Searchlight’s David Greenbaum to Lead Disney Live-Action & 20th Century

In a major shake up to Disney‘s film team, Sean Bailey, who has been with Disney for 15 years, is exiting the company, effective immediately. David Greenbaum, the co-head of Searchlight Pictures, has been named president of Disney Live-Action and of 20th Century Studios, taking control of both brands in a combined division of its live-action films.

Greenbaum will have oversight over projects for both theatrical and streaming and will lead the newly combined studio group, reporting to Disney Entertainment co-chairman Alan Bergman.

Remaining in his role as 20th Century Studios president is Steve Asbell; Matthew Greenfield will take sole control of Searchlight Pictures as president.

Bailey will segue to a producer role on Disney’s “Tron: Ares,” as well as other projects.

“David has an incredible creative sensibility and eye for film, and he has built a reputation as an exceptional leader and creative executive, as proven by his track record at Searchlight Pictures and deep relationships throughout the industry,” Bergman said. “I’m thrilled that he’ll be taking on this new and important role. We’ve had the great fortune to have a strong creative leader in Steve Asbell at 20th Century, and I’m excited for him to work closely with David as we take a more strategic look across both brands from a creative and operational standpoint. I also want to thank Sean Bailey for his many contributions and leadership over his tenure at Disney. Searchlight remains in excellent hands under the guidance of Matthew Greenfield.”

“I want to thank Bob Iger and Alan Bergman for the extraordinary opportunity to continue the legacy of fabled and groundbreaking storytelling at both Disney and 20th Century – it’s an honor and responsibility I don’t take lightly, and I’m eager to get to work with Steve Asbell and the teams,” said Greenbaum. “At the same time, the last 14 years working alongside and in partnership with my dear friend and colleague Matthew Greenfield have been unforgettable – Searchlight and the incredible team there remain the gold standard for quality in our business, and I look forward to watching their continued success in the years to come.”

Greenbaum has been with Searchlight for 14 years, backing Best Picture winners like “The Shape of Water” and “Nomadland.” He currently has “Poor Things” with Emma Stone up for Best Picture, which makes it seven straight years Searchlight has had a film in the final Oscars category.

Greenbaum has been teamed with Greenfield — the co-presidents were colloquially known around town as “The Greens” — since April 2021. Greenfield has been with Searchlight for 17 years and will continue in his same role — but as a solo act — under Bergman.

Before joining Searchlight, Greenbaum was a development executive at Miramax Films, where he shepherded titles like “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood.”

Bailey has served as president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, overseeing the Disney live-action slate, since 2010. He’s been behind many of the live-action remakes of Disney animated classics, including “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Aladdin.” He joined Disney while producing 2010’s “Tron: Legacy.”

“Sean has been an incredibly important member of the Studio’s creative team for well over a decade,” said Bergman. “He and his team have brought to the screen iconic stories and moments that have delighted fans around the world and will stand the test of time. I know he’ll continue to do great things, and I couldn’t be happier that he’s staying on as a producer of ‘Tron: Ares.’”

“These 15 years at Disney have been an incredible journey, but the time is right for a new chapter. I’m deeply grateful to my exceptional team and proud of the slate and history we’ve built together,” said Bailey. “I joined Disney while producing ‘Tron: Legacy,’ so it seems fitting that I will have the opportunity to work on the latest ‘Tron’ as I depart. I wish Bob Iger, Alan Bergman, and all my amazing colleagues the very best for a bright future.”

Reporting to Greenbaum, Steve Asbell will continue to serve as president, 20th Century Studios, a role he has held since March 2020. Asbell has been behind “Avatar: The Way of Water,” the new “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” and the upcoming “Alien” film.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

Disney had a rough 2023, with disappointing box office results for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “The Marvels,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” and the animated “Wish.” Early in 2024, the studio has leaned on releasing Pixar movies previously put out through Disney+ into theaters, including “Turning Red” and “Soul.” Upcoming are “The First Omen” on April 5, “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” on May 10, and “Alien: Romulus” on August 16. Also on its live-action slate are “Young Woman and the Sea” on May 31 and “Mufasa: The Lion King” on December 20.

The studios are currently in development or production on a new “Snow White” with Rachel Zegler, “Tron: Ares,” live-action “Moana” and “Lilo & Stitch” movies, a new “Predator” film, and the upcoming “Avatar” sequels.

SOURCE: IndieWire

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