Disney moves quickly to hire veteran Ricky Strauss as marketing chief

John Carter News

Disney Studios wasted no time hiring a replacement for departing marketing head MT Carney, announcing on Friday that industry veteran Ricky Strauss will assume Carney’s duties effective immediately.

Strauss will be responsible for global marketing in all forms of distribution for Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Touchstone releases. The Touchstone banner also includes films produced by Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks SKG production company.

Unlike Carney who was an outside with no experience in the film industry, Strauss is a 25-year movie veteran and most recently was president of Participant Media, where he oversaw marketing for such successful movies as “The Help,” ”Contagion,” and documentaries like “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Cove.”

“I am happy to welcome Ricky Strauss to The Walt Disney Studios family. With 25 years of industry experience, he brings a deep understanding of all aspects of the film business as well as incredible skill in branding and cutting-edge marketing,” Rich Ross, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement. “He will undoubtedly raise the Studios’ creative bar as we enter 2012 and look ahead at showcasing a spectacular slate of films to audiences around the world.”

The marketing job at Disney has evolved largely into one of coordination between the studio’s major partners, DreamWorks, Marvel and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions. Pixar has its own marketing team as well.

His first task will be to evaluate the marketing posture of Disney’s high risk tentpole sci-fi film “John Carter”, set for release on March 9. With a reported budget of $250m, the film, based on the 100 year old stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs and directed by Andrew Stanton, is an immediate high risk situation that will be overseen by Strauss.


  • We should keep our ear to the ground to see if any changes begin to become apparent. If I were Strauss, the first thing I would do is a review of John Carter. It’s 8 week outs. It’s traditional to do a major review 6 weeks out and make course corrections as necessary. I sure hope he follows that pattern.

  • He has a century’s worth of material to work with.

    It will be interesting to see if he takes the marketing in any new directions. (Hint: Mr. Strauss, this project is lightning in a bottle.)

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