Friday, 20 April 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #886: What Now Disney?

Rich Ross, the Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, has just been given the royal kiss off and shown the door.

He's been fired most likely because of the $200+ million bath the company took on the sci-fi epic John Carter.

Now the Walt Disney Studios encompasses all of the Mouse Empire's film and TV production. I'm talking about Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone, and Hollywood Pictures.  That's a lot of responsibility, and you can't let their be a vacuum at the top.  Which is why I'm requesting that the board of Walt Disney Company should...
That's right, I'm putting myself up to become one of the most powerful men in the American motion picture industry.  Who needs experience, connections, or background, when you've got me...

Here's why they should put me in charge...

1.  I'll be affordable.

Everyone loves to gripe about how big media bosses get huge pay-packets that have nothing to do with how they do their job.  I pledge that if hired as Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios,  I'll do it for half the money and benefits that Rich Ross was paid, and a piece of the gross profits I make for the company.

That's right, I said "gross" not "net," because everyone knows that "net" is a myth.

2.  I'll make the movies affordable. 

John Carter could have been profitable if they hadn't spent the gross national product of a European nation to make and market the damn thing.

I pledge to find the proper balance between being practical when it comes to budgets and being a cheap jerk. I'll streamline the development process to maximize the amount of money that actually makes it on screen.  I'll also reform the marketing department so that they won't don't repeat the mistakes made with the John Carter debacle, like how they missed the opportunity to capitalize on the good word of mouth from John Carter's audiences.

3. I'll make Touchstone & Hollywood Pictures earn their keep.

Lately Disney's been letting their "adult" divisions Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures collect more dust than money. They've cut productions down, refuse to do sequels for the movies that do succeed, and the only thing keeping at least Touchstone from completely going dead is its distribution deal with Dreamworks.

Now that could be a sign of how I will reform those companies into leaner, meaner, and hopefully more productive divisions that will maximize output, but minimize the amount of skin Disney has in the game.

First, I will collect info on all the independent  film producers and financiers out there. See who is unhappy, either with their distributors, or how they have to shop each film around to find one.

Then I'd offer them a deal...

1. My reformed companies would distribute what they put out either for a flat up front payment based on the P&A costs plus a fee based on the size of the P&A outlay, or, if we're a direct stakeholder in the project, a straight up percentage of the revenue.

Touchstone would handle the mainstream films and occasional Oscar bait movies, while Hollywood would handle the smaller-budget genre and exploitation films.

(One caveat, these producers can't release films through this deal that directly compete with the family films released by Disney/Pixar. But few do.)

2. My reformed companies would not screw them over. No silly accounting tricks, no fiscal skullduggery, just straight up square dealings.  Why, because we need to keep those people happy, because if these companies aren't putting out product, they won't be making any money.

So hire me now Disney before one of your rivals snaps me up.




  1. Would the new Touchstone and Hollywood actually have different staffs, like ABC and the Disney Channel it seems? Or Miramax/TWC and Dimension, which apparently wasn't always just "Harvey Weinstein presents" and "Bob Weinstein presents".

  2. Hmmm... Actually, they would share what can be shared, but there are certain duties that require specialist skills. Especially if Hollywood Pictures becomes a full fledged genre/exploitation distributor, because releasing and marketing that sort of movie requires someone who really knows that specific facet of the market.

    So I would eliminate redundancies, and promote expertise.