Not every film can be a hit, but Dick Cook’s record at Walt Disney Studios was much better than average. Disney’s had two films that grossed more than a Billion dollars last year, the first ever studio to achieve that milepost, both of which got their start under Cook. So when he was forced out to make way for new studio chair Rich Ross, more than a few eyebrows were raised. After all, Cook was one of the most liked people in Hollywood and had the backing of some of the best talent in the business when it came to acting and directing.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Cook as he prepares to receive the Pioneer of the Year Award from the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation (awarded by distributors and exhibitors) tonight. That’s a bit awkward when your ex-employee is receiving awards for work he did for you, don’t you think.
It’s the first time anyone can remember the storied honor going to someone who isn’t currently an executive at a studio or theater chain (the first Pioneer award went to Paramount mogul Adolph Zukor in 1947).
Many in the film industry are still smarting over Cook’s ouster from Disney, where he spent nearly four decades, beginning as a monorail and steam locomotive operator at Disneyland in 1970.
THR also inquired as to his career path at Disney and his future plans which are rumored to involve his own production company. A good read for anyone interested in Hollywood’s inner workings.
Wherever Cook goes, we’ll be sure to watch.