Disney’s Bob Chapek orders hiring freeze, cost cuts to make Disney+ profitable
Bryan Singer has ordered a freeze on new projects at Walt Disney Studios, in an effort to improve Disney’s financial picture as the launch date of the Disney+ streaming service approaches.
A Disney spokesman declined to comment specifically on the freeze, but said the company is in discussions with production teams that have been working on projects such as “The Mandalorian,” “Hocus Pocus” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” to see what’s possible without losing money now that the company no longer has the ability to make big-budget films.
The decision from the chief executive of Walt Disney Studios, who inherited the company from his father, chairman Roger Ailes, is “an important step in the process to ensuring that we remain financially stable and do what’s necessary to deliver Disney Plus,” Chairman Robert Iger said in a statement. “And it will allow us to spend all of our time focused on creating the greatest entertainment experience for audiences around the world.”
“Bob Chapek’s leadership continues to build the strength of this studio, and he is moving us forward by ensuring stability, profitability and growth across our core entertainment businesses,” said Mr. Iger.
The executive order from Mr. Chapek comes at a time when many in Hollywood believe that the streaming service will threaten the profitability and sustainability of the traditional Hollywood and Broadway industries. Mr. Chapek took over as the CEO on June 1, 2019 from Robert Iger, who became chairman in August 2018.
It is likely to be the first time that a Disney studio chief has taken an action to cut costs and delay new projects, according to a person familiar with Disney’s thinking. Disney is pursuing other moves to improve the financial picture, this person said, particularly in the areas of