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Disney

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    Battsek Exits Miramax

    Just weeks after Disney announced that Miramax was scaling back to three releases a year (what's the point?), the specialty unit's president, Daniel Battsek, 50, is exiting the company. This is not a surprise, except that like former Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook, Battsek was a company man (18 y...

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    Another Shoe Drops: Disney Replaces Cook with Ross

    Disney chairman Bob Iger has finally announced that Disney Channel star Rich Ross, a 13-year Disney veteran, will replace Dick Cook as chairman of Walt Disney Studios. As studio chief he will supervise worldwide production, distribution and marketing of the Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax and Disne...

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    Miramax Restructures, Reduces Film Output

    With the departure of Disney studio chief Dick Cook, things were not looking up for Miramax Films, yet another studio specialty division trying to survive some weak boxoffice. (Current release The Boys Are Back, starring Clive Owen, is not taking off.) Disney is dealing with the issue for the moment by restructuring Miramax, consolidating marketing and distribution with the parent studio, and reducing the number of films that Miramax releases every year. (That's the exact opposite of my solution for what they should do.) Miramax will reduce its output to just three movies a year (including acquisitions), and cut its staff of 75 by some 50 pos...

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    Indie Fallout: Should Studio Specialty Units Change Focus?

    Ever since the Indie Summit last week, something has been nagging at me.

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    Bad B.O. Weekend: Surrogates, Fame Flop, Capitalism Scores

    It was a nasty weekend for studio openers. Disney's $80-million robot thriller Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, flopped with an estimated $15-million opening; MGM's sagging fortunes were not buttressed by the ill-conceived $18-million teen musical remake Fame, the only movie they've opened in mont...

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    Disney's Next Move: Who Will Replace Cook?

    Something had to give at Disney. But motion picture chief Dick Cook was such a fixture at the studio that despite Disney chairman Robert Iger's public complaints about the quality of the movies, I figured production chief Oren Aviv would be the target. Disney's output has been suspect ever since Aviv replaced Nina Jacobson at the studio. Cook, who over 38 years rose up through the ranks to run distribution before he took over running movies, was clearly comfortable with Aviv, who came from the marketing side, but had written the high-concept hit, National Treasure. So Cook and Aviv were both strong marketers, but hit a rough box office patch ...

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    TIFF#: The Boys Are Back's Owen Goes Family

    Everyone goes into Toronto with a schedule of films to watch. And that list changes with buzz. Some movies fall off due to bad WOM, while others become must-sees. IndieWIRE's in-progress critics' poll of 34 films is indicative of the movies that everyone went to see-- and the ones that nobody did.

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    Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty

    At LAX this morning I chatted with indie press agent Laura Kim and ex-Disney exec Peter Schneider, who produced Don Hahn's documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. The doc tells the story of how Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the 80s generation of Disney animators woke up the sleeping Disney anim...

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    Marvel Update, Netflix Refunds, Simple and Cheap is Good

    Thankfully, a cooling marine layer blew in over L.A. Tuesday morning, which shifted the balance a bit for exhausted firefighters battling the huge Station fire which has destroyed some 63 homes and threatens some 12,000. "The Station fire grew to more than 122,000 acres overnight and continued to burn out of control despite some signs of improving weather conditions," reported the LAT. UPDATE 4:20 PM: "Firefighters made significant progress today in the Station fire, but a tense battle was underway this afternoon to save the communication centers atop Mt. Wilson. By 3 p.m., the fire was approaching closer than ever from two directions: one-ha...

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