Well, with Disney formally revealing that they were taking a $200 million bath on “John Carter,” it was not a question of “if” but “when” someone in the corporate food chain was going to take a hit. An executive shakeup was widely expected to happen later this year, though nobody really saw this one coming.
Chairman Rich Ross is resigning from his job at Disney, releasing a statement to the press saying: “The best people need to be in the right jobs, in roles they are passionate about, doing work that leverages the full range of their abilities. It’s one of the leadership lessons I’ve learned during my career, and it’s something I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to as I look at the challenges and opportunities ahead.” It’s a roundabout way of saying he no longer feels like he can lead the ship at the mouse house. But is this blowback from “John Carter”?
We’ll never know for sure, but we can’t imagine the post-“John Carter” mood in the offices at Disney were pleasant. That said, Ross was expected to survive any employee changes. It was actually his predecessor Dick Cook who greenlit “John Carter” in the first place, though Ross likely bears some responsibility for the massive budget overages and reshoots the picture wound up taking. But it is a surprise that he would step down when two Disney movies that are expected to do big business in 2013 — “The Lone Ranger” and “Oz The Great And Powerful” — were developed under his watch. However, the pressure for Disney to make a gesture to show they wouldn’t stand by while losing hundreds of millions on a movie may have proved too great, and Ross may have chosen/been persuaded to step aside (and he’ll probably get a helluva severance on his way out the door).
So now the hunt is on for the next man to steer the wheel at Disney. Any suggestions? [Variety]