Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Warner Bros.

Go To
The fundamental things apply, dun, as time goes by!note 

Warner Bros. (pronounced "Warner Brothers", and frequently abbreviated as "WB") is one of the world's largest and best-known producers of film, television, and video game entertainment. It is part of the massive WarnerMedia (formerly Time Warner) enterprise, now itself owned by AT&T, which also owns cable networks like CNN, Cartoon Network/[adult swim] and HBO among others. Time Warner was even larger than that in the past, with operations in books, magazines, cable systems and music (see below) as well as ownership of America Online, although that would be another entire page.

The company was founded in 1918 by brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner (Their name coming from an Anglicization of either Wonskolaser or Wonsal). It elevated itself to the top tier of film studios by purchasing Vitagraph in 1925 and First National Pictures in 1928. Among the company's early innovations was to popularize true synchronized sound films like The Jazz Singer which began the sound era of Hollywood. WB became well known for its socially-conscious dramas and hard-hitting gangster films in the 1930s and its many Film Noir pictures in the '40s, not to mention unleashing Looney Tunes on the world. In The '50s, WB became the go-to studio for widely acclaimed adaptations of plays and musicals that had been popular on Broadway. In The '60s, it released such Censorship Bureau busting hits as Bonnie and Clyde and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which allowed the studio to find footing in the counterculture movement. Also during this era, they had founded Warner Bros. Records, which eventually becme the basis of the giant Warner Music Group, encompassing Atlantic Records and Elektra Records, among many other labels.


In 1967, the company was bought by Seven Arts Productions, a relatively-small film production firm that at the time was distributing WB's post-1949 library on television, and became known as Warner Bros.-Seven Arts. In 1969, W7 was sold (with the Warner family now completely out of the picture), this time to Kinney National, a diversified conglomerate which had its roots in New York/New Jersey-area parking lots and funeral homes (including, naturally mob involvement). Under Kinney the studio (once again known as Warner Bros.) began cranking out hit after hit, with both hard-hitting films such as A Clockwork Orange and blockbusters like the Dirty Harry series. By the mid 1970s, Kinney had rid itself of its' original service-oriented businesses and renamed itself to Warner Communications. Under forward-thinking chairman Steve Ross, WCI expanded into publishing (books and magazines, as well as comics), cable television (with the groundbreaking QUBE interactive service, which, as a joint venture with American Express, would spawn Nickelodeon, MTVnote  and The Movie Channelnote ) and video gaming (via Atari, acquired in 1976 and sold off in 1984 after The Great Video Game Crash of 1983). WCI merged with Time, Inc. in 1990 forming Time Warner.


Its Vanity Plate is the WB shield. There used to be a Fanfare as its logo theme, but unlike 20th Century Fox, it never caught on, and was used irregularly to begin with. Its current theme is the instrumental version of "As Time Goes By" from the movie Casablanca, one of the company's best known films. The 1970s and early 1980s saw the replacement of the shield with the Saul Bass-designed "Big W", used by WB and various other businesses it had during the era; on-screen it typically zoomed in, first as an outline, then in full. The shield returned in 1984, though the Big W logo continued use as the WCI logo until the Time Warner merger, and continued to be used by the (now-separate) Warner Music Group.

Not to be confused with the Warner Brothers (OR the Warner Sister). Nor should it be confused with Michigan J. Frog's network, which later transformed into today's The CW, of which the studio owns half (the other half belonging to CBS).

The once-separate New Line Cinema has, since 2008, been a subdivision of WB, which explains why its notable films are listed here. It was inherited from Turner Broadcasting System upon Time Warner's purchase of that company in 1996, and operated as autonomously from WB as it could up to that point.

If anyone is going to ask, the "Time" in Time Warner came from Time Inc. which produces the eponymous Time and other magazines, though it has been separately owned since 2014. Warner Music Group is also entirely separate and has not been connected to Time Warner since 2004; it has, since July of 2011, been in the hands of Access Industries (although WB owns its own label — WaterTower Music, previously New Line Records). Warner Bros. Records, which has its own article, uses the WB name and shield logo under free license from Time Warner. Warner Books was also sold off in 2004, and is currently known as Grand Central Publishing after the Time Warner Book Group was sold to Hachette Book Group in 2006. Time Warner Cable was spun off in 2009 and rebranded as Spectrum under Charter Communications in 2016. Time Warner also embarked on a $165 billion merger with AOL (the most expensive media merger of all time) in 2001, which didn't turn out so well after the dot-com bubble burst and dial-up began to fall out of favor (Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes described it as "the biggest mistake in corporate history" and "misguided in the first place"); AOL was sold in 2009 and is currently in the hands of Verizon.

Telecommunications conglomerate AT&T announced plans to acquire Time Warner for $108 billion in 2016, a deal which was met with intense scrutiny from the United States Department of Justice, who argued that it would make the industry anti-competitive. Due to a lawsuit from the federal government, the merger was delayed significantly until a verdict could be reached; thankfully for AT&T and Time Warner, they ultimately prevailed in the legal battle. The decision in the landmark case ultimately paved the way for other pending mergers, showing how Hollywood's landscape would be drastically altered by the rise of streaming services. The merger was complete in 2018, and not long after that, Time Warner rebranded as WarnerMedia, causing the original name to be retired once and for all.

In March 2019, it was reported that Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara had promised auditions and/or acting jobs to an actress named Charlotte Kirk and had wanted to have sex with her in return. He apologized to his colleagues at WarnerMedia for this and resigned from the studio twelve days later.

Among its many holdings, the studio owns DC Comics and its MAD magazine, Cartoon Network (and its sister channels [adult swim] and Boomerang), Turner Classic Movies, Hanna-Barbera, TMZ,, a video game publishing arm and Turner Entertainment, the copyright holder to the pre-1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library as well as Warner's own pre-1950 output. Turner Entertainment also distributes the RKO Pictures library in North America and Australia (aside from It's a Wonderful Life, which is with Paramount).

At one point, the Rotten Tomatoes film recommendation website was controlled by WB (RT's parent company Flixster was bought by Time Warner in 2011 to improve Warner's home entertainment distribution channels), which is pretty surprising considering that a film studio controls what drives people to theatres to watch their output (but then again, it's not that much different from Disney owning the famous movie critic show, Siskel & Ebert), but WB sold a majority interest of Flixster to Comcast-owned NBCUniversal in 2016, in a deal that gave it a minority interest in movie ticketing service Fandango and its affiliated digital video retailer Fandango Now.

As a whole, Warner Bros. (or more accurately, its parent WarnerMedia) will host a large-scale streaming service that is currently unnamed, set for a beta in 2019 and a full-fledged launch in 2020. See here for details.

Films produced and/or distributed (incomplete list):

Films Produced by New Line Cinema:

Live-action TV series produced (incomplete list):

Animated TV series (series marked with a (*) indicates a co-production with Amblin Entertainment):note 

Music artists and recordings:

Notable video games published, developed, or licensed:

Anime on which Warner Bros. Entertainment Japan is a member of the production committee (generally with Showgate):

Alternative Title(s): Warner Brothers


Example of: