The man who’s overseen Disney movies for the last decade or so is retiring, in a period of major change for the studio.

You may not have heard of the man, but Alan Horn is someone who’s had a huge influence over blockbuster cinema these past 20 years. During his time at Warner Bros, he was the one who homed in on a strategy that saw the studio make fewer movies, but veer towards bigger ones. The Harry Potter movies were on his watch.

In 2011 though, Warner Bros ended his tenure at the studio, and that’s when Disney moved in to snap him up. In his memoir, outgoing Disney boss Bob Iger describes Horn as his best-ever hire. It’s not difficult to see why. When Horn joined Disney, it was struggling with films such as John Carter and The Lone Ranger.

Horn oversaw a strategy that saw the studio significantly cut its blockbuster output and, replicating even more what he’d tried at Warner Bros, place a smaller number of much bigger bets. It works spectacularly, with Disney now the dominant studio in terms of box office performance, and the franchises that it’s acquired and built up.

Horn’s retirement, at the age of 78, is thus a very big deal for the studio. At a time too when Bob Iger himself has passe the baton on and retired. Two of the key creatives in arguably Disney’s most successful decade are now departing the studio.

The early word is that Horn won’t be directly replaced, given the autonomy now enjoyed by the heads of the studio’s many subdivisions, such as Lucasfilm and Marvel. But his run of success is going to take some topping…

Deadline

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