As expected, 20th Century Fox Vice Chairman Emma Watts will continue leading the studio once it is absorbed by The Walt Disney Company. She’ll report directly to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn in a structure that Disney unveiled Thursday.
Current 20th Century Fox chairman and CEO Stacey Snider will not be segueing to the new merger as has been previously reported. She’ll depart the Fox lot when the merger deal officially closes, after overseeing the releases of The Hate U Give, The Favourite, Bad Times at the El Royale and the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. She is taking meetings but has not made a decision on her next move.
Disney said today that Fox Animation co-presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird, as well as Fox Family President Vanessa Morrison, are also moving over after the $71.3 billion merger closes near the top half of next year.
“We’re pleased that these talented executives will be joining our incredible team of studio leaders once the acquisition of 21st Century Fox is completed,” said Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger. “Under Alan Horn’s leadership, Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm have reached unprecedented levels of creative and box office success, and adding Fox’s impressive film brands and franchises to our studio will allow us to create even more appealing high-quality entertainment to delight audiences.”
Said Horn: “The addition of these respected film groups under the umbrella of The Walt Disney Studios will create endless possibilities as we continue to deliver first-rate motion pictures to audiences around the world. This is an experienced group of executives, and Alan Bergman and I look forward to welcoming them to our leadership ranks upon completion of the acquisition.”
While Disney for years had the Touchstone brand, Fox brings a pipeline of adult-demo and awards-worthy fare to Disney. The long-awaited Bohemian Rhapsody is expected to play through the roof at the box office when it opens November 2, potentially as high as $40M for it opening weekend. Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite jumped ahead in the awards season race with Gotham Awards nominations today (following its Grand Special Jury Prize at Venice) with noms for Best Feature and Best Screenplay as well as a special ensemble acting citation from the jury for the trio of Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. And of course what every fanboy has been craving, Fox comes loaded with Marvel’s X-Men universe, which will finally be married with Disney’s own Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Disney today laid out the following reporting structure to Horn as follows:
- Emma Watts, Vice Chairman, Twentieth Century Fox Film and President, Production, Twentieth Century Fox
- Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula, Chairmen, Fox Searchlight Pictures
- Elizabeth Gabler, President of Production, Fox 2000
Reporting to Mr. Horn and Ms. Watts will be:
- Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird, Co-Presidents, Fox Animation
- Vanessa Morrison, President, Fox Family
The executives will join Mr. Horn’s existing leadership team that includes:
- Alan Bergman, President, The Walt Disney Studios
- Sean Bailey, President, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production
- Ed Catmull, President, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
- Jennifer Lee, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios
- Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar Animation Studios
- Kevin Feige, President, Marvel Studios
- Louis D’Esposito, Co-President, Marvel Studios
- Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm
- Ken Bunt, President, Disney Music Group
- Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer, Disney Theatrical Group