Thursday, February 06, 2014

Robert Iger SPEAKS

On the phone with the financial press.

... With Pixar and the created resurgence of Disney Animation, we now have the two strongest animations brands generating some of the greatest creative work in the industry, with Frozen being the most recent example. Frozen has now surpassed The Lion King to become the most successful Disney Animation movie of all time. It exceeded $870 million in global box-office before even being released in two of our most important markets. It just opened in China in the last 24 hours and it will open in Japan on March 15th. Frozen is not only a tremendous financial success, it's also an incredible creative trial earning the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, as well as Oscar nominations for Best Animated Film and Best Song. It has also just picked up 5 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Animation.

Two months after opening, Frozen is still big in theaters. It was second in U.S. box-office just this past weekend. Additionally, the sound track is at the top of the charts and high demand for Frozen merchandise continues to drive strong retail sales. With tradition of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, Disney's Frozen will also be going to Broadway.

When we acquired Pixar in 2006, our goal was to not only support and benefit from the continued creative and commercial success of Pixar, but to rejuvenate Disney Animation under the leadership. Accomplishing this was not only a priority, but something that is and will continue to drive value across the company for years to come. We congratulate all those involved with Frozen and success speaks volumes, about the future of animation at our company. We are obviously proud of our performance this quarter and it's very satisfying to see long-term strategies come to fruition delivering results and driving greater value for our company and shareholders.

Mr. Iger's phone chat reeks of press handout ("For Immediate Release!") but the content above is important because it underscores continuing good news for animation.

All the major conglomerates are now wading in to animation. Sony. Fox-News Corp. Walt Disney Co. Even Viacom and Time-Warner are seriously in the cartoon business. (When there are sizable profits glittering on the table, all your fine entertainment congloms want to be bellied up to them.)

I doubt there will be layoffs in Disney's various Cartoonlands anytime soon. Of course people will be cut loose as projects end, but the trendlines have been up for a few years now. Diz Co.'s two most recent animated features will have grossed close to a couple billion dollars over the past nineteen months, and that bodes well for future employment.

We've been down this road before, in the go-go 1990s. Except this time animation revenues are on double steroids. We're seeing more television work, while feature employment continues to hold up. Happy news.


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