Categories
Disney

Disney-Pixar Deal

I’ve been hearing rumours about Disney buying Pixar in an all-stock deal for a couple of days. Here is the lowdown:

The Telegraph article was the first one that I heard of announcing the deal.

Today the New York Times reports that Disney may announce their acquisition of Pixar as early as tomorrow. According to the Times, the deal would combine Pixar with Disney’s animation unit and give Mr. Jobs a seat on Disney’s board.

The LA TIMES article Walt’s Shoes at Disney Could Be a Fit for Jobs draws an interesting parallel between Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.

Harry Mccracken has a collection of interesting questions about the Disney-Pixar merger on his blog posting, Disney+Pixar=?.

Update: Over at Cartoon Brew they have a copy of an email from Walt Disney Feature Animation President David Stainton as he prepares to hand over the position to John Lasseter. Especially interesting is the comment from an anonymous Disney director.

Categories
Disney

Eisner Finally Leaves Disney

Michael Eisner

The New York Times is running a story on the departure of Disney CEO Michael Eisner from the company. His last day will be on Saturday.

It is a low-key way to end a 21-year career that was both brilliant and controversial and during which Mr. Eisner, 63, became the face of Disney for the generation whose parents grew up with the founder, Walt Disney.

Categories
animation Disney

What Happened to Fraidy Cat?

I’ve been engrossed in a myriad of new animation and art blogs that seem to have sprung up like mushrooms in the last month.

Fraidy Cat

I found this little gem of an entry tonight that relates how Rob Clements & John Musker quit Walt Disney Feature Animation over what happened to Fraidy Cat.

(… Ron Clements & John Musker are the writers / directors of such Disney animated hits as “The Great Mouse Detective,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Hercules” and “Treasure Planet.” Over the past 20 years, these gifted filmmakers are personally responsible for billions of dollars pouring into Disney’s corporate coffers.)

So if a picture that these two guys (with their proven track record) have helped create is playing this well in story reel form, you have to assume that Walt Disney Feature Animation is naturally going to be putting that project in production, right?

Well, that’s where you’d be wrong, folks. “Fraidy Cat” (which was originally scheduled to be released in late 2009) isn’t going into production. In fact, this project was actually shelved last month. Which is the main reason that Musker & Clements — after 31 years of working for Walt Disney Feature Animation — are exiting the studio on September 11th and heading for … parts unknown.

“Wait a minute?,” you sputter, “If people inside WDFA are saying that ‘Fraidy Cat’ actually looked that good, then why isn’t Disney then putting this picture into production?” Ah, that’s where this cat’s tail … er … tale gets interesting.

It’s so disappointing that number one, we’ll never get to see Fraidy Cat, and number two, Walt Disney Feature Animation has lost two tremendously talented individuals.

Categories
Disney

California Screamin’ Accident

California Screamin' accident

As any long term readers of my blog know, I’m a pretty big fan of Disneyland. However, I have to say my love of the park is slowly diminishing with all the bad news coming out of Disney theme parks lately. For instance there was a low speed collision on Disney’s California Adventure’s Screamin’ rollercoaster yesterday. No one was killed but about 15 people have minor injuries. What is going on with the maintenance lately that there have been so many theme park accidents? From NBC News 4:

Fire crews, ambulances and other emergency vehicles were at the California Screamin’ ride, which features a 108-foot drop. Crews received the report at about 6:40 p.m.

City spokesman John Nicoletti said 15 of the 48 people on the ride were hospitalized for treatment of minor injuries.

[…]

The slow-speed collision occurred on a flat portion of the roller coaster. Officials were attempting to determine a cause.

It was the second accident in four months at a Disneyland Resort park in Anaheim.

Categories
animation copyright Disney

"Vice presidents from Disney don’t contact just any old Joe Schmoe off the street."

After reading this Newsday.com (Updated link:) wdwmagic forum article about a scuba-diving dentist that claims Disney and Pixar Animation Studios stole the idea for the hit film “Finding Nemo” from him, I think he may have a case.

He claims he submitted an illustrated manuscript to Disney and talked on the phone about his story with a writer from Pixar. (The two companies have a distribution partnership.)

A Disney vice president told Sternberg in 1996 that although the story had “great potential,” it did not fit into the studio’s “development slate” at that time, according to the suit.

Seven years later, Sternberg was in a movie theater and saw a preview for the upcoming release of “Finding Nemo.”

“I thought, ‘Hey, I’m the scuba-diving dentist. Those are my characters, that’s my story,”‘ he told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Wednesday’s editions. “It made me sick to my stomach.”

One big similarity: Sternberg story has a character named “Nimo.”

The thing is, before he submitted his manuscript he signed a two-page waiver that said he would be entitled to only $500 if he were to claim that the company used his material without permission or authorization. His lawyer is asking the court to void that waiver.

Categories
crime Disney life

T I Double Geh Errrrrr

There is a mother that is suing a Walt Disney World worker accused of groping her 13-year-old daughter while dressed as Tigger.

I asked Anna-Maria what she thought about the possibility it was an accident since she has actually tried on some of the Disney costumes.

She says that, “[While wearing the costume] your vision is greatly, greatly reduced. Furthermore, the suit is not just one layer. You have, generally, an under layer of padding followed up by a fur costume with large mittens on your hands that are often three times your regular hand size.

I tried out many costumes. One was a cat costume, the cat from Pinochio and the sleeves go almost all the way to the ground on them so your hands are covered.

Your feet are the same, you have shoes on followed up with a big fur boot, or depending on the costume a giant rubber shoe or boot.

Also it’s so hot in there you don’t function properly. You’re biggest concern is getting enough oxygen. Definitely not groping someone — although I could be wrong. But I don’t think you could even think about that in that costume. It’s like a pure mental exercise just to stand wearing the costume.

If it was one of the face characters, Santa Claus, Aladdin I could see it. But those other costumes are just unbearable.

I danced for half an hour in one and I was gasping for oxygen. Even when I just tried it on I began to sweat and breath heavily as if I had just run a marathon completely untrained.”

So when I asked her one more time if she thought the accused was truly innocent she replied, “Do you think a fat kid with asthma being chased by a pack of wild dogs could think about that? Because that’s what it’s like being in one of those costumes with parents and kids trying to run you down. You are in survival mode.”

About a second after publishing this post I discovered this AP News Story. It turns out “Tigger” was acquitted earlier today.

The acquittal came less than an hour following a three-day trial during which the defense attorney for Michael Chartrand donned a Tigger costume in an effort to show jurors how difficult it is to maneuver and see in the outfit.

[…]

Chartrand’s defense attorney has contended that the girl’s mother was merely after money and planned to sue Disney. The mother also claimed Tigger touched her breast during the visit to Disney World last February, although no criminal charges followed her allegation.

Categories
Disney

Disney’s 71% Increase in Profits and Fahrenheit 911 Update

Things are looking up for both Eisner and Moore.

Disney reported a better-than-expected 71% increase in income for the second quarter which must come as an extreme relief for Michael Eisner who has been under pressure to improve performance or risk losing his job.

Meanwhile a Miramax spokesman has stated that Miramax will distribute Michael Moore’s new film, though not under the Miramax label.

Update: May 25, 2004: From the New York Post:

Michael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” could wind up costing Disney more than $100 million and go down as another Michael Eisner blunder.

The movie is poised to set a new record for highest-grossing documentary after its release in six weeks’ time.

The stakes are higher — and hotter — between Miramax and Disney, its corporate parent, now that Moore has nabbed the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, for the Bush-bashing documentary.

The post-Cannes publicity for the film only intensifies the battle over who will distribute it in he United States, and if Miramax can get back in the mix.

Update June 29th, 2004: If you are wondering when Fahrenheit 911 is coming to Lethbridge (I am too), try the Cineplex Odeon website. In the meantime, I recommend reading Plastic’s commentary on the film. Plastic is one of the few places, I know of – on the net, where you can get quality discussions.

Update June 30, 2004: An anti-Michael Moore website is encouraging people to download Fahrenheit 911 for free. They are offering the same version of the film that you can find at Suprnova.

Categories
Disney documentary

Disney Blocks Moore’s New Anti-Bush Movie

The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush, tracing the links between the Bush family and Saudis like Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Moore’s agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney’s chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush’s brother, Jeb, is governor.

While Emanuel admits that Michael Eisner asked him not to sell this movie to Harvey Weinstein, he defiantly states, “that doesn’t mean I listened to him.”

According to news sources Miramax and Disney spokespeople had no comment, but Moore on the other hand did.

“Some people may be afraid of this movie because of what it will show,” Moore wrote. “But there’s nothing they can do about it now because it’s done, it’s awesome, and if I have anything to say about it, you’ll see it this summer — because, after all, it is a free country.”

Fahrenheit 9/11 is one of the films in competition at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

Categories
Disney

Pixar Short

I’m guessing this short film Tin Toy will be featured at the beginning of one of the next two new Pixar movies (either The Incredibles or The Cars). But why wait, check it out now – it appears to be a test piece for Toy Story and it’s actually quite brilliant.

Categories
Disney

Roy Disney May Have Some Tricks Up His Sleeve

Jim Hill has an interesting conspiricy theory about how Roy Disney and Stanley Gold have reportedly recruited members of the Jim Henson family to help out with their bid to oust Michael Eisner.

From JimHillMedia:

You see the strategy that’s emerging here? “Michael Eisner can’t get Steve Jobs to agree to a Pixar contract extension. But Roy Disney — who’s a friend of John Lasseter — can.” And “Michael Eisner missed out on closing a deal to acquire the Jim Henson Company (again) in May. But the Henson family is willing once more to do business with the Walt Disney Company … provided that Michael Eisner is out of the picture.”

This is really an ingenious strategy on Roy and Stanley’s part, don’t you think? Getting Disney shareholders to overlook the modest gains that the corporation has made over the past year by pointing out how much better the Walt Disney Company could theoretically be doing if Michael Eisner weren’t in the hot seat.