The BLOG FLUME -- It's a Scary, Incredible, Wacko Halloween Season
Eisner fends off another lawsuit, Steve Jobs hints at a Disney reconciliation, wackos go nuts over Universal’s ads, Dolly expands and other news.
Written by J. Dana
Skeletons in Eisner’s Closet make for a scary OctoberTweet
New York Times, Oct. 18, 2004
We always knew that Michael Ovitz’s $140 million severance package would come back to bite Eisner in the butt. But what took so long? On the none-too-soon eve of his departure, Eisner is having to face down another lawsuit, this one brought by disgruntled (and rightly so) shareholders arguing that the board of directors “breached its fiduciary responsibility when Mr. Eisner hired his friend, Michael S. Ovitz, as president in 1995 and then signed off on Mr. Ovitz's $140 million severance package 14 months later.” A close examination of records shows that Ovitz spent $2 million to renovate his office, $6,100 on a home x-ray machine, and $48,000 for a home screening room. Now remember how pissed you were when Epcot parking went up to $8. If we only knew then that we were paying for Ovitz’s Playboy magazine subscription. Plaintiffs are seeking nearly $200 million. Sadly, they probably won’t get it. They’ll win, but I’ll be surprised if any money ever changes hands.
It’s an Incredible Proposition
Okay, so we’ve all tired of the Pixar/Disney battle, right? Well it seems Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs may not yet be tired of the imbroglio. This entire story can be boiled down into the following line: “People close to Jobs say he would be open to resuming talks with Eisner’s successor.” Although many may think it’s beating a dead horse, I’m putting my money on a Disney/Pixar reunion. It’s gonna happen, folks. Theme parks and special anniversary releases keep DVDs selling. That’s Disney’s forte. Jobs knows it.
Wackos are all wacked out
Not to sound too insensitive (too late for that), but mental health officials in Florida are bent out of shape because Universal’s ads for Halloween Horror nights feature a restrained, writhing patient in a straight jacket. From all of us to all you Florida mental health sickos: GET A LIFE! And to the mental health facility executive in the story who said, “I personally was insulted, hurt and felt ashamed by what I saw and read," all I can say is that if you’re that easily dismayed, then lady, you’re in the wrong line of work. A friend of mine is a mental health provider and had to deal with a dude having sex with chickens. Believe me, these ads are the least of your worries.
It used to be that deep discounts and short lines greeted guests at the major theme parks during the autumn months. That may still be somewhat true, but theme parks have capitalized on the month-long Halloween celebration in October to turn sliding profits into mega-bucks. This is something those of us on this site already know, but it’s interesting to see that the rest of the general population is now catching on.
And a Roundup of Other Small Tid-Bits:
Cypress Gardens held auditions, will open in November
New White Rhino at Busch Gardens in Tampa
Six Flags 2004 attendance lower than anticipated
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Features, News and Advice