Warner Bros.: 100 Years of Storytelling will debut in bookstores on May 30th, 2023. For this book, publisher Running Press has collaborated with TCM and Hollywood historian and author Mark A. Viera for an absolute trip down memory lane to commemorate Warner Bros.’ big birthday. Featuring a foreword by Ben Mankiewicz, hundreds of photos, exhaustive archiving of all of the studio’s major moments and achievements, and an overall sharp package, this hardcover has it all for any fan of movies who is looking to learn more about one of Hollywood’s most important studios.
Over the course of 360 pages, Viera successfully undertakes the incredible task of cataloging every major Warner Bros. film and moment by year and by decade. The book almost reminds me of a school yearbook, in that it covers all of the important information in a clean and easy to understand manner. The most interesting parts of the book for readers will be Viera’s discussions about each major decade before diving into their individual years. Viera accurately captures what was going on inside of the Warner Bros. studio and lot, and what was happening in the world of cinema in general. Sitting and reading through this progression, readers will be able to see how the different genres and filmmaking styles rose and fell over time. As I made my way towards the end of the text, I was surprised at just how many absolute blockbusters and auteur-driven classics alike that Warner Bros. was responsible for over the decades. In today’s climate, it would be impossible to believe that the same studio brought Eyes Wide Shut and Wild Wild West to the big screen during the same year, but it happened!
The book reveals how much like its contemporaries such as Universal Studios, Warner Bros. thrived off of a family-run environment for many of its early years and then evolved into the media empire we all know and love today. For each year, the book shows all of the films and filmmakers who were nominated and received Academy Awards. These lists are large for every year, but what is also astonishing is just how many films are considered classics today which didn’t receive the recognition they deserved at the time they were released. This reveals Warner Bros.’ commitment to quality across an entire spectrum of different types of films.
This book catalogs Warner Bros.’ legendary collaborations with Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood, and more, and also its commitment to some of the biggest franchises of all time. It’s hard to believe Harry Potter, The Exorcist, Batman, Superman The Matrix franchise, and so many more all came from the same place. It’s times like this where some readers might want the book to spend more time on their favorite properties, and this book easily could have been twice the size and still be as engaging. It would appear that in other cases, copyright issues may have prevented everything from being included. For example, I was initially shocked that The Hobbit and its sequels were featured but there is nothing about The Lord of the Rings despite its major financial and critical performance. But then I was reminded that other studios also owned rights to the original franchise. For any reason, it’s always disappointed when important pieces are left out due to rights issues like this, but the book does an incredible job with all of the material it can cover.
First impressions are important for books like this, and 100 Years of Storytelling doesn’t disappoint. This book is just the right size without getting to be too big to comfortably handle, and it features a thick and robust hardcover with a classy dustjacket. The blue and white imagery matches the other pieces in Warner Bros.’ 100 year collection, and it fits right in with their movie box sets and other memorabilia from 2023. Inside are thick semi gloss pages with incredible color photographs throughout that capture the tone and feel of the movies being chronicled. It’s a nice presentation that makes it a great book to own.
Warner Bros.: 100 Years of Storytelling is a fantastic way to commemorate the studio’s impact on the industry and achievements, and a great book to just sit down with and flip through its pages. The information, pictures and statistics means there’s something for anyone who might open it up.