinema and the development of the satellite delivery system DCDC. In 2003, he pioneered the theatrical release of feature films in the IMAX format. The division recently handled the strategic rollout of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, with a domestic gross of $350 million, the highest of 2014.

Eastwood opined, “I’ve known and worked with Dan for years, from Unforgiven to American Sniper and everything in between. He’s been a great partner on my films and helped us find the right audiences for our greatest success. Dan’s a fantastic film executive and a close friend, and I look forward to working with him on my projects in the future.”

Speaking on Kroll and Kwan Vandenberg’s appointments, Tsujihara said, “Entertainment is a global business, and combining domestic and international film distribution is the logical evolution of our operations. Sue and Veronika are great executives with global perspectives and expertise that will serve this new structure well. Veronika has headed up our international distribution for the last 15 years and we know she’ll bring the same thoughtful, strategic management to our domestic film operations. And, Sue is widely known and respected for her acumen and success in marketing and distribution in the global film marketplace. Dan has been a formidable force in the distribution world, and there’s no one better to continue his great work on our behalf than Veronika and Sue.”

“Veronika and I have been partners for years, and I look forward to this next chapter in our professional relationship. I’d also like to acknowledge the legacy of excellence and achievement that Dan and his team have established. There’s a high bar set for us, and I’m confident that working together as a global team, we’ll continue this success,” said Kroll.

“I am very fortunate to have worked closely with my colleague and dear friend Dan Fellman throughout these years. Our domestic film team is the best in the business, and I’m excited to be working with Jeff Goldstein (EVP and general sales manager) and the entire domestic distribution group. Bringing all of our talented executives’ distribution expertise together into a worldwide organization will help us to maximize every opportunity for success,” said Kwan Vandenberg.

Kroll most recently served as Warner Bros. Pictures president, worldwide marketing and international distribution, a role she’d held since 2013. On the other hand, Kwan Vandenberg most recently served as Warner Bros. Pictures president, international distribution, a post to which she was promoted in November 2000. 

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