Walt Disney Studios to increase branded output strategy

MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Studios will be making a strategic shift toward more Disney branded movies. The studio will produce and distribute approximately 10 Disney live-action and animated films a year and 2-3 Touchstone films a year. The announcement was made by The Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook.

Cook said, "Disney is the number one name in filmed entertainment around the world. It‘s the name on the door, it‘s what we do best, and when we do it right, not only do moviegoers of all ages benefit from the finest in quality entertainment, but it lifts the entire company as well. The depth and breath of great Disney movies range from Pirates of the Caribbean to Cars to The Chronicles of Narnia, and we look to expand our global reach even more."

To accomplish this objective, Cook has tapped Oren Aviv as president of production, Walt Disney Pictures. Aviv will oversee the live-action development and film production for the Studios.

"Oren is an amazing talent and has been a key player in reshaping our Disney films with many successes. In fact, National Treasure was a winning, original idea which he conceived and realised on film. In his new role, we look forward to capitalising on his great taste as well as his creative vision," continued Cook.

"Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group president Nina Jacobson, will be leaving the company, and while she will certainly be missed, we greatly appreciate her many contributions," said Cook.

In another strategic move, The Walt Disney Studios has restructured several of its business units under two global organisations – Buena Vista Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, and Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment. Mark Zoradi has been appointed president of Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group and will oversee the distribution and marketing of all Disney and Touchstone Pictures films worldwide. Robert Chapek has been named president, Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment, and will oversee the worldwide distribution and marketing of all the Studio‘s films on Home Entertainment platforms.

"The consolidation of global marketing and distribution is extremely important as we continue to adapt to the vastly changing world. To lead this charge we have the best team in place with Mark and Bob. Mark is a consummate professional who along with his team has had unprecedented success in the international marketplace with 12 consecutive years surpassing the $1 billion dollar mark. No other distributor has crossed this performance threshold. Bob is an innovator in every sense of the word and has helped our studio achieve countless DVD successes, and that leadership will translate well into his new global responsibilities," said Cook.

Another executive appointment will include Jim Gallagher as president of marketing for Buena Vista Pictures Marketing.

Cook added, "Jim is as smart as they come and has great taste and creative instincts, not to mention an incredible sense of humor. I‘m thrilled he has taken on this very important role."

With this new global infrastructure in place the Studio is expected to reduce its work force by approximately 650 positions worldwide. "Cutbacks such as these are difficult on so many levels, and we will do everything in our power to make the transition as smooth as possible," said Cook.

Walt Disney Feature Animation, Pixar Studios, Miramax Films (led by Daniel Battsek), Buena Vista Music Group and Buena Vista Theatrical Productions will not be affected by this reorganisation.

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