Friday, July 14, 2006

Disney to Cut Back on Films & Personnel


While Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest set another record on Monday, grossing $18.1 million to beat the previous nonholiday Monday benchmark of $14.4 million set by Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Disney is tightening its belt.

According to Variety, Walt Disney Pictures will announce within the next 10 days that it's cutting back on the number of films it makes to around eight per year -- it currently releases around 18 -- and will substantially reduce its workforce. All movies will be Disney-branded, meaning companies like Touchstone could be vastly diminished.

The cutbacks will be far greater than many anticipated, as studio chairman Dick Cook looks to reinvent the architecture of his studio. The move reflects an effort to improve the studio's return on investment and get infrastructure back into line.

While Disney's having a grand summer with Pirates and with Pixar's Cars, this year has seen some major misfires: Stick It, Annapolis, Stay Alive and especially The Wild.