Sunday, September 20, 2009

Disney Chariman Retires, Problems Arise for 'POTC 4'

For those not familiar with him, Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook was one of the best executives to run Disney in recent years. He established numerous beneficial connections and was a friend to many powerful people.

Variety reports that Cook stepped down on Friday after 38 years with Disney - seven as chairman - which he began as a ride operator. Deadline Hollywood claims Cook was fired.

It was a shocking and surprising announcement and no one knows who will replace him yet (which is a big concern). However, his sudden departure may have quite an impact, as it seems there might already be a backlash in the industry that may hurt the studio in big ways.

Producers and filmmakers have already started expressing their sadness. "Indiana Jones" producer Frank Marshall said on Twitter: "Woke up to find Dick Cook has resigned from Disney. One of the most respected and classy executives in town. I will miss our breakfasts." Nikki Finke got an update from Disney insiders saying: "I hear that Steven Spielberg is devastated by the news of Dick Cook's ouster. Dick was a major reason why Spielberg and Stacey Snider brought the new DreamWorks to Disney. 'Steven worships Dick,' an insider told me tonight." But one of the most upset individuals is not a producer or a director, but rather an actor, and a very big one at Disney - Johnny Depp.

Depp, star of the studio's "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, said he has a potential deal in place for "Pirates 4" that depends on how good the script is, but adds that his passion has been severely dampened by Cook's abrupt departure.

"There's a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment," Depp said. "It was all born in that office."
The actor was "shocked and very sad" about the loss of Cook, who had wooed him to Disney, offered him the Captain Jack Sparrow role and supported his eccentric portrayal of the character when other executives were "opposed to my body language."

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Depp said: "He's instantly trustworthy. And you generally don't meet people at the studios you trust. He's a rare beast.

"When things went a little sideways on the first 'Pirates' movie and others at the studio were less than enthusiastic about my interpretation of the character, Dick was there from the first moment. He trusted me".

Cook's departure comes after Disney CEO Bob Iger publicly expressed unhappiness with recent film releases "Race to Witch Mountain," "Bedtime Stories" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic," all of which were box office disappointments.

Upcoming releases might help to end the run of duds. They include "Prince of Persia," "Sorcerer's Apprentice," "A Christmas Carol," "Tron Legacy" and Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland."
Word is that producer Jerry Bruckheimer is going to reestablish his relationship at Disney without Cook (and with whomever they get to replace him) and in the meantime somehow attempt to convince Depp to stay onboard. Everyone knows there really can't be a "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie without Johnny Depp.

What do you think will happen next?
More news to come! Catch ya' later!
Sources: The Geek Files, First Showing

No comments: