View Full Version : Death bells for Disney?

El Chuxter
01-30-2004, 11:39 AM
First, an article from Yahoo News (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=493&ncid=790&e=3&u=/ap/20040130/ap_en_mo/pixar_disney):

Pixar, Disney Partnership Talks Collapse

LOS ANGELES - The collapse of talks between Pixar Animation Studios and The Walt Disney Co. on a new deal pressures both companies to produce hit films at a time of growing competition among computer-animated filmmakers.

Pixar, with a string of computer-animated blockbusters to its credit, including "Monsters, Inc." and the "Toy Story" films, broke off negotiations Thursday to extend its partnership with Disney and said it would seek a more favorable deal with another studio.

"After 10 months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we're moving on," Pixar chief Steve Jobs (news - web sites) said in a statement. "We've had a great run together — one of the most successful in Hollywood history — and it's a shame that Disney won't be participating in Pixar's future successes."

Shares in Pixar rose $2.78, more than 4 percent, to $66.98 in morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Disney shares fell 58 cents to $23.87 on the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites).

Pixar still owes Disney two movies under the current deal, "The Incredibles," which is scheduled to open in theaters in November, and "Cars," which is to be released next year.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based studio, which co-produced last year's top-box office draw, "Finding Nemo," has long chafed under its contract with Disney, which retains the right to make sequels to movies such as "Toy Story" and "Monsters, Inc."

The companies share box-office receipts and licensing revenues.

Disney chief financial officer Thomas Staggs said the company rejected Pixar's "final offer" because it would have cost Disney hundreds of millions of dollars it is entitled to under its existing agreement "while not providing sufficient incremental returns on new collaborations to justify the changes to the existing deal."

A person familiar with the talks said negotiations broke down because Pixar wanted to reclaim the copyrights to the five films it has produced with Disney so far, plus the two left in the deal. Such an accommodation would have presumably revoked Disney's right to make sequels and potentially denied the company millions of dollars in future profits.

Pixar also wanted to pay Disney a flat distribution fee on all future films, including "The Incredibles" and "Cars." Disney was willing to adjust its compensation on the two remaining films, but would not agree to return the copyrights, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Analysts said that while Disney may have been wise not to agree to a deal at any cost, it now has two years to show it can make successful animated films without Pixar's help.

Disney has had mixed success over the past few years with its animated films, producing such box office disappointments as "Atlantis" and "Treasure Planet" and modest hit like "Lilo & Stitch" and "Brother Bear."

"I think that if Disney can move in that direction successfully, it's not going to be devastating," Janna Sampson, co-Manager of the AmSouth Select Equity Fund and director of Portfolio Management at Oakbrook Investments. "That's the wild card — can Disney get its animation studio to produce the kind of hits Disney used to produce without anybody's help?"

Disney recently closed its Orlando, Fla., animation studio and has pared its staff of animators to 600 from a peak of 2,200 employees in 1999. For the first time in years, it has no traditional hand-drawn films in production.

Disney plans to release its first in-house computer-animated film, "Chicken Little," in 2005, the year its current Pixar deal expires. Disney also is producing other computer-animated films, including "A Day With Wilbur Robinson," to be released in 2006.

On Thursday the company also announced plans for two new computer-animated films, including a long-awaited "Toy Story 3."

For Pixar, the break from Disney will allow it to keep more profit from future films while increasing the risks should those movies underperform.

"The risk is all theirs now," said Peter Mirsky, a financial analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. "They wanted it, they got it. Plus, they've added a competitor in Disney."

While Pixar has had major hits with all five of its films, including "A Bug's Life" and "Toy Story 2," it no longer has the field to itself.

This year alone, DreamWorks is releasing two computer-animated films: "Shrek 2" in May and "Shark Tales" in November. Warner Bros. will release the animated "Polar Express" in November, and Fox's Blue Sky Studios, which made the hit "Ice Age," is planning to release "Robot" next year.

Former Disney board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold — who have been urging the company's chief executive, Michael Eisner, to step down — expressed concern when they quit the board last year that Disney was not properly managing its relationships with Pixar, Miramax and other companies.

In a statement Thursday, they blamed Eisner for the Pixar breakdown.

"While we expect that the tail of the relationship will continue to provide short-term earnings gains, the loss of this relationship, we believe, will result in the loss of long-term value for the company and its shareholders," the men said.

Analysts doubted the failure to reach a deal with Pixar would jeopardize Eisner's job.

"Roy's goal is to see Eisner out," Sampson said. "That doesn't make Eisner's job easier in the next couple of days as he tries to calm the concerns. But things are on the improvement side for Disney, and if that continues, I find it unlikely we'll see Eisner out of a job."

One certainty is that Pixar will have no problem cutting a more favorable deal with a new studio.

Thursday, Warner Bros., Fox and Sony all expressed interest in talking to Pixar. Fox distributes producer George Lucas (news)'s "Star Wars" films for a flat fee — terms similar to those Pixar wants.

Okay, so first they put out a few truly great movies that break from their usual mold (Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, and Atlantis) and underpromote them until they bomb miserably. Then, based on those and the (justified) failure of Treasure Planet, they can their entire 2D studio in the midst of the release hoopla for Brother Bear (and following Lilo & Stitch). No last ditch effort (though Home on the Range is already ready for release, and I doubt it'll smash box office records). Now they not only lose the group responsible for all their CG success, but they have to compete against them? (Oh, and they have to compete with a new studio, the name of which escapes me, which can start all their trailers with "From the creators of Mulan and Lilo & Stitch.")

Suicide. Despite what the analysts quoted in this article said, Eisner's job is up. And hopefully whoever takes over will be able to clean up the mess.

Mandalorian Candidat
01-30-2004, 02:52 PM
This is great news. Disney is the Wal-Mart of movie studios/entertainment except that they have jacked up prices. Biggest tightwads in the bizz. I'd love to see them get rid of that punk Eisner and finally sell of their SoCal sports franchises to some decent people willing to shell out some $ to get them improved. Maybe a good swift kick in the A, like this happening, will turn that behemoth around.

01-30-2004, 07:03 PM
I think it's funny that Disney and other studios out there see Pixar as basically just a CG house, as if that magic in the Pixar films somehow intangibly flowed from Eisner's crew instead of directly from the many creative minds at Pixar. Monsters Inc isn't a great film because the Disney logo at the beginning, it's because of the unique top-notch artwork and solid heartfelt and imaginative writing. By not realizing this, I think Disney is proving its true colors - it's not about the ideals of making something special anymore, it's about brainless corporate mentality. Of course, one look at Disney's California Adventure should be able to tell us that.

01-30-2004, 10:44 PM
I havent liked a Disney animated movie since Aladdin(sp?). They Pixar movies are great and I hope this bites them on the rump. Eisner should be axed and get someone inthere who knows what they are doing.

01-31-2004, 08:06 AM
This is great news. Disney is the Wal-Mart of movie studios/entertainment
Yep and it flowed the same way too. When the founding member passes on it goes straight down the tubes in that way.

01-31-2004, 12:25 PM
I think it's pretty safe to say that the next 5 Pixar movies will take home close to double what the next 5 Disney animated projects will (CG included, as they'll likely go that way). They'll regret this decision.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
01-31-2004, 12:28 PM
The only thing Disney is good for is their theme parks, but some of that sucks too (most of Epcot, ALL of Animal Kingdom). Disney was great for what, 90 years? But maybe it's time for them to just stop trying. All of their recent movies weren't anything like the old ones, and most of them really tanked. Pixar rocks, hopefully they can still do more stuff for a while.

01-31-2004, 10:27 PM
MC - The analogy of WM and Disney was great! One thing I always hated about Disney is when they had a new animated movie come out A New Instant Classic! I'm sorry, but can you say The Hunchback Of Notre Dame?

The folks at Pixar did an excellent job of bringing those characters to life, and it was a team effort from the voice actor to the lowliest animator.

Good Luck Pixar!

02-01-2004, 09:10 AM
"Instant Classic" .... there's a term I've not heard in a looong time... a LONG time.

Right, I HATES DISNEY..... just had to preface with that, sorry....

The analogy is pretty apt, especially the way Disney is totally the opposite of what many folks believe... it drives me nuts the way folks imagine that there are good lessons in Disney films.... they are some of the most racist, classist, sexist , divisive brainwashing tools I've ever had the displeasure of experiencing....

I'm hoping that their demise is painful, the company has been smiling while it twists the knife for far too long.... every sweatshop mickey t-shirt will weep copyrighted tears of dollars....

Right, sorry, I don't like animated films, I guess :D

An I hated Disney for buying the RCMP's image, too, that just seems wrong (correct me if that's just a crafty urban myth,JJ, I know ya want to:))

02-01-2004, 12:32 PM
Good, I hope they fail miserably. I've never liked Disney or their goofy cartoons. Lion King, :rolleyes: Beauty and the Beast, :rolleyes: to hell with all of their "classics."
I've embraced some of the new CG animation over the past few years. I love Ice Age,
Monsters, Inc., Shrek, and a few others. I couldn't care less about Disney and what they do . . . I've always associated Monsters with Pixar anyway.

I hate Disney and I also hate the nickname "Mouse House." :D

Exhaust Port
02-01-2004, 08:22 PM
Disney is going to be regretting this move for decades to come. Eisner needs to go.

02-02-2004, 12:39 AM
Mabs, how could Disney have bought the RCMP's image? (at first I wasn't even sure who you were talking about because I hadn't heard about this) Ok, I looked this up, what it is see is that 9 years ago, RCMP didn't really know how to control the unlicensed use of the RCMP likeness, so they set up a foundation to figure out how to deal with this, and after much consideration, they chose Disney to manage their licensing since Disney had a lot of experience in the matter. The contract lasted 5 years and was not renewed, but gave the RCMP's MPF (Mounted Police Foundation) enough understanding to take managing the licensing issues into their own hands.

You know what really bothers me about Modern Disney? These direct-to-video sequels to their big-screen films done by their cheap TV animation division. First off, Cinderella & Peter Pan and the like didn't need a friggin' sequel at all, but even if they somehow did, why palm it off on the crappy TV animation department whose quality has been caught in the pipe-trap of the Disney toilet for the last decade?!? Not only can't these people write worth a spit, but their artwork is somewhere between the Flintstones and Captain Planet.

Mandalorian Candidat
02-02-2004, 01:41 PM
You know what really bothers me about Modern Disney? These direct-to-video sequels to their big-screen films done by their cheap TV animation division. First off, Cinderella & Peter Pan and the like didn't need a friggin' sequel at all, but even if they somehow did, why palm it off on the crappy TV animation department whose quality has been caught in the pipe-trap of the Disney toilet for the last decade?!? Not only can't these people write worth a spit, but their artwork is somewhere between the Flintstones and Captain Planet.


That is about the biggest beef I have with Disney. Spawning those insipid sequels just for cash flow. Talk about "selling out," that is the epitome. I wonder how many parents got nagged by their kids to get Lion King 2: Electric Boogaloo finding it was total crap (not to mention that they'll be having that played ad nauseum like little kids want). Lilo and Stitch was a great flick, IMO, and they cheapen it by putting out all these video and TV spinoffs.

Some sociologist needs to do some serious research on the impact of Disney knockoff sequels on the IQ and developmental creativity in children. Maybe then we can get some Surgeon General labels on those videos and some good truth.com commercials during next year's Superbowl.

02-02-2004, 08:35 PM
Sleeping Beauty 2: Snoring Ugly

02-04-2004, 02:30 AM
is it still considered a sequel if they only put 1 and 1/2 behind the title like they are doing with The Lion King ? :D

02-04-2004, 09:36 PM
That's a sequel of a different color. ;) As I understand it, the film is all-new, recreating the first movie's plot from the point of view of the Rosencrantz & Guildenstern characters, right? Yeah, that's been done, it's a sequel. :D

02-06-2004, 05:33 PM
With the Star War ride in Florida and the excluisive star tours toys hanging around and making a spash, anyone want to bet if Disney will knock on ILM doors next?

I can see Disney using them as crutch.

If nothing more, with technology, someone new will step in and either trump pixar or run par with them.

I'll second the notion of Disney needed a good house cleaning of the corp big wigs.

Mandalorian Candidat
02-06-2004, 06:43 PM
With the Star War ride in Florida and the excluisive star tours toys hanging around and making a spash, anyone want to bet if Disney will knock on ILM doors next?

I can see Disney using them as crutch.

If nothing more, with technology, someone new will step in and either trump pixar or run par with them.

I'll second the notion of Disney needed a good house cleaning of the corp big wigs.

Hmmm, is ILM in the same league as Pixar in terms of producing a whole film? Pixar is an actual movie company aren't they and not just an effects producer like ILM? They have the whole package and just use (well, used) Disney as a distributor and promoter.

Even if they did bug G.Lu. about getting into bed (shudder) to produce some movies I don't see him accepting. Ever since ANH he's been pretty adamant about having control of his projects, Indiana Jones excluded. He's even said that his SW films are all independent productions. Since we keep the SW merchandise $ rolling into the Skywalker Ranch I don't see him ever doing business with Disney on a film.

02-07-2004, 02:02 AM
You might be right, but with G. Lu and Disney if the $$ is right they will do anything.

I could see ILM, LucasArts branching out. Their non star wars games are junk and you need to find a edge in the techno world...this might be a new step.

I never thought Lucas would buy in with Hasbro, but they did. I never thought G. Lu would let a lot this concept junk for toys come out, but hey look at the crowd control stormy...

I think if the cash is right, the contract lines both pockets and LucasArts and ILM needing a little extra kick to seperate them from other special effect houses, I can see a joint venture.

If you don't stay cutting edge, you just get cut away.

02-11-2004, 08:43 AM
Comcast is looking to bouy out Disney

Comcast Offers to Buy Walt Disney Co.

NEW YORK (AP) - In a surprise move, cable TV giant Comcast Corp. proposed early Wednesday to buy Walt Disney Co., the iconic media and entertainment powerhouse that owns the ABC and ESPN television networks, movie studios and theme parks, for stock valued at about $54 billion.

The nation's biggest cable systems operator said it would also assume $11.9 billion in Disney debt to push the total value of the deal to $66 billion.

Comcast's stunning proposal was made even as Disney boss Michael Eisner is fending off criticism from former board members Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Disney founder Walt Disney, and Stanley E. Gold about his performance as Disney's chief executive.

``This is a unique opportunity for all shareholders of Comcast and Disney to create a new leader of the entertainment and communications industry,'' said Comcast president and chief executive Brian L. Roberts said in a statement.

Comcast also released a letter sent to Eisner indicating that Eisner had personally rejected Roberts' offer to enter into discussions about a merger earlier in the week.

The letter from Roberts called it ``unfortunate'' that Eisner was not willing to enter into discussions. ``Given this, the only way for us to proceed is to make a public proposal directly to you and your board,'' the letter stated.

Under the merger, Comcast said it would issue 0.78 of a share of its stock for each Disney share, and Disney shareholders would retain 42 percent of the combined company. The deal would give Disney shareholders a premium of more than $5 billion, based on Tuesday closing stock prices.

Philadelphia-based Comcast merged with AT&T Broadband last November, and the company noted that merger in its sales pitch Wednesday.

``Our management team has a proven track record of successful integration of our merger partners,'' Roberts said.

Comcast has more than 21 million total cable television subscribers in 35 states and the District of Columbia. In October, the company reported net income of $3.18 billion and stronger-than-expected demand for premium services including high-speed Internet access. It has not yet released its results for the most recent quarter.

Disney is expected to release strong first quarter earnings later Wednesday. The entertainment giant has faced an aggressive campaign to oust Eisner waged by former board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold.

article (http://channels.netscape.com/ns/pf/story.jsp?floc=FF-APO-PLS&idq=/ff/story/0001/20040211/0829240357.htm&photoid=20040202LBV05D_LBV05D)

Exhaust Port
02-11-2004, 10:15 AM
Wow, now that's an interesting twist.

02-11-2004, 10:47 AM
mustn't.....make....politically charged.....obser...vation.....

Well, I guess Disney has dropped the "wholesome family entertainment" charade finally... Comcast... I worked "for" that company.... I just can't see how their strategy of acquiring properties, gutting them and jacking prices once a solid monopoly is established will work here, given that Disney has been busily gutting itself for the past 20 years or so (as seen in the TV animation, straight-to-video junk that seems to be their bread and butter)
Oh well, like the deliciously ironic slogan says, "Welcome to Comcast country" :D

02-12-2004, 04:42 PM
I especially don't like the idea of another company acquiring Disney, that would be the final nail in the coffin I think. As bad as Disney has been lately, it's still trying to be true to itself (sadly under Eisner's vision of what that should be), but if it becomes just another arm of Comcast, it won't stand for anything at all.

James Boba Fettfield
02-14-2004, 07:30 PM
I read this today at the toon zone.

Pixar Animation Studios is actively considering making a bid for the Walt Disney Company, the New York Post and The Times of London both report. Neither paper could cite specifics, but it seems likely that Pixar would lead a consortium of investors that would make a counterbid to the one offered by Comcast.

The New York Post separately reports that Disney CEO Michael Eisner has approached Time Warner about a merger that would save his company from Comcast. Toon Zone has a round up of the latest analysis of the bidding for Disney.

Times of London story (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8209-999660,00.html)

NY Post story about Pixar (http://www.nypost.com/business/16234.htm)

NY Post story about merger with Time Warner (http://www.nypost.com/business/16245.htm)

Here's a little more:

Speculation about the fate of Walt Disney Company intensified on Friday as analysts weighed the merits of Comcast Corp.'s $60 billion offer for the entertainment conglomerate, described strategies Disney might use to fend off the unsolicited bid, and wondered if other media companies might jump into the fray.

Comcast Success No Sure Thing
On one thing most analysts seemed to agree: Disney is close to fully valued at its current price, and there is little likelihood that Comcast will be able to raise its bid significantly without setting off a revolt among its own shareholders. Comcast shares have fallen nearly 12 percent since the company announced its bid, which has had the effect of lowering the value of its bid even as Disney's share price has risen.

The result, notes The New York Times, is that the stock market today values Disney as being worth more than Comcast is offering. Analysts suggest that this fact reflects investor skepticism about big media mergers. "They are worried about Comcast being able to run Disney and get the synergies out of it that they are promising," the paper quotes Richard Greenfield of research firm Fulcrum Global Partners as saying. Comcast is basing much of its bid on the conceit that the cable firm would do a better job of managing Disney assets than current Disney management has done, and not everyone is buying it. "What background do they have to be promising a turnaround at the television network and motion picture studio?" Heather Goodchild of Standard & Poor's tells Forbes.

Investor skepticism and Comcast's own conservatism may combine to put an upper limit on the price Comcast is willing to pay for the privilege of owning Disney. For its part, Comcast openly admits that it is bidding for Disney in the expectation that no rivals will emerge. "Our calculus was that at the end of the day there was unlikely to be another bidder," said Comcast's Stephen Burke, who argues that such potential rivals as General Electric,Time Warner and Viacom would each be constrained from making a bid. If Comcast's gamble works out, then, that could leave the company in a stare-off with Disney as each tries to force the other to make some kind of offensive or defensive move.

But so long as no other bidders emerge, say some analysts, Disney stands a good chance of being able to withstand Comcast's overtures by simply doing little. The Los Angeles Times suggests that, with Disney stock already trading higher than Comcast's offer, the Mouse House could simply ignore the offer. But Disney CEO Michael Eisner and his management team can ill-afford to be seen as doing nothing to boost Disney's value just before an annual meeting that, thanks to dissident Roy E. Disney, threatens to be highly contentious. That meeting is already being pitched as a referendum on Eisner's management, with his inability to lift the stock price by fixing Disney's myriad problems one of the key criticisms. A "stand pat" strategy could also lead Comcast to initiate a proxy fight to replace the board of directors with a group more receptive to its offer. And even if Comcast walked away, Eisner's doing nothing could alienate Disney shareholders if Comcast's withdrawl caused Disney's share price to collapse.

Mouse Might Bulk Up
Disney has other defensive moves open to it, however. An analyst at Sander Morris Harris told The Times of London that said Disney might sell certain assets, thus raising cash that it could distribute to shareholders in the form of a special dividend. Among the assets it might sell or spin off, says the Los Angeles Times, are its ESPN cable network, its theme parks, or its radio stations. None of these potential sales is likely to be attractive to the company, however. ESPN is estimated to throw off profits of nearly $1 billion a year; the theme parks are a core part of the Disney identity, and the sale of ABC or any of its pieces would be seen as a tacit admission that the merger with Capital Cities/ABC, one of Eisner's crowning achievements, was a mistake.

Alternately, Disney could try to avoid Comcast by making a valuable acquisition of its own; in 1984, for instance, the company escaped corporate raider Saul Steinberg by purchasing a large real estate company. And the thought of Disney itself making a high-price purchase has deal makers salivating. The New York Times suggests that Disney could itself expand into the distribution business by purchasing satellite broadcaster Echostar; if done as part of a stock deal, such an acquisition would bring the company a large shareholder in the person of Echostar founder Charles Ergen, who could then use his holdings to support Disney management in much the way the Bass brothers supported Eisner's regime in the 1980s. Another possible target is film studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer, which has been looking to sell itself and which has its own major stockholder, Kirk Kerkorian, who could also play a kind of white knight.

But in large measure Disney finds itself under attack because of missteps by Eisner, and some analysts suggest that the company's board of directors could try to protect the company's independence by jettisoning Eisner, either as a way of mollifying unhappy shareholders or as part of a defensive merger. For instance, the Times continues, Disney might purchase internet company Yahoo in a deal that would effectively increase Disney's market capitalization by 50% and also bring aboard Yahoo's highly respected CEO, Terry Semel, who as a former co-chairman of Warner Bros. would be ideally positioned to take over from Eisner. Another merger candidate, say analysts, is InterActiveCorp, run by Barry Diller, one of the most respected managers in the entertainment business. The Times also mentions DreamWorks SKG as another merger candidate.

White Knights Seem Unlikely
But the most intriguing merger partner being talked up is Pixar Animation Studios, with which Disney has had a long-running and mutually lucrative production and distribution pact. Pixar recently ended talks to renew the pact amid much name-calling, however, so it would seem unlikely that Pixar and its chairman, Steven Jobs, would be receptive to a Disney approach.

But Pixar is at the center of another Disney rumor: Both the New York Post and The Times of London say that Jobs is actively negotiating with various partners about putting together a consortium of investors that would make a bid of its own for Disney.

That raises a third possible fate for Disney: The company could be taken over by another company, either as part of a defensive "white knight" merger or as the result of another unsolicited bid.

The New York Post, for instance, also reports that Eisner has already approached Time Warner about a merger that would unite the corporate parents of Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, and that the parent of Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network is busy plotting possible strategies. And The New York Times says that investment bankers have been independently contacting Time Warner to pitch the idea of a merger with Disney. Their argument: Time Warner cannot allow Disney's cable and broadcast networks fall into the hands of Comcast, a rival cable operator that could use Disney's content to put the screws to Time Warner's cable systems.

But analysts are skeptical that Time Warner will be able to make a move of its own. They note that the company is still highly burdened with debt, which would preclude it from making a cash bid for Disney, and that an ongoing investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission would prevent it from using its stock as currency.

Microsoft Corp. is also being mentioned as another possible bidder. With $53 billion in cash on hand, the software giant could easily afford to bid for Disney, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes that in return for a contract to be the exclusive provider of digital rights software for Disney product, Microsoft might supply Disney with a chunk of that cash hoard to use in fighting off Comcast. On the other hand, as the owner of a 7% stake in Comcast, Microsoft might prefer to remain neutral and get a piece of Disney if Comcast succeeds in buying the company.

And What Happens to Eisner?
Finally, there is the question of what will happen to Michael Eisner. Few of the scenarios being floated by speculators leave the twenty-year veteran in charge of Disney, and the board of directors, which has been harshly criticized for being an Eisner lapdog, might feel compelled to dump simply to demonstrate its own independence, says The Times of London.

For his own part, Eisner put a brave face on his current troubles. At a long-scheduled meeting with analysts in Orlando, Eisner refused to discuss Comcasts takeover bid and argued that the company is on "the right track," reports the Los Angeles Times. And a major series of articles in Friday's print edition of The Wall Street Journal argued that it is too soon to count Eisner out.

The Journal also carried a major story suggesting that any acquirer of Disney could be getting more than it bargained for; Disney has one of the strongest—and strangest—corporate cultures in the world, one that is still built around a cult-like devotion to strategies and tactics pioneered by the company founder himself. Many of the tics and faults that are attributed to Eisner, for instance, were habits that Walt himself had, says the paper, including micromanagement and a keen appreciation for the possibilities of marketing and synergy.

The very fact that Disney would be hard for anybody to digest is aptly illustrated by one seemingly innocuous issue: If Comcast bought Disney, what would the name of the combined company be? The New York Times asks a slew of corporate consultants who only agree that it would be a difficult issue to manage. Allen Adamson of WPP Group, for instance, suggests that Comcast should keep its own name and use "Disney" as a brand name only for family-themed products. But the humorous possibilities of rebranding "Comcast Disney" are too much for some to resist, with consultants mordantly suggesting such labels as "MouseCom" and "Pixaren't" as possibilities.

Darth Kirk
02-15-2004, 12:46 AM
Disney has the potential to being a great animation house.. The history of the animation is pretty sordid, and the themes have been repetitive. The 21st century cartoon is gonna need more than just a hero/heroine with a cool side kick on some sordid adventure that ends up happily ever after, right after a dramatic action sequence that made you hold your breath for a few seconds..been there, done that.. lets move on already...

02-15-2004, 01:58 PM
I think this is now a total disaster. Eisner trying to get Disney in bed with Warner Bros?!? Comcast having to up the offer?!? Pixar trying to buy Disney? (that one at least has a company that seems halfway trustworthy as successor to the throne.)

03-10-2004, 08:42 PM
Since we last saw this thread, Disney shareholders recently pushed Comcast away and took one of Eisner's two thrones as well, removing him as Chairman but leaving him CEO. 43% of these shareholders voted against Eisner. Now, Walt's daughter has come out against Eisner but also speaking critically of her cousin Roy's attack on Eisner - siting it as part of what opened the door to Comcast's failed takeover. BTW, Disney is saying that they believe Comcast will up their offer even though Comcast has said they won't, possibly a ploy to kick Disney stock a little higher.

On entertainment grounds (yeah right), IMDB had mention Disney's Australia studios - where pretty much all of Disney's 2D "traditional" animation is now coming from - is currently working on "Bambi, the Sequel", as well as other titles, and also hiring some of the animators that Disney recently laid off from their divisions in California, France, Japan, and Florida.