In the five weeks it took for Disney to replace Rich Ross, the Hollywood rumor mill churned, with what seemed like a new candidate’s name each new day. Curiously enough — and perhaps a testament to the famously tightlipped Disney exec suite — Alan Horn’s was not among those bandied about publicly. The former Warner Bros. topper’s appointment Thursday caught most of Hollywood offguard.
Here’s a roster of those who were buzzed about:
Kevin Feige: The Marvel topper’s name led many observers’ lists, and not just because of the success of “The Avengers”: His reputation for closely scrutinizing costs, as well as his ability to keep dozens of moving parts on track, made him seem a natural fit to run Disney. But Feige wants to burn calories making movies, not managing.
Sean Bailey: Well liked in and outside the studio, the Disney production prexy’s name was in the mix early — but not so much later — after Bob Iger said he was happy with his studio heads right where they were.
John Lasseter: See Sean Bailey. Plus, with Pixar cooking, why would he want to go more corporate than creative?
Scott Stuber: Rumors flew that the former U co-chair, now an on-the-lot producer, was pushing hard for the job. But with the Stuber-produced “Battleship” running aground while the search was on, it would’ve been a tough choice for Disney, given the Mouse’s similar-sized debacle in “John Carter.”
Stacey Snider: The DreamWorks co-chair and CEO’s name circulated from day one. Though certainly qualified to run Disney, she’s happy making movies with Steven Spielberg.
Mary Parent: Another name that persisted through the search, but given her contentedness with a lucrative deal at Paramount, so did the question: Why would she take on the hassles of running Disney?
Joe Roth: Though he’s worked closely with the studio on “Alice in Wonderland,” “Malificent” and “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” it would’ve been a surprise to see him get the gig given the rocky end to his tenure running Disney in 2000.
Oren Aviv: The Fox marketing chief’s name enjoyed a brief but heated run on the rumor wires — his conservative corporate style and marketing expertise surely fit the bill — but his name faded from the conversation toward the end.
Sue Kroll: Word came early this week that Warner’s marketing maven was someone to keep an eye on, and though she seemed an intriguing choice, it turned out to be a nonstarter.