Disney's Christmas Jeer
Boy that Mickey Mouse can be a real Scrooge when things don't go his way.
Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney (DIS) Studios Motion Pictures Group and the head of worldwide marketing for all Disney, Pixar, Touchstone and Disney nature movies, announced Monday he is stepping down immediately in the wake of a weak opening for the costly holiday movie, "A Christmas Carol." The 3-D remake of the classic Christmas tale, which cost $175 million and stars Jim Carrey, opened to a pitiful $30.1 million at the weekend box office in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to lose up to $100 million.
If only the ghost of Disney past could go back in time and stop whoever greenlighted that bomb, then maybe Zoradi would still have a job.It's worth noting that Zoradi is not the only Disney movie executive sent to the sidelines this season. In fact, the Mouse House has been more like a rat trap for studio chiefs lately. Last month, Disney named Rich Ross as chairman of its movie studios, replacing the popular Dick Cook, who oversaw a string of bombs. And Daniel Battsek, who ran Disney's low-budget Miramax Films, left in October after the company slashed the unit's workforce and cut the number of films it would release. In all, Disney's studio revenue has fallen in each of the last five quarters, sinking from $1.82 billion in the March quarter of 2008 to $1.26 billion in the quarter ended in June this year. The studio also posted a $12 million operating loss in the June quarter, down from a $97 million operating profit last year. Disney is counting on its latest addition, Marvel Entertainment (MVL), to lift its fortunes with a blockbuster or two. However, if Spider-Man can't use his spidey sense to pick some winners, he may be the next one out the door. Dumb-o-meter score: 85 -- Disney to Zoradi: "Bah, Humbug!"
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