Written by Joe Lane
Published: August 31, 2004 at 5:49 PM
It’s tough being king. Just ask Eisner.
His Majesty, the Disney CEO, has suffered many slings and arrows over the course of the past year. Many Disney purists might view these trials as the results of a decade of bad business decisions. The short-term profits are beginning to take their long-term effects. At this point in the drama, does the company have any hope of being rescued and rejuvenated? Is Disney too far gone to be pulled out of its downward spiral?
The family of the late Solomon Linda, a songwriter who penned the original version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, is taking Disney to court over the brief rendition used in The Lion King. Linda’s family, residents of Pretoria, South Africa, only recently saw the Disney film for the first time and have decided to file suit. To make matters worse for the company, the family’s lawyers issued a court order last month, effectively holding hostage more than 240 trademarks in connection with the $1.6 million dollar suit.
After the Pooh controversy, this kind of copyright infringement comes as no big shocker, but I have to wonder if the Linda family realizes that hundreds of musical artists all over the world have produced covers of the Solomon Linda song.
Yep. It’s tough being king.
Remember Javier Cruz, a CM at WDW who was killed by a parade float in February? Few people do--the incident was soon followed by the historical investment meeting in Philadelphia and the entire accident was swept under the proverbial rug. TPI featured an entire thread dedicated to the accident. Questions ranged from the accountability of character leads to whether the same maintenance cutbacks that contributed to the Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain accident was responsible for this tragedy?
Ultimately, OSHA decided to fine Disney $6,300. Employees who are exposed to the hazard of motorized vehicles are a violation of OSHA standards and a company can face fines of $7,000 (although repeat offenders face upwards of $70,000).
When you're king, it's hard to hide.
The Village opened to mixed reviews. Some folks enjoyed it, saying it was more of what they loved from M. Night Shyamalan. Others felt differently, calling the movie uninspired and lackluster.
Kevin Baxter hated it so much he went into shock.
Disney and Shyamalan have been on edge for the past few weeks thanks to rumors of plagiarism of a children’s book. The publisher, Simon & Schuster, claim there are far too many similarities between Shyamalan's story and that of author Margaret Peterson Haddix's book, Running Out of Time--and at a first glance, there does appear to be some parallel.
And yet, why would a filmmaker like Shyamalan, who has met with great success with his previous films, want to willfully and knowingly steal someone else's concept? Besides, by the sound of things, the idea behind the twist in The Village and Running Out of Time has been done before--so much so that any Hitchcock/Twilight Zone/Outer Limits veteran could discern the surprise before it was even revealed.
Oh yes, my friend. Being king isn't all it's cracked up to be.