Thursday, January 29, 2004

"Hit the Road, Mike, and Don't You Come Back Nemo"

Pixar has fired Disney.

Pixar Quits Disney Talks, Seeks New Partner (Yahoo News: 01/29/04)

"Pixar Animation Studios Inc. said on Thursday it had broken off talks with Walt Disney Co. to extend their lucrative movie distribution deal that has resulted in such blockbusters as "Toy Story," "Monsters Inc." and "Finding Nemo."

The computer animation pioneer said it said it would look for another studio partner and would begin talks with other companies to distribute its films starting in 2006.

The move was a blow to Disney, which reaped a financial and critical bonanza from the partnership and has struggled with its own strategy for animation. Their deal includes two more films in production."
In related news:

After the Bell: Pixar Up, Disney Down (Yahoo News: 01/29/04)

"Shares of Walt Disney Co. fell in trade after the closing bell on Thursday while shares of Pixar Animation Studios Inc. (Nasdaq:PIXR - news) rose after Pixar said it had broken off talks with Disney to extend their movie distribution deal."
Disney CEO Michael Eisner's chief claim to fame was that Disney's stock was rising. Now it ain't, and that may be all she wrote for Mr. Eisner.

Apparently, though I haven't seen a source yet, Disney stockholder Pixar will vote NO in a no-confidence vote of shareholders at the Annual Disney Shareholder Conference in Philadelphia the first week in March. Will they steer other companies their way, and remove Eisner from his position?

Roy Disney and Stanley Gold hope so, and they're urging all stockholders to vote NO as well.

My guess is, Pixar is using their enormous clout to tip the scales against Eisner, force him out, and a few months down the road resume ties with Disney under the new management. That's what it seems like to me.

"I'm wishing....."


In a completely unrelated, yet strangely similar situation, Paramount may be on the verge of firing current Star Trek head guy, and Gene Roddenberry protoge Rick Berman:

"It would seem the lackluster support of ENTERPRISE by Les Moonves and Dawn Ostroff at this weekend's UPN press junket has gotten the attention of Garry Hart, President of Paramount Television Productions. Quiet for some time regarding the dismal performance of his division's most important moneymaker, it has been rumored that Hart may be planning as early as March to make concessions to UPN to help keep ENTERPRISE on the air. From an insider in John Wentworth's office at Paramount Television's Marketing and Media Relations Department, a memo has been spotted suggesting Hart may be waiting until after ENTERPRISE's February sweeps performance to announce the possible replacement of some of the show's production staff, to possibly include longtime TREK Executive Producer Rick Berman. There is no word at this time of any possible replacements."'
This is interesting only in the fact I saw the two sets of stories within about five minutes of each other on different websites.

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