Longtime Disney Studio Head Alan Horn to Depart

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The executive plans to step down from his position running Disney’s studio with chairman Robert Iguero later this year.

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In 2019, Mr. Horn began splitting chairman duties with longtime studio executive Alan Bergman, and most recently served as the division’s chief creative officer. There are no plans to replace Mr. Horn. The company said Mr. Bergman will continue to be the chairman of Disney Studios Content.

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While Hollywood insiders have been anticipating Mr Horn’s retirement for several months, it marks a repeat of the change of guard taking place at the industry’s biggest entertainment operation. He joins several other high-profile executives leaving at the end of the year, along with Iger, who in 2020 became acting chairman after 15 years as CEO. Decisions about who fills such roles — or the organization of the departments they’re vacating — will be a clear indication of the direction Disney’s current CEO, Bob Chapek, is taking the reins at the company as a whole.

Other Disney executives have announced plans to leave, including Disney general counsel Alan Braverman, who has said he is leaving at the end of the year, and so has Xenia Mucha, the company’s communications chief. Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television, is also leaving in late 2021.

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Mr. Bergman has worked with Mr. Horn at Disney’s studios for many years. He is now facing a difficult year on his own, as the theatrical release continues to be screened in the wake of COVID-19. Disney’s streaming strategy still forces executives to decide film-by-film about how to distribute them on the big screen or in the home.

Mr. Horn’s tenure was largely defined by his big screen experience. He arrived at Disney in 2012 after a decade-long career at Castle Rock Entertainment and Warner Bros., and became known and respected throughout the industry for grazing classics like “When Harry Met Sally…” and “The Shawshank Redemption” on the screen. to be done.

After joining Disney in 2012, Mr. Horn and his studio soon became the envy of Hollywood, as the company’s stable of franchises broke one box-office record after another. Hits included “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Black Panther,” “Frozen 2” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

The box-office success created a dynamic in Hollywood in which Disney ruled the release calendar, sending rivals avoiding going head-to-head with a new Pixar or Lucasfilm release on other weekends. During Mr. Horn’s tenure, 20 Disney films crossed the billion-dollar mark, including 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the highest-grossing domestic release in history.

Within Disney, Mr. Horn was the owner of some of Disney’s most valuable employees, including Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige and the leadership teams at Pixar and Lucasfilm. He became known as a big politician of the business, able to manage temperamental creatives and find guaranteed hits.

Most recently, the role he played has been re-imagined by Mr. Chapek, who has presided over a companywide restructuring that has narrowed the scope of creative executives who determine budgets and delivery strategies. Gives users more control.

“It’s never easy to say goodbye to a place you love, which is why I’ve done it slowly, but under the leadership of Alan Bergman, I’m confident that the incredible Studios team will create magic there for years to come.” Will continue to do so,” Mr Horn said in a statement.

Erich Schwartzel [email protected] Feather


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