Film Exec: if Eisner’s out ‘Steve Jobs could now be a candidate to run Disney’

“Pixar Animation Studios, which produced last summer’s popular ‘Finding Nemo,’ said on Thursday that it was ending talks on continuing its 12-year partnership with the Walt Disney Company and would seek another studio to distribute its films, beginning in 2006,” Laura M. Holson reports for The New York Times.

“Several theories emerged rapidly about why Mr. Jobs, who did not return three phone calls seeking comment, sought to terminate the partnership now. Perhaps, said one of the people involved, Mr. Jobs ‘made the announcement thinking Disney would come back on its knees.’ Wall Street analysts are set to meet with Disney executives in Florida in two weeks, when Mr. Eisner will face tough questions about Disney’s future in animation. Its own films have not had nearly the success of those produced by Pixar and Disney has effectively closed its Florida film animation operations,” Holson reports. “One film executive suggested that Mr. Jobs could now be considered a candidate to run Disney if indeed Mr. Eisner ever left.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We have a hard time figuring out how Steve runs both Apple and Pixar now; how’s he going to run Disney on top of those two, especially as running Apple alone, more so than Pixar, is such a monumental task? Perhaps by doing as Ronald Reagan espoused, “Delegate, delegate, delegate!” Or by folding one or more of the companies into another? Get ready for another round of “Disney to buy Apple” rumors.


  1. From Motley Fool

    “Instead, Disney is working on its own hand-drawn and computer-generated features as well as teaming up with upstart tech-savvy outfits, as it did with Pixar before the apprentice mastered the master. Disney is also taking up its contractual right to make Toy Story 3, even if it means that it might be more like Godfather 3,absent the storytelling and rendering talent of Pixar’s crack crew.”

    Godfather3, that’s funny. Watching a Toy Story movie from anyone but Pixar would be weird.

  2. The real shame is that Disney holds the copyrights to “Toy Story” and all the others that have come out to date, so Pixar can’t make their own sequels without them. Apparently that was a big piece of the negotiating that Disney wouldn’t give in on.

  3. that was the dumbest contract to give up the rights to ANY of those movies. Not that I am saying that there wasn’t good reason, but had they kept the rights, that’s easily 2-3 more features for Pixar alone. A cool half-billion, that will never be realised now because the crack-smoking crew that just bastardized the legacy that was the Lion King with v.1.5, will be in charge of these sequels!

    Makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it! Nemo 1.5 anyone?

  4. Had Pixar kept the rights, probably there wouldn’t have been a Toy Story. At the beginning, Pixar was an unproven entity, even after they won an Oscar for short animation. They needed a deal where a studio financed the movie. Of course, now Pixar can finance one or two movies simultaneously and get all the profit minus distribution fees.

    What I find disturbing is that Pixar has all the talents and does all the work while Disney gets half the profit plus distribution fee.

  5. Jobs has perfect timing. After Finding Nemo, this is the right time to look for a better deal with a different studio – or look to upgrade Pixar’s position with Disney through this hard-nosed tactic. It is VERY doubtful that The Incredibles and/or Cars will top the box office performance of Nemo.

    Worldwide Box Office for Pixar Films:

    Toy Story (1995) – $358 million
    Bug’s Life (1998) – $358 million
    Toy Story 2 (1999) – $486 million
    Monsters, Inc. (2001) – $529 million
    Finding Nemo (2003) – $844 million …and counting

    Strike while the iron is hot!

  6. I highly doubt that.

    Steve has a family and he is not going to spread himself thin. He already has enough responsibility. I don’t think him running Disney is highly probable. He might get an offer. That I don’t doubt.

  7. Disney may in fact be better off without Pixar if the deal that SJ wanted came to pass. Indeed the 5 released films, plus the upcoming “The Incredibles” and “Cars” in 2004 and 2005 respectively will be the final joint ventures. Afterwards, Disney can make sequels with all the characters in the 7 films and not pay Pixar a cent. Pixar will have to start over developing new films and characters and will only participate on the revenue side with the original films. Disney has certain talents that have helped Pixar. They know the market. Have the best distribution system in the world. They have the merchandising expertise. They also gave advice to Pixar on story development and were not just in the background. They also shared in the cost of making the films. Pixar will now have to do that themselves even if they make a deal with another company. They, or should I say SJ, wants to control everything. Ummm, does that sound familiar? Apple starts off like a house of fire and then decides not to play with the other computer companies and in the end their market share drops from a peak of 25% to less then 5 %. Am I missing something here?

  8. Dave H,

    If he is spinning. That would be his head only. It is my understanding that Alcor only does the head. So, with that alone…I can only imagine the only thing you can do is something along the lines of Tourettes Syndrome with his head on a silver platter. 😀 He would also be wondering where his cousin Roy is.

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