It's an all-stock deal that makes Pixar (and Apple Computer) CEO Steve Jobs Disney's largest individual stockholder. In addition, Pixar Executive Vice President John Lasseter will be become Chief Creative Officer of the newly combined Disney and Pixar animation studios.
But the biggest news to theme parks fans is that Lasseter will also become the Principal Creative Adviser at Walt Disney Imagineering, the arm of Disney which designs the company's theme park attractions.
Under Lasseter's creative vision, Pixar's become Hollywood's biggest ATM, spitting out one nine-figure hit after another, while earning widespread critical acclaim, too. WDI has lost significant clout in recent years, as Disney turned to less elaborately themed new attractions during the last years of the Michael Eisner regime.
Will Lasseter's new role at WDI lead to a theme park renaissance? Or is it just another honorific to sweeten a deal?
I think most of Lassiter's attention will be spent under his other new title, "cheif creative officer of the animation studio."
Dreamworks Animation may have wished Speilberg, Katzenberg, and Geffen showed more interest in their product, because it's going to be really hard now for them to make it on their own, especially with every production company under the sun creating a computer animation division.
At the same time, though, the existing Disney attraction his name is most closely attached to -- It's a Bug's Land at California Adventure -- is the worst collection of attractions ever installed at a Disney theme park. I'd argue that Tuck 'n Roll's is the worst theme park attraction ever built. I can't imagine that this failure was Lasseter's fault; it smells much more like an effort that got lawyered to death after being left in critical condition by Disney-ordered budget cuts. But that brings up the essential point: All of Lasseter's creative vision won't help the company if the suits don't give him the money and freedom he needs to make his, and his colleagues', vision reality.
Add to this the fact that movie producer Scott Rudin is now working for Disney studios and the future looks very promising.
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Oh dear Lord in heaven I hope the answer to this question is a resounding YES!!