Disney Loses Movie Boss In Major Studio Shift

By Britta DeVore | Updated

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Disney CEO Bob Iger hasn’t shied away from approaching the public with an up-front stance when it comes to how the legendary studio is performing financially. With numbers never quite meeting their target goal, the House of Mouse has been struggling in recent years. Hoping to turn their luck around, Iger has instituted a few new measures which, unfortunately for its motion picture production president, Sean Bailey, means ending his tenure at the company after a nearly two-decade run. 

Bailey’s Replacement

With Sean Bailey vacating his position, it leaves room for another business-minded individual to take a seat at the table. No stranger to the ins and outs of the studio, the head of Disney’s Searchlight Pictures, David Greenbaum, will pick up the baton left by Bailey and join part of Iger’s elite team in the next phase of their mission. Still, the company says that Bailey will be sticking with them to produce a handful of upcoming titles including the highly-anticipated Tron: Ares, making his departure as motion picture president more of a demotion than a true firing. 

Bailey’s Ups And Downs

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The last few years have been undoubtedly difficult for Bailey as he’s been in charge of movies including Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise, both of which weren’t the biggest box office earners for Disney. At the same time, he brought some of the world’s most beloved animated stories to life, serving as the name behind such live-action adaptations as The Jungle Book, Maleficent, and Alice in Wonderland, with his biggest hits including The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. Though it would be impossible to pinpoint the nail in Bailey’s coffin, the underperformance of last year’s live-action The Little Mermaid certainly didn’t help his case.

Iger’s Return

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As for the future of Bob Iger’s empire, after the CEO retired in 2021, he returned to captain the ship just a few months later in 2022. Now, he says that the next two years will mark his final swan song at Disney, with a retirement planned for 2026. This means that Iger is raring to get his plan underway to leave a lasting legacy on the studio and also set up his predecessor for a pathway to success.

Dialing Back Marvel

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The Disney CEO has been dropping breadcrumbs for those paying attention over the last year or so, making bold statements surrounding the studio’s handling of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Essentially, he’s moving towards less saturation, focusing more on quality than the quantity of the series rollout that has been so abundant in recent years. 

The Near Future Of Disney


During the company’s most recent earnings call, Iger said that another plan would see a change in content coming from the animated fields as well. After the last year saw less-than-savory sales for Disney’s 100th anniversary celebrator, Wish, Iger revealing that the game plan will now focus on dropping sequels and leaning into franchising opportunities. Frozen 3 and Moana 2 were just two of the titles dropped during his chat, with plenty of follow-up stories on the way.

Beyond pouring time, energy, and cash into sequels and franchises, audiences can also expect to catch an extended version of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour on Disney+ as well as some on-screen adaptations of popular games created by Epic Games. In all, Disney remains hopeful that by charting its new course and shaking up the leading members, it will be able to return to the juggernaut that it once was.