Home   >   Movie Dictionary   >   Studios   >   Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. (an abbreviation for Warner Bros. Entertainment) is one of the world's largest producers of film and television entertainment. It is presently a subsidiary of the Time Warner conglomerate and headquartered in Burbank, California.

Warner Bros. (WB) includes several subsidiary companies, among them Warner Bros. Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Home Video, Castle Rock Entertainment, Turner Entertainment and, Hanna-Barbera Productions, although the latter's properties are managed directly by WB or the Cartoon Network.


The first WB enterprise, Warner Brothers Studios, was co-founded in Hollywood, California, in 1923 by four brothers, Harry Warner (1881-1958), Albert Warner (1882-1967), Sam Warner (1887-1927) and Jack Warner (1892-1978).

The first major star of the studio was a dog, Rin Tin Tin. The canine actor is credited with saving the studio from bankruptcy. Rin Tin Tin made 26 films for WB starting in 1924 with "Man From Hell's River."

In 1927, the brothers took a big financial risk that paid off handsomely: they invested in the new technology of sound for movies, and produced The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson. The movie was a sensational box-office hit, sparking the wave of "talking pictures" and ending the era of silent movies.

During the 1930s, the Warner Bros. Studio became known for producing gritty, dark crime films that were accused of glorifying the gangster lifestyle. Movie stars such as James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart rose to fame at WB portraying gangster and other tough guys. WB also produced a number of action-adventure movies, practically monopolizing the genre of the swashbuckler, and forever identifying the name of Errol Flynn with Robin Hood.

and Honey in Hold Anything (1930).]] WB's cartoon studio began modestly in 1930 under the management of Leon Schlesinger, as former Disney animators Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, Jack King, and Friz Freleng directed a series of mediocre cartoons starring Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid and Buddy. However, with the arrival of Tex Avery at the studio and the birth of Termite Terrace, the studio gave birth to a new wave of insane cartoons that captured the hearts and funny bones of fans around the world. The studio was bought outright by Warner Bros. in the mid-1940s, and in subsequent decades characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck became central figures of the company's image.

In January 5, 1948, Warner Brothers was the first to show a color newsreel. The subjects of the newsreel was the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl.

In January 11, 1995, Warner Bros. created The WB Television Network as a broadcast outlet for Warner Brothers' TV properties. Among its early programming included Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 7th Heaven and Dawson's Creek. Ironically, none of these three programs that helped to anchor the WB were produced by Warner Brothers. Buffy was produced by Fox, 7th Heaven by Aaron Spelling's production unit (a unit of Paramount Pictures/Viacom), and Dawson's Creek by Columbia Tri-Star Television.

In the late 1990s, Warner Bros. obtained the rights to produce the Harry Potter films and released the first one in 2001 the second one in 2002 and the third one in 2004 .

Film library

Over the years, a series of mergers and acquisitions have led WB (the present-day Time-Warner subsidiary) to acquire a diverse collection of movies, cartoons, and television programs.

In 1956, the advent of television led WB to sell its early films and cartoons (pre-1948) to a holding company which became Associated Artists Productions (AAP), for broadcast under AAP's label. Two years later, AAP sold the assets to United Artists (UA); they held it until 1986, when MGM bought UA. Turner Broadcasting System bought the rights to MGM films made before 1986. The early WB film library was acquired by Time-Warner when they bough Turner.

These acquisitions, among others, mean that WB owns all pre-1986 titles from MGM and a majority of the RKO Radio Pictures library, the Hanna-Barbera Productions library of television cartoons, and the Lorimar television and film holdings.

UA donated pre-1949 Warner Bros. nitrates to the Library of Congress and post-1951 negatives to UCLA's film library.

Notable WB movies

The following is a partial list of films that Warner Bros. has produced, co-produced, and/or distributed:


  • The Rin Tin Tin series
  • Don Juan (1926)
  • The Jazz Singer (1927)
  • 1930s

  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1931)
  • 42nd Street (1933)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
  • Jezebel (1938)
  • Dark Victory (1939)
  • 1940s

  • Knute Rockne, All-American (1940)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  • Now, Voyager (1942)
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
  • Casablanca (1943)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
  • Mildred Pierce (1945)
  • To Each His Own (1946)
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
  • 1950s

  • The Crimson Pirate (1952)
  • Calamity Jane (1953)
  • House of Wax (1953)
  • A Star is Born (1954)
  • Dial M for Murder (1954)
  • Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
  • East of Eden (1955)
  • The Searchers (1956)
  • Giant (1956)
  • The Pajama Game (1957)
  • Auntie Mame (1958)
  • Damn Yankees (1958)
  • 1960s

  • Gypsy (1962)
  • The Music Man (1962)
  • Gay Purr-ee (1962)
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1963)
  • My Fair Lady (1964; copyright reverted to CBS in 1971)
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
  • Camelot (1967)
  • Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  • Bullitt (1968)
  • The Wild Bunch (1969)
  • 1970s

  • Dirty Harry (1971)
  • McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • What's Up, Doc? (1972)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Enter The Dragon (1973)
  • The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Blazing Saddles (1974)
  • Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
  • Barry Lyndon (1975)
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
  • Superman (1978)
  • Every Which Way But Loose (1978)
  • 10 (1979, distributor)
  • 1980s

  • Caddyshack (1980, distributor)
  • Altered States (1980)
  • Superman II (1981)
  • The Road Warrior (1982)
  • National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
  • The Neverending Story (1984)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
  • Full House (1987)
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987)
  • The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
  • Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
  • The Accidental Tourist (1988)
  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Batman (1989)
  • Roger & Me (1989)
  • Family Matters (1989)
  • 1990s

  • Goodfellas (1990)
  • JFK (1991)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Unforgiven (1992)
  • The Fugitive (the movie) (1993)
  • Free Willy (1993)
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
  • Dumb and Dumber (1994)
  • Interview with the Vampire (1994)
  • The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
  • Space Jam (1996)
  • Cats Don't Dance (1997)
  • Quest for Camelot (1998)
  • Analyze This (1999)
  • Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
  • The Matrix (1999)
  • The Iron Giant (1999)
  • Any Given Sunday (1999)
  • 2000s

  • the Harry Potter films
  • Best in Show (2000)
  • Osmosis Jones (2001)
  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  • Ocean's Eleven (2001)
  • Scooby-Doo (2002)
  • A Mighty Wind (2003)
  • Looney Tunes: Back In Action (2003)
  • Something's Gotta Give (2003)
  • The Last Samurai (2003)
  • Starsky and Hutch (2004)
  • Troy (2004)
  • Catwoman (2004)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie (2004)
  • The Polar Express (2004)
  • Alexander (2004)
  • Ocean's Twelve (2004)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
  • External links

    More Filmbug  favorites:  Indiana Jones | Movie History | Blu-Ray | Movie Aspect Ratios | Film Noir | Movie Crew