Special-effects guru Mark Hurt design and built a scale replica of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. He lives in the home, which he explains, “will always be a work in progress”. He even has his own home-brew audio-animatronics and a ghost that appears in his bathroom mirror.
MiceAge.com shares Walt’s nephew, Roy Disney’s, resignation letter. Roy blames Michael Eisner’s poor leadership and relates point by point reasons how Michael Eisner has failed:
- The failure to bring back ABC Prime Time from the ratings abyss it has been in for years and your inability to program successfully the ABC Family Channel. Both of these failures have had, and I believe will continue to have, significant adverse impact on shareholder value.
- Your consistent micro-management of everyone around you with the resulting loss of morale throughout the Company.
- The timidity of your investments in our theme park business. At Disney’s California Adventure, Paris and now in Hong Kong, you have tried to build parks “on the cheap” and they show it and the attendance figures reflect it.
- The perception by all of our stakeholders — consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers — that the company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the “quick buck” rather than long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust.
- The creative brain drain of the last several years, which is real and continuing, and damages our Company with the loss of every talented employee.
- Your failure to establish and build constructive relationships with creative partners, especially Pixar, Miramax, and the cable companies distributing our products.
- Your consistent refusal to establish a clear succession plan.
Not that we didn’t all know this before, but Disney has now officially stated that the Big Thunder Mountain railway accident last September was caused by poor maintenance.
Leslie Goodman, senior vice president of strategic communications for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts made the statement, “Our own analysis found that the accident was caused by incorrectly performed maintenance tasks required by Disneyland policy and procedures that resulted in a mechanical failure.”
In the realm of feature animation, the hand-drawn no longer rocks the cradle. Thanks to the consistent success of Pixar’s five computer-rendered theatrical releases, coupled with Disney’s recent failure to produce popular hand-drawn films, it’s easy to see why folks are favoring bytes and pixels over ink and paint.
Slashdot is offering up a great article and discussion thread about Disney’s abandonment of traditional, hand-drawn animation (which Disney has sworn, for years, it would never give up), in favor of 3D, computer-generated work.
Supposedly, all of their animators—even staunch traditionalists such as Glenn Keane– are being trained on 3D computer animation techniques. The last hand-drawn high-budget Disney feature scheduled for release is Home on the Range, which is due out next April. It appears that Disney is bowing to the supposed pressures of the market, even though the hand-drawn Lilo and Stitch was considered a success and the all-CG Dinosaur (done at Disney’s now-defunct FX house The Secret Lab) was not. However, I believe there’s another factor at work: Pixar’s contract with Disney is set to expire soon, and the revered CG house has been making their own demands of Disney for the contract’s renewal.
It’s no secret that Disney feels threatened by 3D Animation. “For the first time in decades, the entertainment giant that pioneered feature-length animation with 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” has no traditional animated big-budget movies in production.” Disney has not only fired many of it’s traditional 2D animators, but it has also been auctioning off the tools of the 2D animation trade, a sign that they don’t plan on rehiring new animators. “Among the items listed [for sale] was an animation desk for $1,299; a story board for $54.15; and a 6-foot-tall cabinet for stacking scenes for $64.95.”