Just minutes after sending out an indieWIRE alert today with the official announcement of Warner Bros. studio production exec Polly Cohen as the new president of Warner Independent Pictures, I received emails from a few industry insiders. One quipped, "Gee, her resume just screams indie," and another agreed, "Wow, she seems really equipped to be a leading force in the indie world, eh?"
Indeed, Cohen was not chosen for her indie cred, instead she was selected because she is in sync with her studio boss. "It should come as no surprise that Polly's (philosophy) is in line with mine," Warner production president Jeff Robinov told me this afternoon. All due respect to Cohen, her background is not in niche marketing and distribution, its in studio production and as the leadership team noted in a conversation with indieWIRE today, they primarily have their sights set on Fox Searchlight, Focus Features and the company formerly known as Paramount Classics.
Such is the state of what we've historically called specialized distribution. Only Sony Pictures Classics remains an autonomous specialty unit. In less than a year each Hollywood studio (Disney, Paramount, and even Universal) has closely aligned its Indiewood unit with the Hollywood parent.