Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer to Split in 2014

Jerry Bruckheimer
Jerry Bruckheimer
 Laurent Koffel/Getty Images

Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are breaking up.

In an e-mail sent Thursday evening, the studio announced an end to its first-look deal with the producer in 2014.

Bruckheimer says the decision has to do with the types of movies he'd like to make, and is not because of the disappointing box-office returns of The Lone Ranger.

"It's time for us to tackle all kinds of movies, not just Disney movies," Bruckheimer tells The Hollywood Reporter. "We're still working on Pirates and hopefully National Treasure, and we still have development at Disney."

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He says he wanted to resolve his Disney deal before looking around for another, but that he's confident he will get a deal.

"Our record stands for itself. Ten billion at the box office is not bad," he says.

The move follows months of speculation about Bruckheimer's future at the studio following the mega-failure of The Lone Ranger. The movie, which cost $250 million to make, brought in less than $50 million during its opening weekend, and has raked in only $89 million at the domestic box office.

Bruckheimer doesn't blame The Lone Ranger for the split.

"We have a full body of work with them. It's not about Lone Ranger. It's more about the types of movies Disney is making, and the types of movies we want to make, in addition to Pirates."

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He adds: "We had discussions to try to revitalize Touchstone, but they don't want to do it."

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn tells THR the move is more about Disney's supply of projects than The Lone Ranger.

"This is about a long-term relationship with lots of pluses and minuses. The Lone Ranger certainly didn't help things, but we all have our wins and our losses, and this is an overall thing related to the company's supply of projects from all these other places," Horn says.

He confirms that Disney had no interest in reviving the Touchstone label, adding: "Films that fall into that wheelhouse are supplied by DreamWorks."

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During a conference call with analysts last month, Disney said it expects to take a loss of $160 million to $190 million due to The Lone Ranger, including about an $86 million impairment charge.

Earlier this month, Disney announced that it had delayed its Bruckheimer-produced Pirates of the Caribbean 5 beyond its planned summer 2015 release date over script issues. Bruckheimer told THR at the time that the potential price tag was also a factor.

The full email from Disney is below:

The Walt Disney Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer have decided not to renew their first-look deal when it expires next year. Disney will continue to focus on its branded properties including Disney, Pixar, Marvel and now Lucasfilm, while Bruckheimer is looking to produce more mature films outside the scope of the Disney brand. Disney and Bruckheimer will continue working together on various projects, including the fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.  

Together Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer have produced such blockbuster hits as the Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure films under the Disney brand, as well as adult action dramas like Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, Con Air, and The Rock through the Touchstone label.

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"Jerry is one of the most respected and prolific producers working in the motion picture industry, and we have had an incredibly successful collaboration over the past two decades. He is a friend to many of us here at Disney," said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. "We will continue to work together in the future, and we look forward to seeing more of the films that have made Jerry Bruckheimer a Hollywood legend."

"I am very appreciative of the wonderful collaboration and support I have had at The Walt Disney Company for over twenty years and the twenty-seven movies we have made together. The good news is we will continue working together on Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure and other projects we have developed together at the studio," said Jerry Bruckheimer. "I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with these amazing people at The Walt Disney Studios, many of whom have become my good friends. As we continue to make adventure films, we look forward to returning to films like Black Hawk Down, Enemy of the State, Beverly Hills Cop, and The Rock."

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