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  1. #1

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    After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    In a rather sudden and unexpected move, Dick Cook announced that he is resigning as head of the Walt Disney Studios.



    Walt Disney Co. studio chief Dick Cook resigns after 38 years with the company -- OrlandoSentinel.com

    BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — Walt Disney Co. studio chief Dick Cook announced Friday he's stepping down immediately, after nearly four decades with the company.

    Cook said in a statement he's been contemplating leaving the studio for some time and will be moving on to "new adventures." It wasn't immediately known who would replace him.

    Cook's studio has come under intense scrutiny for the quality of its films. Recent movies, like "Race to Witch Mountain," ''Bedtime Stories" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic" were box office disappointments.

    Cook said he believed the studio's slate of upcoming movies is the best in its history.
    Last edited by sir clinksalot; 09-18-2009 at 07:07 PM.

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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    Wow, and this is right after that great D23 Expo presentation.
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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    That was my first thought as well MM. There was absolutely NO indication of this a week ago.


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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    After the Expo I was certain that Disney stock would be strong for the next year. Now, not so sure.
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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    It has something to do with the Marvel Acquisition. Iger has said he was very, very impressed with the guy who is handling the Marvel Movies. I think there is more to this story than is being reported. Besides, earlier today Dick Cook said he had been fired and Disney was very adamant in reporting he wasn't. Somethings not right here.
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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    In a rather sudden and unexpected move, Dick Cook announced that he is resigning as head of the Walt Disney Studios.



    Walt Disney Co. studio chief Dick Cook resigns after 38 years with the company -- OrlandoSentinel.com



    Very sad news indeed =(

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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    I've had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Dick Cook at a number of studio events over the years, he's always been completely accessible, upbeat and just cool. He even went out of his way to introduce me to Denzel Washington at a premiere once and made sure a ticket snafu was cleared up at another one. He actually went out of his way to thank you for contributing to their films successes as well. WAY above and beyond other studio chiefs in town needless to say.

    Some of Hollywood's most prominent figures reacted to the news with dismay.

    Johnny Depp, star of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, said he was "shocked and very sad" to hear about Cook's abrupt departure.

    "He is the utmost gentleman," said Depp, whom Cook contacted personally in London. "He said, 'I'd like you to hear it from me before you hear it from someone else or read it.' He said today was my last day. He didn't give me a reason."
    Los Angeles Times
    Last edited by ALIASd; 09-18-2009 at 11:27 PM.

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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    So sad. I always liked him or had a good impression of him. Somehow I have a good sense of character when it comes to Disney peeps. I would really like to know what his new adventures are. (i mean come on, does it get better than being buddies with johnny depp?)


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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    Wow!
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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    This is upsetting. The Studios just rocked the Expo and their slate of upcoming movies and plans like the new Double Dare You label, the working with Dreamworks, all look amazing! Why would Disney want to lose someone who had helmed such a great upcoming slate??? Mr. Cook showed the most passion of all the keynote speakers and now he's gone? My newly positive impression of Iger after the Expo just slipped down several notches.

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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    Quote Originally Posted by nunz View Post
    Why would Disney want to lose someone who had helmed such a great upcoming slate???
    Because of their performance leading up to it?

    This article has lots of interesting bits..

    EXCLUSIVE! Dick Cook Fired From Disney; Hollywood Registering Shock At News; “Never Saw It Coming” vs “Had A Choice” – Deadline.com

    5TH UPDATE: Here's what I'm hearing now from deep inside Disney. That today's date to announce his exit was chosen by Dick Cook. That Bob Iger was at Wal-Mart all day so there wasn't an 11th-hour meeting with Cook. Disney insiders continue to insist Dick wasn't fired. Instead, as one of the sources stresses, "He had a choice, He just didn't see eye to eye with Bob on how to run the studio. Dick wanted to run the studio his way." But it didn't come as a surprise to toppers that Cook chose to step down rather than change the way he ran the studio. "In the last 5 years since Bob's been CEO, the biggest resistance to change has came from the studio as an institution. They were the last ones who realized that things needed to change. Even when Bob cited the performance of the motion picture division to analysts last May as one reason for Disney's poor results. (Specifically, Iger said "studio performance was disappointing, something they would be the first to admit.") The insiders also confirm that Dick called the staff meeting, but claim he only said he's stepping down and then read his resignation statement (see below). The insiders also maintain Cook didn't tear up but, yes, he got emotional. And that Dick never characterized his relationship with Iger. "Dick is very likeable, and he and Bob have a very cordial and very good relationship on a personal level," one of the sources just told me. There is also confirmation that the people who work inside Walt Disney studios are upset about Cook's abrupt departure.

    4TH UPDATE: 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.

    And now Cook's ouster may imperil a 4th Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. Noting that Cook first enticed him with the Pirates movie idea and there's no firm deal in place for No. 4, Johnny Depp said in a phone interview from London with Claudia Eller: "There's a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment," Depp said. "It was all born in that office."

    Depp used words like "shocked... very sad" to describe his reaction when Cook called him a few hours ago to break the news. "He is the utmost gentleman, so he made the call himself. He said, 'I'd like you to hear it from me before you hear it from someone else or read it. He said today was my last day. He didn't give me a reason... I didn't see this coming. There was no reason to see this coming." Depp said "I consider Dick a friend inside an insane system. He's instantly trustworthy. And you generally don't meet people at the studios you trust," Depp said. "He's a rare beast."

    3RD UPDATE: Sources are telling me that, after his meeting with Bob Iger, Dick Cook called a staff meeting -- "a big, big room full of people" -- and told them that he'd been fired after 38 years at Disney. Then Dick teared up. He explained his ouster by saying that he and Iger had never had a close relationship where they'd been on the same wave length. (However, Disney sources, including one of Cook's still-in-place aides who was at the meeting as well, dispute this account.)

    But Dick is freely telling his account around town tonight. And one thing that can't be denied is that Cook's firing is "playing very badly" on the Disney lot as well as around Hollywood. I've been deluged with calls and emails by prominent biz people expressing disbelief.

    2ND UPDATE: Disney is adamantly telling people tonight that Dick Cook was not fired. But that's not what Cook himself is telling Hollywood. I'm told that he was called in to see Bob Iger and given the news that "it was over". "He got blindsided by Iger. He never saw it coming," one source who just now spoke to Cook tells me. However, several months ago, rumors were floating that Iger was going to fire Cook because of the motion picture division's recent record of failures (along with some big successes) at the box office. When I asked top execs about this, I was given firm denials. (Then rumors began that Oren Aviv would be axed. Again, denials.) Iger himself talked to analysts about the motion picture division problems which pulled down Disney's earnings of late. "Iger has no reason to be happy with the label," a Disney insider tells me. "Choices have been made that not only are unspectacular, but even poor. Not only have the movies lost money, which can happen to anybody, but they've also diminished the live action brand."

    There can be no doubt that Cook was one of the most popular executives ever to work in showbiz. Tonight, Hollywood can't believe this has happened, especially on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. "I'm shocked by Dick's ouster. I love him more than life," one Disney insider told me, adding, "I walked out of a meeting and heard this. And, 4 minutes later, you post it." It's reminding old Disney hands of the day when Michael Eisner blindsided Jeffrey Katzenberg by firing him. "If your mandate if is to up the Disney brand, then how do you fire somebody who has 38 years of institutional brand knowledge of Disney?"

    Naturally, the guessing game of who would replace Cook began immediately. "I don't know who Iger thinks he can find who'll be able to come in there and already have relations with Spielberg, and Zemeckis, and Bruckheimer, and Lasseter, and Burton, like this guy had." And then there is the fact that so many divisions report to Cook that his replacement also must be an experienced administrator as well as have deep talent relations. And that ain't easy.

    There's been a lot of talk that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige spent a lot of time with Disney CEO Bob Iger during the dealmaking to buy the company, and Feige impressed the hell out of Iger. Of course, there's also the new DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider whose resume includes running Universal, after all, and who could further cement Steven Spielberg's control at his new moviemaking home. ("But she can't. She's a long-term partner with Steven and Reliance in DreamWorks. She not available," said a DreamWorks spokesperson.)
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  12. #12

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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    Thanks for this update! I got it twittered last night in line for the tower of terror and was stunned! Me and my friend just saw his amazing presentation at the expo and now this? Crazy!

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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    I hate to say it but I hope things all fall apart at the studio. This is terrible news. I dont' know how everyone can keep making their movies without a "friend" supporting them at the top?


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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    November 2009 into next year's scheduled films are theirs to promote properly and suceed with, it's a pretty solid product line-up.

    They can always hire another "friend", or make a new one by them giving you the deals to make some of the films you want to make. Spielberg's new involvement with WDP might help some, Lasseter & Iger could help in that line. Johnny's got his production company based a few blocks down Riverside Drive without a publicly-designated best pal there and It seems to be working in Depp's case over at Warner Bros. currently.
    Last edited by ALIASd; 09-19-2009 at 12:06 PM.
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    Re: After 38 years, Dick Cook resigns as head of Walt Disney Studios

    Oh how history is starting to repeat itself. More proof that Iger needs to go. Hopefully what comes of Mr. Cook's leaving is another stockholder revolt. Cause I know if Dick Cook isn't happy (to the degree where he has now quit), then people like Steve Jobs and John Lasseter can't be too happy either. Even with the news that Johnny Depp might drop out of Pirates 4 because of this can't sit well with the stockholder.

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