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Ross exit at Disney occurred as movie business was declining

Rich Ross (L), Walt Disney Studios Presi

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Rich Ross, Walt Disney Studios President, and Leron Gubler, President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, unveil the Muppets Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Ross was ousted as head of Disney's movie studio last Friday.

At The Wrap, Sharon Waxman has a good take on the departure of Rich Ross as head of Walt Disney Studios, the moviemaking arm of the Mighty Mouse:

The removal of Ross without a successor in hand signals some other changes, most importantly that Disney is shifting its focus back to moviemaking and away from the dogma of cross-branding.

For months, Ross and his team had been pushing the notion that the Disney studio in the post-Dick Cook era was about connecting the various divisions of the Walt Disney Company -- consumer products, the television properties, theme parks, international.

It was content-meets-marketing on steroids at a global media company with the means to do that.

That was why, Iger seemed to argue, it was fine to put someone with no movie experience in the studio job. (Ross came from television.)

The theme had become a mantra in Rich Ross conversations, who constantly suggested that the moviemaking expertise would be ceded to partners like Marvel, DreamWorks and Jerry Bruckheimer, while he focused on business strategies from a higher altitude.

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