Sean Bailey, Longtime Disney Movie Executive, Steps Down

Sean Bailey, Longtime Disney Movie Executive, Steps Down
Sean Bailey, Longtime Disney Movie Executive, Steps Down

Sean Bailey, the longtime president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, has decided to step down, amid investor pressure to reverse Disney’s box office cold streak.

Mr. Bailey’s exit was described by two Disney executives. They said he would not be joining Netflix, despite meeting with the streaming company’s leaders to discuss the possibility. Instead, at least in the near term, he will produce a new “Tron” movie for Disney.

David Greenbaum, co-president of Searchlight Pictures, will take over for Mr. Bailey. Mr. Greenbaum has been running the Searchlight division with Matthew Greenfield since 2021. Searchlight is best known for Oscar-winning prestige films like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “12 Years a Slave.”

Mr. Bailey has been a production president at Disney for 14 years — an eternity in Hollywood, where film chiefs are often jettisoned every few years. Over that time, Disney has been roiled by executive firings, restructuring efforts and shifting strategies for film distribution. The steady-handed Mr. Bailey, who is popular with stars and their agents, has helped provide stability.

His hits have included the live-action “Aladdin,” which collected $1.1 billion at the box office. A photorealistic “The Lion King” took in $1.7 billion. A live-action “Beauty and the Beast” delivered $1.3 billion.

More recently, Mr. Bailey’s division has struggled — along with other Disney studios, including Marvel — to find new hits. His remake of “The Little Mermaid,” which cost an estimated $375 million to make and market, collected about $570 million worldwide after its release last spring; Disney had hoped for closer to $1 billion. “The Haunted Mansion,” overseen by Mr. Bailey, bombed in July.

Nicole Sperling contributed reporting.

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Carley Reagan

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