Thursday, May 31, 2012

Alan Horn, the New Disney Chairman

For a while, we've been wondering who Disney would hire as Chairman after the previous Chairman, Rich Ross, got the boot. Today, we have our answer!

Alan Horn was named the Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios today. He will become Chairman on June 11th. Horn was the former President and COO of Warner Bros., and oversaw huge successes like the Harry Potter films, Happy Feet, 300, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Christopher Nolan's first two Batman films and Sherlock Holmes. Prior to Warner Bros., he worked for 20th Century Fox and co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment. Robert Iger had this to say about Horn: “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.”

With that, I hope that Alan Horn will undo what Rich Ross did wrong. Someone who knows filmmaking, hopefully he will recognize that good animation deserves good marketing. We don't know how he will do, but hope for the best. Rich Ross on the other hand was an inexperienced man whose background was in television, mainly the Disney Channel. Making him Chairman was one of Iger's biggest mistakes, and the box office failures of Mars Needs Moms, Prom, Winnie the Pooh and John Carter were proof that he was not fit for the job. Hiring MT Carney as the head of the marketing department was another huge blunder, as the marketing department killed films like Winnie the Pooh and John Carter, which could have been successful.

Horn has a lot of projects to oversee on the horizon: Disney's upcoming animated films, Pixar's ambitious upcoming slate, the upcoming Marvel films and various projects like Oz: The Great and Powerful and Lone Ranger. Maybe we won't see any more idiotic title changes, better marketing and best of all, effort. A little extra push will be put into upcoming live-action films that haven't begun production yet, so they don't go over like The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Prince of Persia and the fourth Pirates film. Also, will Horn help John Lasseter and the folks at Walt Disney Animation Studios successfully bring back hand-drawn animation with a lot of fanfare? I hope so. The marketing department tripped up on The Princess and the Frog, and releasing Winnie the Pooh on the same day as the final Harry Potter film with hardly any marketing was almost criminal of the studio to do. Hopefully none of these idiotic blunders will happen again.

The only thing I'm slightly worried about is how he'll handle Disney's in-house animated films. Warner Bros.' track record with animated films over the years hasn't been so good. Their only success stories were Robert Zemeckis' mo-capped The Polar Express and Animal Logic's Happy Feet. Everything else, like Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, Happy Feet Two and a few others didn't do so well. Hopefully that has to do with the quality of those films and that Warner Bros. didn't know how to handle or market them. Since Disney has a legacy in animation and their animated films are what define them, Horn will be in charge of better output. Plus, it's a much different environment. Warner Bros. always struggled with keeping an animation studio unlike the other big distributors.

Anyways, how do you feel about Alan Horn being the Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios? Do you think he'll be good? Do you think he'll run Disney the right way and not the way Ross did? Or did you have someone else in mind? Sound off!

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