Disney and Pixar End Talks
Pixar has elected to conclude its discussions to extend a successful long-term partnership with The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) following the delivery of two more animated features, The Incredibles expected in 2004 and Cars expected in 2005.
“We have had a fantastic partnership with Pixar and wish Steve Jobs and the wonderfully creative team there, led by John Lasseter, much success in the future,” said Michael Eisner, Disney chairman and CEO. “Although we would have enjoyed continuing our successful collaboration under mutually acceptable terms, Pixar understandably has chosen to go its own way to grow as an independent company”…
Tom Staggs, Disney senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Disney management could not accept Pixar’s final offer because it would have cost Disney hundreds of millions of dollars it is already entitled to under the existing agreement, while not providing sufficient incremental returns on new collaborations to justify the changes to the existing deal.
In addition to Pixar’s delivery of two more feature films, under the current agreement, Disney maintains the rights to develop and produce sequels to all films created through this partnership, including direct to video presentations, television series and specials; and to exploit all characters and content throughout Disney’s theme park and consumer products units, thereby allowing Disney to continue to nurture and grow these successful franchises while benefiting Disney shareholders into the foreseeable future. Disney also owns the entire Disney/Pixar film library, which includes Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Monster’s Inc., and Finding Nemo, in addition to the two pictures yet to be completed.
In addition to Pixar, the Walt Disney Studios has relationships with other emerging animation producing partners including Vanguard Films, currently producing Valiant, and San Francisco-based Complete Pandemonium, producing The Wild in conjunction with CORE Technologies of Toronto.
Walt Disney Feature Animation will release Home on the Range on April 2, featuring songs performed by Tim McGraw, Bonnie Raitt and k.d. lang. Currently in production is Chicken Little, the Studio’s first all-CG effort, which is scheduled for release in Summer 2005. For Summer 2006 and beyond, Walt Disney Feature Animation is producing a series of 3D motion pictures: A Day With Wilbur Robinson, based on the beloved William Joyce book; American Dog, directed by Chris Sanders (Lilo and Stitch); Rapunzel Unbraided, directed by legendary Disney animator Glen Keane; and Toy Story 3. These movies are all anticipated to break new ground in CG movie-making. The Studio has an additional 20 animated features in active development.