Friday, April 20, 2012

What Took the Mouse So Long?

Now WHO would have thought?

Rich Ross was forced out as chairman of Walt Disney Studios on Friday, ending a two-and-a-half year tenure that was more notable for continued misses than hits.

His departure marks a rare misstep by Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive. After firing Disney’s previous movie chairman in September 2009, Mr. Iger stunned Hollywood by handing the job of a studio turnaround to Mr. Ross, whose career until then was spent entirely in TV. ...


So Richard R. writes his minions, "I no longer believe the chairman role is the right professional fit for me ..."

No shit, Sherlock. You can't louse up as operatically as you've managed to do, and continue to hold your exalted position. Doesn't happen in conglomerate land.

Bad results almost always have bad consequences, sooner or later.

(The Nikkster's take.)

27 comments:

Floyd Norman said...

Mars needs Moms and Disney needs management.

Anonymous said...

Iger just wants movies that you can create toys, rides and spin off and use in all parts of the company. He does not want small films, Touchstone films etc. He hates the film making business in general.

That's why he chose Ross. Thinking he'd duplicate the success that the Disney Channels have. Well he was wrong. You can't run a film studio like a marketing/consumer product division. Any time marketing is involved in the creative decision making, you're doomed.

Latest I've heard is they're going with someone with strong storytelling and film experience.

Ross also pissed off Pixar, Marvel, Speilberg, Schneider etc.

Steve Hulett said...

That's pretty much what Deadline Hollywood Daily said.

You can't alienate the talent and survive for very long. And Mr. Ross didn't.

Anonymous said...

Iger just wants movies that you can create toys, rides and spin off and use in all parts of the company.

He and every other film executive anyway. Why do you think there's a Battleship movie coming out.

Anonymous said...

"He and every other film executive anyway. Why do you think there's a Battleship movie coming out."

That's my point. I don't think a film maker with a good story sense green lit "battleship." Just another big and stupid movie.

Anonymous said...

jester says:Freaking hasbro,first transformers,then battleship.Now candyland is having a live action movie,which will be produce by adem sandler and his happy madison productions.That movie will indeed suck sour culo.

Anonymous said...

They shoul get rid of Andrew Stanton, too. He wrote and directed the biggest bomb ever for Disney, and one of the biggest in the history of Hollywood. It seems his arrogance and inexperience drove up the budget to astronomical heights.

Anonymous said...

Andrew has a good enough track record to warrant him a second chance. Wouldnt you say?

Anonymous said...

Rich Ross has a better track record, and made the studio millions more. Stanton's only directed one film prior, solo.

Anonymous said...

I think its an overstatement to say he's riding Lee Unkrich's coattails.

Anonymous said...

That's entirely debatable.

Anonymous said...

"No shit, Sherlock. You can't louse up as operatically as you've managed to do, and continue to hold your exalted position. Doesn't happen in conglomerate land."

And exactly how the f**k would you know? I don't see any corporate jobs on your resume. And I'm pro-worker.

Stick to what you know, negotiating behind close doors to protect the financial solvency our big pile of money labeled with the acronym MPIHPP.

Anonymous said...

A candyland movie?! Well I'm off to slit my wrists.

And Anom before me, he has this blog. Thats more than you asshole.

Anonymous said...

If Zemeckis and his studio get canned after mars needs moms (ONE movie, which Zemeckis did not even direct,) then Stanton deserves to be fired.

Anonymous said...

It was not just one movie. "A Christmas Carol" underperformed too. Don't forget Disney shut down Imagemovers Digital before "Mars Needs Moms" had even premiered.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Stanton is in good company with Renny Harlin (Cutthroat Island), John McTiernan (The 13th Warrior), the Wachowski brothers (Speed Racer), Martin Campbell (Green Lantern), and Michael Cimino (Heaven's Gate). But then there's John Lee Hancock, who bounced back from The Alamo to The Blind Side. Stay tuned to see how it will shake out for Stanton.

As for Ross, it would have been interesting to see how his team marketed the films he greenlighted minus MT Carney. Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

The one thing all of you who haven't seen the film seem to be neglecting is that unlike all those other bombs Stanton's film is actually good.
Try to stop listening to the critics and Ross and make up your own mind for a change. This film has more in common with Blade Runner and other films that didn't do well and became classics. You know like Pinocchio, It's a Wonderful Life, Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz.

Anonymous said...

The Anon from Sunday, April 22, 2012 7:04:00 AM here...

I saw and enjoyed John Carter, and I agree that it's an above-average movie worth seeing. The knives were out well in advance of JC's release, and likely many folks "confirmed" their own negative pre-opinion of the movie upon seeing it, without giving it a fair shake...thus self-congratulating for their own prescient acumen.

But that's the business, and whether Stanton or the marketing folks (or both camps) were at fault, Ross would have been a guiding voice to rise above and inspire a business-savvy approach. Hence at least a good chunk of why the axe fell.

By the way, Stanton et. al listed above ^^ might end up belonging together by raw numbers, but there are a few ways to crunch the data so that John Carter is not the mega-bomb many claim it is. Much depends on how much was actually spent on marketing, and the public may never know.

Anonymous said...

"Stanton's film is actually good. "

No, it is not. It's a terribly written and horrendously "directed" mess. There is nothing or no one for the audience to care about or root for. It's confusing and seems to go out of it's way to be obtuse and very confusing. Audiences rejected the film not because of weak marketing, but because it was, in fact, a terrible movie. The marketing sucked, but only because they had NOTHING to market.


Biggest bomb in Hollywood. And it deserves that title.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was indeed a huge piece of crap. No question. And people keep comparing the sicence fiction filmmaking by amazing live action directors of the late 70's and early 80's...to this garbage. Cult following? For JC? Yeah, well, good luck with that.

Steve Hulett said...

[John Carter] has more in common with Blade Runner and other films that didn't do well and became classics. You know like Pinocchio, It's a Wonderful Life, Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz.

A few points: The Wizard of Oz did relatively well box office wise, but due to its high production cost failed to break even.

Ditto Pinocchio, plus the European market was heavily impacted due to WWII.

Citizen Kane was sunk by the Hearst Press and WR Hearst.

Lastly, It's a Wonderful Life underperformed a bit and was an expensive film. And although we think it's a treasure today, it sank Frank Capra's career as an independent film-maker outside the studio system. Beyond Hole in the Head with Frank Sinatra in 1959, his post Life film career was relatively lackluster, certainly nothing close to his epic run of feature films in the 1930s.

Anonymous said...

John Carter was so awful. Awful. Tedious, TEDIOUS set up, unclear and amateurish plot, it was all over the place. Couldn't tell who was fighting who and why. Couldn't tell one Roman from another. 250 million dollars of a high school nerds Heavy Metal fantasy. They took the hot Frazetta babe in the loin cloth and made her some kind of science genius? Whuuuu?? I wouldn't pay two bucks and waste a joint to see that crap even at a midnight show. Seriously - how could you spend that much money and absolutely fail at making a midnight Heavy Metal fantasy film? How? How is that even possible? What in the hell were these people thinking? These people must have been 100% delusional. Complete denial.

Anonymous said...

"A few points:..."

And john carter was a dog that flopped and will never be considered anything other than a dog that flopped.

Remember, "The Greatest Show on Earth" won Best Picture.

At least IT was more engaging than john carter.

Alan Krows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Krows said...

Interesting historical precedent for John Carter, dollars adjusted for inflation: Anthony Mann's The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), on the heels of success with El Cid. Opinions on the film's quality and intellectual value are split to this day. Not sure if anyone at Rank Organisation or Paramount lost their job over it, but producer Samuel Bronston took a large bath.

Steven E. Gordon said...

Unlike some of these anonymous "critics" I'll stand up and defend John Carter as a pretty damn good film. It's not perfect (though what film is) and as a longtime ERB fan I was pretty worried about Stanton directing it since I was not a fan of either of his solo Pixar films. After seeing it in the theater I have to say that this film worked for me in many more ways than it didn't and I find it one of the few films I can see more than once. He achieved what few films can (including most of the huge blockbusters) and hit a tone for the film that overshadowed it's flaws.
That said I don't feel that Ross lost his job for allowing the film to continue with such a high budget, but for mishandling the release, marketing and licensing (there was NO licensing - which shows you they decided to kill the film before it was even released) of this film.
Whether he was the sole villain or just the scapegoat we may never know for sure. I am glad that someone was blamed for the blunder that included telling the world it was a bomb just as it started to do well overseas.

Alan Krows said...

Good point about licensing, Steven...another here who enjoyed John Carter more than enough to believe its box-office haul is way lower than the film's qualities suggest. It would be no surprise to learn that the eventual writedown is more in the range of $125-140 million...a pile of loss to be sure, but ironic that it could have been less without the ill-timed $200-million announcement.

A fair question for armchair quarterbacks is whether it was reasonable for Disney execs to expect that a Stanton-directed sci-fi/sword epic would have made $150 million domestic and $400+ million international...which would have been a break-even point assuming average costs for marketing and distribution.

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