Oct 07 2007

Boycotting Warner Bros.

Posted by Jane Devin

at 8:17 pm under Human Interest

In a stunning report by Deadline Hollywood , reporter Nikki Finke states that Jeff Robinov, president of production for Warner Brothers, has decreed war on women, saying that his studio will no longer be making films with female leads.  Robinov’s words apparently follow the box office failures of two recent films, The Brave One featuring Jodie Foster, and The Invasion with Nicole Kidman.

Robinov blames the failure of these movies not on lack of promotion, or poor scripts or direction, or any of the other valid reasons a movie may fail to attract an audience — no, according to Finke, he blames gender

Steel Magnolias?  Agnes of God?  Fatal Attraction? Monster?  Monster’s Ball? Million Dollar Baby? Miss Congenialty?  Women leads can and do carry movies to box office success, and have done so for Warner Bros.  For Robinov to blame the failure of his recent films on gender is beyond ridiculous.  He did not suggest that he would stop making films with male leads after box office disappointments like Malibu’s Most Wanted or Batman Begins.

This is a list of entities owned and operated by AOL Time-Warner if you would like to join a growing number of people who are committed to a boycott until Robinov is fired, and who believe that Robinov’s discriminatory stance, and his absolute disregard for 50% of the population, cannot be washed away by public relations or public apology.

You can write Warner Bros. at:

Time Warner Inc.
One Time Warner Center
New York, NY10019-8016

Their phone number is 212.484.8000.  Jeffrey L. Bewkes is the President and Chief Operating Officer.

UPDATE 10/9/07 

This response was received via email in response to a reader’s query to WB:

Thank you for your email. The claims being made regarding Mr. Robinov, Warner Bros. and female casting decisions are untrue. Our 2008 film slate, which includes at least three motion pictures with female leads and casts, underscores our commitment to telling good stories regardless of gender.
Thank you,
Warner Bros. Customer Service”

UPDATE 10/13/07

In a detailed story posted this afternoon, LA Weekly reporter Nikki Finke stands by her earlier story in which she stated Jeff Robinov of Warner Bros. would no longer be producing films with female leads.   You can read Finke’s story here.

27 responses so far

27 Responses to “Boycotting Warner Bros.”

  1. Lonnieon 07 Oct 2007 at 9:19 pm 1

    Freakin’ unbelievable! GEEZUS!!! I cannot believe that someone in Robinov’s position could be so STUPID!

  2. Joyceon 07 Oct 2007 at 10:23 pm 2

    We are living in strange times. It seems as if a lot of people would like to turn back the clock to a time when women and blacks were second class citizens. Suddenly nooses are appearing all around us, and women are being ridiculed, derided and degraded. So now when the movie cannot find an audience because of subject matter, or an uninteresting story line, the female lead is to blame, therefore no more movies with a woman as the star. So what now? If the same goes for the male lead, then are we in for a spate of animal films? I say lets join the Warner Bros films, products and servies boycott, until Robinov is replaced.

    This ties in with “I Have a Dream, Too”….. Are we ready for a President Hillary Clinton?

  3. Pattyon 08 Oct 2007 at 6:14 am 3

    I am really beginning to think the earth has tilted on its axile. Nothing makes sense anymore.

  4. Michelleon 08 Oct 2007 at 7:16 am 4

    That is quite a huge list! Amazing. Well, I am going to pass this to my friends. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The world is going mad from my view in Dallas Tx. Am I alone in this view? Blessings, M

  5. Melissa Ultoon 08 Oct 2007 at 11:08 am 5

    We are organizing a boycott on SheStory.tv, calling it Warning Sisters. Warner Brothers has had a lame track record in producing films with strong female leads - since 2000 to 2006, only 2 - yes 2! - films were made by WB with strong leads - Catwoman - a victim of violence gets revenge, and Charlotte Gray - women spies in WW2. The Brave One is the first really raw tough fully female character lead in a long time. Yes, we have Lara Croft and Alice from Resident Evil but these are video game vixens, not flesh and blood females with lives and stories beyond mass violence or skimpy gear.

    I want to see me (and not a Friends-y, apologetic, cute as pie but easy to fade into the background for her man version) on screen - struggling, living, loving, changing. Where is that woman?

  6. Lindaon 08 Oct 2007 at 11:28 am 6

    We should take a stance, but we almost always don’t. We get too busy and we’re afraid of being called a….dare I say it? Feminist. That is what the Jeffrey L. Bewkes’ of the world depend on. Let’s prove them wrong this time. When they see that we are making decisions that are inconvenient for us, they will know we are serious. For example, I cancelled my AOL free email account and also IM. When I send my letter to the WB, I will send them my new Gmail and Googletalk account. I’m not threatening a boycott. I will have demonstrated to them that I have already taken action - the boycott is in place.

    I’m going through my Netflix list and eliminating movies that are produced by the WB. In my letter, I will tell them which movie I took off my list and the one I replaced it with.

    So what can you do??? Instead of renting a WB video this week, rent a Disney one and mail the WB the receipt along with an explanation of why your dollars went to a competitor.

    Cancel HBO and get Showtime (I would have cancelled HBO but I don’t own a TV. Besides now that the Sopranos is off the air, what good is HBO? Oh yeah, Real Time with Bill Maher. Sorry Bill!). Cancel a subscription to their magazine and subscribe to a competing magazine. And then call and write to let them know. If you can provide a receipt or something as proof, that is even better.

    Please share with us, on this blog, what you are doing to boycott the WB. When others start to read what you are doing, they will feel empowered to take a stance.

  7. Lonnieon 08 Oct 2007 at 12:27 pm 7

    Right on, Linda. I agree with you totally. Alot of people get outraged but then fail to carry through with actions.

    This is not one of those times for me. I’m done with the WB all the way around! Not only do I want Robonov GONE, I want a huge commitment from WB to turn the situation around.

    I am working on a letter to Bewkes today, and poring through the list Jane provided to make sure I’m aware of all Time Warner owns. I’m forwarding the list and Jane’s post to everyone I know.


  8. Jonion 08 Oct 2007 at 12:48 pm 8

    OMG! This is unbelievable! What next? I’m almost afraid to ask.

    Isn’t it, Joni? Absolutely unreal. Like a time warp, and a backlash both. - JD

  9. allisonon 08 Oct 2007 at 1:10 pm 9

    I have to jump on this boycott as well.
    Women in film have already had to conquer this attitude, and it was hard fought.
    I remember strong women in film, trying to play parts other than pretty window dressing. Like Natalie Wood, Goldie Hawn, and later, Jodie Foster. We can’t go backwards!
    Films don’t even get the chance these days to even be known by everyone. If it isn’t a block buster the first weekend, and beats out everything else out there, it is a failure, period.

  10. Kateon 08 Oct 2007 at 1:27 pm 10

    Why doesn’t he just stop making bad movies with or without female leads…sigh. This is yet another ridiculous Hollyweird thing….I can think of plenty of female stars who have made plenty of money for the studios. I don’t go to movies much but I will join the boycott the best I can.

  11. Brenda J.on 08 Oct 2007 at 1:49 pm 11


    I have seen many, many commercials for George Clooney’s WB film “Michael Clayton.” I didn’t see one commercial, not a single one, for Jodie Foster’s “The Brave One” and I never even heard about “The Invisibles.”

    I would like to see Robinov’s promtion budgets for each film, and compare them.

    Jodie Foster is an exceptionally good actress (I think she’s got one oscar and four nominations?) and she chooses her films, for the most part, very well. I have enjoyed almost every film she has ever starred in.

    Part of the problem with Hollywood is their ridiculously oversized budgets. When actors are making 10, 20 million dollars for a few months worth of work, and this comprises only a small portion of the total budget, it’s got to be made up at the box office. And who’s watching movies in theatres these days? Mostly kids and young adults. People my age wait for the video. Hence, there’s a lot of crap on the big screen, and quality films are becoming rarer, or are made by independent studios. Look at “Tarnation”, a tiny budget and big hit. Money and star power does not always make a film work.

    Sorry to get off topic. Yes, I will join the boycott, but I will also buy Jodie’s movie when it becomes available. To support HER, a great actress, and NOT the studio.

    Thanks for letting me vent!

  12. Jane Devinon 08 Oct 2007 at 8:36 pm 12

    This response was received via email by someone who wrote to WB:

    Thank you for your email. The claims being made regarding Mr. Robinov, Warner Bros. and female casting decisions are untrue. Our 2008 film slate, which includes at least three motion pictures with female leads and casts, underscores our commitment to telling good stories regardless of gender.
    Thank you,
    Warner Bros. Customer Service”

    The reporter, Nikki Finke, is standing by the three sources who informed her story.

  13. Lonnieon 08 Oct 2007 at 9:12 pm 13

    Well we should remember that TMZ is owned by AOL Time Warner too. It’s natural that sister company WB would spin and deny.

    Nikki Finke is a respectable entertainment reporter for the LA Weekly with a long history. In other words, she’s not a fly-by-night, and she doesn’t work for a rag. I don’t think she would have put out the story if her sources weren’t credible.

  14. Juliaon 08 Oct 2007 at 10:30 pm 14

    Jane, do you know how the movie industry works? Could the contracts been signed last year or two years ago before the statements were made? It sounds to me as though the movies were already in production before Jeff made his comments.

  15. Saraon 09 Oct 2007 at 10:59 am 15

    Is it possible the guy was just having a super bad week, after the movies did poorly at the box office? Maybe he is under extreme pressure because the movies lost the studio money? Maybe he was throwing a temper tantrum, and yelled “I am never making movies with female leads again!” but was only having a bad week? Just a thought. *shrug*

    Maybe if movies with female leads have been performing poorly, we need to go out and see more female lead movies! I know I saw previews for Jodie’s movie, and George’s movie, and I was more interested in George’s movie. (I wonder why?) haha But I love love love movies like Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, and am dying to see the new Jane Eyre movies. (and those are usually limited release!)

    But I think one important way to support women in film is to go see their movies. Those violent action movies did well because tons of people go to see them. Maybe because it is easier to drag your spouse to a male flick, then a chick flick? haha They also get the kids, and teenagers, which chick flicks don’t draw.

    I also think we need to support independent female movie makers, like Drew Barrymore and Sandra Bullock, because they make good female movies. The better they do, the more they can make!

    I strongly believe that if there is a lot of money to be made in films with female leads, they would make more of them.

    You know, which makes me think of musicals. Hollywood used to produce tons of musicals, and they stopped because people always say no one likes musicals. But, it seems when one comes out, they do very well - Chicago, Moulin Rouge, Grease, Hairspray, High School Musical (tv, but still) Down with Love (not sure how it did, but I loved it!). I can’t think of any others. Sorry, off topic.

    Anyway, I am not supporting the guy, I don’t know who he is…it was just a thought. :O)

  16. Paton 09 Oct 2007 at 2:57 pm 16

    Obviously, the only decisioin-making tool for Warner Brothers is monetary. They make their decision based on bottom line. Accounting is everything, quality nothing. O.K., you have to get their attention by using their language. I am a Warner Brothers stockholder. Not a big stockholder, but never the less, I have a financial interest in Warner Brothers. I am selling my Warner Brothers’ stock. As a female, it would be disloyal for me to ever reap any financial gain from a company that does not acknowledge me and find some value in me. I would urge all females who might have Warner Brothers’ stock to divest themselves of it. After all, it has not been an earner. This is a good time to unload it. And, as for Mr. Robinov, his time is running out. You can’t slap 50% of your customers and still keep your job. No one is that indispensible, even the arrogant Mr. Robinov.

  17. mishon 09 Oct 2007 at 3:46 pm 17

    Is the Brave one the one when her boyfriend/husband is killed and she goes out and kills a man?
    I did see it advertised but it went as fast as it came.

    I dont think its the actress its the story that makes the movie fail. if you cannot tell a great story that holds the attention of viewers then thats their mistake. Take certain female lead movies turn them around and make a male the lead. The same story just because you have a male doesnt mean that the story will hild the viewers attention.

  18. mishon 10 Oct 2007 at 8:55 am 18

    From a pink haired gossip columnist
    He Should Be Fired!
    Jeff Robinov, Warner Bros president of production, has industry players buzzing over his future. His decree that “we are no longer doing movies with women in the lead” has sent shock waves throughout the movie biz and even Gloria Allred is complaining!
    The LA Weekly is reporting that Robin made his misogynistic decree following the box office disappointments of Jodie Foster’s The Brave One and Nicole Kidman’s The Invasion.
    Somebody’s in big trouble!

    From”is reporting”
    Warner’s Robinov Bitchslaps Film Women; Gloria Allred Calls For Warner’s Boycott
    This comes to me from three different producers, so I know it’s real: Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree that “We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead”. This Neanderthal thinking comes after both Jodie Foster’s The Brave One (even though she’s had big recent hits with Flightplan and Panic Room) and Nicole Kidman’s The Invasion (as if three different directors didn’t have something to do with the awfulness of the gross receipts) under-performed at the box office recently. “Can you imagine when Gloria Allred gets hold of this? It’s going to be like World War III,” one producer just told me. (I put in a call to Glo, who comments below.)”Of course, Warner Bros has always been male-centric in its movies. But now the official policy as expressly articulated by Robinov is that a male has to be the lead of every pic made. I’m told he doesn’t even want to see a script with a woman in the primary position (which now is apparently missionary at WB). Oh yeah, the fact that so many Warner Bros movies have been sucking at the box office for the last two years is all the fault of females. (Then again, Robinov’s poorly performing Superman Returns was criticized for its girlie-man portrayal of the superhero.) As regular readers of my own box office reports know, chick flicks haven’t been doing well at the box office lately. But Robinov’s statements aren’t about women’s movies as a genre, they’re anti Hollywood actresses. Besides, neither The Brave One nor The Invasion were classic chick flicks, either. “It’s a phenomenal thing to say. What are we in the 1700s where women are back to being barefoot and pregnant?” a producer railed. “What’s next — fire all the Warner Bros women executives?”
    “UPDATE: Noted women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred just gave me this statement in response to what I’ve posted above: “If that’s what he said, when movies with men as the lead fail, no one says we’ll stop making movies with men in the lead. This is an insult to all moviegoers and particularly women. It is truly unfortunate that women get blamed for decisions which are made by men. Instead of taking responsibility for their own lack of judgment about which scripts to make, directors to hire and budgets to OK, some men in the movie industry find it easier to place blame for their lack of success on women leads and to exclude talented female actors from the top employment opportunities in Hollywood in favor of macho males. If that studio confirms that their policy is to now exclude women as leads, then my policy would be to boycott films made by Warner Bros.”

  19. Jane Devinon 10 Oct 2007 at 10:44 pm 19

    Julia, I very much agree.

    Pat, love it!

    Mish, that’s the story from Nikki Finke that’s linked in my article. Gloria has driven me crazy at times, but this time I agree with her 100%.

  20. Deeon 12 Oct 2007 at 3:08 am 20

    What to do… what to do… what to do?
    I read this blog everyday (recently discovered since the 1st Rosie posting)… I REALLY feel at home here, an understanding… that doesn’t come easy especially on-line.

    My problem at the moment, and the reason I haven’t posted for the last 4 days… I have an AOL account (before WB) I’ve used this account for many years. I use my email in business, it’s on several websites, it’s on my business cards, it’s on printed materials I send out in mailings… for me to change my account would result in a loss of business. I am not in a position to “afford’ a loss of income at this time… I spent the last couple of days trying to figure out an easy way to change accounts…. it could take months.

    So I sit and struggle… do I make this sacrifice and support such ignorance? By the time I transition will Robinov still be at WB? If I don’t boycott will I still be part of the group? Will I be judged? Will my post get through to your site?

    I don’t expect any answers, I just wanted to share my thoughts… and it really ticks me off that some idiot makes some ignorant remark and I and others have to make sacrifices. okay I’m done.

  21. Lindaon 12 Oct 2007 at 8:19 am 21


    Do what you can. Make changes you can at first (not watching CNN, not reading TMZ, not watching WB channel or movies). If it takes you a while to transition out of your AOL account, that’s fine. If you choose not to change your AOL account, that is fine to. Sometimes people think they have to make drastic changes to make a difference. Not so.

    For over ten years I have boycotted a particular shoe company. I’m an avid runner and my ex boyfriend would always buy me clothing and sneakers from that particular company. I would always return the items. He finally got the message and he joined the cause in the best way he could. He loved (still loves) that particular company’s brand and he couldn’t quit cold turkey. So he came up with his own solution: when he was in need of excersise gear, he would look at other brands first and only when he didn’t find something he liked in a competing brand did he look and purchase from the shoe company I boycott. (Hope that made sense)

    I guess my point is that we all do what we can. Collectively the impact will be big enough to make a difference.

    What would be wonderful is if actresses decided they weren’t going to work for the WB unitl Jeff is out of there. Movies can’t be made without women being in them. What stance are they taking? I hear nothing.

    Because Gloria has the power to get noticed, I wish that she would be a bit more vocal on this issue. It’s seems like the topic is dying slowly. Perhaps it’s already dead.

  22. Deeon 12 Oct 2007 at 2:50 pm 22

    Thank you Linda, I appreciate your input.

    These days things feel so black and white with very little grey matter.
    Rep vs. Dem
    Liberal vs. conservative
    Support the troops vs. support the war…
    on and on and on…..

    I will do my part as I can. You are right, it would be nice to have some people in the industry speak up… not just the woman, but the men too, speaking up, taking a stance. Hopefully Gloria A. will bring the necessary attention to the situation.

  23. Reneeon 13 Oct 2007 at 12:08 am 23

    I would like to point out that we are not 50% of the population we are 52% minority, women’s rights have not been around very long and I think women forget this, we have bought into a second class mentality. I have found by the most part Big Budget Hollywood tends to produce I-candy bimbo films. The most famous woman on television and movies is the sexy female corpse. I am pissed off all around about the image of women represented in popular media, ie the popularity of the Sopranos. Misogyny seems to be quite popular so I can see why chauvinist pigs seem to think sharing their hate opinions are acceptable.

    There are many images of male and female chauvinist pigs they seem to be rewarded. Personally I really like Canadian Films, and French films, and Small studios and independent films where there are still artists.

    Ladies you are no minority, women make most household decisions about how money is spent we make a huge impact with our resistance and compliance. I buy allot of movies and so does my husband also a proud feminist, and I will not buy a Warner Brothers movie or product until there is a proactive response by Warner Brothers there are many good movies which need our money and movie companies that respect their customers. I will be very vocal with my friends and family and together we will make an impact. I am tired of my sisters being blamed for the ills of the world. I am tired of seeing bimbos and scantily clad she bots. I want more heroines and heroes. I will not buy products produced by women hating companies. I am an aware consumer and I am not alone! And most of all I am not quiet or passive

  24. Jane Devinon 13 Oct 2007 at 6:25 pm 24

    Good post, Renee. I added an update from Nikki Finke, and it does seem WB is hoping this all just goes away, and their silence on the subject is meant to promote that.

    p.s. Loved your website. Some serious talent you have going on there.

  25. Reneeon 31 Oct 2007 at 5:17 am 25

    Thank you Jane. I really want to encourage women to stand together. We are not a passive group of do nothings! I make a point of telling every woman I know, that we are strong, and we need to fight for each others rights and protect each other.
    ps thanks for the complement, I love making art.

  26. engaygeon 25 Nov 2007 at 9:20 am 26

    WOW…three whole movies slated for 2008 with women in them. ASSHOLES is all we have to say!

  27. Reneeon 05 Dec 2007 at 10:44 am 27

    And did you notice that they canceled Wonder Woman? A powerfully written lead female role. Just say no to money must be a part of their woman hating agenda. Ya I hope Joss Wedon takes the film script to a good company. I would like to say that I mention this to every one I know. Warnerbrothers the misogynistic dinosaur will not get any of my money.

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