Walt Disney Studios names Greenbaum as president

By Thomson Reuters Feb 26, 2024 | 5:53 PM

By Dawn Chmielewski and Lisa Richwine

(Reuters) – David Greenbaum has been named to the newly created role of president, overseeing Disney Live Action and 20th Century studios, reporting to Disney Entertainment co-Chairman Alan Bergman, Walt Disney Studios announced on Monday.

He succeeds Sean Bailey, who oversaw Disney’s live action films since 2010, and is stepping down, the company said.

Disney struggled at the box office in 2023, marred by such flops as the theme-park-ride inspired “Haunted Mansion.” CEO Bob Iger has promised investors Disney would work to improve the quality of the company’s movies.

“The performance of some of our recent films has definitely been disappointing, and we don’t take that lightly,” Iger said on an August 2023 earnings call. “And as you’d expect, we’re very focused on improving the quality and the performance of the films that we’ve got coming up. It’s something that I’m working closely with the studio on.”

Greenbaum brings well-established filmmaker relationships to his new role. He most recently served as president of Searchlight Pictures, which released such films as Academy Award Best Picture winners “The Shape of Water” and “Nomadland,” and other critically acclaimed movies including “The Menu” and “The Favourite.”

“David has an incredible creative sensibility and eye for film,” Bergman said in a statement, lauding his track record at Searchlight Pictures and deep relationships throughout the industry.

Under Bailey’s tenure, Disney released a number of re-imagined classics, “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” which crossed $1 billion. The most recent live-action adaptation of an animated film, “The Little Mermaid,” took in $569.6 million at global box offices, underperforming other remakes.

Disney said Bailey will serve as producer of Disney’s “Tron: Ares” and other projects.

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)