Alan Bergman. Alan Bergman.

Change is coming at the top of Hollywood’s biggest movie studio. Alan Bergman and Alan Horn — “The Alans,” as they are nicknamed — have jointly led the Walt Disney Studios group as co-chairmen since May 2019. But as of January 1, they will hold different titles.

Who is now what?

Alan Bergman (top) has been named sole chairman of Disney Studios Content, in which capacity he will oversee creative, production, marketing, and operations for the group. Alan Horn will remain the studios’ chief creative officer, but will no longer be co-chairman. Both will report to Disney CEO Bob Chapek.

Alan Horn.
Alan Horn (Photo: Walt Disney Co.)
What does this mean?

It suggests that the 77-year-old Horn is reducing his duties, while Bergman (who is 54) will now steer the studios through a turning point in the industry. Rumors that Horn would retire imminently turned out to be unfounded. His sidestep resembles the way in which Bob Iger, Disney’s former CEO, moved into a creative role as the company’s executive chairman in February.

Why adjust roles now?

Well, what’s certain is that Disney’s studios are at a turning point. A major reorganization in October reoriented Disney’s entertainment business toward streaming. The company’s recent Investor Day made good on that promise: around 100 films and series were announced, some 80% of which are heading straight to Disney+. Its stock has since hit a record high.

“It has been an amazing run,” said Horn of his eight years at Disney, “and the time feels right to shift my focus solely to our enormous creative slate.”

Who are The Alans?

Veteran entertainment executives both. Bergman was president of The Walt Disney Studios from 2005 to 2019, playing a key role in the integrations of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox.

Horn has spent almost 50 years in the business. He co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment (The Shawshank Redemption, When Harry Met Sally). Later, he served as president and COO of Warner Bros. for 12 years, in which time the studio released mega-hits like the Harry Potter films and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, before he was forced to leave in 2011. Disney brought him onboard as studio chairman in 2012.

What exactly is Disney Studios Content?

The studios in the group — also known as Walt Disney Studios — are Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and Blue Sky Studios, as well as Disney Theatrical Productions.

Under Bergman and Horn, Disney became by far the biggest film studio in Hollywood. It accounted for some 40% of the domestic box office in 2019, a year in which seven of its releases cleared the $1 billion mark globally.

Who are the leads of each Disney production studio?

The leads of each production studio are Steve Asbell, president, 20th Century Studios; Robert Baird, co-president, Blue Sky Studios; Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production; Pete Docter, chief creative officer, Pixar Animation Studios; Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios, and chief creative officer, Marvel; Stephen Gilula, chairman, Searchlight Pictures; Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm; Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios; and Nancy Utley, chairman, Searchlight Pictures; as well as Thomas Schumacher, president, Disney Theatrical Productions. They will continue to dual report to Bergman and Horn on creative matters.

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Associate Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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