Touchstone Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures president DavidHoberman named presidents of production for the two movie labels Friday, designating Donald De Line to the post at Touchstone Pictures and David Vogel at Walt Disney Pictures.
Both De Line and Vogel were exec VPs at their respective studios before the promotions. Neither Touchstone nor Walt Disney Pix had presidents of production.
New deals for De Line and Vogel come just as their boss, Hoberman, is about to start hisown contract negotiations. It is widely speculated at Disney and in the press that Hoberman is seeking increased power within the Disney studio structure.
At the least, the promotions indicate that mellow movie mogul Hoberman will have greater re-sponsibility overseeing the long-term planning for the burgeoning Touchstone and Disney movie labels, as opposed to handling day-to-day operations.
“I think (the promotions are) recognition of the successful movies that those guys individually, under Hoberman, have done for those studios,” said International Creative Management president Jim Wiatt. “They have assembled a good program of movies, developing and putting them together as a group.”
Beyond the back-room negotiations, the promotions reflect increased production at Touchstone and Walt Disney Pix — part of Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg’s bid to release a combined 50-60 films annually through Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Caravan Pictures, Cinergi and Miramax Films banners.
For example, Touchstone plans to increase from eight releases in 1993 to 12 next year, while Walt Disney Pix has edged up from four when Vogel started in 1991 to six releases in 1992 to eight in 1993.
When Hoberman took the reins of Walt Disney and Touchstone four years ago, Walt Disney Pix essentially operated as a sleepy subset of Touchstone. But the division’s increased productivity has warranted the full-time oversight role.
Characterized at the studio as a Katzenberg protege, both for his business persona and his appearance, De Line has been executive veepee of Touchstone since 1991. He is a Disney veteran, having worked as veepee of “The Disney Sunday Movie,” veep of Walt Disney Pictures and senior VP of production for Touchstone.
Most recently, De Line was involved in the current “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” and director Penny Marshall’s “Renaissance Man,” set for a summer 1994 release.
A former independent producer at Universal Pictures, Vogel joined Disney as VP of production in 1989, quickly ascending to senior veepee and exec VP in a three-year span.
Vogel has been centrally involved in developing live-action family movies for Walt Disney Pix, including such titles as “The Mighty Ducks,””Cool Runnings” and “The Three Musketeers.” Vogel also shepherded the highly successful ancillary-driven property “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.”
It is believed the Vogel and De Line promotions could be the first of a series of moves in the Disney production ranks, as the studio faces a large number of contract renewals throughout the Touchstone, Disney and Hollywood Pictures divisions.