Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s media company, Westbrook, is making steep cuts amid a broader company restructuring, a major setback for a company that once declined offers to sell itself for around $600 million.
Last week, Westbrook announced a major reorientation of the company. According to two sources familiar with the changes, Westbrook plans on scaling back its digital media ambitions and focus specifically on television, film, and some entertainment marketing projects for Westbrook Studios — the company currently is working on several projects with major streamers and studios including Bad Boys 4, I Am Legend 2, Bel Aire, and Cobra Kai. Westbrook told staff last week that as part of the move, the president and COO were leaving the company, and it would be laying off another 26 employees. A source close to the company said that like many others in the entertainment industry, Westbrook has had to adapt to changing market dynamics and has decided to restructure its business to focus on what it specializes in. The company’s head of film and head of TV will continue to oversee its ongoing projects.
Westbrook was part of a group of celebrity-driven media and production companies that grew rapidly in recent years as tech and media companies engaged in an arms race to build competitive streaming companies.
But earlier this month, Semafor reported that Westbrook had found itself on increasingly shaking ground since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars in March 2022. Since The Slap, Westbrook has struggled to land major deals with the streamers and other entertainment giants, forcing it to curtail its digital media ambitions. Controversial decisions by top leaders to take money out of the business also have seemed to contribute to its financial troubles.