WB/New Line: What Does It Mean?

So Warner Bros is absorbing New Line, but what does it all mean?

Is New Line completely dead?

No, Warner Bros plans to maintain New Line as a "separate development, production, marketing, distribution and business affairs operations.: However, it will "closely integrate and coordinate those functions with Warner Bros. to maximize film performance and operating efficiencies, achieve significant cost savings, and improve margins." I'm guessing that means in the short term, there will be minimal layoffs. New Line will still do some distribution. Anne Thompson claims that this is the result of their being "various output deals that can't be instantly severed." As for Warners maintaining completely separate operations for New Line, Nikki Finke writes "Of course, how long that lasts is anybody's guess".

Will Warner Bros still release films under the New Line banner?

Yes. New Line will now focus on more genre specific releases, while Warner Bros will focus on more mainstream/contemporary releases.

Will New Line still move forward with plans to adapt The Hobbit, will the project find a new home at Warner Bros, or has the project been completely scrapped?

We don't know. My guess is that the project is still happening, but under what banner, I don't know.

What will happen to New Line/HBO's specialty division Picturehouse or Warner Independent Pictures?

Picturehouse made over $60 million in 2007 with 9 releases. Warner Independent Pictures made over $8.8 million with 5 releases. Both aren't considered huge money makers. The fate of both companies is still unknown.