Studio Legends: Disney
Before there was the megahit Tangled, they were the reigning kings of Walt Disney Studios, unleashing international blockbusters that were anything but Mickey Mouse. Jerry Bruckheimer, 65, once the underestimated partner of the late Don Simpson, emerged as Hollywood’s most successful producer, bar none. Still, his biggest satisfaction, he insists, is “standing in the back of the theater and enjoying the fun the audience is having.” He was supported by Joe Roth, 62, who set directing aside to become an exec beloved by talent worldwide — first at Fox, then at Disney from 1994-2000 — then by Dick Cook, 60, who rose from being a Disneyland ride operator to head the studio from 2002-09. During Cook’s tenure, the international market for Disney product exploded as he focused on “making movies that can travel the world.” Roth had a hand in producing this year’s Alice in Wonderland. And Bruckheimer, who with Cook turned Pirates of the Caribbean into Disney’s most successful franchise of the past decade with $2.7 billion in tickets sold, will try to top himself in the summer when the fourth Pirates movie — under the watch of new studio chief Rich Ross — sails into theaters.