Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Warner Bros.
aka: Warner Home Video

Go To
Entertaining the world and celebrating every story since 1923.
Warner Bros. Entertainment (commonly known as 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 the co-flagship brand and co-namesake of the Warner Bros. Discovery conglomerate, which also owns cable networks like CNN, Cartoon Network/[adult swim], HBO and the Discovery Channel among others. At one point Warner Bros. 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.

For the former TV network, see The WB.

Early history

The company traces its roots back to brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner (their name comes from an Anglicization of either Wonskolaser or Wonsal). After formally incorporating in 1923, 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. Also during this era, they founded Warner (Bros.) Records, which eventually became the basis of the giant Warner Music Group, encompassing Atlantic Records and Elektra Records, among many other labels. 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.

Unfortunately, the Warner Brothers themselves would become increasingly fractious, especially with the early death of Sam, the true innovator of the family who took important gambles such as commissioning The Jazz Singer with synchronized sound with scenes of spontaneous dialogue, in 1927. Relations with among the remaining brothers grew increasingly hostile with the youngest, Jack, swindling his brothers out of control of the company in 1956, leaving him exclusively in control.

However, whatever Jack Warner's instincts were to enable WBs' continuing success, they were hampered with a short-sighted blindness to the long-term worth of his company's content, selling off the company's Looney Tunes pre-August 1948 color cartoons in 1956 for only $3000 eachnote  and then much of the company's pre-1950 feature films (plus a 1950 release, Chain Lightning, the last direct WB production starring Humphrey Bogart, and the live-action short subjects from prior to September 1948) for a mere $21 million for the whole bundle to Associated Artists Productions (this library has since returned to WB via Turner Entertainment). Changing technology also went against WB with the rise of television and its new host of stars far less intimidated by the studio autocrat.

Indeed, Jack Warner had a notorious ego with his studio office specifically designed to be as imposing to any visitor as possible, and he was vulnerable to anyone who could stroke his ego. For instance, Jack Warner was manipulated into leaving the overlong script for the musical, Camelot, by its director even after he agreed it needed editing down. The result was that film proved a disastrous box office flop with criticism for its poor writing just one of the complaints, undercutting Jack Warner's viability as the studio's head. The silver lining proved to be that effort to produce that film distracted Jack Warner from paying attention to the innovative Bonnie and Clyde, a film project he grew to loathe and even then it only became a big success through a variety of circumstances like Israel's victory in the Six Day War being a factor.

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 would be 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, MTV and The Movie Channelnote ), home video (via Warner Home Video) 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.

During this period, WB also began a partnership with Columbia Pictures that involved both studios sharing the former's studio lot, which ended in 1989 due to Sony buying Columbia to form Sony Pictures and Warner Communications buying Lorimar (including the former MGM studio lot), after which WB abruptly sold the lot to Sony.


Warner Bros. has used a few different Vanity Plates; the most popular and enduring of these is indisputably the WB shield shown above. Like 20th Century Studios, the logo used to be accompanied by a Fanfare, but unlike Fox, it never caught on, and was used irregularly to begin withnote . Its current theme is an instrumental, orchestral version of "As Time Goes By" from the movie Casablanca, one of the company's best known films. During the Seven Arts era, the company introduced a new W7 logo that was animated on some films. When Kinney took over in 1970, they used a slimmed-down variation of the traditional shield. In 1973, the shield was replaced with the Saul Bass-designed "Big W", used by WB and various other businesses owned by Warner Communications 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 as the WCI logo until the Time Warner merger, and is still used by the (now-separate) Warner Music Group.

Corporate disambiguation

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, which Warner Bros. maintains a minority share of.

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 the Turner Broadcasting System upon TimeWarner'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 former unit name Time Warner came from Time Inc. which produces the eponymous Time and other magazines, though it has been separately owned since 2014 (with Time Inc. being sold to Meredith in 2018 but Time Magazine was divested later that year to Marc & Lynne Benioff). Warner Music Group is also entirely separate and has not been connected to TimeWarner 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, used the WB name and shield logo under free license from TimeWarner until 2019, when the license expired and the company rebranded as Warner Records. 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. TimeWarner 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 Yahoo!

WB as of late

In 2016, Telecommunications conglomerate and corporate giant AT&T announced plans to acquire Time Warner for $108 billion, a deal which was met with intense scrutiny from the United States Department of Justice, who argued that such an acquisition 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 (possibly helped by the fact that the acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox by Disney was greenlit in the meantime). AT&T and Time Warner 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 of 2019, following a massive company re-organization effort (primarily intended to increase corporate synergy and image, and decrease the issues of Right Hand Vs Left Hand that had plagued Time Warner since its' formation), the Turner networks (CNN, TBS, TNT, TruTV, among other owned-and-operated assets such as Bleacher Report) were dispersed among WarnerMedia's three new divisions, including Warner Bros. itself. In that same month, 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.

In May of 2021, AT&T and Discovery, Inc. announced an agreement, which would see WarnerMedia merge with Discovery, with the resulting company being separate from AT&T. AT&T shareholders, however, still held a 71% interest in the new company's stock and appointed seven board members, with Discovery shareholders holding a 29% interest and appointing six board members. The merger was named Warner Bros. Discovery in June 2021. ViacomCBS (now Paramount) considered selling it's stock in The CW, with top bidder being Nexstar Media Group. On February 1, 2022, it was reported that AT&T had finalized the structure of the merger: WarnerMedia would be spun off, in proportion, to AT&T's shareholders, and then merged into Discovery to form the new company. The merger was officially completed on April 8, 2022.

Warner Bros. Units

Among its many holdings, among the studio's most well-known, wholly-owned intellectual properties include publishers DC Comics and MAD magazine; the cable channel Cartoon Network (and its sister channels, [adult swim] and Boomerang); pay television network Turner Classic Movies; animation studio Hanna-Barbera's library and brand; online celebrity-concentric tabloid TMZ; an animation studio, and a video game publishing and distribution arm with ten subsidiaries.

They also own the pre-1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library as well as distribution rights to the RKO Pictures library in North America and Australia (aside from It's a Wonderful Life, which is with Paramount via Republic Pictures). This was due to a defunct subsidiary known as Turner Entertainment, which also held the pre-1950 WB catalog.

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). It might come as a surprise for a film studio to control 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. 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.

Warner Bros. was also an investor in, the former machinima hub turned gamer entertainment network. They eventually acquired the network in 2016, but it was ultimately shuttered after WarnerMedia's formation and its YouTube creator network folded into Fullscreen in early 2019.

As of 2021, most of Warner's film and television content fuels Max (previously named HBO Max until 2023), a large-scale streaming service that launched in May 2020 and an expansion of HBO's other services. In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic shuttering many movie theaters or leaving them with little content to play, the studio announced that Wonder Woman 1984 and the studio's entire 2021 slatenote  would have dual premieres in theaters and on HBO Max in the United States. The results of the strategy were very mixed; several films early in the year, such as Tom & Jerry and Godzilla vs. Kong, were notable successes on both theatrical and streaming, the latter receiving much credit for helping revive the box office in the wake of the pandemic; many high-profile films later in the year, such as The Suicide Squad, King Richard and The Matrix Resurrections, severely underperformed at a time where theatrical-exclusive releases were seeing increased success. The hybrid strategy ended at the end of 2021 due to deals Warner made with cinema chains to ensure a 45-day theatrical window going forward; the new window is set to be introduced with The Batman.

    open/close all folders 

    Specific film divisions and film-libraries owned by Warner Bros. 

    Films produced and/or distributed (including Warner Independent Pictures) 

    Series produced by Warner Bros. Television
Many of the shows jointly produced with CBS air on The CW, as each company had a 50% stake on it. However, not all shows on The CW are co-productions; some are sole WB productions (e.g. Arrow), some are sole CBS productions (e.g. Beauty and the Beast), while a few are neither (e.g. The Outpost). Not all joint WB/CBS productions air on The CW either (e.g. All Rise).

Note that the vast majority of HBO shows are not listed here, despite Warner Bros. handling their distribution. This is because, barring very few exceptions, HBO programs are produced by a separate in-house unit which is under the umbrella of Warner Bros. Discovery rather than WB directly. The same applies to shows produced in-house by TBS, TNT, and truTV (all under Turner Entertainment)

    Animated departments 
  • Warner Bros. Animation note 
    • Warner Bros. Cartoonsnote 
  • Warner Bros. Pictures Animationnote 
    • Warner Bros. Feature Animationnote 
  • Hanna-Barbera note 
  • Ruby-Spears note 
  • Rankin/Bass note 
  • Cartoon Network Studios note 
  • Williams Street note 

    Music artists and recordings 
  • See Warner Music Group
    • Atlantic Records (Atlantic was owned by WB from 1967 until WMG's split from Time Warner in 2004)
    • Elektra Records (Elektra was owned by WB from 1970 until WMG's split from Time Warner in 2004)
    • Warner Bros. Records (founded by WB and co-owned until WMG's split from Time Warner in 2004, now known as Warner Records after WMG's rights to the WB trademark lapsed)
  • WaterTower Music (formerly New Line Records)

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

Notable video games published, developed, or licensed:

That's all folks!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Warner Brothers, Warner Home Video, Warner Bros Television, Warner Bros Television Studios, Warner Horizon Television


Ant Bully Teaser Trailer

The interviewer then clears his throat and points his finger up who got the part, as Beetle looks up, we see Lucas Nickle (with a mean look on his face) from Beetle’s POV, then it cuts back to Beetle, but from a different camera angle. It then cuts back to Lucas from Beetle’s POV as he proceeds to step on him. After he stomps on him, it then transitions to the film’s logo, along with text fading in, saying "STOMPING INTO THEATERS SUMMER 2006". Afterwards, it cuts back to Beetle, who managed to survive from Lucas stomping on him. Lucas steps on him again, as we only see his shoe. The beetle then weakly says “CUT!”.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / GiantFootOfStomping

Media sources: