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Problems in the land that Walt built?


Romier S
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Came across some seriously intriguing reading while surfing around. Seems as though Roy Disney has resigned due to some serious issues with Michael Eisner. Shortly after another board member (Stanley P Gold) resigned with a seriously *HOT* letter denouncing Eisner.

 

Here is an excerpt from Roys letter which can be found at Found on the UltimateDisney.com/Forum boards (I'll only post a small portion):

 

As I have said, and as Stanley Gold has documented in letters to you and other members of the Board, this Company under your leadership has failed during the last seven years in many ways:

 

1. The failure to bring back ABC Prime Time from the ratings abyss it has been in for years and your inability to program successfully the ABC Family Channel. Both of these failures have had, and I believe will continue to have, significant adverse impact on shareholder value.

 

2. Your consistent micro-management of everyone around you with the resulting loss of morale throughout this company.

 

3. The timidity of your investments in our theme park business. At Disney?s California Adventure, Paris, and now Hong Kong, you have tried to build parks on the cheap and they show it and the attendance figures reflect it.

 

4. The perception by our stakeholders ?consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers ? that the Company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the ?quick buck? rather than long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust.

 

5. The creative brain drain of the last several years, which is real and continuing, and damages our Company with the loss of every talented employee.

 

6. Your failure to establish and build constructive relationships with creative partners, especially Pixar, Miramax, and the cable companied distributing our products.

 

7. Your consistent refusal to establish a clear succession plan.

 

In conclusion, Michael, it is my sincere belief that it is you who should be leaving and not me. According ly, I once again call for your resignation or retirement. The Walt Disney Company deserves fresh, energetic leadership at this challenging time in its history just as it did in 1984 when I headed a restructuring which resulted in your recruitment to the Company.

 

Furthermore Mr. Gold had this to say in his letter which can be found here.

 

 

Again an excerpt:

 

It is with regret that I resign effective immediately from the Board of

Directors of the Walt Disney Company and second Roy Disney's call for the

removal of Michael Eisner as Chairman and C.E.O. I am proud of my more than

15 years of service and my role in reshaping the Company in 1984 by bringing

Frank Wells and Michael Eisner to the Company. I do, however, lament that my

efforts over the past three years to implement needed changes has only

succeeded in creating an insular Board of Directors serving as a bulwark to

shield management from criticism and accountability. At this time, I believe

there is little that I can achieve by working from within to refocus the

Company. I hope that my resignation will serve as a catalyst for change at

Disney.

 

I can't say that I'm at all displeased with seeing Eisner being taken to task. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

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Also they have let go of just about all of the traditional animators and even sold the animation desks so its not just a simple matter of rehiring them to start things up again.

 

The Florida team was the most recent to get the axe and they just redid the animation tour to avoid their work area... should have seen that one coming.

 

Eisner needs to leave.

 

Pipedreaming I would love to see John Lasseter at the helm - just because he has that Walt quality of caring about the story and quality first.

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Also they have let go of just about all of the traditional animators and even sold the animation desks so its not just a simple matter of rehiring them to start things up again.

 

Saddest thing I've ever heard.

 

I am a big fan of traditional 2D animation and I'll argue that the "decline" in 2D animation in North America has entirely to do with the crappy stories they're animating more than anything else. Disney was stupid and bogged themselves down in a formula that kept them churning out the same rote year after year, with interchangably cute sidekicks that were so obviously a marketing grab it was painful.

 

I'll stack any Disney animated feature from the past five years against Spirited Away and it will lose hands down in terms of quality. The worst part? I don't even care for Spirited Away all that much. Sad to see, though that report on AICN that Pixar might be starting their own 2D animation studio will be nice if it turns out to be true :).

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Originally posted by stencil@Dec 2 2003, 02:03 PM

Rumors are that Apple and Pixar head Steve Jobbs might get a chance to take the helm at Disney. Would make sense.

I thought I heard that one of Roy Disney's complaints was that Eisner had pissed off Jobs? It was on the radio in the background so I certainly could have heard it wrong.

 

-j

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Jim Hill's ever wonderful website has a few excellent articles this week to accompany this news. The most important, and indeed intriguing, so far is an article entitled 'Are Roy and Stanley making a Rainbow Connection?' which can be found in the 3rd of December updates.

 

This article makes strong suggestions that Disney and Gold may have a strategy in having both Pixar and the Jim Henson company on their side and seeing the two companies lay down an ultimatum that they would only sign to Disney again if Eisner were to stand down. A strategy with the hope that the thought of having such big partners in Pixar and Henson would be enough for shareholders to demand Eisner bows out given it has been his stubborn attitudes preventing further business deals with the two companies, Pixar most notably.

 

I thought I heard that one of Roy Disney's complaints was that Eisner had pissed off Jobs? It was on the radio in the background so I certainly could have heard it wrong.

 

This is item 6 in Roy Disney's letter. Jobs and Eisner have never favoured one another highly, and like I say, it is Eisner's stubbornness that continues to cause the rift between Disney and Pixar decreasing the chances of Pixar films being distributed through Disney in future.

 

 

I do hope Eisner goes. I have always been a big fan of Disney, but the last ten years has not been that great, with things getting worse every year. The theme parks are under funded with staff treated unfairly. Eisner slashed 80% of the forthcoming Anniversary celebration Plans for Disneyland, which was to have seen all the major classic rides (Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean) getting vast technical overhauls, but now the plans are quite standard with only Space Mountain being re-done. In both Orlando and Anaheim the old 20,000 Leagues water tanks have been empty for years too and are rusting away like much of the decor around the rest of the theme parks. When I last went to the US, and went to Disneyland last year, it also saddened me to see the McDonald's arch scattered around the parks (both Disneyland and California Adventure). Everything Walt Disney and his team fought for back in the day is ever diminishing.

 

The films too, have just been incredibly under whelming. Disney has the audacity to hype up Miyazaki's films so much, yet they've clearly learnt nothing from his features or Japanese animation in general for that matter and how in the Far East Animation in film is forged to appeal to both children and adults alike. Disney, and Dreamworks now too, carrying this vile idea that cell animation is not what people want anymore is disgustingly ignorant and it makes me very uncomfortable as it only shows how mainstream cinema is plunging further downhill due to the misconceptions executives carry of cinema audiences.

 

It's not entered their minds that they only need to make great films for people to go and see them, that it doesn't matter whether it's computer animated of little stick men dancing about on screen. They just need to ditch the tedious formula of the wacky buddy characters (we've had them near on 100% of the time since Aladdin), the pop song by whatever teen is top of the chart that week and stop bogging down animation with so many contemporary shortcomings. The only thing bringing Disney's animation down is the same thing that brings films in general down, lack of imagination and ability to tread new ground.

 

I read in one of the papers recently that there has been a rumour for the last couple of months that Pixar may be forming it's own cell animation division, which would be rather wonderful. I can only hope all these animators at Disney who have been laid off come together some how and start a company like Don Bluth did.

 

Daniel

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Daniel, I'm not sure why you're so down on Disney, but I can tell you I have a much different perspective.

As far as the movies are concerned, Finding Nemo was one of the best films Disney has ever made, imo. I'm not so sure about brother bear, but my wife and son patronized the movie.

They also have pirates of the carribean out now, which I believe is doing REALLY well.

 

I took my family down to the Orlando parks this summer, we had a great time. Sure the magic kingdom is old and might stand some updating, but for me it's more a land frozen in time, which adds to the appeal.

All of the other theme parks were more then up to par, and I was amazed at all the new construction in the area, it was simply overwhelming.

 

My son watches the disney channel, and toon disney almost exclusively, and let's not forget ESPN, one of my favorite channels. :)

 

I'm not a stock holder, and really don't care whether all of these things are profitable or not, but as a consumer I can tell you Disney gets a nice chunk of change from my family every year, and I'm happy to give it. (well kinda)

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As far as the movies are concerned, Finding Nemo was one of the best films Disney has ever made, imo

 

Except Disney did NOT make this, Pixar did.

 

Disney distributes the film, but didn't have anything to do with making it. Pixar films could easily be released by anybody else if Pixar so chose. They are currently unhappy with their deal with Disney as well, I might add.

 

Just making sure appropriate credit is given.

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That is one rinky-dink looking site. I don't think it does much to help the case that your family company is being mismanaged when you present your side of the story on a website that was created in less than an hour by using "Save as HTML" in Word.

 

Yes, I felt this too. I've no idea if it is a work in progress or not, as if you research who the domain is registered to, it's to Roy Disney's real state holdings corp which has a very nice website design.

 

 

 

Daniel, I'm not sure why you're so down on Disney, but I can tell you I have a much different perspective.

As far as the movies are concerned, Finding Nemo was one of the best films Disney has ever made, imo.

 

Well, as has been said, Disney has nothing to do with the stories and making of the films under the Pixar banner. They simply act as a distributor, and it is Michael Eisner's petty stubbornness that is currently ensuring the Disney/Pixar partnership does not continue after the current contract ends (after "Cars" in 2006 I believe). This is something which stockholders do not wish to see, and something Pixar themselves do not even wish to see. Pixar have admitted that they are quite happy to stay with Disney if Eisner would relent and give the creative teams a better deal of control over their own work!

 

 

I'm not a stock holder, and really don't care whether all of these things are profitable or not, but as a consumer I can tell you Disney gets a nice chunk of change from my family every year, and I'm happy to give it. (well kinda)

 

They get a lot from me too, I don't snub Disney because I am upset at the way things are run. Whenever I am in the US and am near to a Disney theme park, I'll go. I love Disney, but I continue to follow the progress of their planned animated films and theme park updates as I have done for many years, and it saddens me to see the talent behind these creative departments getting a rough time due to the Executives reluctance to put money into significantly improving and progressing in these fields. Many of the great Imagineer teams from the theme parks are deeply, deeply upset, and it's not hard to imagine what many animators at their Orlando animation wing are going through right now. It's quite a shame just how many amazing ideas for the parks have been cancelled along with various film projects.

 

Eisner did a fantastic job up until around 1994. It?s simply time for new blood. Stock is averaging nicely, this could be what saves Eisner because it?s the only result many of the shareholders may care about. Park attendance is down however, and they are still recovering from a number of lukewarm animated projects. There is much room for improvement in the old house of mouse.

 

Daniel

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
Guest Bryan

Boy, did Michael Eisner get a big F-U from Disney shareholders today! They withheld over 40% of their votes from him. This powerplay will be alot of fun to watch - I hope HBO makes a great movie out of it, ala Barbarians at the Gate and The Late Shift.

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I think it'd be interesting if Steve Jobs got installed as CEO

 

For selfish reasons, I'd rather not see this happen. First of all, it *might* mean that he'd leave Apple, which would be very bad for Apple, IMO. He's done amazing things for the company, basically rescuing them from disaster. Then, what would happen to Pixar? Honestly I enjoy what Pixar's creative output more that I enjoy Disney's.

 

Maybe he would bring Pixar into Disney somehow, but I still worry about the different cultures of the companies, and what would be the outcome of such a 'merger' - if Pixar remained an independent arm of Disney it might work.

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I enjoy what Pixar's creative output more that I enjoy Disney's.

 

Well, exactly. If Jobs went to Disney, wouldn't it be possible to bring Pixar BACK into that fold, with the promise of a more reasonable and fair reign under Jobs? They haven't signed with anybody else yet, have they?

 

I have no idea just how much of Pixar's magic Jobs has a hand in, but if he could bring some of that back to Disney it would be awesome. I'd like to see a really good animated Disney flick again some day.

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wouldn't it be possible to bring Pixar BACK into that fold, with the promise of a more reasonable and fair reign under Jobs?

 

I edited my post while you were responding, so I added my thoughts about that.

 

I have no idea just how much of Pixar's magic Jobs has a hand in, but if he could bring some of that back to Disney it would be awesome. I'd like to see a really good animated Disney flick again some day.

 

I don't know his role in that either, it seems to me that the people he hired have a lot to to with it, like John Lasseter. I imagine it's also the atmosphere they have created there, and I'm not convinced that even someone as charismatic as Jobs could alter the atmosphere and culture in a company as huge as Disney.

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And Katzenberg's first new action is to buy Bungie from MicroSoft, turning Halo 2 into an exclusive for their new console, the DisNetwork :green:.

 

Halo 2 becomes a launch title as predicted, but not before all the guns are turned into cell phones ;).

 

Sorry, just trying to increase the post count in the thread :lol:.

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