Time Warner axes most New Line staffers

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Time Warner Inc. began laying off most of the employees at its New Line Cinema unit on Monday, six weeks after deciding to bring the struggling studio under the arm of its bigger Warner Bros. division.

Some 450 employees in New York and Los Angeles will lose their jobs; about 40-50 staffers will remain at New Line in its new life as a genre label. Another 40 New Line employees are being offered positions elsewhere within Warner Bros.

The pink slips will continue Tuesday.

Under the corporate edict announced in February by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, the revamped New Line will have a small development and production team along with marketing, publicity and business affairs executives.

Warner Bros. will handle the distribution of movies, beginning with the April 25 release of the comedy sequel “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.”

Toby Emmerich, who had headed production at the old New Line, was named president and chief operating officer of the new New Line last month.

After making a mint with the three “Lord of the Rings” films, New Line has struggled for the past two years. Recent domestic disappointments included “Semi-Pro” and “The Golden Compass.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter