Mr. Cook, who started at the Walt Disney Company 38 years ago as a theme park monorail driver, said in a statement that he had been contemplating a move for some time. Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, praised his leadership, saying in a statement that his “incomparable showmanship” had “truly enriched this company.”
But pressure had been mounting on Mr. Iger to make a change at the studio. A profitable period — led by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “National Treasure” franchises — has been followed by a fallow one. Movies like “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” “Bedtime Stories” and “G-Force” have all disappointed at the box office or suffered from bloated budgets.
In the most recent quarter, the studio lost $12 million — despite the success of “Up” from Pixar, and the hit comedy “The Proposal” — in contrast to a profit of $97 million in the same period a year earlier. The loss was attributed to tumbling DVD sales tied to the underperforming pictures. ...