Hollywood's Horrible Year? Not For CEOs: Disney's Bob Iger, Warner Bros.' David Zaslav Enjoy Huge Paydays

Zinger Key Points
  • Bob Iger made $31.6 million in 2023. That's a 110.7% spike from 2022.
  • David Zaslav received over $49 million in 2023 — a 26.5% jump from 2022.

Movie industry experts expect a weak box office in 2024.

And yet, the boards of major studios decided to reward their CEOs handsomely, according to Variety.

The domestic box office collected roughly $8.6 billion in 2023 (COVID-19-era 2021-2022 saw a combined total of $12 billion). It was a year marked by mass layoffs and two massive Hollywood strikes, which AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc AMC CEO Adam Aron called “a double whammy.”

But, as director Kevin Smith once said, "In Hollywood, you just kind of fail upwards." Read on for who failed the best.

Disney CEO Bob Iger

Iger, 73, made $31.6 million in 2023. That’s a 110.7% spike from 2022.

Variety pointed out the median employee compensation at Walt Disney Co DIS is $54,010.

If the salary bump doesn’t make you throw a Donald Duck-like tantrum, consider the year Iger had:

Positives: Disney revenues for 2023 grew 7% compared to the prior year.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav

Zaslav, 64, received over $49 million in 2023 — a 26.5% jump from 2022.

The median employee compensation at Warner Bros. Discovery Inc WBD is $171,163.

  • Per Variety, the Warner board praised Zaslav for "inclusive leadership" (all the company’s executive officers are men).
  • This compensation uptick occurred despite Warner Bros.’ significant layoffs
  • Zaslav, who canceled multiple studio projects (i.e. “Batgirl” and “Coyote vs. Acme”) was booed off the stage at the 2023 Boston University commencement.
  • The stock plummeted 60.3% in 2022 and rose 20% during 2023 — but hit an all-time low in the first quarter of 2024.
  • Chris Licht was fired as CNN chief executive after a short, extremely turbulent time.

Positives: Warner Bros. managed to exceed cash flow projections by $1 billion in 2023, primarily due to cost-saving measures. And Zaslav, who says pay should align with stock performance, did manage to pay down $6.6 billion in debt accrued from the 2022 merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. Debt currently stands at $41.9 billion.

Now Read: After Robert De Niro Compares Trump To Hitler, Elon Musk Calls ‘Godfather’ Actor ‘Out Of Touch’

Photo: Unsplash

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Posted In: EntertainmentM&AManagementTop StoriesMediaBob IgerDavid ZaslavExecutive PayHollywoodStories That Matter
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