CinemaCon: Disney’s Alan Horn Says ‘Million Dollar Arm’ Is Highest Testing Movie He’s Ever Had

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 5:16pm PDT
Pete Hammond

CinemaCon2014_badgeAlthough Disney devoted a good chunk of its CinemaCon presentation today to talk of Star Wars and The Avengers and clips of upcoming movies including first looks at the live-action re-telling of Cinderella and Pixar’s Inside Out, theater owners left the near three-hour session really singing the praises of one of the lesser-known films on the slate: the May 16 release Million Dollar Arm. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who received the convention’s Excellence In Acting award from studio Chairman Alan Horn just before a full screening of the movie, which Horn told the crowd has scored higher than any movie he has ever tested Jon Hamm Alan Horn handshakeat Disney, or Warner Bros before that. “And that includes the first Harry Potter, which was so highly anticipated,” he said. Judging from the reaction in the Caesars Palace Colosseum theater and comments afterward, those test scores would seem to be justified. This is the kind of increasingly rare non-animated family film that should play across the board. “It’s comical, it’s emotional, it has great music” was what one exhibitor was heard saying as he walked out. That music, by the way, is from two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire.

Related: Hot Trailer: Jon Hamm In ‘Million Dollar Arm’

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Hell Freezes Over; Harvey Weinstein Teams With Disney On ‘Artemis Fowl’

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 3:30pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Disney and Harvey Weinstein, who had an acrimonious parting of the ways several years ago, are back in business. Walt Disney Studios has announced that it is developing the Eoin Colfer fantasy novel Artemis Fowl, with Harvey … Read More »

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CinemaCon: Disney’s Vegas Act Includes Johnny Depp And ‘Lone Ranger’ Footage

Pete Hammond

Alan Horn today made his CinemaCon debut in his new capacity as Chairman of Walt Disney Studios hosting a long three hour presentation that was a slide show highlighting the studio’s entire slate for the next two years. It … Read More »

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Alan Horn Named Disney Studios Chief

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 12:17pm PDT

UPDATE: This statement from Warner Bros chairman and CEO Barry Meyer just came across:

“Alan was a terrific partner in every sense of the word,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. “He has a profound understanding of the filmmaking process as well as the ability to bridge the creative and business sides of a studio. He’s been a part of some of the most popular films produced in the last decade, and we’re very happy for him. All of his colleagues at Warner Bros. wish him the best.”

BURBANK, Calif. – May 31, 2012 – 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 movie making 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.

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TOLDJA! Raymond Wu & Mark Kaufman Atop Revamped Warner Bros Theatre Ventures

By | Tuesday September 13, 2011 @ 9:30am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Gregg Maday Out In Shakeup At Warner Bros Theatre Ventures

(September 13, 2011 – Burbank, CA)—Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros., today announced a reorganization of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, with Mark Kaufman and Raymond Wu sharing the position of Executive Vice President, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, the Studio’s live theater production operation. Kaufman, who will be based in New York, and Wu, who will be based in Burbank, will both report to Alan Horn, who is overseeing the division in his consulting role for the Studio, reporting to Meyer.

“It’s great to have Alan’s creative instincts and insight available to Theatre Ventures, with Ray and Mark bringing a terrific combination of experience and proven hit-making talent to our team,” said Meyer. “With this new leadership structure, we can make the most of the myriad opportunities available to Theatre Ventures and take its operations to the next level.”

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BREAKING: Gregg Maday Out In Shakeup at Warner Bros Theatrical Ventures

By | Wednesday September 7, 2011 @ 6:34am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Warner Bros Theatrical Ventures is in for a major shakeup, one that will put former studio chief Alan Horn atop the studio’s theatricals division. I’ve heard that Gregg Maday, who has long headed the studio’s stage ventures, is being let go, and that Raymond Wu will be elevated to the top slot. Word is that he might share the top job with another executive, and that a top candidate is Mark Kaufman. He’s the former New Line executive who moved with Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne when they started the production company Unique Features. But Kaufman was also the hands-on exec in the movie transfer of the hit stage musical Hairspray and the stage transfer of Elf, hatched from the hit New Line movie. I hear all this is imminent. Both execs will report to Horn, who retired as studio chairman last spring. Overhauling this division becomes one of Horn’s major priorities.

While Warner Bros has a Sam Mendes-directed adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the offing (it goes into rehearsals in late 2012, after Mendes finishes James Bond, and will open Easter 2013 in the UK), the move follows last weekend’s costly closure of Baby It’s You, the Floyd Mutrux-penned musical based on the songs of the Shirelles. There was also Lestat, an unsuccessful transfer of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. Elf has been a bright spot and is expected to be trotted out as a holiday perennial. Maday came from CBS Television with big plans to do a musical version of Batman that never really got off the ground. Read More »

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Warner Bros Claims Victory In Domestic, Foreign And Worldwide Market Share

Mike Fleming

BURBANK, CA, January 4, 2011 – The Warner Bros. Pictures Group broke the all-time industry worldwide box office record with a 2010 gross of $4.814 billion, which surpasses the prior record of $4.010 billion (set by Warner Bros. in

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Warner Bros Film Exec Jessica Goodman Exiting At Year’s End

By | Wednesday December 15, 2010 @ 11:28am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros Pictures executive vice president Jessica Goodman will be leaving the studio at year’s end. Goodman informed Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov of her decision to leave months ago, but she stayed on to see through the production of movies. The last of them, the Steven Soderbergh-directed Contagion, … Read More »

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OSCAR: Warner Bros Film Boss Alan Horn On Awards Campaigns Past And Present



This is Part 1 from my recent long Q&A with Warner Bros’ Alan Horn who will step down as President/COO in April. Warner Bros has more marquee category awards contenders this year than probably any other studio because of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, Ben Affleck’s The Town, and Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter. It also boasted a remarkable string of recent winners including Million Dollar Baby and The Departed and Slumdog Millionaire and The Blind Side. But in almost every case, Warner Bros underestimated the picture’s Oscar chances. Studio mogul Alan Horn goes back to the future with me and assesses the campaigns:

DEADLINE: I want to talk to you about this year’s Academy Awards. Your studio has been sitting on its duff about campaigning for Inception. The result is that other movies are overtaking the buzz when your movie should be the logical frontrunner because it did well at the box office and with critics and because Nolan’s The Dark Knight was robbed of a Best Picture nomination. Doesn’t Warner Bros win Oscars in spite of itself?
ALAN HORN: Well, I know that’s how you feel. My response is that, first of all, we care about the Oscars and enjoy Oscar attention. A win is a very, very big deal. It’s very prestigious, it’s very exciting, plus we are a filmmaker friendly company and have long-term relationships with filmmakers. Of course Clint Eastwood comes to mind immediately, but now Chris Nolan and even the emerging Ben Affleck are our filmmakers that we really care about deeply and we want to do right by them. We want to do everything we can to have a strong Oscar campaign. Because we want to win. But we feel that for Inception, we have to coordinate it of course with Chris and with Emma Thomas and with Leo. But what comes to mind for me is, did you see the horse race with Zenyatta by any chance?

DEADLINE: No
HORN: This horse won 19 out of 20 times.  It’s a filly racing against all these giant male horses. She’s six years old whereas all the others were 3 years old. She’d never lost, and then just by a nose on the 20th and final race of her career. It was a very exciting thing. I don’t know anything about horses or horse-racing but I happened to see it. And it made me think of our conversation about the Oscars because the nominations come out, as you know, the end of December. Then the ballots go out. And then the voting takes place and all that. Our campaign is scheduled to start in a big way timed to that schedule. We are going to go very big for Inception. But we are also going to push for Hereafter because of the relationship with Clint. And for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 1 although no one really expects a lot of attention for Harry Potter until the final installment which will be next summer. And for The Town because we all think that Ben did just a hell of a job, a really good job. We want to do it right. There is no intention on our part to give short shrift to this, to be cheap about it, or to be stupid about it either. So what my understanding is for Inception is that we’re going to start very heavily doing editorial pieces, we are going to screen the picture like crazy, we’re going to have online participation and print too. It won’t be for lack of trying or spending money.

DEADLINE: But are you too late?
HORN: Well, we don’t think so. That’s why I brought up the horse race. This horse Zenyatta always started at the end of the pack and all of a sudden she comes on like a freight train. And the question for us is: what’s the right timing? Because if you peak too soon, you may blow all the money before people really focus on it. So it’s a big debate you could have but we sure are trying to do it right.

DEADLINE: Clint was not shy about telling people that you did not want to push his Million Dollar Baby because you didn’t see it as an Oscar film. You didn’t even want to greenlight it. Which goes back to the gripe that your studio wins Oscars in spite of itself. Read More »

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TOLDJA! James Nesbitt Lands ‘The Hobbit’

Mike Fleming

LOS ANGELES November 1, 2010 – British actor James Nesbitt (Millions and TV’s Cold Feet), is the latest actor to join the ensemble cast of The Hobbit, it was jointly announced today by New Line Cinema, Warner Bros, and MGM.
Nesbitt will play Bofur, a disarmingly forthright, funny and

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SHAKEUP: Warner Bros Unveils Succession



2ND WRITETHRU (UPDATES 1:30 & 4:15 PM VERSIONS): Warner Bros Chairman/CEO Barry Meyer stays on for 2 more years. President/COO Alan Horn leaves next April and becomes consultant until the end of 2013. An Office Of The President is created and shared by Jeff Robinov, Bruce Rosenblum, and Kevin Tsujihara. Those are the headlines from today’s shakeup and succession announcement. This was expected, especially when Meyer kept dropping hints around Hollywood recently that he wanted to stay on. So was Horn, but the bad blood that’s existed between him and Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes is legion. After all, Horn never cozied up to Bewkes even when Jeff was rumored to be taking over the top Time Warner job. “Alan never reached out to Jeff. Even with all the rumors of Jeff’s impending promotion, Alan never chased a relationship with Jeff at all. Never,” according to an insider. That dictated Alan would be gone according to the March 2009 don’t-let-the-door-hit-in-you-in-the-ass schedule of 2 years dictated by Bewkes. But not Barry now. “Alan’s really very hurt. He’s a very prideful guy,” a Horn pal tells me today. “It would have been much easier for him if Barry was leaving at the same time. Until very recently, Alan’s expectation was that he and Barry would be.” (How Horn could not have known what everybody else in Hollywood did, that Meyer wanted another 2 years, demonstrates how out of touch he has been and still is. But that is the result of Alan’s peculiar arrogance.)

I’ve just learned that Bewkes behind the scenes clarified his intentions to the new co-president troika. He told them he was not delaying succession. Instead, he made it clear that in 2 1/2-to-3 years, the trio of execs will be running Warner Bros together — that is, unless one of them fucks up. Bewkes told them: “I’m not bringing someone in and I don’t want a horserace. The 3 of you bring different skill sets to this so I want you to do this together.”

So why was Barry renewed for 2 more years? I’m told to “ease the transition”. There’s the transition with Wall Street because Bewkes has begun positioning Time Warner as a TV-centric company, noting that 80% of the Big Media behemoth’s profitability is from Turner, HBO, and half of Warner Bros. But there’s also another transition Meyer must ease, according to some of my sources. ”Bewkes is not so confident that Jeff [Robinov] is ready to step up, that he has the visibility or stature or personality to lead a theatrical division. Bewkes lets Rosenblum and Tsujihara talk to analysts. Robinov does not. Bewkes does not perceive Robinov at the same level. So Bewkes wants Barry on the front lines.” But, of all the co-presidenting trio, Robinov is the only one now with clear air. He no longer has to answer to Horn for greenlight authority after April 1st, and Meyer has always backburnered anything film-related. Whereas Rosenblum and Tsujihara still have their boss around. But Meyer gave them far more authority than Horn ever gave Robinov. (More on Robinov below.)

Meyer also positioned himself inside Hollywood and with Bewkes as the only mogul who could keep the upcoming Hollywood guild negotiations from running off the rails because he is the most extreme hardliner of all the studio and network bosses. (Indeed, his fellow moguls estimated to me that Barry extended the agony of the WGA strike by at least six weeks because he considered the labor action such a personal affront and didn’t “want to reward a strike”. But then, when SAG didn’t strike, he didn’t want to reward that either.) Today’s announcement comes just days from the kickoff of the negotiations season for contracts expiring in 2011. (On September 27th, SAG and AFTRA will begin jointly bargaining with the AMPTP for 7 weeks, followed by the DGA in mid-November. No date has yet been set for the WGA, whose contract ends May 1, 2011, but Meyer and the moguls and the AMPTP intend to negotiate with the writers last to ensure there’s the most Hollywood pressure on them.)

Back in late 2008-early 2009, when Meyer and Horn were renegotiating their own contracts, Bewkes balked at giving the Warner Bros duo a full 3-year, or 4-year, or 5-year vote of confidence. In the end, after not wanting to renew the pair, Bewkes kept them on a humiliating 2-year choke chain. Bewkes had only been in charge of Time Warner for one year, and Hollywood was waiting for him to shake things up at Warner Bros like when he re-possessed Bob Shaye’s New Line. He’s a cautious man, and he did the cautious thing.

At the time, cranky and tired Barry wanted to retire. But something happened to Meyer when he finally got his expiration date from Bewkes: it reanimated him. Suddenly, he was back doing his job aggressively. Warner Bros TV made a comeback after 2 years of losing clout when it couldn’t produce any successful new shows amid a plethora of expensive creative deals. But profitability wasn’t affected because of a legacy of TV hits. But credit also goes to Bruce Rosenblum, President of the Warner Bros Television Group, who for some time now has ably filled the power vacuum created by Meyer’s once imminent departure. Rosenblum now runs his division almost autonomously. If he titularly comes back under Meyer’s thumb, but don’t expect Bruce to give a shit. “Bruce is all about the hands-on creative and distribution and dealing-making process which Barry allowed him to do a lot more of in recent years. Also, while Barry is sitting back, Bruce is overseeing the TV strategy transition from analog to digital. All digital conversations are going through Bruce’s office.”

As for Horn, he just got more distracted and depleted after the rug was pulled out from under him. And just as stubborn Read More »

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Overture Duo Were Fired By Blackberry

My pal Claudia Eller has a funny little scoop on the LA Times website about how Starz chief Chris Albrecht made a Blackberry mistake that led to Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett’s exit from Overture. (So I gotta ask: is this why moguls like Alan Horn and Ron Meyer refuse … Read More »

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Digital Big Media vs Prehistoric Hollywood

By | Wednesday May 28, 2008 @ 7:47pm PDT

I smirked while watching the highlight reels of Big Media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Sir Howard Stringer and Jeff Bewkes being interviewed at the “All Things Digital” confab (aka D6 co-hosted by the Wall Street Journal‘s Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher) taking place right now at the … Read More »

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