The Disney-Pixar Merger…Two Years Later

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In yesterday’s NY Times there was a lengthy article about how things are going at Disney two years after its merger with Pixar. The Times’ opinion? Things are going pretty damn well. For anybody who has been following the companies closely, as I’m sure many Brew readers have, the Times piece offers little in the way of new information or insights, but it serves as a fairly good overview of what’s been happening during the past couple years.

There will be, I’m sure, the standard complaints of Lasseter and Co.’s continuation of Disney animation outsourcing and direct-to-video sequel productions, but perhaps the question should be asked, Was anybody so naive as to believe that either of these practices would come to a screeching halt when Pixar took over? The Disney corporation is far too big a machine to fuel itself solely on artistic integrity. The hope should rather be that Lasseter can balance the inevitable corporate shilling with enough artistic experimentation and new ideas to keep the Disney brand relevant in today’s entertainment world.

The jury is still out on whether he’ll be able to accomplish that at Disney. The studio’s first two Lasseter-era projects are questionable: a labored bid to repeat past glories (The Princess and the Frog) and a homely-looking deal with a dog and hamster. On the other hand, Pixar’s direction has never been more clear or promising. Pete Docter’s Up, the next feature from Emeryville following Wall-E, had me hooked from the very first image (posted at top). The film features an unlikely lead character, a stubby cane-wielding 78-year-old man, who travels the world by attaching helium-filled balloons to his house. It sounds like one of the most unconventional and interesting mainstream cartoon features in a long while.

Honestly, I believe that there’s too much baggage at Disney–in the form of Walt Disney and the legacy that he created–to allow for the Disney animators of today to produce anything of artistic merit. The studio is spinning its tires in Walt’s legacy, mired with the responsibility of maintaining the “integrity” of the Disney brand and simultaneously stunted with the fear of creating works that are “unDisney.” Disney, when it was actually run by Disney, defined the quality and innovation possible in the art form. That ship sailed over forty years ago and frankly, it’s time to get over it. The studio has been running on fumes for the better part of two decades, and coloring a princess a darker hue won’t alter a single thing, save for adding a few dollars to the value of shareholders’ stocks.

In tying the knot with Pixar, however, Disney can finally have its cake and eat it too. The Pixar brand is still young and malleable; it can be molded in wholly new creative directions like those of Wall-E and Up. Disney proper can continue exploiting its vast catalog of classics (bring on the Tinkerbell features) and perhaps add an occasional new character to the Disney patch (everybody loves a wacky hamster), while Pixar indulges in the risk-taking and innovation that is vital to the studio’s long-term health and reputation. It’s a shrewd bit of maneuvering, whether intended or not, for which Iger deserves a lot of credit. By purchasing Pixar, he assures that at least one part of Disney can live up to the company’s reputation for pushing the art of animation forward.


  • Jim

    I wish Pixar would indulge in more risk-taking and innovation with their short films. I know we should be thankful that they still produce them, and I am, but there’s a lot of room to explore different types of stories and visual styles. Luis Cook’s “The Pearce Sisters” was a great example, although the ending was weak, story-wise.

    The folks over at Pixar brought in Brad Bird to shake things up for Incredibles; maybe it’s time to do so again with another director. Get someone in there to direct a short film that’s decidedly *not* standard Pixar short fare. The quality of the animation and humor is always superb, but I can’t help but feel they’re playing it safe. I mean, they’re going to lose money on the short anyway, right? Why not use it as a way to experiment with a new type of story and visual style and “test” it on audiences?

  • purin

    Ah, I’ve been waiting for some commentary on this article. I noticed something was “off” about the Princess and the Frog picture with the article. They redrew her! The the setting’s the same, but they changed Tiana’s outfit and hair, and maybe even her proportions. Is this the first time we’ve seen this second version of this picture, or is it old news?

  • Chuck R.

    There is nothing about a legacy that’s excusing Disney from making exciting films. Innovation doesn’t begin and end with Walt Disney. Yes, Walt was committed to innovation throughout his life, but that spirit left feature animation after the strike, when he moved on to TV and theme parks and left animation largely in the hands of others. This was way more than 40 years ago. Of Disney’s most innovative films, only Snow White was a runaway success.

    In the Eisner era, Disney had only 3 films that went out on a limb: Lion King , Nightmare before Christmas, and Lilo and Stitch. All of them are excellent, artistic and profitable, why shouldn’t animation fans expect more of the same, especially given that a new brand name like “Touchstone” can easily be created if a project seems to be away from the Disney brand.

    I don’t think Pixar epitomizes “innovation” and I don’t think they really intend to. They achieve extremely high standards of craftsmanship and storytelling, but since Toy Story, they’ve raised the bar very gradually technically and artistically. They have never made the kind of leaps that Disney made with Fantasia, Bambi, and Song of the South. Lasseter himself smartly realized that the pictures were getting a bad case of sameness when he brought Brad Bird on board. That move made me think he was going to really turn Disney around quickly and begin making more interesting films. So far there’s no evidence of that. We can hope he’s finishing off works-in-progress to the best of his ability, but… firing Chris Sanders is a bad first omen. Endorsing Tinkerbell like it was a Miyazaki film is another. I have no reason to believe Princess and the Frog is anything but a thinly disguised attempt to make the very lucrative “Disney Princess” franchise more inclusive.

    Is it possible that when all’s said and done Eisner and Katzenberg will be the ones most successful at selling interesting pictures to a mass audience? Taking care of Walt’s house is a job that requires nerve, but Steve Jobs and John Lasseter should have the chops. If anything, a shot at running Disney’s empire should scare a leader out of complacency, it shouldn’t be a liability.

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    If we’re to judge the merger’s success by its products; I think it’s rather difficult to judge whether two units of feature animation production have made progress in just two years given the long and seemingly never-ending development/ production process that these films go through.

    Although I’m sure others will comment on Disney-Pixar’s future projects in the pipeline… right now I’m just curious as to if Pixar is still, actively keeping with their policy to allow indie animators pitch their work to them. (Not that they wouldn’t have any other reason too with the exception of being loaded with projects since becoming a part of Disney.) Brad Bird was an outside guy when he pitched The Incredibles a few years back…

  • http://thelink.concordia.ca Christopher Olson

    I’m looking forward to the teaser for Up that will inevitably be played before WALL-E. But does anyone know what kind of short Pixar film we have in store for us?

  • Craig

    I don’t understand how in the world a corporation like Disney with its limitless resources couldn’t think to use its other distribution labels as channels for experimenting with innovative, “non-Disney” ideas. Why not use Touchstone or form another subsidiary to distribute avant-garde “indie-driven” (and probably lower-budgeted) animation experiments? Otherwise their mega-corporate, risk-averse strategy has no chance of bringing innovation and long-term sustainability to the table. “Tinkerbell VII” and formulaic re-hashes of past successes are long, slow marches to certain doom and cosmic failure, as Amid points out. Pixar’s formula is not immune to this, either, though Dr. Catmull speaks and writes at length constantly about the need to re-invent and innovate from within the company. Whatever happens, Disney has to empower its artists to lead the revolution, or it will all be for naught.

  • http://www.octop.com Aleksandar Vujovic

    Great post Amid, really enjoyed reading. Keep it up!

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    The part of “Disney’s legacy” I’d like to see the studio “mired in” would be innovation and a commitment to pushing the envelope. It’s never too late for that.

  • http://afrokids.com Floyd Norman

    Dinosaurs, (no pun intended) by the very nature of their size, lack the ability to “turn on a dime.”

    However, turn they must, lest they become a “fossil.” I’m cautiously optimistic — yet still a little worried.

  • Dave

    It was a little disconcerting that under the image of the Princess in the NY Times article the caption read: “Pixar is trying to revive Disney’s animation and make it more contemporary.”

    Maybe it’s just me , but that image doesn’t really say “contemporary” (and that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I think contemporary and “hip” are way over-rated; personally I love the classic hand-drawn Disney look) .

    But from a purely marketing point of view if they’re trying to say that they’re making Disney animation more “contemporary” then that image from Princess & the Frog isn’t it . Looks like it is circa 1992 . Unfortunately I think hand-drawn animation from Disney is still saddled with the stigma of the Disney brand having been cheapened and strip-mined by the various direct-to-video sequels. The average consumer is going to see images like the one printed in the NY Times article and probably just shrug . “Disney animation: meh, so what else is new ? I’ll wait for the DVD to come out next month and we’ll rent it for the kids.” Or maybe not ? Maybe it will repeat the Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast success pattern which tapped into a mainstream , mixed-age audience.

    I wish them well and I hope that hand-drawn comes back at Disney in a big way. A single publicity image doesn’t say everything about the whole film and I’m willing to wait and see . I don’t put it past the NY Times to get something wrong , but someone from Disney provided the Times with that image for the article, and apparently that’s the image Disney has chosen to represent the film (I’ve seen it at least twice now) so that does say something .

  • ridgecity

    I think that flying house has already been done in anime…

  • Dave

    “I think that the flying house has already been done in anime..”

    Yeah, by Robert Winsor McCay (“using the Winsor McCay process of animated drawing”) in 1921. ;-)

    The Flying House

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    With John Lasseter heading up both Disney and Pixar, I’m not sure that the line between the two teams will remain as clear cut as it currently is. I can see an arrangement similar to Dreamworks/PDI being a very real possibility in the future.

  • Kyle

    “I’m looking forward to the teaser for Up that will inevitably be played before WALL-E. But does anyone know what kind of short Pixar film we have in store for us?”

    Im hearing word that there will Not be an UP teaser attatched to Wall e. instead it will be Bolt. People are speculating that the UP teaser will be on Bolt itself, as UP is intended to be viewed in 3d, as is bolt. so as dissapointed as I am in this breaking of tradition, it would make sense for them I suppose.

    As for thier next short, it’s called Presto, which pays omage to Tom and Jerry. It’s about a magician and a bunny screwing up their magic act. Im excited to see this one becasue its supposed to resemble the classic stuff like Tex Avery and Warner bros stuff.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Posts and responses such as this testify to the validity of the Pixar/Disney alliance. No matter what, things are more interesting, more vital, and potentially more profitable than they were for a long time with the immediately previous Disney regime. The influence of Lasseter is inarguably more positive than the influence of latter-day Eisner.

    A sad thing is that Pixar’s legacy – such as it is – has been subsumed by the Disney brand. It deserves separate recognition, but it won’t get it. For as long as Hollywood history persists in the mind of the public, Walt Disney created, wrote, directed, and animated TOY STORY all by himself in a barn in Kansas, simultaneously with MICKEY MOUSE’s creation. Kids born in 2008 might think that, if they care, while they’re fighting for food and gas twenty years hence.

  • http://www.madmind.de/madblog/ madmind

    I think that Disney is in a way a big company as many others. This means that they became so big that several departments are managing themselves without producing anything. Think of IBM (from which I heard several horror stories of that kind).

    I am a bit skeptical of the merger, though. Of course, Pixar is the big thing at the moment but I still would love to see some 2D animation with innovative style and story telling. But by Pixar becoming a part of the Disney family I suspect that many managers think “Hey, we don’t have to do anything new. Let’s keep up with our sequels.” It is a sure way to the bottom. And in the worst case, Pixar slowly but surely gets infected by this culture of Disney.

    Of course, money needs to me made. But I don’t believe that there is not enough money for some indie-type animation movies as Craig writes. It doesn’t have to be Touchstone. In fact, I would like to see a completely new label from which they could create something completely new (in terms of western animation standards).

    Such a department could build a new layer to the Disney brand with small (“big” 2D movies are dead for now) but crazily fun and wonderful movies. A look to the East might help in this regard as the anime industry in Japan (besides the many sub-par movies and series) created some of the most interesting 2D movies in last years in my opinion. Mind Game, The Girl who leapt through time, Tekkonkinkreet and Paprika are only some of those titles.

    It would be so great to see one single western studio creating such a vast of broad spectrum of stories and truly distinct visual styles. And I still believe that Disney has the possibilities to create, perhaps even be such a studio. They have money, they have the production structures, and most important of all, they have talent. If they would only get their fear of loosing out of their bones.

  • http://www.artware.com.mx Arturo

    “Cars 2″…’nuff to say

  • http://afrokids.com Floyd Norman

    You would have to bring that up.

    Arrrrrrrrgh! The pain — the pain!

  • http://eggheadcheesybird.co.uk Alex

    I’m a little dissapointed that John Lasseter seems to be adopting the method of moulding all the films being produced to his personal storytelling sensibilities. I’m not knocking them, if there’s one thing that can be said of the man it’s that he’s got good storytelling instincts but I’m very upset that other artistic voices like Chris Sanders are getting opportunities taken away from them.

    I know that’s how Disney ran his studio but honestly, I was kind of hoping they’d be past all that by now.

  • RODAN

    Perhaps I should have posted this in the Tinker Bell post…but putting a 2-D character into a CG character should be against the law…. So, if this is the kind of cheep taste that Lasseter has in store for the future of Disney….. I could care less. Some re-tooling in store? Or, am I just missing something here….

  • http://marcosgp.blogspot.com/ Markus

    Up plot looks like a good attempt to make a Miyasaki style movie…

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Jim: I couldn’t agree more. Pixar is indeed playing it safe and they are capable of doing alot better. This Up movie sounds pretty good though.

  • http://cupojo.net Jo

    Alex: The Chris Sanders thing still bothers me too. His dismissal more than anything else makes wary of the Disney/Pixar beast.

  • Mark

    What is the Disney legacy that the company refers to? Is it the drive to push the medium forward as Walt had with Fantasia? or is it the family oriented product that Walt decided after the strike and World War II would keep the company alive?

    To me, Walt’s true legacy is as a risk taker, look at Steamboat Willie, Snow White, Fantasia and Disneyland.

  • Rhett Wickham

    I agree, Mark. This is the point Michael Barrier’s “The Animated Man” makes so well (and thus makes his book superior to the Gabler Disney biography) Barrier’s principal premise is that finances and factions during and immediately after WWII lead Walt to surrender his true vision of animation and settle for a kind of middle-brow mediocrity that forever damned it to be nothing more than a childrens’ entertainment. Barrier points out that this was compounded by his shift in focus from film to theme parks, which cemented the tie between animation and pre-adolescence in the public’s mind.
    The real Disney legacy is in those first four features, and while there are some (almost accidental) jewels afterwards, there is nothing that fully meets the promise of Walt’s original intent after “Dumbo” and “Bambi”.
    Has Pixar now been similarly compromised now that they’re no longer simply attached at the hip, but are, instead, sitting squarely in the belly of the beast? Hard to fuel something with the same enthusiasm and fearlessness when you inherit it rather than build it yourself.

  • Dan

    I’m critical, but most of what I’m reading here is too critical. Everybody wants innovation and some cutting edge design. But, I’ve been watching Snow White on a loop with my little girl, and the amount of care that went into particular film is all that Disney needs to rise up to today. Because, the film is timeless. And, it may have benefited from stronger designs, but I doubt it would have been any more enjoyable because of it. There’s no reason the people in place right now can’t attain that “Disney” standard, but that points to what I find most alarming: they’re doing it on the cheap. Most of the artists are getting barely lower-middle class salaries. If they want to equal the expertise of those earlier classics, they need to invest more in their talent. It makes me wonder if that is how Pixar developed. Considering it is the most desirable employer in animation, I always assumed that the artist’s there were well compensated for their efforts.

  • http://www.yaytime.com dave roman

    I wish the people in charge could just watch all the classic disney films and then have a homework assignment based around just telling a good story and making the best movie possible. It shouldn’t be impossible to follow in the footsteps of the Disney early heritage…challenging and hard work for sure. But not impossible.

  • Rat

    “Most of the artists are getting barely lower-middle class salaries. ”

    Um. No.

  • http://www.elmwoodproductions.com Jon from Elmwood

    Now if they can only figure out what to do with The Muppets!

  • PorkyMills

    Tne Princess and the Frog lookes quite promising. Over at the Character Design blog linked here, it shows some character designs from characters of the movie. Based on them alone, I feel Disney has a chance of moving towards a future that respects their animation legacy and is at the same time profitable. I don’t think they can ever redeem themselves from what they’ve put out, but certainly, with The Princess and the Frog, and Rapunzel (which, if done right, could certainly be the qualitative Renaissance movie Disney needs) – they are headed in the right direction.

    At the same time, with the firing of Chris Sanders (or not giving him artistic freedom, whatever the truth was), they truly lost a visionary in the animation field. The paintaings I saw of his work on the American Dog were absolutely brilliant, and a modern classic in the making.

  • Dan

    Rat-Middle class is living comfortably, lower-middle is owning a home, raising a family (in LA) and just making it. That’s first hand information. There are exceptions, I’m sure. But, it’s not the majority.

  • Mel Northover

    I can’t wait to see the latest short from Pixar, as much as I agree with Jim’s comment that their innovational progress has developed gradually since the bench mark of Toy Story, I do think that the shorts showcase talent that would otherwise lack the opportunity for such exposure. Eggleston’s For the Birds was utterly charming due to the simplicity and strong characterisation and remains one of my favourite Pixar shorts and although new techniques are always welcome, for me it has to be about the story and the empathy and emotions stirred in me as a member of the audience.

  • Todd

    I don’t understand people saying that Pixar is “playing it safe”. There is nothing safe about Ratatouille, Wall-E, or UP!. All three of those films are centered around completely off-the-wall concepts. Yes, they will take a bow to commerce with Cars 2 (and Toy Story 3, though I maintain Lasseter has always wanted to make a Toy Story 3 as long as it was on his terms), but overall their upcoming slate looks like it will continue to be bold and take new directions. Don’t forget about Brad Bird’s earthquake movie and Stanton’s John Carter of Mars movie. Those will be completely different for Pixar as well.

    I wonder if we’ll ever know the full story behind “American Dog”. The artwork looked wonderful and original, but maybe it really just wasn’t working as a story? Other filmmakers have been able to adapt and deal with Lasseter’s interventions (see Meet the Robinsons, Ratatouille, and Rapunzel), so what really happened with Chris Sanders? Let’s at least give Disney/Pixar credit for being discreet and not disparaging Sanders over it.

  • Rat

    “That’s first hand information. ”

    How first-hand is first-hand, Dan? What floor of that hat building are you on? I’m on the first. Perhaps you and I should compare paycheck stubs if you’re getting lower-middle class wages.

    According to wikipedia, lower-middle class is salaries between $32,500 to $60,000. Even if we take the upper value on that, being LA and all, I’m making in the neighborhood of double that before overtime. And my name isn’t Andreas or Glen or Eric or Mark or Nik.

    Check the wage survey.
    http://animationguild.org/_Contract/wages_pdf/WageSurvey2007.pdf

    (And remember, the minimums are often non-signatory workplaces.)

    None of the median average rates would put a full-time worker into lower middle-class. The median average represents the majority, not the exceptions.

    Here’s a recent job-listing from Disney. Look at the rate:
    http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/job-listing-from-disney.html

    Like I said, if you know different, meet me in the Caffeine Patch on the second floor, and we can compare paystubs, just name the time.

  • Dan

    Rat,
    I think it’s great that you are being open about the subject, but I can’t understand your animosity. I’ve spoken to a few that are in your position and above (in that building), and they’re telling me that scale is where it’s at. In fact I was told that it’s not uncommon to be making half of what you made 6 years ago. Granted, 6 years ago it was a good salary. But, if you account for inflation, cost of living and the median house price (in LA). Even at 120K, you can just afford a median home comfortably, if you’re supporting a family. Try doing that at 60K. It may sound like a lot of money, but my opinion is that these days, my 85k salary isn’t enough to live comfortably while trying to pay for gas, food, mortgage, etc. If you’re young and single you have a different perspective. But, eventually we all grow up. Pointing out wikipedia’s and the union wage survey is like using Kelly Blue book and the like. We all know that in reality those figures don’t reflect reality. And, a median wage for the country is far different than living costs in LA or NYC, San Fran-where the jobs are.

  • Rat

    “I think it’s great that you are being open about the subject, but I can’t understand your animosity.”

    It’s not particularly animosity, Dan. It’s incredulity. I am in this building, getting paid what I get paid. I know my rate. I also talk to plenty of people in this building around negotiation time, and I know what they’re getting paid. I also look at the Animation Guild’s wage survey, so I know what Guild members report about what they’re getting paid.

    You’re telling me I don’t know what me and my coworkers are getting paid, and neither does the union, and you’re saying this without citing any evidence at all.

    You say that people in this building are saying “Scale is where it’s at…” It really isn’t. I don’t know anyone who isn’t a trainee or intern who’s making scale. Disney simply would not be able to compete for talent at those rates, not in this town, and not at the level of artistry these films require. Did you not look at the job listing I linked? They were starting at 107k for someone with two-years experience. What was hard to understand about that?

    I was working here 6 years ago… and I can assure you I wasn’t making 60k back then. In fact, here’s the wage survey for six years ago, when the median average CG animator was pulling down six figures:

    http://www.animationguild.org/_Contract/wages_pdf/WageSurvey2003.pdf

    “We all know that in reality those figures don’t reflect reality.” I’m sorry, but the wage survey DOES reflect a better picture of reality than you who don’t support any of your claims with any data at all. And believe me, everyone in the building reads that wage survey annually and if that median average was significantly higher than what anyone was getting, they’d hit the bricks for Dreamworks at renewal time.

    “Even at 120K, you can just afford a median home comfortably, if you’re supporting a family.”

    I have no trouble supporting my family. We live in a two-bedroom rental home with a big green backyard in an excellent neighborhood minutes from Burbank, and my wife doesn’t work. We take annual vacations in Europe. Tell me, am I lower middle-class?

    Yes, I don’t own a house yet. That’s by choice… now’s not the time to buy.

    I think there are certain jobs that people do here where people are not competitively compensated, and so we sometimes lose some key people. That’s just going to happen in a market where you have to compete for talent. But no guild member here is suffering in poverty.

    Anyway, I don’t quite know how to respond further. You have not cited any evidence for your claims. Meanwhile I have cited multiple wage surveys and an actual job listing from Disney including the starting salary of 107k. Further, I work here… I don’t see how it is that you can continue to argue with me when I tell you that I know what people get paid here, and we’re not scale, and we’re not scraping the poverty-line.

    It’s like you’re asking me the old Groucho Marx line: “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

    Now, I’d like to say why this is important to me to answer. Your implication was that the reason for a slump from Disney was that the artists here were being undervalued. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I had a problem with my compensation, I’d take it up with personnel at negotiation time. That’s between me and the company.

    But you’re posting here that WDAS artists are paid scale and are barely making lower-middle-class wages. That falsely disparages our studio within the animation community. That’s just not this studio, ESPECIALLY not under our current management.

    This is a dream job. I get paid competitively for it. I work with the most talented team of artists ever assembled on a group of projects that will knock the socks off of people come release date. I work directly with people I idolized for years in an environment where artists and filmmakers come first. I work for John Lasseter at the studio built by Walt Disney.

    How cool is that?

  • http://deleted Dan

    I really don’t want to extend this argument further, but I never said that I equate lower-middle class to poverty. And, at the beginning I defined lower-middle class as a home owner, supporting a family and not being quite as comfortable as a middle class person would feel in those circumstances. That’s how I define it, and that’s totally subjective as you clearly illustrated. But, if you believe that the lower end of the wikipedia scale that you cited at 35k really is lower middle class. I think that accurately depicts our view points. And, when I say that my evidence is first hand that means exactly that. I’m not going to name names of people who would probably not want to be involved in this, for the very reason I said that I’m glad you’re being open about this subject. Because, despite what you’re saying it’s not common to talk about your exact salary in this business. And, my own experiential (first hand) evidence, having worked there, talking to peers, and others has led me to believe that they’re doing things on the cheap. I’m told that I’d have to take a pay cut right now to get in. And, as I pointed out my present waige is what I consider lower-middle class. And that’s with the extra income my wife takes in and any overtime I get. You can’t tell me that for much less than I’m taking home that I could manage to live as I am.

    That salary you pointed me to was for a technical director. How many are there on a film in relation to animators, or follow-up? You say I’m not backing up my claims, but I believe I have already de-bunked yours. I actually think that all those numbers support my argument, when you take everything into account. I have to admit that the current wage survey is better than I thought. And, if scale is NOT where it’s at, well then I’m thrilled to hear that. But, that’s not what I’m hearing time and time again. And, if you’re being paid scale-take it from me, it’s that lower figure on the union guideline-not the median. Perhaps there’s a difference between CG and 2D, because I’m really talking about 2D. You’ve got to be kidding if you think younger artist wouldn’t work there for literally peanuts.

    I wasn’t implying anything about the slump at Disney. My stance is that those early films were masterpieces. You can’t expect master artists to work at lower-middle class salaries. Because if you do, then you get the those blockbusters that have been turned out lately, that you’re so proud of. I’ll just agree to disagree with you and let whomever reads this decipher who is correct. I guess I’m more in line with the standards set by a mouse. In my life, I can’t remember ever being on the side of a so-called “Rat”.

  • amid

    Discussions on “lower middle-class” are off-topic and any future comments on the subject will be deleted. Dan, you make a noble point—that artists should be paid more—but you’re clearly wrong in defining the average wage of artists in LA as “lower middle-class.” That is not a subjective term open to your interpretation.

    As Rat provided links to, the term refers to a specific group of American workers whose salaries are compared RELATIVE to the wages of others in the US. Nobody in an artistic capacity at Disney Feature or any other union studio in LA could be described as “lower middle-class” if you wish to use the term by its accurate definition. Feel free to continue discussing the actual topic of the post.

  • http://deleted Dan

    Thanks for ending that Amid. I’ll concede your point. I’m always open to different opinions, but I wasn’t convinced, and I didn’t intend on going that direction. On topic: I hope this Disney/Pixar merger does well.

  • Dan

    One final thought about my lengthy debate: After rereading my comments, I can see how my initial survey wasn’t accurate as Amid stated, and he’s right. I hope my overall point was taken however, and I apologize to “Rat” about getting worked up over this. For me it was a lively, interesting debate. And, a quick discussion among my coworkers confirmed this particular divide. In any case, I think Disney is well positioned and my stock purchases reflect that.

  • Rat

    If I can attempt to be both conciliatory and on-topic….

    WDAS is in so many ways an artist-focussed, artist-driven and artist-led environment under John and Ed.

    People who want the Pixar deal to work should decide to work FOR WDAS and PAS. I’m serious. This is the place to be if you want to shape what this studio will become. It’s in our hands now, in a way that it never was before.

    If you don’t absolutely love every single film we’ve made recently, then come work here and help us to make better ones.

    It’s a new day.

  • twasd

    great idea