OT Sure to upset the Disney conservatives



Steven Jobs made a comment recently at a Pixar function that had the attendees gasping. Basically, he was commenting on the Pixar/Disney negotiations. When someone asked if Pixar would consider buying Disney Animation, he quipped that Pixar might just go ahead and buy Disney. The comment seemed to suck the air out of the room, but it brought up an interesting debate:

Would it be so bad if Pixar bought Disney Animation?

What if the company were splintered? Would that be a bad thing?

Dig deep....don't want no knee-jerk reactions here...only well-thought-out responses!

X-S Tech

Active Member
As I understand it Billy-boy, Toy Story was going no where story wise until Disney story men swooped in and saved the day (granted Pixar has since hired most of those people...). Pixars films tend to be, how shall I say, less than imaginative. They are all the same sorts of "injokes"; the storyline itself is usually strong but the subjects are getting old: a toys world, a bug's world, a monsters world, a fish's world, and from what I hear next a cars world? The problem is none of these worlds exist for much more than comment on our world. Every joke in Monsters Inc was, "look at how similar their world is to ours! Isn't that funny?" It would have been if it hadn't already been done to death in Bug's Life and Toy Story. It's not that these films are not beautiful and well designed, but come on. It's like someone said "Let's see how many Buddy Films we can make"

As too your question. I have heard similar comments about the Oriental Land Co. buying a controlling share of DCA and people gasped. But there's a company who knows how to run a theme park. They would pump money into that thing (I think that was just an unfounded rumor though). In this case, while Disney seems to have put traditional Animation on the back burner (to say the least) there is always the possibility that it'll return. This is the only option. If this part of the company were to be sold off, well first of all it could never happen. Disney would never sell of the library of animated films. While they may never make another decent 2D film, they can continue to milk money from the vault indefinately. And if the deal didn't include ownership of the classic films what would be the point. Pixar can more easily hire away the artists from this part of the company than it could buy WDFA. What would they do? Sign the Feature Animation building over to Pixar? What would that accomplish? I'm sure if Disney were no longer the owner, they would not allow Pixar to use the name, so there is no "name brand recognition". At the moment the Pixar name on a film is worth more than Disney anyway.

I've just been kind of writing this stream of conscience style so if the above is a bit convoluted I apologize. It's not that it couldn't happen but I doubt it.

X-S Tech

Active Member
I agree that there are several companies that could really do some great things with the Disney properties given the oppurtunity. But think about this. Pixar's a great company right now, as is the Oriental Land Co.. Their focus is where is should be, on quality and creativity. But as we know all too well, companies change their philosophies, thier governing boards, their goals. Let's say that Oriental Land Co. did purchase the Disneyland Resort for example and we enjoyed a good 10-15 years of prosperity. But then due to a number of factors, the climate changes. The year is 2018 for lords sake, people don't want to go out to theme parks anymore, the new thing is to experience them in virtual reality. So why should OLC pump any more money into DL? They don't shut it down but their attention to it dwindles for 5 years or so. Management is not the same as the team that negotiated the purchase of the park 20 years ago. So they decide to cut their losses and level it. Heck it's just a piece of Real Estate to them. their founder didn't create the thing. They just bought it.

The point is that each piece is far more vulnerable on it's own and conversely more valuable as part of the whole. The above may be a little extreme but it's far more likely to happen with another owner than it is for the parent company. I know that Disney seems to be "disrespectin'" factions of the company right now, but I think it best that we all stick together.
Job's comment was absurd. There is not enough money in any entertainment company right now to buy a piece of Disney. And Disney couldn't rake up a paltry 80 million to buy the Muppets when they had flirted with a 400 mil price tag years ago.

The curent universal corporate mentality is to batten down the hatches and weather this financial storm.

A solution to Animation and Theme Parks problems would address the supposed synergy that got lost in the last few years. Burbank feels it owns the parks so they leech off of the funds that the parks could use to upgrade. Animation can't just have moderate successes, they have to have LIon King everytime or they are failures! And No way can the assets that negotiated deals with Mattel and McDonalds be included with the Animated Movie take. Nope merchandising counts this up with thier own grubby little fingers and pat themselves on the back without a nod to the aritists who created cahracters that promted kids and adults to buy the merchandise. It all sucks.

All of the profits and sacrafices made benefit Sauron (current regime) in his dark throne and to keep the mechanics of Baradadur (WDCo, ABC, etc) operating. The CM's and artists with the publics "touch" are nothing but mindless orcs in the battle.

The only exception is Miramax. If the parks and Animation were given more of a free hand like the Wienstiens, I'd wager stock would improve. If the elements of an organization (just plain hard working folks) get to see feel and touch the immediate beneits of thier handiwork this increases the energy, productivity and morale plus the bottomline which can be share with those showing impetus and also to improve future product!

Nah ... who am I kidding It would mean the end of corporate fat, privileges and abuse. The CEO would never stand for giving up the power he currently has. We can all just wish upon a star.


Just to clarify some things here- Steve Jobs comments were made as a joke in a meeting discussing Apple Computer's financial well-being. While I think the relationship between Jobs and Eisner is at an all time low (and it certainly has never been good...) I don't think Jobs would seriously try to snatch up any part of Disney. Although I do find it odd that none of the music available at Apple's iTunes Music Store is Disney music or even music from the Pixar films...


Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to correct myself and provide some additional info on the Pixar/Disney topic. What follows is some interesting commentary from "As the Apple Turns," a very tongue-in-cheek website devoted to Steve Job's main company, Apple. (For those of you not up on your Apple trivia, Apple/Disney merger and buyout rumors are ALWAYS popping up, something that most of the Execs at Apple find very funny, considering that it has never been discussed by anyone as onything other than a joke. And usually it's about "troubled" Apple being bought out by Disney. Also, they refer to "RDF," which refers to Steve Job's and his "Reality Distortion Field" where he is able to make even the most jaded computer users/analysts/etc. go ga-ga over Apple's products and gadgets- like the nifty new iPods- and have them gloss over any flaws in his new products.

The first part is from 5-8-03:
"Just because nothing particularly special's going on at Apple right now doesn't mean there isn't something Steveular in the works. Don't forget, kidlings: he's not just the Man with the Plan at Apple and one heckuva lawn darts player, he's also the CEO of Pixar, makers of fine animated films such as Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and the soon-to-be-released Finding Nemo. And in his Pixar role, he's reportedly been cracking some skulls of late. Rich, powerful skulls. Wearing big, round mouse ears.

You know that Pixar is still mired in an exclusive distribution deal with Disney, right? Well, the two companies haven't been on the best of terms lately, with the not-so-secret scuttlebutt saying that Steve's looking to take his ball and go home after the Disney-Pixar partnership expires in 2005. Reportedly he's a little miffed that Disney makes more money on Pixar's movies than Pixar itself does, and once Finding Nemo hits theaters in three weeks, even though he owes two more movies to Disney, Jobs is apparently allowed to go shopping for distribution deals with other studios who might be willing to give his company a bigger piece of the pie. But faithful viewer Mr. Nick mentioned that Steve and longtime sparring partner Michael Eisner are indeed still trying to hammer out a new agreement, as noted yesterday by an LA Times article.

Reportedly Jobs and Eisner "recently dined together" in the Bay Area to discuss what sort of terms might be mutually acceptable to both parties should the current partnership be extended, and judging by the fact that neither CEO is dead of arsenic poisoning, apparently things aren't all bad between the two companies. Given that Steve has "enormous leverage" in this situation (Pixar features to date have reaped over a billion dollars in profit-- homina homina homina), it's not out of the question that he can put the squeeze on Eisner for exactly what he wants: 100% of the profits, licensing fees, and merchandising sales, in exchange for paying Disney a flat distribution fee. We'll see in the months to come whether or not he'll manage to RDF his way into a deal that nice.

Now, if you're looking for someone to ask about whether all this Jobs-Eisner interaction is actually somehow related to the long-standing rumor that Disney is buying Apple, we'd suggest you ask us-- because we have little to no regard for the concepts of truth or accuracy, and therefore we'll tell you exactly what you want to hear: of course it's got something to do with a Disney-Apple buyout. Expect an announcement any day now."

The next is from 5-13-03:
"Attention, long-time fans of the ever-popular and completely baseless "Disney To Buy Apple" rumor! Prepare to be sucked into an alternate universe-- a topsy-turvy world where up is down, black is white, they wear hats on their feet, and hamburgers eat people. Faithful viewer Marker pointed us to another New York Times article; this one's about Pixar's continuing search for a better distribution deal than the 50/50 one they've long had with Disney.

"So what does that have to do with Apple?" you scoff. (Scoff. Scoff. What a great word! "Scoff." Try to use it twice today.) Well, it's like this: four paragraphs in, the article mentions that Steve Jobs-- who heads up Pixar in his voluminous spare time, you know-- made an interesting comment during the Q&A portion of last week's Pixar earnings conference call. It seems that one analyst suggested that Steve "scrap negotiations with Disney" altogether and just try to buy out the company's animation division instead. And then what do you suppose Steve suggested in response? Buying Disney outright. AAAIIIEEEEEEEE!!!

Okay, so he then laughed it off as little more than a joke by saying "I'll just leave that alone," and the prospect of Pixar buying Disney isn't quite the same as Apple buying Disney, but it's close enough for government work. Man, who knew that we'd have to start listening to Pixar's conference calls to avoid missing all the best dirt? Apparently the drama just follows Steve wherever he goes. We're starting to think we're going to have to hire a cheap intern to tail the guy all day with a camcorder so we don't miss the next melodramatic altercation down at the local Jiffy Lube."


And in one last little trivia info to add to the mix- Steve Jobs is a former GAP board member who resigned shortly after Paul Pressler joined up as GAP's head-honcho. Granted, I believe it has more to do with Job's being busy running to major companies and his friendship with the gentleman Pressler replaced than any Pixar/Disney stuff, but an interesting item nonetheless.



Bill- I agree wholeheartedly. While I think that Job's comments were made as a joke, I do think the idea begs some thought. As Jim Hill talked about yesterday on his site, it is indeed time for a "revolution" in WDFA. And yes, Joan Rivers (and many of the Disney Execs) is indeed a parasite. :)
No, I'm not upset by an off-the-cuff suggestion that Pixar buy Disney animation--John Lasseter and his associates DO hold the current spark of animation creativity in the Disney universe. I don't quite understand some of the grumblings about the Pixar folks that I detect sometimes on this site; their films, in several short years, have given us some of the most beloved and memorable characters in Disney animation history.

No, I wouldn't necessarily mind if Pixar controlled the whole ball of wax, but for that matter, why not take things one step further and really shake it up--take it to the real source and give Hayao Miyazaki a call!


P. S. Bill, I love your idea about Rhino taking over the Walt Disney Records vault--it's a shame that so many treasures may never be heard again by the general public.


It's a sad state of a company when other companies say they could run it better jokingly. The whole deal is that the Disney side of the Disney company is being run poorly. Eisner runs the Disney company in his comfort zone: television and non disney movies.

Really, the Disney store shouldn't be up for sale, Disney should not be selling off Disney. Disney vault program master copies shouldn't be sold off. Wouldn't that be wild if Disney sold off Disney! Would the company that sold off Disney change it's name?

It would prove that Roy and the board allowed Eisner to hijack the Disney company and turn it into something else. And if the Disney Stores are sold to some other company, then the Hijacking has begun!

If the Oriental Land Company, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or a true fan purchased Disney, would it be good for Disney?

It would be away from Eisner, good enough for me.

It's awful that the Disneyland cash cow earnings are not going back into Disneyland except to run it.

I'm ready for fresh blood to run Disney, willing to take the risk, the leap, the chance, and the change.
For Jobs to purchase, I dont think he would be good for trhe long run. As an Apple ][ fanatic, I was always miffed how Apple literally held control of the computing world at one time and due to his stupidity in killing off the ][ line in favor of the mac, Apple llost the computing world to the PC platform.

At oen time, Jobs was a true visionary taking the isanely great invention of the Apple ][ and conquering the world. He was not able to do the followup which is KEEPING the world, as we all just seen.