Disney Parts Ways With Long Time Producer Jerry Bruckheimer After Box Office Failures


How the mighty have fallen.

Early last month, it become increasingly apparent that Jerry Bruckheimer‘s and Disney‘s nearly twenty year matrimony was coming to an end. The writing was on the wall, his days were numbered and the $225 million flop that was July’s The Lone Ranger certainly didn’t do much to mend any existing wounds with the mega studio that is Walt Disney Pictures.

Now, trades across the internet (including Variety and The Hollywood Reporter) are all reporting that the inevitable has happened: Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney will not seek to extend exclusive first look rights on upcoming projects in 2014.

Despite Disney telling him that they are taking a hefty loss of $200 million (per initial reports), according to THR, Jerry insists that the split isn’t a reflection on The Lone Ranger’s epic failure (a film he defended vehemently during that film’s cruddy initial release).

I’ll grant Jerry that. Surely, it isn’t the ONLY reason. Modern classics like G-Force, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice help just a little bit. But The Lone Ranger sure as Hell was the nail in the coffin.

No, for Jerry, the split is merely a sign that the producer wants to “…tackle all kinds of movies, not just Disney movies…” and assures fans that he is “still working on Pirates and hopefully National Treasure…at Disney.”

He’d be doing us all a favor if he was lying about that last part.

Both parties are equally responsible for this split. Disney wanted to take away Jerry’s Final Cut (a right only a producer as big as Bruckheimer could even think about demanding as part of terms for a new contract) and Jerry simply was asking for too much money for from the studio to make his high-risk, low-reward ventures.

What happened here happens every day in Hollywood. Producers constantly are on the move and this split simply cements and puts out in the open what everyone already knew: Disney and Jerry simply don’t make good movies with each other anymore.

They used to. They don’t now.

Hopefully after this, both Disney and Jerry can go on to do bigger, better and hopefully more profitable things. And wouldn’t you know it, it seems they already are!

In THR’s email, Bruckheimer hints that the split means that he will be able to make films akin to The Rock, Enemy of the State and Black Hawk Down. For fans who grew up in the 1990s, that sure sounds promising. The simple truth is this: Bruckheimer simply doesn’t seem to be THAT producer anymore. Who’s to say a studio like Paramount or Warner will sign on for one of Jerry’s notoriously pricey projects in the future? Only time will tell.

And Disney already has its rebound set up: they have been seen around town, deep in a love affair with superheroes and Marvel and Joss Whedon.

It was a blast while it lasted. Oh, how fickle Hollywood love can be.

Here is the full email THR received that broke their story:

The Walt Disney Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer have decided not to renew their first-look deal when it expires next year. Disney will continue to focus on its branded properties including Disney, Pixar, Marvel and now Lucasfilm, while Bruckheimer is looking to produce more mature films outside the scope of the Disney brand. Disney and Bruckheimer will continue working together on various projects, including the fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Together Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer have produced such blockbuster hits as the Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure films under the Disney brand, as well as adult action dramas like Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, Con Air, and The Rock through the Touchstone label.

“Jerry is one of the most respected and prolific producers working in the motion picture industry, and we have had an incredibly successful collaboration over the past two decades. He is a friend to many of us here at Disney,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “We will continue to work together in the future, and we look forward to seeing more of the films that have made Jerry Bruckheimer a Hollywood legend.”

“I am very appreciative of the wonderful collaboration and support I have had at The Walt Disney Company for over twenty years and the twenty-seven movies we have made together. The good news is we will continue working together on Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure and other projects we have developed together at the studio,” said Jerry Bruckheimer. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with these amazing people at The Walt Disney Studios, many of whom have become my good friends. As we continue to make adventure films, we look forward to returning to films like Black Hawk Down, Enemy of the State, Beverly Hills Cop, and The Rock.”

Tags: Disney Entertainment Jerry Bruckheimer Movies Pirates Of The Caribbean The Lone Ranger