Alan Horn named chairman of Walt Disney Studios

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Alan Horn

Alan Horn

For­mer Warner Bros. Enter­tain­ment pres­i­dent Alan Horn has been named chair­man of the Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios effec­tive June 11, Walt Dis­ney Com­pany chair­man and CEO Bob Iger announced Thursday.

The move is an attempt to reverse the mis­steps that led to partly ani­mated movie dis­as­ter John Carter. Horn begins slightly less than for­mer chair­man Rich Ross resigned — a move widely seen as serv­ing as the fall guy for sci-fi bomb John Carter, a $200 mil­lion money-loser.

Horn, 69, will over­see world­wide oper­a­tions for The Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios, includ­ing pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­b­u­tion and mar­ket­ing for ani­mated and live-action and films from Dis­ney, Pixar and Mar­vel, as well as mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion for Dream­Works Stu­dios films released under the Touch­stone Pic­tures ban­ner. As well, Disney’s music and the­atri­cal divi­sions will report to Horn.

Horn has been a promi­nent fig­ure in the film and TV indus­try, over­see­ing cre­ative exec­u­tive teams respon­si­ble for some of the world’s most suc­cess­ful enter­tain­ment prop­er­ties, includ­ing the Harry Pot­ter film fran­chise and the hit series Sein­feld.

Alan not only has an incred­i­ble wealth of knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence in the busi­ness, he has a true appre­ci­a­tion of movie mak­ing as both an art and a busi­ness,” said Iger. “He’s earned the respect of the indus­try for dri­ving tremen­dous, sus­tained cre­ative and finan­cial suc­cess, and is also known and admired for his impec­ca­ble taste and integrity. He brings all of this to his new role lead­ing our stu­dio group, and I truly look for­ward to work­ing with him.”

I’m incred­i­bly excited about join­ing The Walt Dis­ney Com­pany, one of the most iconic and beloved enter­tain­ment com­pa­nies in the world,” said Horn. “I love the motion pic­ture busi­ness and look for­ward to mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion as part of Bob Iger’s team work­ing closely with the ded­i­cated and tal­ented group at the studio.”

To me, he seems like the best of both worlds,” said UCLA screen­writ­ing pro­fes­sor Richard Wal­ter. “Peo­ple who want suc­cess­ful fran­chises can say, ‘Look, we’ve got Alan Horn.’ Peo­ple who want riskier pro­duc­tions can say, ‘Hey, we’ve got Alan Horn.’”

A day before the announce­ment, Iger told an ana­lysts’ con­fer­ence that he was look­ing for some­one who could give con­sis­tency. “We’ve got a busi­ness that has done well on the ani­mated front and on the Mar­vel front, but our results on the live-action front have been incon­sis­tent this year in par­tic­u­lar,” Iger said. “The goal is to find a man­age­ment team that is capa­ble of cre­at­ing higher-quality films under the Dis­ney live-action ban­ner on a more con­sis­tent basis.”

Dis­ney hopes to pro­duce two ani­mated movies per year under the Dis­ney or Pixar banners.

Horn was most recently pres­i­dent and chief oper­at­ing offi­cer of Warner Bros. Enter­tain­ment, where he had over­sight of the stu­dios’ the­atri­cal and home enter­tain­ment oper­a­tions, includ­ing the Warner Bros. Pic­tures Group, Warner Pre­miere (direct-to-platform pro­duc­tion), Warner Bros. The­atri­cal Ven­tures (live stage) and Warner Home Video. Dur­ing his 12-year tenure, Warner Bros. Stu­dios was the global box office leader seven times.

Among the numer­ous crit­i­cally acclaimed films and box office hits released dur­ing his tenure is Happy Feet.

Before join­ing Warner Bros., Horn co-founded Cas­tle Rock Enter­tain­ment, where he served as chair­man and CEO. He over­saw the cre­ation of many crit­i­cally acclaimed and beloved films, includ­ing Best Pic­ture Oscar nom­i­nees A Few Good Men, The Shaw­shank Redemp­tion and The Green Mile, as well as When Harry Met Sally, City Slick­ers, In the Line of Fire and the most suc­cess­ful show in tele­vi­sion his­tory, Sein­feld. Horn has also served as pres­i­dent and chief oper­at­ing offi­cer of Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Fox Film Cor­po­ra­tion, and was chair­man and CEO of Embassy Communications.

He is a mem­ber of the Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences, the Acad­emy of Tele­vi­sion Arts and Sci­ences, the Amer­i­can Film Insti­tute and the Museum of Broad­cast­ing. He serves on the board of direc­tors of the Amer­i­can Film Insti­tute, as a vice-chairman of the Nat­ural Resources Defense Coun­cil, is a co-founder of the Envi­ron­men­tal Media Asso­ci­a­tion, is on the board of trustees for the Autry National Cen­ter in Los Ange­les, and is on the board of Harvard-Westlake School.

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About Paul Anderson

Paul is an old-timer here at BCDB- his contributions go back to before the site! Paul is widely regarded as a Disney historian, and is also on staff at the Disney Museum in San Francisco. Paul is also a contributing historian for D23, the Disney Club. Paul has published several books and magazine articles on Disney history, too. You are welcome to drop Paul a line here.

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