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Steve Dumps Mike
January 29, 2004 8:42 PM   Subscribe

Pixar Dumps Disney: "It is impossible to know how bad this is for Disney." On the other hand: Disney can begin creating sequels to all of Pixar's films, something it could not do under its current arrangement and is almost certain to exploit. On the third hand: One film executive suggested that Mr. Jobs could now be considered a candidate to run Disney if indeed Mr. Eisner ever left.
posted by alms (26 comments total)

 
Disney can begin creating sequels to all of Pixar's films, something it could not do under its current arrangement and is almost certain to exploit.

Almost certain? Disney have been living off their own creative fat for years, they're never going pass this up.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:49 PM on January 29, 2004


Yay! I am so looking forward to Finding Nemo 1/2. Monsters, Inc 2. and 3!

The future is bright indeed.
posted by graventy at 9:01 PM on January 29, 2004


on the bright side, maybe they'll rehire all the animators they fired?
posted by amberglow at 9:04 PM on January 29, 2004


yeah, that'd be great if all those 2D artists from orlando went to pixar and started making kickass cel animation!

with studio ghibli :D
posted by kliuless at 9:19 PM on January 29, 2004


Actually, i read recently that Pixar was starting to do cel animation as well. Can't remember where that was though. This is a bold move for Jobs but not so unsurprising.
posted by dobbs at 9:25 PM on January 29, 2004


Now Eisner will be voted out by shareholders. Disney will tank, lose money, eventually they won't even have enough to run the cryogenic coolers that support Walt Disney's severed head. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
posted by Hildago at 9:36 PM on January 29, 2004


Actually, i read recently that Pixar was starting to do cel animation as well.

Extremely unlikely. Feature-quality cel animation brings with it an enormous set of logistical requirements that Pixar is unequipped to handle. They could build a cel animation studio, but that would be a profound drain of resources away from maintaining their technological edge over the other computer animation houses. Moreover, that's not how Steve thinks.
posted by jjg at 9:43 PM on January 29, 2004


On the other hand: Disney can begin creating sequels to all of Pixar's films, something it could not do under its current arrangement and is almost certain to exploit.

Except, of course, that Disney doesn't have an animation studio anymore. They fired most of the 2-D animators, and their 3-D staff that wasn't Pixar has the "quality" of Dinosaur under their belt. Disney might own Pixar characters now, but they don't own Pixar's proprietary animation software (Pixar went beyond Maya long ago.) In other words, Disney's in deep doo-doo.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:12 PM on January 29, 2004


Here's a chronicle of Roy Disney's ongoing efforts to get rid of Eisner. They seem just a little giddy about this development.
posted by whatnot at 10:49 PM on January 29, 2004


Looks like Pixar is in talks with Warner Brothers... meanwhile, Disney has announced the release of it's first in-house computer animation feature, Chicken Little.

Chicken Little?! Hey Disney, the sky is falling! The sky is falling!
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:01 AM on January 30, 2004


One more nail in Eisner's coffin.

I just pray this doesn't mean that Toy Story 3 doesn't get canned for Pixar.

(If they did it, it wouldn't be until 2007 after The Incredibles, Cars, and Ratatouille. Supposedly they had a great idea for a story, too . . .)
posted by cinderful at 3:25 AM on January 30, 2004


I'm pretty sure John Lasseter has the best nomation-to-Oscars-obtained ratio ever. That probably makes Pixar the studio with the best nomation-to-Oscars-obtained ratio ever. It's pretty obvious that, if they wish to do so, they can *dictate* their distribution policy as they see fit to an very eagerly awaiting audience of potential bidders. As far as I know, Pixar representatives have hinted all along that the break-up with Disney was bound to happen.
posted by magullo at 3:29 AM on January 30, 2004


they can *dictate* their distribution policy

I gather that the issue so much terms for future deals, but restructuring the terms for the remaining two movies on the existing deal. Pixar realized they were giving up too much, and Disney didn't want to let go of it.
posted by alms at 5:06 AM on January 30, 2004


Wouldn't it be smarter for Pixar just to pick and choose for each movie they make, rather than stick to one company? They've made their name, and each film could ignite a new bidding war for rights--unless they need money upfront, i guess?
posted by amberglow at 5:11 AM on January 30, 2004


If their star is burning bright right now, better to sign a long-term deal that cashes in on previous success and eliminates the risk of blowing their reputation later on.
posted by fuzz at 5:44 AM on January 30, 2004


alms: Two sides of the same coin. Once Pixar got hugely successful (as indicated for instance in the nominations-to-Oscars-obtained ratio), there is very little reason to live under the *protective* wing of someone else.
posted by magullo at 5:54 AM on January 30, 2004


This is so funny because it is so typically "Steve Jobs". Apparently, when Pixar first approached Disney in the early 1990s, Jobs marched right into Katzenberg's office (the head of Disney animation at the time) and tried laying down the law of how the deal would work until Disney 'politely' informed him that Pixar was at the low end of the totem poll.

My, oh my, how times have changed. Steve Jobs has made many statements to the fact that Disney is the 'old and busted' animation company and that Pixar is the 'new hotness' as it were. He has no qualms about saying that he intends to be the Walt Disney of the 21st century. Of course, methinks it's John Lasseter who is the real guru here - Steve Jobs just has the cojones to negotiate the deals.

Of course, the downside here is that people associate Pixar characters and Pixar films with Pixar, not so much with Disney. If Disney begins churning out the inevitable craptastic sequels to otherwise brilliant original films, it might dilute Pixar's image.
posted by tgrundke at 6:15 AM on January 30, 2004


Yay! I am so looking forward to Finding Nemo 1/2. Monsters, Inc 2. and 3!

The future is bright indeed.


Are you serious? The whole point of this is that Pixar has the talent, Disney was there just for their muscle to distribute. Disney, which has never developed a successful computer-animated movie on its own (I think the closest they came was Dinosaur), would likely make some pretty lame sequels. Personally, nothing bothers me more than a bad sequel--it ruins my impression of the original.
posted by jpoulos at 6:19 AM on January 30, 2004


Looks like Pixar is in talks with Warner Brothers

Ugh. WB shat upon Brad Bird once (their lack of promotion for The Iron Giant verges upon criminal) and now Pixar's going to drag him back into bed with them? Well, okay, fine if they can get him to go along with it, but my nightmare scenario is they lose him... still, if anyone can make such a partnership work, it's probably Jobs.

Disney, which has never developed a successful computer-animated movie on its own

There was this small matter of Tron, which at the very least is a geek cult classic. But then, they didn't do that in-house either; I recall the late Robert Abel being involved, along with a couple other CGI houses, so I guess you're right.
posted by kindall at 7:24 AM on January 30, 2004


Tron flopped, didn't it?
posted by bwerdmuller at 8:07 AM on January 30, 2004


Once Pixar got hugely successful (as indicated for instance in the nominations-to-Oscars-obtained ratio), there is very little reason to live under the *protective* wing of someone else.

OTOH, if you release only one movie a year, it's very hard to support the infrastructure needed for very wide movie releases. That's why Pixar needs a distributor.
posted by smackfu at 8:23 AM on January 30, 2004


The future is bright indeed.

Are you serious?


I seriously doubt it, jpoulos. "Finding Nemo 1/2"? Come on. How long have you been here at Metafilter? Whether or not this was graventy's exact point, I have a feeling any Disney-does-Pixar character sequels are going to suck in comparison to the Pixar originals, and will generate even worse PR for Disney over the long term (even as they generate short-term profits).

Anyway, it seems like so much of a no-brainer that this is a big nail in Disney's coffin that I'm wary of piling on. They've been basically dead before (e.g. early 80s) and risen again. What they have is a huge amount of artistic (using the term very loosely) capital as a founding company of an entire movie genre, and they've shown they know how to leverage that.

On the other hand, the new culture may be moving too quickly and ziggedy-zaggedy for a company that pins its newfangled hopes on the aptly-named "Dinosaurs." If they do die a horrible death, it will be richly deserved - they've killed and cannibalized their own well-loved characters hundreds of times over, so I won't cry too hard.
posted by soyjoy at 8:52 AM on January 30, 2004


I saw the 3D, animated Mickey's PhilharMagic last weekend, and it was fan-fucking-tastic. If Disney can pump out more of the same, they'll be fine in my book.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:06 AM on January 30, 2004


Maybe this will mean fewer kicked-in-the-groin and fart jokes in the next movie Pixar puts out.
posted by interrobang at 2:38 PM on January 30, 2004


Maybe this will mean fewer kicked-in-the-groin and fart jokes in the next movie Pixar puts out.

pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease...my brow can't GET any lower...
posted by rushmc at 5:44 PM on January 30, 2004


They're movies for kids, and kids find fart jokes very funny. Sorry, that's life. I think there was only one fart joke in Finding Nemo, though. And fish don't have groins, so no problem there.
posted by kindall at 12:43 AM on January 31, 2004


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