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Lorenzo di Bonaventura Quits

From Daily Variety 9/4/02: "In a decision that stunned the entertainment community Tuesday, Lorenzo di Bonaventura stepped down as Warner Bros. exec VP of worldwide motion pictures to become an indie producer for the studio. The move, effective immediately, surprised the town because not only is Warners' movie division in good shape overall, but for more than a decade di Bonaventura has been one of Hollywood's more ambitious and hard-working studio execs."

Bonaventura, born around 1957, is the Harvard-educated son of a symphony conductor. A former river-rafting guide, Lorenzo has two kids.

Lorenzo Bonaventura and Alan Horn had different creative tastes and work habits. Di Bonaventura, for example, loved Denzel Washington's "Training Day," which Horn found too dark.

Di Bonaventura joined Warners in 1989 as a production exec. He soon became VP of production. He was named senior VP of production in 1993 and exec VP of production in 1995. In 1996, Di Bonaventura became the co-head of Warners' theatrical production, assuming his position as sole president of Warners' worldwide production in April 1998. In July, he was named to the corporate post of exec VP, Worldwide Motion Pictures, Warner Bros., assuming additional oversight of all feature film marketing.

Some of the hits produced under di Bonaventura include "The Matrix," "Analyze This," "Three Kings," "The Perfect Storm," "Training Day," "Ocean's Eleven," "Scooby-Doo" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

Bonaventura was a master seducer of the news media through strategic leaks and relationships with friendly reporters.

From the 9/4/02 LA Times article by Anita Busch and James Bates: "Lorenzo di Bonaventura had periodically clashed with Warner President Alan Horn over budgets and picking movies during the three years they worked together. They frequently had icy relations..."

But that wasn't the reason Bonaventura left Warners. He left because he was pushed out. And he was pushed out because he did a lousy job.

David Poland is the only one who gets it. Poland writes on the Hot Button: "The first mistake will be to blame only Pluto Nash for Di Bonaventuraís demise. Even had Pluto Nash not existed or not been part of this summer, Warner Bros. would still have been the second worst performer of this summer, perhaps a few million in the black when all was said and done. With Nash, the studio lost tens of millions overall.

"But the screw-ups donít end there. Di Bonaventura should be held directly responsible for the studioís inability to get a DC Comics superhero movie off the ground in the midst of a genre craze, managing somehow to assure that at least three supposedly near-greenlit or greenlit projects will not happen anytime in 2002 or 2003."