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Another Disney studio executive exits

ANOTHER executive at The Walt Disney Co.'s movie studio is exiting hurriedly as the company's troubles continue at the box office with a weak opening for "A Christmas Carol."

Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group and the head of worldwide marketing for all Disney, Pixar, Touchstone and Disneynature movies, said yesterday he is stepping down immediately.

No successor was named.

Zoradi's move came after the 3-D animated remake of the classic Christmas tale starring Jim Carrey opened to US$30.1 million at the weekend box office in the US and Canada.

With an estimated US$175 million production budget and a marketing campaign that involved a 40-city train tour, Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz says he expects it to lose US$50 million to US$100 million.

Last month, Disney named Rich Ross as chairman of its movie studios, following a year of disappointing movie results and the abrupt departure of its former chief, Dick Cook.

Disney's studio revenue has fallen in each of the last five quarters, sinking from US$1.82 billion in the March quarter of 2008 to US$1.26 billion in the quarter ended in June this year.

The studio also posted a US$12 million operating loss in the June quarter, down from a US$97 million operating profit last year.

Disney reports its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday.


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