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PENNIES FROM KEVIN - Another Nail?

The developing Pixar/DreamWorks rivalry heated up this weekend with the release of Shark Tale. How much pressure is now on Disney?

Written by Kevin Baxter
Published: October 4, 2004 at 10:44 PM

SHARK TALE - THE MOVIE
Shark Tale opened this weekend with an amazing take of almost $48 million. Sure, it wasn't Shrek 2 money, but no one expected that. What was amazing was how it became the biggest October opener ever with reviews that were mediocre, at best. While the quality of DreamWorks soon-to-be stand-alone animation division has been spotty, the studio's ability to deliver at the box office has certainly been proven.

And that really puts the heat on Disney when they release Pixar's The Incredibles next month. If Disney can't deliver better numbers than that, the company has no hope whatsoever of ever reteaming with the animation giant.

Early guesstimates have The Incredibles doing better than that, but that isn't the only obstacle the film will have to hurdle if Disney truly wants to keep in business with Pixar. This will have to beat Monsters, Inc's $62.5M opening weekend and its $255.8M domestic take to not seem like a disappointment. (Finding Nemo's numbers won't come into play since that was a summer release. But The Incredibles is being released in the same month Monsters was, making comparisons much easier.)

Disney is almost in a no-win position with The Incredibles. If the film does well, Pixar will get all the credit for creating yet another "home run." If it performs poorly, it will be Disney's fault for not selling it properly. After all, this is the studio that's biggest hit this year was the quick-to-die The Village. The actual quality of The Incredibles won't have anything to do with how the numbers are perceived, unless the film gets atrocious reviews, which isn't likely.

So Disney will get no love even if this thing turns into a major blockbuster. So there must be a lot of temptation for Disney to allow The Incredibles to tank, right? There were a lot of rumors swirling that Eisner tried this tack with Nemo to force Pixar back to the bargaining table, but that doesn't make a lot of sense. "Oh, look! We couldn't sell your fish flick, so you better sign up with us for all your future films!" If Eisner did, in fact, try to undersell Nemo it was out of spite. He allegedly wanted to teach Pixar a lesson. Quite a lesson, huh?

Not that I would put something like that past Eisner, but the man NEEDS major box office right now, so I don't expect any shenanigans from him. Pixar could still blame him if The Incredibles underperforms, and many might buy it, but I think Eisner and company will play this one aboveboard.

We'll cover this more after the Pixar film hits theaters in early November.


SHARK TALE - THE RIDE?
One thing we like to do on TPI is discuss attraction possibilities, and family films are the most likely source for these attractions. Considering how much Universal has relied on DreamWorks films lately in its parks, it's time to discuss what attractions could be created from Shark Tale if it turns into a major hit.

Having avoided the movie - which I will probably do until it hits DVD - I can only go by what little I have seen in its 8 million ads. Water is an obvious need, and Universal Studios Florida has long wanted a flume ride in the plot between Back to the Future and Men in Black. Water themes aren't easy to come by, so this is perfect. A water coaster would be even more perfect. Just so long as they don't use that blasphemous Car Wash remake! UGH!

Readers' Opinions

From TH Creative on October 5, 2004 at 9:46 AM
Mr. Baxter Writes: And that really puts the heat on Disney when they release Pixar's The Incredibles next month. If Disney can't deliver better numbers than that, the company has no hope whatsoever of ever reteaming with the animation giant.

I Respond: So Disney has to take the fall is 'The Incredibles' falls short? Does that mean Disney deserves all the credit for the success of 'Finding Nemo?'

Side note: Anyone else find it strange that Pixar hasn't signed a new distribution deal with any other studios?

From John Franklin on October 5, 2004 at 11:27 AM
THC, I suspect Steve Jobs might be waiting to see what happens with the whole CEO situation. It sounds like Pixar wants to stay if Eisner leaves. So, looks like Jobs wants to wait to see who replaces Eisner. Also, Pixar still has to complete and have Disney distribute their last movie for Disney next year called Cars.
From David Eggert on October 5, 2004 at 11:48 AM
While we're talking about Disney's ad campaign for The Incredibles, I thought I'd point out that an Incredibles trailer is strangely absent from the new Aladdin DVD release.

You'd think this would be a no brainner for the marketing team. They wouldn't have even had to pay to advertise here. I can't think of a good reason for leaving it out. You can't even make a case for the disc being too full, as there is little bonus material on the first disc (the one which contains the other trailers) and there are other, less important trailers (such as one for the Jetex programing block on ABC Family) that could have been removed to make room.

From J. Dana on October 5, 2004 at 12:47 PM
There may be some contractual stipulations for not publicly announcing a new distribution partner for Pixar yet...they're still under contract with Disney, so they don't want any bad blood to soil the release of the Incredibles. Just a thought. Not that the public squabble hasn't already soiled the whole partnership.

I, for one, hope the Mouse and Pixar can find a way to stay together...I think it's a perfect marriage; especially if Steve Jobs takes over Disney, and Pixar IS the new Disney animation studio.

From John Franklin on October 5, 2004 at 11:19 PM
J. Dana,
What do you mean IF Pixar is the new Disney Animation unit? It already is!!!
Pixar is to the late 1990's and 2000 + what Walt Disney was to the 1939 and on. Disney started to drop the ball with Hunchback and Tarzan, and Pixar picked it up and ran away with it.
Let's face it:
Which picture would you reather see Toy Story or Tarzan?
How about Treasure Planet or Monsters Inc.?
Or Emperor or A bugs Life?
Or Home on the Range or Finding Nemo?
Or Brother Bear or Toy Story 2?
I believe that most people will pick the Pixar movie over the Disney movie most of the time.
Hey Robert Niles, can we do a poll on this issue?
From Kevin Baxter on October 6, 2004 at 2:50 AM
No, cuz DUH!

If you would pull your head out of Eisner's behind, THC, you would realize that YES, Disney will take the fall if The Incredibles underperforms. Who has more of a history of movies underperforming?

Does that mean Disney gets credit for Nemo? Hell no! I will give Disney credit for Monsters, Inc, since that was a movie that didn't have the best reviews when it opened. But almost all of the success of Nemo is due to the greatness of that film. If The Incredibles gets middling reviews and opens big and makes a lot, I will give a lot of credit to Disney, though most of its success would be due to Pixar's cachet. Don't blame me, that's just the way Hollywood works.

And what is your obsession with Pixar needing a distribution deal RIGHT NOW for a movie that won't exist until late 2006, at the earliest? If The Incredibles doesn't do well, then I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised to see Pixar wait for the release of Cars in 2005.

As for them reteaming with Disney, I only care because I dread the release of Toy Story 3 or Finding Nemo 2 if Pixar isn't involved. Disney would be perfect for Pixar-based family attractions, but at the rate they are building them, I can't get my hopes up. The Nemo overlay of 20K is promising, but still not enough.

From TH Creative on October 6, 2004 at 9:14 AM
Um, Finding Nemo is going into 'The Living Seas' at EPCOT. The General Contractor is PCL -- who has built a bunch of stuff at WWDW. Blueprints have already been distributed and bids have been awarded,
From TH Creative on October 6, 2004 at 9:17 AM
Here's another reason Pixar may not have signed a distribution contract with a new studio: No other studio can offer them a better business deal than the one offered by Mr. Eisner.

Not saying that's why they have not signed the deal. Just saying it's a possibility.

As for the suggestion that Pixar is waiting until the 2006 release of the "Rat" movie they are said to be making, that means they are surrendering the possibility of renegotiating the distribution of revenue for 'The Incredibles' and 'Cars' -- which was one of the issues Mr. Jobs wanted to address in any contract extension.

In short, by snubbing Jobs this time around, Disney gets more money and retains the rights to sequels on 'The Incredibles' and 'Cars.' Sure they may lose out on the "Rat" movie Pixar is planning to release a couple of years from now, but, in the meantime, Disney shareholders can have some confidence about the revenues generated by the two films they have under the existing contract.

Not a bad deal for Disney.

Futher, as Dreamworks has demonstrated with the Shrek franchise, Pixar no longer has a monopoly on CG animation. Indeed, the fresh look and clever scripts that launched 'Toy Story,' may be more typical fare when 2006 rolls around.

Let Jobs take his show to another studio. Meanwhile, Disney can make hay while the sun shines.

From TH Creative on October 6, 2004 at 9:30 AM
Man there are a ton of CG animated kid flicks floating into the theaters. 'Shark Tales,' 'The Incredibles' and 'The Polar Express.'
From John Franklin on October 6, 2004 at 12:17 PM
Hey Kevin,
How is the Nemo overlay of 20K promising?
The 20K Leagues Under the Sea attraction at WDW is GONE, GONE, GONE.
The Lagoon has already been demolished. And they are now destroying the show building as well. So, this attraction is gone for good.
I think you're thinking of the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland (not 20K), but at a price tag of 70 million or so dollars, don't count on it. Eisner still has to approve the project. Remember he is the one that gave us Animal Kingdom, Paris Studios, and (God help us) CA Adventures. He is the one that builds on the cheap.
I indicated on Monday in the Blog Flume that in order for the subs to return, the Monorail platform overhead has to be rebuilt to ADA standards as well in order for three subs to load/unload at the same time.
From TH Creative on October 6, 2004 at 12:40 PM
Again, Finding Nemo is going into 'The Living Seas' at EPCOT.
From John Franklin on October 6, 2004 at 1:28 PM
A Nemo overlay on the old Submarine Voyage attraction at Disneyland is in the works. With Kevin's reference to 20k, he was thinking of subs. 20k Leagues Under the Sea was the Magic Kingdom's counterpart to Disneyland's Submarine Voyage.
I am aware of the intent of adding Nemo to the Epcot's Seas attracton as well.
From TH Creative on October 6, 2004 at 1:34 PM
Ahhh...I see! The 20K thing threw me too... Thx!
From Matt E on October 6, 2004 at 2:10 PM
We'll have to see how SharkTale continues to do. Opening with 47.6 million in October is pretty good, although it was nearly 1.5 million shy of their estimate which optimistically had it pegged as the highest October opening ever, which is NOT true (Scary Movie 3 continues to hold that spot with 48.1 million).

However, SharkTale came nowhere near weekend numbers seen with recent hits Shrek 2, Nemo, Monsters, etc. even though it opened in over 4,000 theaters, the most ever for a non-sequel, as well as being backed up by one of the largest well-known Hollywood stars and the claim as being "from the studio that brought you Shrek". It was also the only recent 3-D effort to open in the fall/winter to continue to show negative declines as it went into its first Tuesday (and its 1st Tuesday take was half of that for Monsters' first Tuesday and less than Ice Age's first Tuesday). Its way too early to tell how it will contine to do as family films in the off-season never perform as well in the week as the weekend, but I won't be surprised if Sharktale was frontloaded.

SharkTale does set a record though, as the worst reviewed 3-D animated film of all time with only 33% of all reviewers giving it a thumbs up (the record used to be held by Final Fantasy with 45% of reviewers giving that a thumbs up). This is also not a great indicator for future legs (although I admit, the critics aren't right most of the time...but so many bad reviews never helps a film).

From Matt E on October 6, 2004 at 2:10 PM
I don't forsee SharkTale ever becoming an attraction unless it holds up much better than I think it will. However, saying Disney hasn't represented Pixar films in their parks is sort of a disservice. Disney has done relatively decent with turning several of the Pixar films into some type of an attraction at their parks and will continue to do so, including: Its Tough to be a Bug at AK and DCA and the entire Bug's Land at DCA (Bug's Life), Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in MK, TDL and soon DL which happens to have one of the highest guest satisfaction ratings for Disney rides (Toy Story and Toy Story 2), a Nemo overlay in the Living Seas at Epcot (which is still ongoing as we speak) and a probable Nemo attraction at DL (Finding Nemo). So really the only Pixar film to date that doesn't have some type of attraction yet is Monsters, right?. That would mean 80% of Pixar's movies are represented at Disney's parks already. The same percentage surely can't be said about Disney's own animated films being represented in their own parks. They may not be all E-tickets, but they don't have to be. How many E-tickets are based on Disney's own animated features (only Splash Mountain and Dinosaur come to my mind, although I'm sure there are others)?.
From Anthony Murphy on October 6, 2004 at 4:29 PM
It will be facinating to see which movie does better. I think Shark Tale looks a bit similar to Finding Nemo (two computer animated fish stories out within a year?). I think the Pixar name will bring the numbers out. However, Shark Tales would do well, but I'm still betting that Pixar will come on top. For Disney's sake. this needs to be a hit, but Pixar has not had a "flop" yet. I hope it isn't this movie!!!
From Matt E on October 6, 2004 at 8:05 PM
As long as The Incredibles is a good movie, it should perform very well given Disney/Pixar's history among the viewing public. Of course, there is already very positive buzz surrounding the Incredibles. Its *almost* guarenteed to easily beat SharkTale, but I suppose anything can happen. SharkTale suffers from one major thing, and that is the fact that its 'not' Nemo, even if the storylines are as different as night and day. I expect it to drop off relatively fast, although there is no family fare until The Incredibles opens, which is good for SharkTale's near future, I suppose.
From J. Dana on October 7, 2004 at 12:44 AM
Two quick points then I'm going to bed: John Franklin, although Animal Kingdom may not be the most thrilling park, and certainly not the most value for it's admission price, you absolutely cannot call it built on the cheap. Until Tokyo DisneySea opened, Animal Kingdom was the most expensive theme park ever built. The African Safari Ride alone is the single most expensive theme park attraction ever (and it's projected 20-year costs, because of animal care, is statospheric). So, don't group Animal Kingdom in with the cheap stuff. Poorly planned, maybe; but cheap, no.

Secondly, my opinion on Shark Tales: it's gonna sink. Good night.

From Kevin Baxter on October 7, 2004 at 12:46 AM
Where is this alleged positive buzz for Incredibles? I haven't heard ANYTHING. Not that that means anything, since Pixar doesn't let tons of people see their films to create buzz. Nemo had no buzz and look what it did. But Monsters, Inc had lots of buzz and it didn't do as well as Shrek domestically.

If you truly want to be truthful about how Shark Tale will do this weekend, then you HAVE to consider what it will face this weekend, which is NOTHING. It will be Number One again, no sweat.

It's also extremely disingenuous to compare an October release to a November release. Total nincompoops know the two months are completely different. August through October are historically slower months. Just check out how many hits have actually opened in October. Very few.

As for the attractions, if you want to consider the boringass Bug's Land to be a worthy Pixar attraction, then you go right ahead. But throwing the Nemo characters into the Living Seas pavilion IS NOT a Pixar attraction by any stretch of the imagination. If they tossed the three-eyed aliens into the Mission: Space queue, would it suddenly be a Toy Story attraction?

Buzz is a decent attraction, but it isn't a major Toy Story attraction either. Where's Woody? Where's Mr Potato Head? Two HUGE pictures and all we get is a minuscule amount of Buzz? Not good enough.

It's Tough to Be a Bug is really the only attraction out there that does any justice to its source material. That's just sad. Especially considering how badly DCA needs new attractions and how many ideas there already are for Monsters, Inc.

Shark Tale will easily jump the $100M mark, which will make it a hit. It will also sell major DVDs. I doubt it will do Incredibles business, but that movie won't do Shrek 2 business so both will look like losers if you compare them to that monster. Fact is, USF plans on adding a flume in the plot of land I mentioned. Name another theme they have that will fit. It has a great chance of becoming an attraction for that reason and that reason alone. Personally, I'd do a SpongeBob flume, but their deal with Nick is nothing compared to their deal with Spielberg.

From TH Creative on October 7, 2004 at 8:05 AM
From Matt E on October 7, 2004 at 8:12 AM
"But Monsters, Inc had lots of buzz and it didn't do as well as Shrek domestically."

The two were extremely close at the box office domestically and Monsters came out on top worldwide. I surely wouldn't use that as an example of what prior buzz can do for a movie. Buzz can be anything from, are people interested in it to early positive reviews or both.

"If you truly want to be truthful about how Shark Tale will do this weekend, then you HAVE to consider what it will face this weekend, which is NOTHING."

I'm not sure if this was directed to me, but I said clearly above that there isn't anything for family audiences until The Incredibles which is good for SharTale. That doesn't mean it will continue to do amazing things at the BO though.

"It will be Number One again, no sweat."

Of course, it has no competition. I never questioned its placement, just its ability to hold on strong in its second weekend in terms of percent drop. That is something that is still difficult to predict given performance of family films during the weeks of non-summer months. I could be wrong and SharkTale could continue to do amazing this weekend, its just my feeling it won't...(but that doesn't mean I'm saying I'm right on that..its my opinion)

"It's also extremely disingenuous to compare an October release to a November release."

Not really, when SharkTale had almost everything going for it...no family film competition and nothing in that genre for at least a month making families anxious for something to go to, a major marketing campaign, top hollywood stars promoting it, and of course opening in the MOST theaters ever for a non-sequel, no matter the month. While August through October is historically slower months, its usually because nothing major or worthwhile is released during this time. SharkTale would be considered an exception, I think.

From Matt E on October 7, 2004 at 8:15 AM
"But throwing the Nemo characters into the Living Seas pavilion IS NOT a Pixar attraction by any stretch of the imagination."

I'm getting the feeling you think Disney should make every Pixar film into a major attraction, why so? Even Disney's own biggest animated film of all time, The Lion King, is represented by only a live show (although probably the best live show at any theme park) and a small clip in Philharmagic. Where's the Beauty and the Beast attraction? Where's the Aladdin attraction? Where's the Little Mermaid attraction?, etc. I hope you understand my point. The fact that 80% of all of Pixar's films are represented in some form at the parks is pretty good. Adding Nemo to the Living Seas might not be a "ride", but I can tell you that since they've added Nemo to the pavilion (and more is to come), attendance to the Living Seas has rose....you tell me why more people are going in.

From John Franklin on October 7, 2004 at 8:25 AM
Matt E,
There are more ways than one to honor films than just to give them attractions.
Or have you forgotten that these two movies have very long Broadway stage plays still going on.
Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King are two of the longest running Broadway shows of all time now. (Although some are saying that Beauty may fold shortly.)
I don't know how these two shows compare with, say, Cats,
but they are still very long-running shows.
Rumors also indicate that Disney wants to start Broadway shows for Aladdin, and the Little Mermaid as well.
And a London version of a Mary Poppins stage show has just started with a lot of good press coming from it. Looks like Disney might have another Lion King on its hands with Mary Poppins. But, nobody knows when a Broadway version of Mary Poppins will begin.
From David Franzen on October 7, 2004 at 9:42 AM
Beauty and the Beast has a live stage show at MGM. It's small, but entertaining. It's also got a really good pre-show.

Aladdin has a clone ride in Adventureland.

The Little Mermaid has a puppet show in MGM. Again, a small show, but it does have representation.

From J. Dana on October 7, 2004 at 10:39 AM
You just spoke of these animation attractions as if they were small...jeesh.

Beatuy and the Beast at MGM is a major draw...it's been there for years and is rarely not full.

Same with Little Mermaid attraction. It's not just a little puppet show. It's a very popular, long-running MGM tradition.

And don't forget that there's also the major Aladdin stage show at CA Adventure--in my estimation, one of the best and most elaborate stage shows ever to grace a theme park....however, it wasn't until the last two years that any Aladdin attraction of any type made a showing at Disney theme parks...well, let's not forget the Aladdin's magic carpet Virtual Reality attraction inside DisneyQuest.

Disney has had Pixar on ice for years now to sellout crowds. And as mentioned above, It's Tough to be a Bug, Buzz Lightyear's ride, and the forthcoming Finding Nemo overlays are not small investments. They are HUGE. So we can't honestly accuse Disney of not leveraging these movies into attractions.

I'd love to see a thrill ride based on the Monsters Inc. scene with all the doors on conveyor belts. It made for an exciting scene, how about an even better thrill ride.

From John Franklin on October 7, 2004 at 11:28 AM
J. Dana,
Rumor has it the Aladdin show in the Hyperion Theater is on the way out. It is also shut down two days a week now and on other days, the show is being scaled back.
This is also what happened to Blast and Steps in Time before they were canceled.
Further more, Matt Ouimet is looking for NEW entertainment for the 50th anniversity celebration.
Finally, Aladdin was meant to be performed at CA Adventures for only two years. It has been two years since the start of this show.
This show was also intended to be a test show to see if a full-scale Broadway version would work.
It doesn't look like there will be any Broadway show in the offering right now since Disney now has its hands full with Broadway Shows like Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Aida, Mary Poppins (in London), and another touring show just mentioned in the Blog Flume whose name escapes me right now.

From Ben Mills on October 7, 2004 at 2:47 PM
Umm...why has no-one mentioned Help! I'm A Fish as a possible theme for that log flume? That film frickin' rocked!

Help! I'm a fish/In the Deep Blue Sea/Won't somebody rescue me?

Hell yeah.

From Matt E on October 7, 2004 at 3:22 PM
I just wanted to clear up up my point above. The idea I was reading before was that Disney has misrepresented or not represented Pixar's films in their THEME PARKS. The notion that I seemed to be hearing was that Disney should be creating a big attraction for all or a majority of the Pixar movies. My point was, why? How many of Disney's own huge mega-blockbuster animated films with proven staying power, like the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, etc. have their own major E-ticket attraction? Not that many, unless you consider shows, which more or less rehash the movie, E-tickets. I'm not playing down the popularity of those shows, just the quality. And for the record, I would consider Festival of the Lion King and the Aladdin show at DCA as E-tickets, but I'd probably put the Little Mermaid show as a C-ticket and B&theB at maybe a D-ticket. Considering there have only been 5 Pixar films to date and 4 of them have some type of theme park connection I think is good, be it on a smaller level like several educational exhibits featuring characters from Nemo, or one of the best 3-D shows at any theme park.

My main point was, Pixar films have been handled as well if not better than even Disney's most recent animated success stories. Could or should they have E-tickets based on their animated films is another debate. Of course, some who say Disney should be creating more rides around Pixar films also say they should concentrate more on creating unique ride ideas that are NOT based on movies, go figure.

From Matt E on October 7, 2004 at 3:23 PM
"It doesn't look like there will be any Broadway show in the offering right now since Disney now has its hands full with Broadway Shows like Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Aida, Mary Poppins (in London), and another touring show just mentioned in the Blog Flume whose name escapes me right now."

Aida has or will be closing its doors very soon, unfortunately. Of the three Disney Broadway shows, I think I liked this one the best. Mary Poppins is recently in premiere stage and getting some very positive reviews, so here's hoping a version makes its way to Broadway, perhaps to the soon to be empty/if not already empty Aida theater?

The Lion King does remain one of the top Broadway shows, as does Beauty and the Beast who just celebrated its 10th year. They are also in fact working on concepts to turn, Tarzan, Little Mermaid, Pinocchio and I think Aladdin into Broadway shows. They are all in planning stages, so none or perhaps just some will ever make it to Broadway. We'll have to see. Disney has already proved nearly every critic wrong when they said Disney couldn't do Broadway...now they're one of the best.

From John Franklin on October 7, 2004 at 6:10 PM
Matt,
When a pronoun like "it" is used, it always refer to the last noun being used.
My whole first paragraph dealt with the Aladdin show at CA Adventures. And it does not appear to be heading to Broadway anytime soon.
From Kevin Baxter on October 8, 2004 at 1:20 AM
One of the best? Ugh, I shudder to think of that being true.

Well, most of my points were cleared up by others, but I see that the facts were still ignored. Aladdin is represented stateside by one BIG attraction (DCA show), a small one (Aladdin's Magic Carpets) - which also appears in Paris - and it is a major scene in PhilharMagic as well as part of the Storybookland Canals ride. Beauty and the Beast is represented by a big stage show in which the theater was built expressly for it, it is featured in the Fantasmic shows, it is the theme of one of the rooms in the Animation Building in DCA and it is a major scene in PhilharMagic. Little Mermaid has its own live action/puppet show in MGM, it is the theme of the kiddie land in Tokyo DisneySea, it is featured in Fantasmic and it has a major scene in PhilharMagic. Lion King has the highest-rated show in WDW, the Circle of Life film in the Land pavilion, Rafiki's Planet Watch in AK AND it has a major scene in... take a guess!

This doesn't even count the fact that Simba is practically the mascot for AK or that these Princesses are EVERYWHERE and even have their own giftshops. Where are the Pixar giftshops? Hell, where are the Pixar souvenirs?

The simple fact is that Disney has NOT treated Pixar in the parks the way they should have been treated. Pixar has kept animation alive at Disney and Disney should have shown more love to them than crap like that "Nemo Parade" at DCA.

As for the rest of your blahblah, exactly how much is Disney paying you to be a "visitor" to this site?

From Ben Mills on October 8, 2004 at 10:52 AM
Buzz Lightyear and Zurg used to do quite a funny animated skit in the Television Production Tour in WDS...which was later axed and replaced by a presenter from the Disney Channel. Of course, being based on the animated series, that had very little to do with Pixar, but at least it's a character reference.

We also have a Pizza Planet restaurant, but WDW also has one of those, I think.

From Kevin Baxter on October 9, 2004 at 1:00 AM
Another thing proving my point. Screw rides, let's make them sell crappy pizza! That place is so lame, I would be insulted if I worked at Pixar.
From TH Creative on October 10, 2004 at 10:10 AM
Anyone catch the Motely Fool column discussing Dreamworks and Blue Sky's challenges to Pixar? It's a great read.

The reporter took his family to see 'Shark Tales' and noted the film featured previews for 'Robots' and 'Madagascar' -- both non-Pixar CG animated films.

The reporter wrote: "It was at this point that my wife leaned over and whispered that it seems as though Pixar is being outPixared."

Sure hope Mr. Jobs finds a good company to distribute his "Rat" movie that's supposedly coming out in 2006.

From Kevin Baxter on October 11, 2004 at 11:20 AM
Yeah, I'm sure studios will be turning down meetings with Pixar left and right!

DUH!

From Kevin Baxter on October 11, 2004 at 11:21 AM
Oh, forgot to tell everyone how smart I am! Hee! Shark Tale only lost 33% of its audience in its second weekend, which is EXCELLENT. $31M on the second weekend is good for almost any film. The film should hit $100M before next weekend, so it is a certifiable hit.

So enough with the bellyaching whether or not it deserves it. (I sure ain't seeing it!) It's probably going to get the sequel treatment now, so start coming up with attraction ideas!

(BTW, saw the new Incredibles commercial... EXCELLENT! Why did it take so long to get back to the content of their teaser trailer? That cityscape trailer was seriously lame, so let's hope the new stuff is a better indication of what the movie is about and that the lame trailer didn't turn people off.)

From TH Creative on October 11, 2004 at 2:43 PM
I don't think anyone will "turn them (Pixar) down." Just wondering if what the other studios are offering are better deals than what Disney offered.

And while I readily acknowledge other studios are equally gifted at international distribution, it goes without saying that Disney's track record for marketing films beyond U.S. borders is exceptional. Certainly it is not unreasonable to assert that Disney could market Pixar films abroad just as well as any other studio. Not better, but equal

The only "DUH" here is whether or not Pixar has been approached by other studios -- which (as has been reported) they obviously have. And yet they still have not found a deal they like.

Hmmm …

Menawhile, 'The Incredibles' hits theatres in a couple of weeks and -- once again – Mr. Jobs will have to give-up a bigger piece of the pie to Disney.

It’s interesting, if Pixar decides not to re-sign with Disney, and 'The Incredibles' isn't as resounding a success as previous Pixar productions -- a circumstance that Mr. Baxter has said in this thread is possible (“If The Incredibles doesn't do well (blah, blah, blah)…” – the result might be that Pixar finds itself being regarded as suddenly less-than-state-of-the-art in a CG animation marketplace that is getting more crowded by the minute.

This could mean Pixar has less leverage when it comes to negotiating a distribution deal for the "Rat" movie they are making for 2006.

Indeed, it is by no means unreasonable to assert that the best deal Pixar could have signed may have disappeared when Mr. Jobs -- and his ego -- loudly walked away from the negiating table earlier this year. No wonder Robert Iger seemed to be smirking a couple of weeks ago when he told the press that he didn’t think Disney would ever re-sign Pixar.

As I have said before – echoing the comments of others in the media – when it came to re-negotiating the contract Pixar was not holding all the cards. Indeed, Disney will rake in a bigger pile of dough on ’The Incredibles’ and (likely) ‘Cars,’ and any dent Pixar’s departure will make on the Disney bottomline may not be apparent until 2006 – ironically after Mr. Eisner takes his leave.

From TH Creative on October 12, 2004 at 1:24 PM
WHAT AN AMAZING DEMONSTRATION OF STUPIDITY!

FROM THE NEWSWIRES: "The group -- led by the nation's largest public pension fund, the California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers -- filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission to propose a measure giving Disney shareholders the standing right to directly elect directors. The proposal would allow shareholders to nominate up to two people to Disney's 11-member board and have those names included on the company's proxy. The group said that if shareholders approve the measure with a majority of votes at next year's annual meeting, they "could be able to nominate" two directors at the 2006 meeting."

Why is it stupid?

First, after days of Disney's share price creeping higher, Wall Street greeted the announcement by selling Disney stock and causing its price to go down. Meaning the pension fund managers actually caused the value of their members stock to decrease by making this move.

Nice.

Second, it could scare away potential Eisner successors. Why would any established executive want to take on the role of CEO in a company facing tough challenges that are suddenly made worse by meddling from outsiders? You think a guy like Steve Jobs would want to take the helm at Disney if he is constantly having to placate whining shareholders who may add a couple of trouble makers to the board every year?

Yes this is the result of dissatisfaction with Mr. Eisner, but by the time it would take effect, his successor will have been named and he -- as the lamest of lame ducks -- will be packing up his office furniture.

This will tie the hands of Disney's next CEO. It's a bad idea being advanced by a group of stupid, stupid people!

From TH Creative on October 13, 2004 at 11:35 AM
So much for Pixar's reputation as the number one CG production house.

From Today's Motely Fool:

"But potentially working in DreamWorks Animation's favor is its aggressive production schedule. While Pixar has been pressed to get just one theatrical release done every year, DreamWorks is going for two. While quality may naturally be a major concern, especially when compared to the classy Pixar and its sterling box-office track record, the trailer I saw for DreamWorks' next release -- next summer's Madagascar -- looked very promising."

From Kevin Baxter on October 14, 2004 at 1:39 AM
Ummm, if the next CEO was doing his job, then why would he be bothered by new people on the board? Your so-called argument, then, is for the current side of the coin, which is a board that stands behind every single decision made by the CEO, no matter how destructive it is. EVERY board in America should have dissenting voices.

THC, what you understand about film distribution can be written on the head of a pin in Magic Marker. Distribution agreements differ very little, unless you are George Lucas. The percentage the distibution studio gets varies very little, and is usually dependent on how much is expected to be spent on marketing. The Pixar films will naturally have large marketing budgets and the studio that takes them on will be able to ask for a larger percentage, which means studios will be lining up.

Pixar is clearly waiting. For what, only Pixar knows. For Incredibles numbers? Possibly. Maybe they think they have something Nemo-sized on their hands.

Maybe they will wait for Cars numbers. A company with seven MAJOR hits will get whatever it wants in the marketplace.

Maybe they are just waiting for Eisner to go bye-bye. Something Pixar has long wanted is complete ownership of the current Disney/Pixar films. This will not happen with Eisner in charge. If they wait out a successor, the newbie may want to make a major first impression and give Pixar what it wants to keep the company in the Disney fold. If I was Pixar, I would certainly wait out this possibility, as a distribution deal can wait until early 2006. Personally, if I were in charge of Pixar, I would wait until Eisner left, even if it was at the end of his contract. Their 2006 movie could be easily pushed back to Summer 2007, where it would likely make more money anyhow.

From TH Creative on October 14, 2004 at 3:26 AM
The interesting thing about Mr. Baxter's post is that I can agree with everything he says and still maintain my point.

First, while "Distribution agreements differ very little," that doesn't refute my assertion it could well be that the offer Disney made in February is still the best offer. For example, beyond standard terms of any distribution deal Disney can offer theme park promotion and placement (i.e.: attractions/retail) that other studios cannot. I don't need much more than a pin-head worth of knowledge to come to that conclusion.

As for Calper's demand that they have a say in who is on the board, whether or not the decision is appropriate is incidental. My point is this is a company saddled with dissent from dissident shareholders. This proposal gives these folks an avenue to campaign against the board. Such a circumstance could make the job less attractive to a potential CEO -- turning off some of the industry's most talented executives. Why would Peter Chernin leave Newscorp to take a job where he has to deal with his own set of Stanly Golds or Roy Disneys on the board? Why would Jeff Bewkes leave Time/Warner? Thus, I can agree with you that a CEO who does a good job should not have to worry about who is on the board, but at the same time I can say that the executive with the talent to perform well may now be less interested in the position because he may have to deal with dissidents both inside and outside of the board room.

From TH Creative on October 14, 2004 at 1:44 PM
Jobs verses Eisner verses Weinstien.

Clash of the titanic egos. :o)

From Kevin Baxter on October 16, 2004 at 1:15 AM
How many people are all that interested in running Disney anyhow? It's a company that has just gotten too big for its britches. A CEO could bring ABC back from the brink, throw money at the parks and two bad years at the box office could make all that seem useless. Of course it could be all three sucking at once, like they do now!
From Kevin Baxter on October 18, 2004 at 2:04 PM
Shark Tale is proving in its third week it has legs. $200M domestic total? That would be major.

So what attractions???


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