The Marvel characters to be featured on Netflix in the four-series deal the companies announced today are “not among the most popular,” Disney CEO Bob Iger just told analysts. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage ”were never going to become feature films.” But that could change if the shows planned for the streaming service catch on. That makes the agreement “great for Netflix” — and opens “a great opportunity for Marvel to create more brand value…There are more opportunities beyond our platform to produce product for.”
The Disney chief also urged investors not to fret about the long time it’s taking for the entertainment giant to work out a new program carriage deal with Dish Network. The companies agreed to keep talking — without any programming black out — at the end of September when their previous agreement expired. “Progress is being made,” Iger says. Still, a deal “could take some time.” That’s because the negotiations are less about the price for carrying traditional TV channels than they are about the fees and conditions for Dish to stream READ MORE »
With low barriers to entry on the Internet, rivals to Netflix “are going to use technology to offer varied product” making the competition for viewers “more of a marathon than a sprint,” Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors this morning at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. “It will be very hard for them to monopolize the marketplace.” That’s probably what you’d expect to hear from a company that’s also a major investor in Hulu, a Netflix rival. But his upbeat views of a highly competitive Internet world stood in stark contrast to his equally optimistic description of the benefits of maintaining a traditional pay TV business where consumers have little choice. “The $75 [a month], 100-channel expanded basic package is a really good bargain,” Iger says. “The consumer is getting a good deal.” He also sees no problem as companies including Disney ratchet up their programming fees. Could price inflation lead to cord cutting, or young people choosing not to subscribe at all? “We don’t see evidence of that occurring.” And consumers may see no impact because pay TV distributors “may have to accept lower margins on their video business.” That could make sense because video is “very important” to help them sell lucrative broadband and phone services.
Related: Iger Says ‘Lone Ranger’ Not Responsible For Bruckheimer Break Read More »
The producer “will probably end up making more films for us” including a fifth Pirates Of The Caribbean, the Disney CEO told CNBC’s Jim Cramer today. And last week’s decision to let their first-look deal expire next year was not tied to the fact that Disney might … Read More »
Even though the Disney CEO says he doesn’t want to weigh into the contract dispute, he left analysts with little doubt about his sympathies. Bob Iger told them in his quarterly earnings call that he feels “strongly about the need for broadcasters to be paid adequately” by pay … Read More »
On the sidelines of the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley last week, Walt Disney Company CFO Jay Rasulo said executive car allowances are going the way of the Edsel. “We’re phasing … Read More »
Disney‘s MyMagic+ wristbands sparked some controversy when the program was first promoted back in January, but testing at Florida’s Walt Disney World has shown positive results. At the Allen & Co conference … Read More »
The Disney chief’s contract originally called for him to give up the CEO title on April 1, 2015 but remain chairman until the end of June 2016. Under the new amendment, he will keep both jobs until the end. As a result of the change, he’ll continue to receive in the last year of his agreement the salary and target incentive compensation he receives as CEO and chairman. (He made $40.2M in compensation last year.) “Now, Disney will continue to have the full benefit of Mr. Iger’s leadership as CEO and chairman for the duration of his tenure,” the board’s Independent Lead Director Orin Smith says. “The board remains focused on effective succession planning, and will continue to develop a sound and appropriate process for ensuring a smooth management transition.” Read More »
In a summer where internal studio battles are exploding, talent agencies are attacking each other, gun violence is rampant in real life and on screen, football teams are spawning accused murderers, teen idols are out of control, and people don’t talk — they just text — it’s nice to reflect on this Sunday before Independence Day that there once was what, at least in retrospect, seemed to be a kinder, more innocent Hollywood. At least that was the feeling I got this week at two events celebrating two uniquely inspiring past stars, both very much off the radar of the industry that eats its young today. They are worth noting.
Many people today who worship the likes of the Kardashians may not know who Dolores Hart is. Or was. But in the late 1950s and early ’60s she was a genuine film star who gave Elvis Presley his first screen kiss in Loving You (1957) and again in King Creole (1958); searched for men in Where The Boys Are (1960); and co-starred opposite the likes of Montgomery Clift, Karl Malden, Anthony Quinn, Myrna Loy and many others until she suddenly gave it all up after attending the New York premiere of her last film (1963′s Come Fly With Me). She told the studio’s limo driver to drop her off at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT, and became a nun. That was exactly 50 years ago, and Mother Dolores, as she is now known, is still there and still doing great things with her life — even if it isn’t as the movie star she once was. Read More »
UPDATED 1:46 PM: Star attraction President Obama told some of the Hollywood’s biggest players and his biggest contributors that he understands if they’re feeling “donor fatigue” from all the … Read More »
UPDATED: This is one our Nellie Andreeva told you was going to happen back in March. It became official this morning on The View, the show Barbara Walters co-created. “In the summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on television … Read More »
UPDATE, 9:25 AM: Disney has just released a statement confirming our scoop about job cuts at Walt Disney Studios, which are now underway.
As part of an ongoing review to ensure that the Studios’ operational structure and economics align with the demands of the current marketplace, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our staffing levels in several divisions of the Studio.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY AM: Disney shares are trading around their all-time high. But Wednesday looks like the day Disney will drop the ax for its expected layoffs. I have learned that about 150 people at Walt Disney Studios will receive pink slips. Sources say the cuts will come from across all of Disney Studios businesses, including the music and NYC-based theatre departments. At this point it looks like a one-time round of layoffs, but an overall reorganization affecting other divisions is planned for later this year and that could include more cuts. They’re coming as a result of an internal review ordered late last year by CEO Bob Iger and CFO Jay Rasulo to pinpoint superfluous positions and increase efficiency. But the company is already doing well with mega-blockbusters including The Avengers. Net profits for the fiscal year that ended in September increased 18% to $5.7 billion on revenues of $42.3 billion.
Related: Disney Fiscal Q1 Earnings & Revenues Beat Expectations Read More »
Cory Booker hasn’t officially said he’s running to become New Jersey’s next Senator but Hollywood is planning to shovel money into his campaign treasure chest. Anointing Booker as Hollywood’s new favorite politician, invites went out this week for a “Special Evening In LA” April 25 fundraiser for the Newark Mayor at the Beverly Hills home of producer Jerry Weintraub and girlfriend, producer Susan Ekins. The event has a marquee host list that cuts across party lines and into deep wallets. It costs $5,000 a ticket to attend the fundraiser with the money going to Cory Booker For Senate. The event is one of eight the telegenic Democrat has lined up in the next two months in anticipation of a 2014 run to replace departing fellow Democrat Frank Lautenberg in the heavily Blue state. The Beverly Hills fundraiser certainly shows that backing a potential winner cuts across party lines. Republicans like Bush family confidante Weintraub and Bruce Willis are listed on the invite but so are avowed Democrats like Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was one of the largest single contributors to Barack Obama’s reelection, Steven Spielberg and new Star Wars director J.J. Abrams and their wives Kate Capshaw and Katie McGrath.
Related: President Obama Thanks Katzenbergs For “Tireless” Support
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The Disney CEO and chairman seems bemused by last week’s effort by shareholder rights advocates to split the company’s two top jobs when he steps down. “This is essentially a cause looking for a problem,” … Read More »
Under more normal circumstances, the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix would briefly replace Disneyland tomorrow as Disney‘s “happiest place on earth.” The company’s stock is trading around an all time high as shareholders prepare to convene there for their annual meeting. But attendees instead are girding for a fight over resolutions that could shape the way Disney’s run, especially after Bob Iger steps down in June 2016. Many shareholders support a movement sweeping corporate America to democratize governance policies, giving the people who ostensibly own a company more flexibility to check the power of CEOs and directors. Disney infuriated them in 2011 by agreeing to make Iger chairman as well as CEO, which critics say puts him in charge of the team that’s supposed to judge his performance. And the company further enraged shareholder rights advocates recently when it gave Iger a 20.3% raise with a package for fiscal 2012 worth $40M — even though 43% of Disney shareholders opposed management in the federally mandated say-on-pay advisory vote at last year’s annual meeting.
That set the stage for tomorrow: California teachers’ fund CalPERS, and proxy advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis, are among the groups asking shareholders to oppose Disney in the say-on-pay vote. They also support two shareholder resolutions that Disney opposes. One would enable some stock owners to nominate candidates for the board — an idea that’ll be raised at several companies this year. The second urges the board to amend the company’s governance guidelines to prevent a CEO after Iger from also serving as chairman, except under brief and unusual circumstances. Read More »
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System owns about 5.3 million shares of Disney stock worth $263M, which only represents 0.3% of the company’s shares. But the group reports ahead of Disney’s March 6 shareholders meeting in Arizona that … Read More »
CEO Bob Iger made the disclosure in an interview on CNBC. He says that Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are working on them — Deadline revealed exclusively back in November that they were getting involved — and they’re in addition to Disney‘s planned Star Wars VII, VIII … Read More »
Bob Iger today told a Massachusetts congressman that his privacy issue concerns about new technology being introduced at Disney theme parks are bunk. “We are offended by the ludicrous and utterly ill-informed assertion in your letter dated January 24, 2013, that we would in any way haphazardly or recklessly introduce a program that manipulates children, or wantonly puts their safety at risk,” the Disney chairman and CEO wrote in a letter (read it in full below) Monday to Ed Markey.
The program to which Iger is referring is the company’s MyMagic+MagicBands digital venture set to launch this spring at Disney World. As Iger outlined last week during a Q&A with Brian Grazer, the initiative enables theme park visitors to upload their personal information into digitally enhanced wristbands so they can reserve time on rides and in restaurants as well as upload birthday information. From Disney’s point of view, the MagicBand tracks guest interaction and purchasing behavior while in the parks. Read More »
Jen Yamato is a Deadline contributor.
Disney‘s Bob Iger said he’s taking measures to monitor violence in his company’s video game interests following the Newtown school shooting and President Obama’s subsequent gun initiatives, which include a study of the impact of violent video games. The chairman and CEO said at a Q&A with Brian Grazer today during a HRTS Newsmakers Luncheon that he met yesterday within the company’s ranks “to take stock in everything we’ve got that can be considered near the line or over the line”. Iger refused to speak with press before and after the hour-long chat, which was moderated by longtime pal Grazer, although a rep tells Deadline any official plans to review the titles have not been solidified. “Fortunately at Disney there’s very little [violent content], but I still want to make sure we’re asking ourselves the right questions in terms of that standard,” Iger said, “and also [ensure] we’re willing to be a part of a dialogue in today’s world that I think is pretty necessary in terms of what our role is and what our role should be”.
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