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Is Pixar Eyeing a Return to Disney?

Post by macontosh2000 » November 15th, 2004, 6:13 pm

Source: The New York Times


With Pixar's The Incredibles pulling in big numbers at the box office, and with only one more film (Cars) to go in their current distribution deal with Disney, attention has once again turned to what's ahead for the animation company.

Pixar chief executive Steven P. Jobs tells The New York Times that the company will not pounce on the success of The Incredibles to strike a new distribution deal. "We are not going to make a decision until the last possible moment," Jobs said.

Jobs says a major reason why are the changes in executive positions at the studios in upcoming months. Sherry Lansing, Paramount's chairwoman, recently said she would leave when her contract ends in 2005, and Disney chief executive Michael Eisner will retire when his contract ends in September, 2006.

Jobs has always favored a deal with Disney. Eisner's successor is to be announced by next June, and Pixar could renew talks then - but only if the money is right, executives from both companies say. Jobs reportedly says that two other studios could give Pixar the type of distribution support they are looking for: Warner Bros. Pictures and 20th Century Fox.


http://comingsoon.net/news/topnews.php?id=7219

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Post by GeorgeC » November 15th, 2004, 6:54 pm

Macontosh,

Months ago I predicted in a post on another bulletin board that Pixar would renegotiate its deal with Disney.

It looks like something will happen AFTER Eisner is officially gone.

There's no question there's resentment between Jobs and the current Disney executives. The two groups can't stand each other because of the need on both sides to control things. There are egos on both sides -- it's not true that Jobs hasn't contributed to the problem, too.

Pixar would be better off in the long doing its own distribution but the problem is that the company may not be diversified enough to handle its own distribution. Pixar is solely a feature animation producer (for the most part) and in all honesty there's a limited market for feature animation. The North American market does not seem to support more than 3-4 new animated features well in a given year.

Distribution and the terms of distribution are Pixar's biggest problems now. They just aren't set up (as far as I know) to distribute films on their own. Look what nearly happened to Mel Gibson with the Passion of the Christ earlier this year! NONE of the major Hollywood studios would distribute this movie. He was lucky an independent distributor would take a chance on his movie.

Pixar's problem seems to be no other studio in Hollywood is really interested in distributing its movies on the terms Pixar wants without control and ownership in its movies. It's the same old song -- sure, they'll help finance and distribute the movies, BUT they want ownership and a bigger cut of the profits.

Jobs is trying to get other people to distribute his movies and keep more profits for Pixar (naturally!) but nobody really wants to give Jobs everything he wants. With the goldmine Pixar's films have been so far, can anybody blame a potential distributor for wanting a bigger cut than Jobs seems to be willing to negotiate?

Unless Pixar sets up its own distribution arm, they probably really ARE stuck with Disney for the time being. DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox, and Sony all have their own computer animation companies or existing deals with computer animation producers so why go to the hassle of negotiating with a second company that'll cost them more than their current set-ups do?

As for the other Hollywood studios, we pretty much know Warner Bros is a terminal basketcase when it comes to feature animation (in other words, don't bother there) and nobody else seems interested in feature animation.

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Post by Christian » November 15th, 2004, 8:28 pm

I think Pixar is helped by the fact that people pretty much see their movies as "Disney" movies. New-fangled Disney movies but Disney movies nonetheless.

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DW

Post by ShyViolet » November 15th, 2004, 10:09 pm

I know Katzenberg really wanted to negotiate a deal with Pixar...for some reason it didn't work out. :cry:
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Re: DW

Post by GeorgeC » November 15th, 2004, 11:56 pm

ShyViolet wrote:I know Katzenberg really wanted to negotiate a deal with Pixar...for some reason it didn't work out. :cry:

LOL!

Listen, I know you have a major love for DreamWorks and are very contrary to the rest of us, Violet, but the fact is that Pixar doesn't love Katzenberg any more than it does Eisner at this point in time.

Pixar/Jobs are NOT going to negotiate a deal with their MAJOR COMPETITOR.

It just is not going to happen.

There's resentment over the fact that the first DreamWorks' CGI movie (Antz) paralleled a lot of A Bugs' Life and that it was fast-forwarded in production to beat Bug's Life to theaters in spite of the fact that Antz started production later than Bug's Life. Katzenberg had a hand in BOTH pictures so he knew for a fact that Pixar was working on A Bug's Life and had a general idea of the storyline which he allegedly instructed his DreamWorks crew to emulate.

Katzenberg doesn't have an original thought in his body any more than 99% of the executives in Hollyweird do and it's borne out by his actions... and believe me when I say that a lot of professional animators have serious bones to pick with him as much as they do Eisner.

Katzenberg has repeatedly put his foot in his mouth in recent years and is to DreamWorks what David Stainton is to Disney: the fellow who declares traditional animation is dead and CGI is the future of feature animation. Neither man wants to admit that their meddling, bad story ideas, dull characters, and out-of-control spending is what killed traditional animated features in the first place. You haven't read the stuff I have or heard professional animators curse Katzenberg at least as much as Stainton over the bone-headed and inconsiderate things he's said in the press to cover his own butt.

Katzenberg has a tendency to micromanage as much as any executive at Disney does. The problem now at DW is that nobody's willing to stand up to him and say he's wrong on story ideas and there's no cushion (of other producers, filmmakers) to allow the animation crews to ignore him when he's wrong like there was at Disney. There's no question Katzenberg is the top guy at DreamWorks Animation and YOU DO WHAT HE SAYS EVEN IF HE'S DEAD WRONG.

It's also a not-so-secret-fact that a lot of the top animators, producers, and directors at DreamWorks are buddies or suck-ups of Katzenberg and schmooze with him. They're not going to contradict and jeopardize their relationships and jobs with him at this point. There are very few opportunities left in the animation industry left for people who want to work in features. A lot of good people have left the industry because the jobs simply aren't there.

The Pixar crew has felt betrayed by Katzenberg since the business with A Bug's Life/Antz and have been disappointed by him repeatedly because each DreamWorks CGI films (with the exception of the Shrek movies) parallels their own productions. These sentiments are generally reflected by most animation fans AND non-Pixar professional animators. Believe me, you're in a very small minority if you honestly think it's the other way around.

You can go on believing the notion that DW does its own original material but it's just not borne by most of what's happened in the theaters since 1995. They've copied themes from both Pixar and Disney since '95. The only thing completely theirs they have going (well, really not original since it's adapted from an old children's book) is Shrek.

There's nothing new about copying themes in movies. It's been done in live-action since the beginning of movies. One year can be a big year for slasher films from multiple studios because they all think there's a trend and everybody wants to capitalize and make money off of it. The next year, the studios may all make space fantasy films because Lucas is successful with Star Wars and they figure that's what the general public wants.

Same thing with animation. What's different now is that animation isn't just Disney and it's obvious to most observers one company is blazing trails (Pixar) and the other is aping it (DreamWorks).

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Post by PatrickvD » November 16th, 2004, 5:35 am

lol I agree, Katzenberg ruined his chances of a distribution deal with Dreamworks. Personally, I dont see a new contract between Disney and Pixar happening, if the succesor is announced next year or whenever that is gonna happen it is bound to be someone that is as bad as Eisner.

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Katzenberg

Post by ShyViolet » November 16th, 2004, 6:23 pm

I've really enjoyed DW films over the years, and I know that Katzenberg has a lot to do with them, so I admire him...I know this is all steeped in all these political issues, but I try not to think about them. I don't think Katzenberg is on a mission to destroy animation, I'll say that much. After all, he DID make Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Sinbad, both 2-d. Very few people went to see those films. And he's said that he's open to making more in the future.

I know there's people on this site and others who don't like him. All I can say is you are certainly entitled to your opinion....that's what a forum is for. I honestly don't mean to offend anyone with my opinions or my avatar, so I hope that's not the case. I'm a fan of Katzenberg's....sorry if others aren't. That's all I can say. :wink:
“I want it all—the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles!”

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Disney Pixar Discussion

Post by GeorgeC » December 4th, 2004, 3:11 am

It seems like to me that the SaveDisney.com effort was a major bust.


It failed to get Michael Eisner out earlier than the end of his contract...

It failed to make major changes in the Disney governance board...

It failed to create a slot for an outside board member who COULDN'T be manipulated by the Disney CEO/Chairman (ie, the proposed Pension board member)...

It failed to get quicker movement on an Eisner successor...

It's failed to address the complete and utter incompetence and shortsightedness in killing the company's greatest cash cow, its traditional animation studio, which was responsible for generating for most of the great imagery and underlying ideas that have gone into the theme parks and home video product...

There's been a lot of talking but so far no real positive result for all this talking... I guess unless you buy the notion that Disney stock is really all that better. I still am hearing/sensing more negativity about Disney than at any other point in my life that I can remember.

Gee, it sure seems like to me that the little guys still got their teeth kicked out. Who's buying the dentures and implants to replace those teeth now?

The fans and ex-animators lose again while the battle of big corporate egos goes on.

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SaveDisney

Post by ShyViolet » December 4th, 2004, 7:04 pm

I think SaveDisney's problem was that they really didn't have a lot of anwers to all of the "hard" questions: How to GET a dynamic, competent CEO to Disney, not just talk about getting one. How to resolve the issues with Disney and Miramax. How to bring Pixar back. What kind of movies should Disney make, ONLY family-orientated, or profit-orientated to bring up the stock? How "Disney" should Disney be? These are hard issues to resolve, but they all require specific action. They all require more than just posting stories about how the latest rides at DCA suck....
“I want it all—the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles!”

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Post by Christian » December 5th, 2004, 4:10 am

Allow me to congratulate ShyViolet for not mentioning Jeffrey Katzenberg in her last post. I think Save Disney may have bit off more than they could chew in the first place.

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JK

Post by ShyViolet » December 5th, 2004, 4:45 pm

Like I said before if my avatar or my thoughts on JK offend anyone then I'm sorry. They're just my opinions.... :roll:
“I want it all—the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles!”

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Post by Macaluso » December 5th, 2004, 4:53 pm

I love the quote in your sig Shy ;)

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quote

Post by ShyViolet » December 5th, 2004, 4:58 pm

Thanks, Macaluso! I like your pictures. 8)
“I want it all—the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles!”

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Post by askmike1 » December 5th, 2004, 11:01 pm

I am so happy Save Disney is gone.

I think SD's biggest problem is that they underestimated Michael Eisner. Going into march, they had all this support (& apperently bumper stickers), they felt they were unstoppable. The shareholder meeting came in with over a 40% no confidence vote in Eisner and Roy thought it was over. When time passed and Eisner dis not quit, they had nowhere to go to. The only part left of the campaign after March 3rd was the website.

So the Grumpy Old men are out and Eisner, once again, has won.
-Michael
[url=http://www.mainstreetword.com]MSW[/url]

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Re: JK

Post by Christian » December 6th, 2004, 1:51 am

ShyViolet wrote:Like I said before if my avatar or my thoughts on JK offend anyone then I'm sorry. They're just my opinions.... :roll:
Don't worry. I'm not offended. I think he's a nice guy. At least he was when I went to the TLK reunion.

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