8 May 2008
Burbank, California, United States
Warner Bros., Time Warner, Warner Bros. Enterprises LLC
Warner Independent Pictures was an American film distribution company which was the division of film studio Warner Bros. Established in August 2003, its first release was 2004's Before Sunset. The division financed, produced, acquired and distributed feature films largely budgeted under $20 million.
The use of independent in its name was not literal, as it was a division of Warner Bros., itself a division of media conglomerate Time Warner. Mark Gill was the division's first President. After a controversial departure, Gill was replaced by former Warner Bros. production executive Polly Cohen served as President of this division until fall 2008 when the division was officially shut down. While well-versed in big-budget motion picture production, it was widely believed Cohen did not have strong enough backgrounds in independent film, or in the marketing/publicity aspects of film distribution to hold that role. This led to a lackluster slate and output, after a successful initial run under Gill.
In February 2008, Time Warner announced that it would merge New Line Cinema into Warner Bros.. New Line's "independent" group Picturehouse was expected to be merged into Warner Independent as part of this process. On May 8, 2008, however, it was announced that both of these specialty divisions would be shut down. In 2013, Picturehouse was relaunched under separate ownership.