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Pixar's Relationship Woes

Slate has a fantastic article today analyzing and explaining the drama between Disney and Pixar. Pixar announced in January of 2004 that Pixar was not going to continue it's relationship with Disney. To those not familiar with the nature of the Disney-Pixar relationship, basically Disney took a gamble on Pixar early on and made great profits because Pixar did all of the work, using Disney's bankroll and created the monster hit "Toy Story." Since it Disney provided the money, they got the lion's share of the profits. Pixar, under Apple's Steve Jobs, was able to renegotiate a deal with better terms for themselves. Three hit franchises later ("Monsters, Inc.," "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles" ) Pixar wanted a better deal, with more control over sequel generation, and Disney said "No way." Common sense would tell you that with Pixar's record, it should have no problem getting another partner. However this has not been the case.

This leads you to the premise of the Slate article by Edward Jay Epstein, who contends that no one wants to deal with Pixar because Disney is still free to launch pre-split Pixar-sequels at will. So the new distributors of "Untitled Pixar Film 2007" would have to compete against "Finding Nemo Again." One could argue that the Disney sequel wouldn't be as good, as Disney can't seem to make hits these days, while the animators at Pixar practically sweat gold shavings. However Disney has seen quite a fair amount of profitability with these flicks, and those profits would come straight out of the Box Office receipts for the new Pixar project.

All in all, it's an interesting analysis, definitely worth a look, as it explains a lot more than this summary can convey. --Terrence Ryan

Posted by on October 3, 2005 3:01 PM
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