Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Disney's Hat

Today was my Diz Co. Tuesday, where the folks on the first floor are bracing for a heavy Rapunzel schedule.

"We haven't started overtime yet, but from the production flow so far I think the wave hits in May. I'm expecting it. I'm not looking forward to it."

I told him to get plenty of sleep, because he might not be getting very much later ...

Elsewhere in the studio, a rumor is floating around that Mr. Catmull and Mr. Lasseter could be making a big announcement about the Walt Disney Animation Studio in the next week or three, but nobody's sure what it is. Maybe that the animation division is moving to a building in Glendale. Maybe that there's some new feature project. (Who the heck knows?)

But something's up; I know this because an important Disney exec has made a momentous move:

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger sold 800,000 shares after exercising options, netting about $8.98 million before expenses.

Iger paid $21.05 a share and sold them for an average price of $32.27, according to a regulatory filing today. The transactions represent the first options exercised by Iger since fiscal 2006 ...

I ask you: would Mr. Iger be selling that big a clump of Mouse stock if some major deal wasn't cooking? (I suppose it's possible he just wants extra walking-around money, but really. What are the odds of that?)

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disney's buying Dreamworks Animation. Jeffery now works for Lasseter and Catmull.

Anonymous said...

Steve.....don't publish that last one.......I obviously don'y know what I just said.

Thanks.....it's early in the morning and I'm TIRED!!!

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Catmull and Mr. Lasseter could be making a big announcement about the Walt Disney Animation Studio in the next week or three, but nobody's sure what it is."

Bringing back the Gummi Bears ?

More Brave Little Toaster sequels ?

Recasting Chip & Dale as a singing duo in CG animation to compete with Alvin & the Chipmunks ?

Rodger said...

"Mr. Catmull and Mr. Lasseter could be making a big announcement about the Walt Disney Animation Studio in the next week or three, but nobody's sure what it is."

-Disney/YouTube/ Google pair up to make a contest where anyone can submit animation synced to pop music from the last decade. A selection of winners are featured in a web release of "Fantasia 2012..."

-Disney will be persuing an epic CGI/live action production of "The Hobbit" in a pair up contract with Wingnut Films. Peter Jackson will be asked to direct.

- "Snow White" to be re-produced as a 3D feature with MOCAP technology.

...the posibilities are endless,

Anonymous said...

Since Princess and the Frog isn't doing that well, the new might not be good.

Sheez...all that and Muppets too. Disney is focusing on hand DRAWN and hand PUPPETS, and meanwhile Avatar has brought CGI and 3D to new levels, and Dreamworks' latest Ice Age installment is the most profitable and popular animated film on the planet.

Yeah, if I were Iger, I'd be selling my stock too...

Nothin' but Blue Skies from now on said...

" Dreamworks' latest Ice Age installment is the most profitable and popular animated film on the planet."


Ahem ... BLUE SKY Studios latest Ice Age installment.

Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry. Quite right - Blue Sky. But it seems like other animation studios are eating Disney's lunch these days.

ouch! said...

http://disney.isbankrupt.com/

Anonymous said...

If the stock selling is connecting with this upcoming news.. Then I wouldn't expect it to be very good. Not for investors anyway.

Otherwise, he would wait.

Justin said...

If Iger were selling stock due to bad news he knew was going to get announced then he would quickly be investigated for insider trading. Most likely this sale was planned months ago or based on some predetermined criteria (e.g. stock price or age of the options).

Rumor Mill!! said...

Wait, does anyone really know what this is about? Please tell!

THIS is the reason Anonymous exists!!

Use it people!

Anonymous said...

Justin is absolutely correct. The fact that he's selling now is a more likely indicator that there are NO big announcements coming soon. Otherwise, it's blatant insider trading.

Anonymous said...

I'll guess that one of the announcements is they're moving animation out of the godawful hat building.

The rent is too high there anyway-or so say the execs.
Yes, the WDC charges a huge RENT to WDFA. For space in their own building that has a giant "ANIMATION" sign on it. Isn't corporate accounting wonderful?

Anonymous said...

Or, depending on when he sold his shares (i.e., before the end of 2009), he might have done it simply to avoid paying a higher future tax rate.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704157304574612532368682034.html

In any case, I'm glad to see there's some more rampant speculation on this board concerning someone's motives without knowing all the facts. Happy New Year. (end sarcasm)

Anonymous said...

I predict (just a guess) that they are moving out of the hat building, and Pixar will now have two campuses, one in Emeryville and one in LA.

Bury Me in 3C-12 said...

"Yes, the WDC charges a huge RENT to WDFA. For space in their own building that has a giant "ANIMATION" sign on it. "

Well, if they do have to move out of the hat building
there's another perfectly good building over on the main lot with a big ANIMATION sign over the door too (though no animators have been in there since 1984 ) Just the right size building for a reduced animation staff to occupy. But I guess Animation can't afford the rent there either, so it's back to the old warehouse buildings and trailers, eh ?

I wonder if they'll add more insult to injury by leaving the ANIMATION sign over the hat building entrance for the next 25 years , too ?

Floyd Norman said...

Verrrry Interesting. It seems they just ripped down the old animation facility on Flower Street right across the street from Disney Imagineering.

What do you suppose Disney has in mind for that now empty site?

Start packing, guys.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if WDAS gets rolled into a "Pixar South" (talk about reverse buyout), and that means more work and stability and less layoffs for their artists, Im all for it.

Anonymous said...

I was over at Circle 7 back when the buyout took place. I remember Ed Catmull doing a walk-through of the building and being very impressed...openly. He looked around said, "Wow, now this is a nice space...so much better than the one animation is in now"!

I agree, it was a really nice set-up....AND they were just finishing-up completely remodeling the adjoining Paula Building at that time as well, (state-of-the-art screening rooms, etc.). Jus' sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Actually I hated the time I spent in the "Hat Building" . It is not a well laid-out building. So, if WDAS gets to move into the Circle 7 space (on old Rodier Drive) I would consider that very GOOD news for WDAS.

But aren't all of those buildings over there occupied by ABC now ?

Anonymous said...

Executives like Iger have very few and very short windows within which they can exercise their stock options. Given his strike price and the sell price, he made close to 50%. Yeah, I'd sell too...

Steve Hulett said...

I've never understood why Feature Animation didn't move to the Circle 7 building long ago.

Fine building. One that can actually be heated or cooled without giving some frost bite and others heat stroke.

Anonymous said...

I heard some of the meeting might be a postmortem for the frog princess. Seems that the movie didn't meet internal expectations and they're looking for where to point the fingers - some of which I heard they are placing on the word "princess." Also I heard thy are changing the title of rapunzel to something less "princessy(sic)."

Anonymous said...

Changing "Rapunzel" is NOT going to happen.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope not, but that is not the buzz I've heard.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they ought to point a finger at "Frog". The kind that "secretes mucus". Not exactly as adorable as, say, a singing chipmunk...

Anonymous said...

Okay, so let's see then, they'd have:

"Snow White", "Sleeping Beauty", "Cinderella", "The Princess and the Frog," and "Rapz: Kick Ass Long Hair Bitch"

Very Brothers Grimm if you ask me.

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

I'm just hoping they're not thinking about closing down the La Salsa in the commissary....not that I've heard anything...I just worry. Bob

No Girl's Toy said...

>>>>>

"they're looking for where to point the fingers - some of which I heard they are placing on the word "princess."

>>>>>

Well , duh. How did they miss this possible pitfall when the subject matter and title for the movie was originally being kicked around in the early development ?

The title of that movie always worried me , for exactly that reason. I feared it would be a turn-off to a large section of the film's potential audience.

Ever since they've turned Disney Princess™ into an aggressively marketed pale pink pastel "brand" that they've aimed at little girls, so that the word "princess" now has a connotation of being something that only little girls would be interested in. (in a similar vein Disney's Pooh™ is now perceived as exclusively the domain of pre-school kiddies. How are they going to overcome that ? )

They've even co-opted characters which aren't really "princesses" in the traditional fairy-tale sense (such as Mulan or Pocahontas) and forced those into the mold of the Disney Princess™ brand. Enough. It's overdone, just like the umpteen direct-to-video sequels. They may have sold a lot of stuff in the short term, but overall the Disney Animation name has been cheapened and in the long run it hurts a movie like PATF.

The sad thing is that PATF is not really a typical "princess" movie , in that the main character , Tiana, is not a princess and isn't into idolizing the whole "princess" thing , whereas the character in the movie who is really into it is shown to be a bit of a dolt (a nice, zany, appealing dolt -- I liked Charlotte , best animation in the movie, imo -- but a dolt nonetheless). And the fact that Disney already self-parodied the whole Princessy-thing a couple of years ago with "Enchanted" didn't dawn on the people who greenlit this movie and approved the way it was marketed ? So, of course now they're looking around at where to point fingers and assign blame ? Geez ...
The crew who made this fine movie don't deserve this.

I would like to hope that some heads will roll in the marketing dept. for over-emphasizing the "Princessy" thing , but I'm sure they'll find a way to blame the filmmakers.

Walt Disney himself only made 3 movies with princesses as main characters and the films didn't make a big deal about how "princessy" they were. Yet because of this overbearing marketing blitz of the last decade shoving the "Disney Princess™" thing down everyone's throats we now have a generation of people who talk as if they think that all Disney (old and new) ever did in 2D animation was a whole series of "those singing princess movies" . Not so. Not true in Walt's day , and not true in the 1987 - 2004 era of feature animation. But that's the popular perception and it's difficult to overcome.

Anonymous said...

"Rapunzel" might be the single-most recognizable name in all of fairy-tale history.

To change it and not capitalize on that free connection with the audience would be utter foolishness. I mean, can you imagine telling the Rapunzel story WITHOUT it being the title!?

Everything Ive heard about the film is that it's honest, and a true fairy tale. Changing the name would cheapen it.

Disney, you might regret doing another "princess" movie, but you're doing it, theres no getting around that fact. So please at least have the integrity to stick by your film and dont be ashamed of it. In 50 years you'll look back and seriously regret ever giving it a different name.

What could POSSIBLY improve on the simple, straight-forward, honest title of "Rapunzel?"

Anonymous said...

I sure hope its nothing dumb like "The Thief and the Tower."

Anonymous said...

If there is one thing 3D changed most of all in animation, it was to pull away from the fairytale-based story. That may be one of the ways in which today's audience perception of animation has affected the performance of PATF and perhaps Rapunzel. They do not seem dated b/c of how they look, but the story ethic they belong to. PATF is a fine film.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope its nothing dumb like "The Thief and the Tower."

I just read that comment and am seriously thinking you have insider info.

And I also hope it isnt true.

Anonymous said...

Naming Rapunzel "The Thief and the Tower" would be like naming:

Aladdin: The Genie and the Bottle
Cinderella: The Pumpkin and the Slipper
Snow White: The Witch and the Apple
Sleeping Beauty: The Spindle and the Dragon

You get my point. Not that these are BAD, per say, but theres something confident, classic, and timeless about using the original Grimm titles.

They'd be idiots to change it, especially now.

My guess is that they announce that Rapunzel is getting delayed. No need to compete with Twilight and Harry Potter again.

Derrick said...

About the “Princess and the Frog”I went to the cinema with my little brother, I forced him (he is twelve) , and it was very difficult for me. He refused to see a “princess movie” Finally he loved all the characters ,and he sometimes sings the song of Facilier. There is a very big problem, Pixar appeals to the entire family, this is the key of its success, but Disney is attracting only kiddies or female audience, the damage of the brand is BIG.. For many adults is disgusting to see everywhere our beautiful childhood memories in a pink mess. Tiana becomes a princess just in the end of the movie, I think it was not good to promote her like a story about a princess.. They lost the opportunity, and we told them. Now is different “Rapunzel” is “Rapunzel”, and with its own name will be a hit.

Anonymous said...

"Tiana becomes a princess just in the end of the movie, I think it was not good to promote her like a story about a princess."


I agree. They've over-played the princess angle and it backfired on them at the box-office (though maybe not in terms of merchandizing ? I heard they sold a lot of Princess Tiana Dolls and costumes)

And the girl in Rapunzel is NOT a princess either , although in some versions of the tale her suitor , who she eventually marries , is a prince , so she would only be a princess at the end of the story, like Tiana . However, in the Disney version I hear the male lead is a bandit, not a prince, right ? So unless they've changed it so that Rapunzel is already a princess locked away in the tower at the beginning of the movie then she will not be a princess.

Anonymous said...

You guys are acting as riudiculous as Disney did when they chose to reaname the film from The Frog Princess to what they ended up with. No matter waht they call the film it's a little girl's film. They designed it like that and it was marketed that way.
They thought they could go back in time and remake the Little Mermaid. That's why they rehired Ron and John. Not because they were the best people for the job, but because they made a film that turned Disney around (of course they aslo made two films that helped close Disney).
What you should be asking is why didn't JL use Up as the new 2D film or have some of his Pixar directors (Stanton, Bird, or Docter) direct the film.
Why did he decide he wanted to go back in time and why didn't he try to hire Katzenberg to help these guys with the story (that was sarcasm BTW).
FDrom the minute it was announced and everyone realized that there was a problem with a film called the Frog Princess they should have thrown the breaks on.
Was this the deal JL had to make to put a stop to the DTV sequels that drove the princess merchandise?
Better that the DTVs had continued to feed that jugganaut then to make a feature film exclusively for little girls. Especially after DW made fun of that storytelling with Shrek and even Disney made fun of it with Enchanted. Did they think they could pretend the audiences hadn't changed since 1989?

Just for a minute assume that Lasseter had nothing to do with Pixar and had still had the disastrous record he's had since coming in charge at DFA - you all would be screaming for his head right now.

Anonymous said...

What Glen Keane has to say about Rapunzel:

Keane also promises that he’s going back to Rapunzel’s literary origins to do a traditional, character-driven fairy tale that speaks to a modern audience. “It’s a story of the need for each person to become who they are supposed to be and for a parent to set them free so they can become that. It will be a musical and a comedy and have a lot of heart and sincerity. I think that’s what Disney needs to do right now. No one else can do it. We should not be embarrassed or make excuses for doing a fairy tale."

I think fairy tales can still be relevant if done correctly. I dont think The Princess and the Frog was done correctly (nor was it marketed or released correctly, but it sure was pretty), and thats why it didnt do as well as expected. Fairy tales dont necessarily have to be little girl "princess movies," yet thats the way they're being spun.

Anonymous said...

The big test will be to see if audiences will go see a little girl's princess movie in CG. They obvioulsy won't in 2D.

It must be understood that the audience made a decision about going to see the movie (or not going to see the movie) before anyone actually went to see if it was a little girl's movie or not.

It doesn't matter if it was 1000 times better than Mermaid or B&B or even Up. The audience saw the marketing and decided not to go. AND before you blame the marketing I don't think you can make a case that it mis represented the fiulm anymore than any other campaign ever has.

I hope Keane is right and audiences will flock to see his film, but I don';t think it will have anything to do with waht he says in the quote. It's just whether the public will give a CG princess movie a try or not. Either Keane will be a genius if it's a hit or he'll be as wrong as Lasseter if it flops.

Derrick said...

I think all the movies from John and Ron are not effeminate, are very comical and any straight guy could have a good time watching their flicks.
I would not underestimate the classic stories. The superhero movies are some kind of fairy tales and are plenty of success at the box office, you must to find the way to make the link with that modern audience.

Sincerely. I’m really convinced that Rapunzel will be a hit...first because is going to be beautifully made, and the leads are not afro-american (there is a political disappointment undeniable) Perhaps I am worried about the release date too.

Anonymous said...

Plus Rapunzel is one sexy bitch.

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/rapunzel_b.jpg

Anonymous said...

I was wondering when the race card would be played in the blame game regarding the tepid public response to PatF. I don't buy it. I think the movie looked too retro, too calculated, and too uninspired. Nice try, though, Diz; better luck next time.

Anonymous said...

There is only one person to point the finger to blame about the poor performance of PatF:
John Lasseter

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:56:00 AM

+1

Anonymous said...

Eh, too easy to place blame on John. But we do live in a "someone's head's gotta roll" society.

I got an idea, lets stop finding someone to blame, and learn from this situation, mkay? John is still a good leader. You'd know that if you worked for him. Leaders can be wrong too...

Derrick said...

I ignore what they are thinking about what is the best for the company in the long term, a movie like UP(box office) or something like Tinkerbell or The Princess and the Frog.(merchandise) .They needed desperately a good, and almost flawless afro-american role model to sell their stuff, in some way is comprehensible. Let`s hope that they will have more creative freedom with “Snow Queen”, though it’s hard to surprise only adapting old stories. The Pixar movies instead are always “original”, this is very well perceived by the audience and rewarded.

Gspot said...

who approved this?!?

Anonymous said...

"The Pixar movies instead are always “original”, this is very well perceived by the audience and rewarded."

And believe me, Pixar is going to make goddamn sure it stays that way. They'll make the chicken salad and their dimwitted SoCal cousins can make the chicken shit.

Anonymous said...

Dimwitted SoCal cousins eh?

I can animate just as well as any Pixar animator, thanks.

I know this because I worked there too.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure that was meant as sarcasm....

Anonymous said...

Half of the people who watched Bolt and Prep and Landing thought it was Pixar anyway.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-smartlist-nov29-pictures,0,3797000.photogallery

Anonymous said...

They thought that because it's being made by the same leaders. That's why those films were better than most of what Disney has put out over that past decade. I personally loved Prep & Landing more than The Princess and the Frog, which, I loved btw.

Michael said...

I thought it was odd when WDP sent out their press release for their 2010 slate, it listed Rapunzel as a "Working Title". It was the only of the studio's 2010 pics to have that designation.

That being said, I think it would be bizarre to call it anything but "Rapunzel".

I still think PATF's under-performance is because the public has yet to get the word that things have changed at Disney since the days of "Cinderella III". It may take a few pictures to get that goodwill cranked up again. I'm afraid Pooh won't exactly stoke the fire, though. I mean, seriously... Pooh. I'm a stereotypical Disney obsessive but I can't exactly see myself going to see Pooh.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they're streamlining operations of Pixar and DAS. While at the same time, releasing 2D under Walt Disney Pics and CG under Pixar-Disney?
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Animation is moving back to the main lot in a new building named after Roy E. Disney.

http://thedisneyblog.com/2010/01/10/new-animation-building-roy-e-disney/

Anonymous said...

That big announcement coming from Walt Disney Animation Studios was indeed the confirmation that feature animation would be moving from the Hat building located across the street from the Walt Disney Studios. That was pretty much common knowledge. But the surprise was that they’ll be naming the new building after Roy E. Disney.

That's common knowledge? I work in the building and this is the first I've heard of it.

Anonymous said...

"Looks like Animation is moving back to the main lot in a new building named after Roy E. Disney."

Interesting. A new building on the main lot ? (named in honor of Roy E. Disney is a nice touch)

So I'm wondering WHERE is there room left on the main lot to put up another building ? Is the old Animation building considered too antiquated to retro-fit it for CG workstations along with traditional animation desks ?

Anonymous said...

"So I'm wondering WHERE is there room left on the main lot to put up another building ?"

do you see that big parking lot -

Anonymous said...

They're not going to use if for parking anymore ?

Hannah Barbontana said...

Ever heard of underground parking?

How about indoor plumbing? ;P


Seriously, the plan was to build a new studio there a couple years ago, but the cost of the aforementioned underground parking was prohibitively expensive and the idea was shelved. Kinda like Kingdom of the Elves.

I don't know if they've decided to build it now, but with the economy the way it is, I seriously doubt it. Until Disney starts making more animated blockbusters that aren't under the Pixar logo it will most likely not happen.

god said...

Disney Animation should closed the doors already...not gonna miss it!

g

Anonymous said...

How can you say you wouldn't miss Disney? Sure, it hasn't been making the greatest films recently, but Disney Animation is... Disney Animation. Come on, now.

Anonymous said...

why do marketing artists think that the title is "The Thief and the Tower."? Do they know something that DAS doesn't ?

Michael said...

And more importantly, what happened to the Cobbler?

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. Dumbest decision ever.

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