Weeks after Disney announced that worldwide distribution chief Dave Hollis would be leaving the studio after 17 years, Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios chairman Alan Horn gave him the warmest of goodbyes at CinemaCon.
Horn said that when he was at Warner Bros, he considered that studio’s former distribution boss Dan Fellman “the dean of distribution. When I left, I thought I’ll never see his equal, but I have and it’s Dave Hollis.”
What box office records didn’t Disney break during Hollis’ tenure? In 2016, his department led the studio to an all-time industry record of $7 billion globally, $3 billion worldwide in a calendar year. Last year, Disney became the only major Hollywood studio to surpass the $6 billion mark worldwide twice. Hollis has seen 12 Disney releases clear north of $1 billion at the global box office, and one over $2 billion (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) during the past seven years.
Hollis’ post will be filled by 24-year Disney veteran Cathleen Taff, who has been promoted to EVP Theatrical Distribution, Franchise Management and Business & Audience Insights.
“There’s smart, there’s really smart and there’s brilliant — Dave Hollis,” said Horn.
“There’s hardworking, super contentious and obsessed – Dave Hollis,” continued Horn.
“There’s informative, knowledgeable and encyclopedic gifted — Dave,” said Horn, “and there’s finely attractive, charismatic and Dave, I can’t read your writing!”
Onstage, Hollis thanked the room of exhibitors for their partnership over the years, saying, “This is a business of friends and it’s something that (former Disney distribution chief) Chuck Viane taught me before I came in.”