Disney Kicks Off Cast Member Massacre With Jacobson Beheading

It seems that Disney wasn't fucking around when it announced its intentions to keel-haul a chunk of its workforce while they were still lightheaded from the champagne they'd been chugging to celebrate Pirates of Caribbean 2's record-breaking opening weekend, as the Mouse Slaughterhouse broke the ice on its coming employee bloodbath by offing one of its highest profile cast members this afternoon, now-former Buena Vista head Nina Jacobson. (You no doubt remember Jacobson as the callous creative exec who crushed M. Night Shyamalan's fairytale dreams and tried to starve his script-delivering assistant to death on a diet of low-carb soup.)

We will leave the explanation for the move to the soaring, heartfelt poetry of Disney's press release on the matter (are there any more bittersweet words in the publicist language than "DISNEY BRANDED OUTPUT STRATEGY"? No, there are not.) , presented in full after the jump. But should you find yourself not emotionally ready for that, we suggest you meditate on the placid image of Jacobson and her eventual executioner, Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook, in far, far happier times.

THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOVES TO INCREASE ITS DISNEY BRANDED OUTPUT STRATEGY

Studio Business Units Restructure to Reflect This Renewed Focus and

New Global Organization

Key Executive Appointments Announced

Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, announced today a strategic shift toward more Disney branded movies. The studio will produce and distribute approximately 10 Disney live-action and animated films a year and two to three Touchstone films a year.

In making the announcement, Cook said, "Disney is the #1 name in filmed entertainment around the world. It's the name on the door, it's what we do best, and when we do it right, not only do moviegoers of all ages benefit from the finest in quality entertainment, but it lifts the entire company as well. The depth and breadth of great Disney movies range from Pirates of the Caribbean to Cars to The Chronicles of Narnia, and we look to expand our global reach even more."

To accomplish this objective, Cook has tapped Oren Aviv as president of Production, Walt Disney Pictures. Aviv will oversee the live-action development and film production for the Studios.

"Oren is an amazing talent and has been a key player in reshaping our Disney films with many, many successes," continued Cook. "In fact, National Treasure was a winning, original idea which he conceived and realized on film. In his new role, we look forward to capitalizing on his great taste as well as his creative vision."

"Nina Jacobson [president, Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group] will be leaving the company, and while she will certainly be missed, we greatly appreciate her many contributions and wish her well," said Cook.

In another strategic move, The Walt Disney Studios has restructured several of its business units under two global organizations - Buena Vista Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, and Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment. Mark Zoradi has been appointed president, Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group and will oversee the distribution and marketing of all Disney and Touchstone Pictures films worldwide. Robert Chapek has been named president, Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment, and will oversee the worldwide distribution and marketing of all the Studio's films on Home Entertainment platforms.

"The consolidation of global marketing and distribution is extremely important as we continue to adapt to the vastly changing world. To lead this charge we have the best team in place with Mark and Bob," said Cook. "Mark is a consummate professional who along with his team has had unprecedented success in the international marketplace with 12 consecutive years surpassing the $1 billion dollar mark. No other distributor has crossed this performance threshold. Bob is an innovator in every sense of the word and has helped our studio achieve countless DVD successes, and that leadership will translate well into his new global responsibilities."

Another executive appointment will include Jim Gallagher as president of Marketing for Buena Vista Pictures Marketing.

Cook stated, "Jim is as smart as they come and has great taste and creative instincts, not to mention an incredible sense of humor. I'm thrilled he has taken on this very important role."

With this new global infrastructure in place the Studio is expected to reduce its work force by approximately 650 positions worldwide. "Cutbacks such as these are difficult on so many levels, and we will do everything in our power to make the transition as smooth as possible," said Cook.

Walt Disney Feature Animation, Pixar Studios, Miramax Films (led by Daniel Battsek), Buena Vista Music Group and Buena Vista Theatrical Productions will not be affected by this reorganization.

[Photo: Getty Images]