One of the biggest film disappointments in Hollywood history was “John Carter.” Because the movie flopped so badly, Rich Ross has been forced to resign as chairman of the Walt Disney Co. Ross was the former president of the studio’s Disney Channel and he brought the hugely successful franchise of “Hannah Montana” and “High School Musical” to the preteen and teen masses.
Ross has been the chairman of Walt Disney for the last three years, but he told his staff that the role was not a good fit for him professionally. The CEO of Disney, Bob Iger, said that Ross has played a key role at Disney and wished him well for whatever the future might hold for him.
According to someone close to Ross, he wasn’t the typical executive at Disney. He preferred to stay out of the limelight. He also clashed with Jerry Bruckheimer, who is one of Disney’s biggest producers. Bruckheimer is credited with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise; however, Ross shut down the film “The Lone Ranger” because of budget issues.
In addition, Ross took most of the heat for letting “John Carter’s” budget increase from $200 to $250 million. Ross allowed “John Carter” to continue, while cutting the remake of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
“John Carter” is expected to lose $200 million, according to the numbers provided by Disney in March. Ross’s departure is going to leave Disney without anyone immediately obvious as a successor. It is likely that Disney will go outside the company to find Ross’s replacement.
Ross started at Disney Channel in 1996. He was promoted to president in 2004 after working as a production and programming executive. He was handpicked by the CEO to replace Dick Cook, who was the long-term chairman of Walt Disney. What is ironic is that Ross’s biggest hit yet could happen after he leaves – “The Avengers” is due out on May 4.