Saturday, January 12, 2008

Former Disney Exec Could Join Fledgling Walden

From the Los Angeles Times: Former Disney executive could join Walden Media
Walden Media, the producer of family films backed by billionaire Philip Anschutz, is in discussions to hire former Walt Disney Co. executive Nina Jacobson in a senior post amid a restructuring of the company.

The moves follow a spotty track record for Walden's films, which, despite the firm's 2005 blockbuster "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and its ambitions to compete with Disney in family entertainment, have had limited success at the box office.

Jacobson is under contract as a producer for DreamWorks SKG. People close to Anschutz cautioned that an agreement had not been reached and that Walden Media was talking with other candidates about the post.

Jacobson's Disney experience, which included oversight of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "National Treasure" movie franchises when she headed production at the studio, gives her a strong background in family movies. She did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Cary Granat, chief executive of Walden Media, is expected to stay at the company to shepherd the upcoming "Narnia" sequels, as well as other special projects. Disney is scheduled to release "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" in May.

"We are restructuring, not retrenching," said David Weil, chief executive of Anschutz Film Group. "I think we can do it better than we have. Sometimes we have done it very well. Other times not as well."

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