Disney Hires Alan Horn As New Walt Disney Studios Head
After Disney parted ways with former studio head Rich Ross in April, the search for his successor began, and many wondered “Who do you get from here?”. Obvious names such as John Lasseter and Kevin Feige, the heads of Pixar Studios and Marvel Studios, respectively, were tossed around by many fans and industry officials, something both would quickly shoot down. The studio has had a bumpy road over the last few years, so it’s no surprise to me to see that Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, has picked none other than the former WB Studio head Alan Horn. Horn was is one of the most successful studio heads I can remember in recent history, with strings of films such as the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, ‘The Hangover’, and many others all green lit under his watch. Variety broke the news, and it sure seems that Disney is looking to revamp the studio and really get back in the movie business. Horn has gone on record saying that Iger has asked him to release eight films a year by the studio, excluding the movies by Pixar and Marvel, so it looks as if Disney is really going to dive straight into the deep end of the pool and turn the studio around.
I for one couldn’t be happier about this news. Getting someone like Horn in the studio means that the company is really taking the studio side seriously and wants to make sure it flourishes, and Horn is the man for the job. He did excellent work while he was at Warner Bros. and I can’t wait to see what he does here. Quickly on the news of Horn’s hiring, the studio has already done two release date changes, moving next years ‘The Lone Ranger’, starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp to the coveted July 4 weekend, and moving Marvel Studios ‘Thor 2′ up a week to November 8. It looks as if they’re really setting up to capitalize on their films, and this is great news. The studio’s future is a bright one with Alan Horn taking the lead, and I for one look forward to seeing how things turn out. But it’s hard to argue that Horn isn’t cut out for the job when you look at his resume and the things he did at Warner Bros. What do you guys think? Are you excited to see someone of Alan Horn’s stature taking over the studio? Let me know in the comments below. Also below is the studio PR release regarding Horn’s hiring.
Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced today that Alan Horn has been named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios effective June 11. Horn will oversee worldwide operations for The Walt Disney Studios including production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated films from Disney, Pixar and Marvel, as well as marketing and distribution for DreamWorks Studios films released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. Disney’s music and theatrical divisions will also report to Horn.
Horn has been a prominent figure in the film and television 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 television series Seinfeld among others.
“Alan not only has an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience in the business, he has a true appreciation of moviemaking 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.”
Horn was most recently President and COO 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 are all eight films in the Harry Potter series, The Dark Knight, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Happy Feet, Sherlock Holmes, The Departed, Batman Begins, Million Dollar Baby, the second and third Matrix films and the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy. Horn is also an executive producer of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Before joining Warner Bros., Horn co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment where he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. 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 (NRDC); is a co-founder of the Environmental Media Association (EMA); on the Board of Trustees for the Autry National Center in Los Angeles; and on the board of Harvard-Westlake School.
Horn received his MBA from Harvard Business School and served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force.