The Walt Disney Company announced today that Alan Horn has been named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, where he will oversee worldwide operations for the studio as well as production, distribution, and marketing for live-action and animated films from Disney, Pixar, and Marvel, as well as distribution and marketing for DreamWorks Studios films.
It appears that in Horn Disney has found someone with a wealth of studio experience. Horn, who was head of Warner Bros. for 12 years (during which the studio was the global box office leader for seven of those dozen years). Films released under Horn’s regime at Warner Bros. include the Harry Potter films, The Dark Knight, The Departed, Sherlock Holmes, Batman Begins, and the Oceans Eleven trilogy
The position of head of the Disney Studios has been vacant since Rich Ross was pushed out in mid-April in the wake of the box office failure of Disney’s John Carter
, which forced the studio into an embarrassing $200 million write-off and upset former Marvel owner (and current major Disney stockholder) Ike Perlmutter (see "Marvel CEO Helped Push Out Ross
"). There was some speculation that Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige would take the job, but position of Disney studio chief, which involves dealing with and placating the company’s various sacrosanct fiefdoms (Pixar, Marvel, and distributing for DreamWorks), is not exactly one of the prize jobs in Hollywood (see "The Case of the Missing Mogul
"), though the Disney Studio does have the potential to contend for global box office domination if all the company's units are performing at peak levels.
It certainly has taken long for Horn to make some changes at Disney. The first acts of the new regime have been schedule changes. The studio has shifted the debut of Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, which stars Johnny Depp from May 31st of 2013 to July 3rd, 2013, and it also moved Thor 2 from November 15th, 2013 to November 8th. While these scheduling tweaks appear minor, Horn appears to have definite opinions on how to get the most out of the studio’s slate of films. The move of Thor 2 makes a lot of sense in that it will give the movie a full two weeks at the box office before the debut of The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire on November 22nd.