Warner Bros. Under Fire For “Destroying History”

in Movies

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter being shocked

Credit: Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. is being slammed for the destruction of important cultural history.

Michael Keaton standing in front of the Bat-signal in Batman Returns
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Related: Sudden Heart Attack Halts Production of ‘Lord of the Rings’ Spin-Off

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. is a globally recognized entertainment company that specializes in the production and distribution of film, television, and music. Founded in 1923, it has become one of the largest and most successful media companies in the world, with a rich history of iconic movies and franchises such as Harry Potter, the DC Universe, and The Lord of the Rings. In addition to film and television production, Warner Bros. (Warner Media) owns the HBO Max streaming giant and has many of its properties featuring at the Universal Studios theme parks around the world.

Aragorn talking to Gandalf in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Credit: New Line Cinema

Currently celebrating its 100th year anniversary, Warner Bros. is technically under Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) after its merger, and several shakeups in the last few months have resulted in massive public backlash and hatred. From fans petitioning to oust new (and current) CEO David Zaslav with #FireDavidZaslav for the cancelation of many already filmed movies like Leslie Grace’s Batgirl, as well as significant reductions to the slate of available content for HBO Max, to huge changes in the trajectory of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) — now termed the DC Universe (DCU) and headed by Peter Safran and poached Marvel director James Gunn (of Guardians of the Galaxy) fame.

Now, news has surfaced regarding Warner Bros’ reported destruction of several prized film artifacts — and the public reaction is not a good one.

Superman 1978
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Studio’s Own Staff Revolt After 36 Shows Are Pulled From HBO Streaming

What sort of history is Warner Bros. destroying?

Warner Bros. has more film history than many might even realize, at first glance. Being a key player in the establishment of Hollywood movie-making, WB is responsible for historical movies like Al Jolson-led The Jazz Singer (their first “talkie” picture with sound), the first ever 3D movie, 1953’s Vincent Price-starring House of Wax, directed by Andre DeToth, and a remake of 1933’s WB film, Mystery of the Wax Museum. The 1950s and 1960s saw Warner Bros release a number of classic films, iconic The Music Man (1962), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and The Wild Bunch (1969), while the ’70s brought the world Superman (1978) and The Exorcist (1973). The 1980s and 1990s were also iconic periods for Warner Bros., with the release of one of the most successful superhero films ever made, Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), plus Goodfellas (1990), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), and The Matrix (1999). Now under the WB umbrella are other movie classics like Singin’ In The Rain (1952) starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.

Keanu Reeves as Neo in 'The Matrix'
Credit: Warner Bros.

A key component of film history is undeniably the visuals and marketing that surround a film before (and during) its actual debut in cinemas. Press kits and posters make up a huge chunk of a film’s overall narrative in cultural history, and act as an archive of not just the movie itself but what audiences at the time resonated with — from trendy concepts, ideas, and even fonts. However the outright destruction of these elements of film history is not going down well with the general public, as Twitter user @TheDiscFather shared recently. In a screenshot taken from the Crew Stories Facebook group, a collection of individuals who work as crew in the entertainment industry, Manuel John Baca shared their experience over at Warner Brothers, alleging that “thousands of movie posters and press kits” dating back to the 1950s, were being destroyed by the company, with accompanying images of storage boxes and posters scattered around a warehouse floor:

Warner bros destroying History

(in image) Over the last two days Warner Brothers was getting rid of thousands of movie posters and press kits going back to the 1950’s, but sadly stopped today. Now everything is being tossed into a dumpster and security won’t allow any diving. I was able to walk off with around 40 posters.

Naturally, the internet exploded in response, with many including Tom Hamill criticizing the film making company for being hypocritical in the wake of their 100 year anniversary with the ironic slogan “celebrating every story”:

Warner Bros: celebrating 100 years of storytelling.

Also Warner Bros:

Users like @AnimationisKey express their frustration with Warner Bros., saying that “any place” — “libraries, museums even your home” — is better for these posters than “the dumpster”, criticizing WB’s “non-celebratory” approach to their own centenary:

This makes sad. Libraries, museums, even your home, any place would be better for those posters to go than the dumpster. For WB’s 100th anniversary, it doesn’t feel so celebratory if it’s recent actions haven’t done anything to celebrate their history.

While @Newman2Samson proposes an auction on behalf of charity — asking WB “why?!”:

Good Night @wbpictures, why?!

If you don’t want it you could auction it off on Ebay and give the money to charity and it would be a tax write off for you.

Heck, you don’t even have to run the auctions yourself, I am sure plenty of fans would do it free of charge.

The recommendations for WB don’t stop, with @garfnodie pointing out:

They’re already paying someone to destroy the stuff, why not instead send a low level intern to a local sci-fi con for one day and give everything away. They could garner so much good will from something so simple.

Just like “MGM did in early 1970s”, Jenny Lens also recommended that Warner Bros. sell their archives:

EXCUSE ME??? Why don’t they sell their archives, like MGM did in early 1970s. THROWING OUT movie posters + press kits is a crime against humanity. The most precious, lasting, influential things ppl create are ART!! #WarnerBrosAreDespicable #WarnerBrosDisgusting

While Daniel Raley attempts to shed some light on WB’s seemingly odd actions — and to no one’s surprise, these are likely “cost cutting” measures to avoid the optics of having a “yard sale” while simultaneously clearing out the building:

Sadly it is all about cost cutting. They also don’t want the optics of having a “yard sale.” It really is sad that all of this history is just thrown away. They don’t care, probably just want to clear out a building so they can rent it out.

Everyone appears incensed, and mostly seem in agreement, like Felipe Amaya who doesn’t hesitate to publicly call Warner Bros. out by tagging all their various social media imprints:

What a way of celebrating 100 years of stories 👎🏼 @wbpictures @warnerbros @WBHomeEnt 

Hopefully, some of these precious parts of movie history were indeed saved by Warner Bros. workers and crew, and the film studio finds some other purpose for any remaining original posters, press kits and iconic film memorabilia.

What do you think about Warner Bros.’ decision to destroy their own film history? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

in Movies

Comments Off on Warner Bros. Under Fire For “Destroying History”