(July 29, 2015 – Burbank, CA) – As Warner Bros. Pictures enjoys its unprecedented 15th consecutive billion-dollar-plus year at the domestic box office, highly respected theatrical distribution legend Dan Fellman, who serves as President, Domestic Distribution, announced he will step away from his Studio responsibilities at the end of the year, capping a 37-year career with Warner Bros.
“While Dan’s role was to run domestic distribution for Warner Bros., he really helped shape and lead the entire theatrical distribution business,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. “It goes without saying he’s been an invaluable asset to the company, and he’s also been incredibly important and helpful to me personally. A couple of years ago, I asked him to stay on to help me—and Warner Bros.—through the executive transition. He graciously agreed, and now we’re at a place where we both feel the time is right to make this change. We will miss him tremendously.”
“Dan’s expertise in distribution is matched only by his excellent instincts,” said Barry Meyer, who served as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. from 1999-2013. “He helped guide the company into the era of multiplexes and mass-scale release patterns, and his distribution savvy, along with the Studio’s excellence in production and marketing, have made Warner Bros. Pictures a consistent market leader.”
“Dan successfully challenged business models, introduced new thinking to the field and delivered record-breaking results for the company year after year,” said Bob Daly and Terry Semel, former Chairmen and Co-CEOs of Warner Bros. “He is affectionately—and deservedly—known as the godfather of distribution. We enjoyed working with him immensely and know that he’ll enjoy great success in whatever he sets his sights on.”
“I’ve known and worked with Dan for years, from ‘Unforgiven’ to ‘American Sniper’ and everything in between,” said Clint Eastwood. “He’s been a great partner on my films and helped us find the right audiences for our greatest success. Dan’s a fantastic film executive and a close friend, and I look forward to working with him on my projects in the future.”
Under Fellman’s leadership of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures has become the only studio to gross more than $1 billion domestically for 15 consecutive years (including 2015) as well as to have more than 70 movies earn more than $100 million domestically.
He was instrumental in the industry’s conversion to digital cinema and the development of the satellite delivery system DCDC. In 2003, he pioneered the theatrical release of feature films in the IMAX format.
The division recently handled the strategic rollout of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” with a domestic gross of $350 million, the highest of 2014.
During his tenure, Fellman and his team have handled the domestic distribution for the Harry Potter films—the most successful film franchise of all time, the record-breaking “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” (the fifth- and ninth-highest domestic grossing films, respectively) and “The Hangover” trilogy, along with some of the Studio’s most popular and successful titles, including “Gravity,” “The Hobbit” trilogy, “Inception,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Superman Returns,” “Gran Torino,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Batman Begins,” “300” and “I Am Legend.” Additionally, Fellman has overseen the domestic distribution of the Ocean’s and The Matrix films, as well as the Academy Award-winning films “Argo,” “The Blind Side,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Departed,” “Happy Feet” and “Into the Arms of Strangers.”
Fellman, who has served in his current post since 1999, previously held a series of executive positions at Warner Bros. Pictures Domestic Distribution, having joined the Studio in 1978. Prior to that, he held a number of posts in the film industry, including founding and serving as the president of American Theatre Management Corporation.
He is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and serves on the board of Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneer Foundation. He was a past president of the Motion Picture Pioneers and the Variety Children’s Charity. He currently serves as a member of the Watts Theater Cinema and Education Center Advisory Board.