In the wake of releasing the fastest grossing movie to a record $1 billion-plus proportions around the globe, Avengers: Endgame, Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Robert Iger announced this morning that Disney 23 year vet and Walt Disney Studios President Alan Bergman is being promoted to Co-Chairman of the Studio Entertainment division.
Bergman will share the title with Alan Horn, however, the latter will expand his duties as and have the additional title of Chief Creative Officer to, continuing to steer the studios’ creative strategy. Bergman has served as President of the Walt Disney Studios since 2005 and is respected by many on the lot as a driving force for the media conglom’s success as an industry powerhouse. He oversaw Pixar and Marvel Studios’ integration into Disney, and with Horn the acquisition of Lucasfilm.
Both will report to Iger and will jointly oversee Disney’s film, music, and theatre groups, as well as global marketing, distribution, communications, and human resources. Bergman and Horn are currently leading the integration of all the Fox film labels including but not limited to 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Blue Sky Studios. Bergman will continue to lead the Studios’ business groups including operations, technology, business and legal affairs, labor relations, and finance.
Under Horn and Bergman’s leadership, Disney became the first and only studio to cross the $7B mark at the global B.O., first in 2016 reaching $7.6 billion, and again in 2018 with $7.3B, when Disney also set an industry record of $3.09B domestically. Together, they’ve overseen the release of 15 billion-dollar hits, including $2B-grossing title Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the latter which will cross that milestone by Sunday per B.O. analysts. Another biggie: Endgame on Monday pushed the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (which counts 22 movies) past the $20B mark.
During Bergman and Horn’s tenure, Disney released the biggest domestic release of all time (Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $936.6M), the biggest domestic animated release of all time (Incredibles 2 at $608.5M), and the biggest global animated release of all time (Frozen with $1.27B), and a Disney release has led the box office domestically and globally every year since 2015. Disney’s theatrical group has debuted popular Broadway and touring productions of their cinematic vault including Frozen, Newsies, Aladdin, and others.
“Seven years ago, I had the good fortune of hiring Alan Horn as Chairman of our Studios, and since then, our Studio Entertainment group has delivered creative excellence and tremendous box office success,” said Iger. “Alan Bergman’s leadership has also been key to making our Studios the gold standard of the industry. The new ‘co-chair’ structure formally recognizes the powerful partnership behind one of the most successful eras in our Studios’ history and ensures we remain focused on creating extraordinary entertainment experiences for audiences around the world.”
“When I joined The Walt Disney Studios as Chairman in 2012, I was fortunate to gain an immensely talented, passionate, and dedicated leadership team, chief among them Alan Bergman, who has been a trusted partner and friend ever since,” said Horn. “We’ve worked in close consultation throughout my tenure, and the success we’ve had over the past several years would not have been possible without him. As The Walt Disney Studios has grown to encompass not only Disney but Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and now the Fox film division, I’m thrilled to acknowledge how Alan’s role has likewise expanded by naming him to lead the Studios alongside me as Co-Chairman.”
“The Walt Disney Studios team is the best in the business, and I’ve been inspired to do my best every day because of the extraordinary group of people I’m fortunate enough to work with,” said Bergman. “I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and it’s a great honor to be asked to serve as Co-Chairman alongside Alan as we look forward to the years ahead.”
Since joining Disney in 1996, Bergman held executive roles in Disney’s controllership and operations planning groups before being named Chief Financial Officer of The Walt Disney Studios in 2001.
Horn came to Disney as Chairman in 2012 from Warner Bros. where he was President and COO. He served as Chairman and CEO of Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio’s Embassy Communications and later co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment.
Upcoming releases for Disney including the Toy Story 4, the feature live action adaptions of classic animated pic Aladdin and The Lion King this summer as well as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in October, Fox’s Dark Phoenix, Stuber, and Ford V. Ferrari. During November there’s Frozen 2; and finally Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December. The Studios are also producing highly anticipated content for Disney’s upcoming streaming service Disney+, including Star Wars: The Mandalorian and Disney’s live-action Lady and The Tramp.