- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
From eggs to film: A Japanese-American studio head
BURBANK, CALIF. (AP) - There isn’t much “Hollywood” about Kevin Tsujihara.
He spends most of his time in back-room meetings, away from the red carpets and spotlights for which the city is known. There are few photos of him online, and a few weeks ago, someone created the first page for him on Wikipedia.
But, on Friday, the 48-year-old father of two, who grew up making deliveries as the son of egg distributors, will become the CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The third-generation Japanese-American will be the first Asian-American to head a Hollywood studio.
And Warner Bros. isn’t just any studio. It is one of the world’s largest entertainment companies and the fount from which recent Oscar winner “Argo” sprang. Sprawled over 35 sound stages and other buildings, the studio got its start in 1923. It’s the home of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, whose modern hits include the multibillion-dollar franchises “Harry Potter” and “The Dark Knight.”
Tsujihara’s rise at Warner Bros., and his appointment as CEO, is a testament to his hard work, humility and willingness to take risks. It’s also a sign of the progress Japanese-Americans have made in the last 70 years.
During World War II, Tsujihara’s parents, like thousands of Japanese families living in the U.S., were branded by the federal government as traitors and forced to live in internment camps. They had their property confiscated and had to rebuild from scratch when the war was over. The Tsujihara family’s struggle lends deeper meaning to Kevin’s accomplishments.
“The one thing I kind of regret and am sad about is that I couldn’t share this with my dad,” Tsujihara said during an emotional moment in his office on the studio lot. “He would be shocked. I think my dad would think it’s not even in the realm of possibility. Not because he didn’t think I was great. But I don’t think he thought these opportunities would exist for us.”
Most observers believed the job would go to one of two colleagues with whom Tsujihara shared the office of the president _ Warner Bros. Pictures president Jeff Robinov or Warner Bros. Television Group president Bruce Rosenblum. Robinov had overseen production of the hugely successful “Dark Knight” series. Rosenblum helped turn the studio into Hollywood’s largest producer of TV shows. Meanwhile, Tsujihara had been in charge of driving consumption of movies on disc and in digital formats during a difficult transition period for the film industry.
Hollywood trade publications suggest that Tsujihara was the top choice in the end because he maintained a humble demeanor and didn’t campaign for the job. It also didn’t hurt that he gets along well with Jeff Bewkes, the CEO of parent Time Warner Inc.
With the parent company increasingly betting its future on the value of its content, rather than the way it’s delivered, a digital strategist would seem logical anywhere but in Hollywood, where relationships with directors and actors are given primacy.
Tsujihara said his relative status as an outsider helped him challenge the status quo at a time when the industry began suffering from the collapse of DVD sales. His kind of out-of-the-box thinking is apparent in some of Warner Bros.‘ recent experiments. The company began selling “Argo” by way of digital download while Oscar buzz was at its hottest, weeks before the movie’s release on DVD. Warner Bros. also took the lead in holding back rentals at $1.20-per-night kiosks like Redbox until a month after DVDs went on sale, in order to nudge people toward purchasing downloads, discs, or movie tickets.
“I think part of what was really helpful was I never came from this industry, I never had aspirations to work in this industry. And so I questioned everything,” Tsujihara said. “I had a perspective that I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind because I didn’t think this was where I’d end up.”
Tsujihara grew up making deliveries for his parents’ egg distribution business in Petaluma, Calif., a community of 58,000 north of San Francisco that once was known as “The Egg Capital of the World.”
One summer his father made him take a job on a farm where he had to clean up chicken excrement and sort eggs on a conveyor belt.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow