Is Disney committing corporate suicide?

Disney Studios appears to be making a lot of what look like boneheaded decisions lately, such as not renewing their contract with Pixar and
shutting down their 2D animation studios, and I’m not even going to mention their now long-standing tradition of releasing insipid sequels direct-to-video.

In addition, it appears that the former US holders of the rights to Winnie-the-Pooh are suing Disney to get them back, which would require Disney to fork over $700-odd million dollars and relinquish the right to profit off of Pooh characters.

Do things really look bad for Disney or is this just typical corporate travails? Are we looking at the slow sinking of the Disney ship?

If there is a God, yes.

I think Disney is now reaping the consequences of decades of incredibly horrible decisions that have done nothing but make people who once called themselves fans to feel disgusted and used. I don’t think that this is typical corporate problems as most corporations don’t systematically short change, take advantage of and manipulate their customers…or at the very least, most corporations CAN’T get away with it for as long as Disney has.

Their video sequels look like Saturday morning cartoons (except worst), their feature films play like they were written by the board of directors, and their “Disney Vault” video gimmick is a not very subtle manipulation. No, I smell death on Disney. They will soon have to change to become the honest company they once were or change will be forced on them.

Have they done any good movies recently that did not come thru Pixar? What was the last live-action Disney movie?

Disney still has the rights to Pixar’s next two movies “The Incredibles” and “Cars,” so maybe that will give them some time to figure out what it’s going to do.

The New York Times had the statement made by Jobs:

I’m no pro when it comes to statements, but it sounds like there was a lot of animosity between the two. The Times article also mentioned that Jobs and Eisner had “personal and professional differences.”

When I was sitting in the theatre watching “Finding Nemo” I was wondering to myself how much of a future there was for traditional (?) cartoon animation; does it have the same future as black-and-white cartoons now that the computer animation is becoming so popular. “Lilo and Stitch” is the last animated film I can think of that came out, but it didn’t seem to have the same magic or success past releases like “The Lion King” and “Beauty and The Beast” had (though the numbers might say otherwise, I don’t know). It definitely seems like Disney is getting into some trouble. The article also said Disney has rights to make sequels of the other Pixar films it has already made, so I guess there will be more direct to video titles coming out.

I also read that it’s selling off Celebration, its city in Florida. I was under the impression that the city wasn’t that successful anyway. I thought Disney was going to start focusing more on its amusement parks, and I don’t know how those are doing. Losing Pixar is a big problem though.

Eisner is in a lot of trouble too; anyone want to place bets on whether Disney or Eisner will be finished first?

Did you forget Pirates of the Caribbean? It was a Jerry Bruckheimer production but released by Disney. Or does that not count?

Then again, you have Haunted Mansion, which made Heaven’s Gate look like a blockbuster…

Eventually Disney’s going to run out of rides to base their live-actions on.

This is downright despicable; but then again Disney has been rolling downhill since the late 50´s… :rolleyes:
Up to that point the quality of their productions was wonderfull, every now and then I see one of those old cartoons and all the skill and love for the art shows through. And I´m not just talking about the movies like Cinderella or Snow White, but the short Merry Melodies series too.
The 2D shutdown was a tragedy, a fine heritage ended there; there´s still a large market for traditional animation, as long as it is of good quality; cell animation is expensive but I would have thought that Disney was still profitable enough to keep running in that field.
I cringed when I heard those news, I´m in the field of computer animation, and yet I think that the decition to abandon 2D animation is absolutely unjustfified.
The massive firing of artist, on the other hand could bring fresh air to the industry, the laidout artist have already created an animation studio; which hopefully would not keep the bland arguments and overall *cuteness[i/] of the PC crap Disney have been excreting in the last years. Just to be fair, not ALL was crap, they had some exceptions

Regarding the news about Pixar, I haven´t heard about that untill now; and it really freaks me out; the Pixar productions were the only good thing coming out of Disney, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo were brilliant, and I couldn´t associate them with Disney if I wouldn´t know about it.

I really don´t know what´s going on in Disney, and I don´t longer care, the magic is long gone.

Dignan, Jobs wanted a (well-deserved) bigger piece of the pie. When Pixar first partnered with Disney, they were an unknown company (to all but CGI afficionados, anyway). The contract under which the Toy Story films, Nemo, and Monsters, Inc were made gave them an unknown’s share in the loot. When their contract recently came up for renewal, Jobs tried to negotiate for a better deal and Eisner refused (refused to reward commensurately a company that made Disney $1.5 billion in the past decade!).

I call that boneheaded. There are only two reasons I can see for Eisner to take the stand he did: either he’s stupid enough to think that any old CGI shop is good enough to make that kind of money with the Disney name behind it, or he expected Jobs (not a man known for his lack of backbone and opinion) to cower before the Power of the Mouse. Either tack is stupid.

Yes, damn yes; the medium (2D, 3D, stop-motion, etc…) is secondary to many other things, a good story, good art and good storytelling are the key.
There are lots of crapy 3D movies and shorts, many indeed. Just look (or suffer) Final Fantasy, The Spirits Within. The CG (computer graphics) are superb; I was drooling with my eyeballs stuck to the screen throughout the movie; from a technical point of view is a marbel; but the story and narrative (acting) was miserable, it sucks big time and if I wouldn´t have a profesional interest in CGs I wouldn´t see that movie again.

To sum up, it´s art, and art depends on the artists, not the medium.

I believe that Disney has the rights to make sequels of the existing Pixar films, so that Toy Story 3, for instance, will be a Disney production. According to a New York Times article, John Lasseter wanted to make it. Plus the five films Pixar has made so far have all been great, but there’s no guarantee that they will continue to have such good luck, or that they’ll be able to get a good deal from another studio. Perhaps Pixar will regret their decision?

I don’t want the mouse to go down, but the inmates are running that crazyhouse. Hopefully someone will show up soon and format Drive C: and then we gan get the good old Disney back.

Since Lilo & Stitch there’s been Treasure Planet and Brother Bear

You know, I honestly can’t say for sure, but I think that computer animation is used a lot more than most people realize in films like Lilo & Stitch. I know that in The Lion King’s stampede scene was done by computer without it being obvious, and that was 10 years ago. I imagine that ever since Beauty and the Beast, CGI has become more and more a part of animated films, and more and more difficult to distinguish from non-CGI.

The Pixar association doesn’t stand to die until 2006, as has been pointed out. Disney has plenty of time and future revenue to rest on until they decide what to do.

Having said that, is Disney REALLY thinks replacing Pixar is a matter of finding people who can make digital stuff look cool, I’ll bet the disappointing box office take of “Final Fantasy” they don’t know what they’re doing. Pixar’s efforts have been excellent films as much because they’re exceptionally well written films as it is because the CG effects are neat. The quality of script and story in the “Toy Story” films, “Monsters Inc.” and “Finding Nemo” is way, way beyond the writing we saw in “Tarzan,” “Pocahontas,” etc.

One wonders, too, if Disney’s endless parade of cartoons isn’t starting to wear. “Lilo and Stitch” and “The Emperor’s New Groove” were pretty good, actually, but didn’t go nuts at the box office mainly because, I suspect, people are getting sick of The Latest Big Cartoon Movie That’s Quite A Bit Like The Last One. Dreamworks 'toons get the same thing. I thought “Sinbad” was a load of fun and some of the animation was first rate, but they all start to look alike when there’s four of them a year.

I don’t think it’s been luck. I think that Pixar has people with an excellent eye for good scripts, people with an excellent talent for CGI animation, and people with an excellent ear for dialogue, music and humor.

And I’m fairly sure that if you listen carefully, you can hear the eager drool dripping from the lips of all the major studios…Pixar would be a trophy orange to pluck from the Disney groves.

I was thinking the same thing - there is no reason they can’t produce so-called ‘2-D’ looking animation using computers - in fact, that’s what I thought they were doing all along (not all computer image need look like Poser output).
Hell, South Park is all computer generated, and it sure ain’t 3-D (it’s barely 2-D if you ask me)

Let’s face it: Disney is on the way out. It’s not just the movie divisions either. Look at how badly they’ve mishandled the ABC network. They’re not willing to give a shot to bold, original programming, but instead they just keep churning out cheap knockoffs of whatever’s popular at the moment. They’re falling to the same curse that’s taken many huge corporations, such as IBM and Boeing. Once they get too big, for some reason they become adverse to taking risks. They want everything to be a guaranteed hit.

This recent venture into producing movies based on the amusement park rides is an example of why they’re failing: it was entirely a business decision, with no consideration for the artistic side of the decision. Now yes, Pirates turned out to be an awesome movie, but you have to balance that against the failure of The Haunted Mansion and The Country Bears.

Let’s not forget Disney’s self-destructing DVD’s, aka flexplay. They cost about $6 apiece and decayed into unplayability in 48 hours. This was supposed to be an alternative to DVD rentals.

First of all, if you rent a DVD from a store, it’ll likely cost a lot less than six bucks and they’ll let you watch it for more than two days.

Secondly, unless you’re renting from La Costa Nostro Video, late fees plus original rental cost will cost you under six bucks. And even then, with most stores, your original rental cost will let you watch it for more than two days. If you forget to return it, you can still watch it one more time. Whereas one of the Disney crapdiscs turns from DVD to coaster in * two days*.

Thirdly, consider the environmental factor. Sure, there was a program where you could turn in six crapdiscs and get a seventh one free. But that’s still more expensive than renting. So I wager the ones that were bought were simply thrown into the trash. And I have a feeling that’s where all the unsold flexplay discs are heading.
So, I hope Disney dies. And that there’ll be no cryogenics to save it.

One small correction: Merrie Melodies comes from Warner Brothers, not Disney.

Interesting that you should mention it. According to Business Week:

IMO Sony and Pixar would be a very, very interesting pairing. Even though Pixar and Apple are officially separate entities, one has to imagine that ties exist just because of Jobs’s presence in both companies, and I’ve long thought that Sony and Apple are converging towards the same point, what with Sony owning Columbia Pictures & Records and designing their PCs to be multimedia-focused, and Apple producing portable music devices, getting into the music download business, and of course, Jobs running Pixar. Boy, what if Sony and Apple eventually merged?

Come on, what production company doesn’t have two lousy movies for every amazing one? Somebody has a Law about that.