By Brendan Swift

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures managing director and vice president Alan Finney resigned yesterday.

A Disney spokeswoman confirmed the move and said he has not yet revealed other plans. It is understood that Finney, who declined to comment, will leave in two weeks.

It ends Finney’s 12-year stint at the company and follows a restructure in January, which resulted in the appointment of John Cracknell as managing director of local parent organisation The Walt Disney Company Australia.

Disney’s biggest local box office hit last year was the Oscar-winning animation Up, which took more than $27.9 million (ranking it the sixth biggest of 2009), although its two Australian-backed productions performed poorly.

Boxing drama Two Fists One Heart took just $305,300 across 50 screens while comedy Subdivision took $206,350 across 66 screens, according to MPDAA data.

Last November, Disney confirmed that it had spent $824,000 on prints and advertising and other delivery items related to Two Fists One Heart. It did not reveal its spend on Subdivision.

Finney, who previously headed Roadshow before joining Disney, managed the release of many classic Australian films during the 90s including Muriel’s Wedding; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; The Castle; Romper Stomper and Proof.

His long association with Roadshow began in 1971, initially working in advertising and promotion. It led to the formation of joint production-distribution company Hexagon Productions and Finney's involvement in movies such as Alvin Purple.

Between 1980 and 1987, he was in charge of national marketing and sales for Roadshow Film Distributors before being appointed general manager of distribution and marketing.

In 1989, Finney was appointed as the company's executive director and, in 1991, became managing director. In 1996, Finney was appointed managing director of Roadshow's Australian production and director of new business development.

He was also awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2002 for services to the Australian film industry.


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