Ever since the WarnerMedia/Discovery mega-merger was announced in May, with Discovery’s David Zaslav taking the reins as the new company’s CEO, it has been widely expected that WarnerMedia’s CEO Jason Kilar would most likely wind up looking for another job after the dust had settled.
Speaking at Vox Media’s Code Conference in Beverly Hills, Kilar reflected on his short but extremely eventful tenure as WarnerMedia’s leader. He will be best remembered for his controversial decision to open all of Warner Bros.’ theatrical releases during 2021 on HBO Max as well, simultaneously.
At the time when this decision was announced, it was considered by many to be sacrilege, a knife in the back of exhibitors when they were at their weakest. Many of WB’s loyal directors and stars also decried the sudden change of course, with the studio having made their decision unilaterally. Kilar acknowledged in his remarks at the VOX conference last week, “We should have taken the better part of a month to have the 170 conversations.” But he was unrepentant about the decision, because it resulted in a significant boost in the profile and audience for HBO Max during 2021. When asked if he was disappointed to not be around in 2022 to continue to lead that growth, Kilar responded “I’m human, so in that context, yes.”