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Why For returns !

Why For returns !

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First up, Rich writes in to say:

Hello, Jim,

I was hoping you could answer this Disney related riddle for me since you seem to be the Disney Go To Guy. A friend, knowing I am a huge fan of both Dave Steven's The Rocketeer, as well as of the Disney film, once told me that in the summer of 1991, Disneyland replaced Tinkerbell flying over the part during the fireworks with the Rocketeer.

Do you know if there is any truth to this? And if so, what information can you tell me about this?

Thanks in advance for your help,

Rich

Dear Rich --

Well, your friend is of sort kind of right. While Disneyland has occasionally allowed someone other than Tinkerbell to slide down the wire that used to stretch from the top of the Matterhorn to just behind the Village Haus Restaurant (I.E. During the 1960s, at the height of "Mary Poppins" popularity, the world's first Supernanny used to fly over Fantasyland. And during the summer of 1995, right after "The Indiana Jones Adventure" opened, Dr. Jones also zoomed through the sky over that theme park), the Rocketeer never made any regularly scheduled flights over Anaheim.

However, 3000 miles to the east, this Dave Stevens character did (for a short while, anyway) have a featured spot in Disney-MGM Studios theme park's nighttime fireworks extravaganza, "Sorcery in the Sky." During the Summer of 1991, a stuntman wearing a Rocketeer-like jetpack would make a brief flight around the Chinese Theater's forecourt area as a snippet from the film's soundtrack played.


Copyright 1991 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Ironically enough, Danny Bilson & Paul De Meo's original screenplay for "The Rocketeer" featured an action sequence that was actually set at the really-for-real Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Unfortunately, due to budgetary reasons, this witty little scene was cut out of the picture just prior to production.

Lucky for you folks, I have a copy of that film's original script in my research library. And -- for those of you who are familiar with "The Rocketeer" -- this scene would have come right after Cliff Secord & Peevy Peabody have escaped from Eddie Valentine's goons. Since he's just learned that his girlfriend Jenny is in danger, Cliff once again straps on Howard Hughes' experimental jetpack and makes ready to take to the skies.

EXT -- BULLDOG DINER -- NIGHT

Cliff stands precariously on the Bulldog's "head." He takes a deep breath and poises his thumb over the ignition button.

CLIFF:
Here goes nothing.

He presses the switch. The enormous dog is briefly crowned with fire as the Rocketeer blasts off into the darkness.

EXT -- HOLLYWOOD -- NIGHT

Like a shooting start, Cliff streaks through the night, the lights of the city brilliant below.

Circling like a hawk, Cliff looks down at the confusing swirl of illuminating streets and rooftops.

He fumbles in his jacket for a map of the city. As he attempts to open it, the wind plasters the map to his helmet, blinding him. Cliff tears at the map. It flies off and bursts into flames as it passes through the rocket's exhaust.

As the Rocketeer passes over Hollywood Boulevard, he is suddenly illuminated by a spotlight.

Startled, he looks down to see Grauman's Chinese Theatre, a gala movie premiere is in progress.

EXT -- CHINESE THEATRE -- NIGHT

On the theatre's roof, an excited SPOTLIGHT MAN is attempting to track Cliff across the sky.

SPOTLIGHT MAN:
What the heck ... ?

He swings the heavy light on its pivot. Then, the operator's foot slips over the edge of the roof. He stumble and rolls over the brink, hands clawing. His fingers seize on a gutter and he hangs precariously over the forecourt.

Down below, however, all attention centers on a roped-off pad of wet cement.

Theatre owner SID GRAUMAN stands at the microphone, trying to get the attention of the crowd, who are transfixed by the beautiful blonde walking up the red carpet. Flashbulbs pop like fire works.

GRAUMAN:
Ladies and gentlemen, please ... Please welcome the lovely Ginger Rogers.
Who will become part of Hollywood history by leaving the prints of her hands
and feet in our world famous --

A panicked voice interrupts Grauman.

ONLOOKER (o.s.)
Oh my God! Look up there!

All attention shifts to the Spotlight Man dangling from the theatre's main tower. The other searchlights sweep over to illuminate him. Women scream as the unfortunate employee vainly attempts to pull himself up. Helpless, Ginger Rogers, her tuxedoed escort, and the pack of spectators hold their breath.

Then, the man's fingers loose their desperate grip. The crowd gasps in horror as he drops to the pavement.

An explosive roar thunders down from above. Cliff's path is drawn by the rocket's fiery trail as he scoops up the falling man just before impact. Barely managing the extra weight, Cliff circles above the crowd then drops the man safely into a group of policemen.

The crowd goes bezerk. Every spotlight, camera, and eye is on Cliff. He executes a loop and lands proudly, feet spread, hands on his hips.

It is his best landing yet -- but for his feet planted firmly in the wet cement.

Flashbulbs flare blindingly as recognition ripples through the crowd.

SPECTATORS:
It's him! It's the Rocketeer!

FIRST REPORTER:
Lemme through ... Press ... move it!

SECOND REPORTER:
Mr. Rocketeer! Who are you? Where do you --!

Cliff's moment of glory is short lived. The excited crowd surges forward. As Cliff blasts off into the night sky, thrust craves a crater in the cement between his footprints.

Thinking like a true showman, Sid Grauman grabs a pencil from a reporter. He reaches down and quickly etches "THE ROCKETEER" in the cement.

FIRST REPORTER:
Miss Rogers! Miss Rogers!

GINGER:
(turning with a smile) Yes?

FIRST REPORTER:
Would you step aside, please?

Flustered, the actress moves to one side. The reporters aim their cameras. Flashbulbs explode as the cement slab is photographed.

That's a fun little scene, don't you think? Not entirely crucial to the plot. But still, it would have been fun to see this sequence actually make it into the finished picture.

Anywho ... Next up, Darren checks in to ask:

Jim,

The closest I'd ever been to my hero Walt was through a friend who was the niece of Pinto Colvig. He is best known for being the original Bozo the Clown. In the world of Disney, he was the original voice of Goofy and contributed heavily to the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" I've heard that he and Walt had a falling out of sorts. Do you know what happened or have any other interesting tidbits about this little known connection to Walt?

Dear Darren,

Yeah, I've heard the same thing about Colvig. That sometime in the early 1950s, Pinto supposedly did something something that really upset Walt. Which is why eight years passed (I.E. From 1953 "Father's Day Off" to 1961's "Aquamania") before this Mouse House veteran (His connection to the studio dated back to the old Hyperion days) was invited back on the lot to voice a new Goofy cartoon.

To be fair, this eight year absense was during a period when Walt Disney Studios was significantly cutting back on the number of animated shorts that it produced annually. So perhaps there's a more innocent way to explain Pinto's prolonged absense. That Colvig wasn't invited back to the Burbank lot for such a long time because there just wasn't any work.


Clarence "Ducky" Nash, the original voice of Donald Duck (left)
and Pinto Colvig, the original voice of Goofy (right)
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.

But -- that said -- Walt did tend to run hot & cool when it came to the studio's staff. Even talented veterans like Bill Peet & Ward Kimball wound up doing things that unintentionally earned Disney's ire. And Walt then punished these animation legends by taking away plum assignments (In Ward's case, he lost out on the chance to direct "Babes in Toyland") and/or giving them demeaning tasks (In Bill's case, he was demoted from working on story for "Sleeping Beauty" to creating storyboards for Peter Pan Peanut Butter commercials).

Given Disney's history of being very quick to anger and extremely slow to forgive ... I have to admit that I tend to lean toward the Pinto-must-have-done-something-that-really-offended-Walt explanation as to why Colvig didn't work for the Mouse Factory for eight long years.

But let me make a few phone calls and see if someone who's much more knowledgable about Disney animation history than I am has a different take on this particular tale. Which I'll then try & post as part of next week's "Why For" column.

And -- finally -- in response to yesterday's "Could cashing in on Pixar now be a whole lot harder than Disney officials had originally thought ?" article, Dory Defender writes in to say:

Why do you always have to be so f*cking negative about Pixar? What has John Lasseter ever done to you? You are such an *sshole. I hate your website. I hope that you & your entire family get cancer and die !!!

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Gee, Dory Defender. Why don't you tell me how you really think?

To be honest, e-mails like kind of amuse me. Who'd have ever thunk that someone could get that emotionally overwrought over something that they've read here on JHM?

I mean, it's not like I made up that Disney Brand Management report. That's why the Walt Disney Company isn't stepping forward to deny yesterday's story. That document really does exist. More importantly, it actually does say that there's been significant erosion in the value of the characters from "A Bug's Life," "Monsters, Inc.," "The Incredibles" and "Finding Nemo." Which is seriously going to hamper the corporation's efforts to get a speedy return on that $7.4 billion it spent to acquire Pixar.

So why -- because I dared to post that story yesterday -- am I now the bad guy? Isn't that sort of like getting mad at your local weatherman because he tells you that it's going to rain over the weekend? I mean, that guy doesn't control the weather anymore than I control the news.

And yet -- because I choose to write about the Walt Disney Company as if it were an actual business, rather than some magical kingdom that's loaded with beautiful princesses & talking mice -- I continually get slapped with the "you're being far too negative about Disney" label. Which (to my way of thinking, anyway) just seems ... Well ... a trifle bizarre.

Make no mistake, folks. The Mouse really does want to make serious money off of Pixar. And the sooner, the better. Which is why -- after "Cars" under-performed (And it did, folks. No amount of whining or complaining by JHM readers is going to convince me or senior Disney officials or key industry observers otherwise. Initial financial projections suggested that Mickey had a "Finding Nemo" -sized hit on his hands. But "Cars" stalled out at $244 million during its domestic run, which is $95 million less than Andrew Stanton's movie earned stateside. Which is why this John Lasseter film is now considered to be something of a disappointment. End of story) and then this Brand Management report shows up ... Well, that's the sort of thing that really upsets Disney's board of directors. After all, they're the guys who okayed that $7.4 billion payout for a studio that had only produced 7 films. And they don't like being thought of as the boobs who got played by Steve Jobs, the suckers who paid at least a billion (or two ... or three ... ) too much for Pixar Animation Studios.

Which (The way I hear it) is making for some pretty awkward moments in the boardroom. Given that Steve now has a seat on Disney's board of directors. Which only makes sense, given that -- thanks to all those shares of Disney stock that Jobs acquired as a result of the Pixar acquisition -- He's now this corporation's largest individual shareholder.

Anyway, that's the story that is currently making the rounds in financial circles. Increasing discontent about the Pixar situation at the uppermost reaches of the Team Disney Burbank building.

But JHM readers ... Based on most of the talkbacks that were tacked onto yesterday's article said, you guys don't seem to want to hear any more stories like that. Reading between the lines here, it sounds as if what a lot of you really want to read here is some sort of fairy tale about how everything is sweetness & light back in Burbank. How -- now that John Lasseter & Ed Catmull are in charge of WDFA -- everything there is running as smooth as silk and everyone who works in animation at Disney is just happy-happy-happy.

If that's honestly the sorts of stories that you want to read on this website ... I'm thinking that maybe you should probably stop coming by JHM.

You know how Bill O'Reilly has his "No Spin Zone"? Well, here at JimHillMedia.com, we try & keep things Pixie Dust-free. We make an effort not to get sucked in by all of that talk about Dreams & Magic & Wishes & Wonder that the Walt Disney Company always does. I mean, just because virtually every movie that the Mouse makes ends with a " ... And they lived happily ever after" ... Well, that doesn't mean that that actually happens in real life at Disney. Just ask Chris Sanders.

So -- to answer Dory Defender's question (I.E. Why am I so f*cking negative about Pixar?) ... The way I see it, it's not that I'm being negative. It's just that everyone else seems to be looking at the Pixar / WDFA situation through rose-colored glasses. Which is why they print Disney's press releases as written. They believe what they're being told.

Which perhaps explains why this incredibly complex story (I.E. The melding of two distinctly different animation enterprises) has been so under-reported lately. Particularly the negative stuff.

So if it seems as though JHM is the only place where you're reading somewhat downbeat reports on Pixar ... Well, there's a reason for that. I don't have the standard weenie's take on the Walt Disney Company. I try to write about the Mouse as if I'm some reporter who's covering the automotive beat in Detroit. And the tone that I'm going for here is informed but dispassionate.

Mind you, sometimes it's extremely hard to remain dispassionate. Take -- for example -- my current dilemma when it comes to Pixar's next picture.


Brad Bird, director of "The Iron Giant," "The Incredibles" & "Ratatouille"
Copyright Disney / Pixar

As an animation fan, I really can't wait to see "Ratatouille." Given that Nancy & I are such huge Brad Bird fans, this is probably the film that I am most looking forward to seeing in 2007. Simply based on Brad's history (Plus what I've seen so far of the film's characters from various books & the trailer as well as the voice talent that Pixar has tapped to work on this picture), "Ratatouille" looks like a thoroughily delightful movie. Something that I'll probably see two or three times while it's in theaters this summer.

But that's just Jim Hill, animation fan, talking. When I put my reporter hat on, I then to admit that there's still some very weird buzz swirling around this film. That those within the company who have already seen the work-in-progress version of "Ratatouille" will first tell you that they absolutely love this movie, that it's some of Bird's best work ... But then they'll go on to say that they still expect this Pixar film to do only 2/3rds of the business that "Cars" did. Which means that this Brad Bird movie -- just like the John Lasseter film that preceded it -- will get tagged with the "Pixar disappointment" label.

Now I'm assuming that JHM readers would actually like to know about something like that. That -- in spite of the recent assurances that were posted here on this website that Disney has this situation well in hand -- there are still those in-house who are very concerned about this Brad Bird movie.

But then when I read the 40+ talkbacks from yesterday (Plus -- of course -- Dory Defender's delightful note), where JHM readers go on & on how they don't want to read any more negative Pixar-related stories. And then I think: "Well, it's not like I commissioned that report. Disney Brand Management did. All I did was report its findings."

I mean, is that what you really want? That I not report stories like this? Are you honestly saying that you'd prefer not knowing about stuff like this? That we all should just pretend that bad news never happens at the Walt Disney Company? Because I'm not sure that I can do that, folks.

That said, I'd be willing to consider some editorial guidance from JHM readers. So what it is exactly that you want to see at this website? What do you want to see more of? More importantly, what do you want to see less of?

Mind you, I make no promises that I actually follow any of the suggestions that you folks post in the talkback section of today's column. But I will make a point of reading through each of your comments this coming weekend. And -- if a strong enough pattern emerges -- maybe we'll make a few changes at the site. Maybe.

Soooo ... Your thoughts?

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  • How about an article about all the projects Jim has left hanging in the past five years?  The Light Magic article, his books, the Disneyland tour CDs....there are a thousand more.  Seriously Jim -- you need to read David Allen's "Getting Things Done" and become a convert! :)

  • The reason why I appreciate your columns is the straight-forward information.  Clearly you care about the company-- why else would you follow it so closely?-- but I like that you report what is happening, not what the general public wishes would be happening.

    Believe me, I AM a Disney fan.  And I'm even MORE of a Pixar fan these days.  But if Disney does a study about brand erosion, I'd much rather hear about the actual study than a puff piece about the great Pixar movie that's coming down the pike.  I want that too, sure, but if there are company predictions or debates, I'm just as interested in hearing about it.

    The only thing I wouldn't mind avoiding are non-Disney articles.  Sure, you put a lot of work into that Scrooge series, but the only ones I actually opened were the Disney or Disney-brand ones (in this case, the Muppets are included.)  I know that you note that it's a "mostly" Disney website, but the non-Disney articles just don't interest me. (Partly because they feel more like "puff" pieces than the Disney history or Disney business ones do.)

  • Jim,

    It's your site, you can write what you want.  I really don't mind these types of articles if we get both sides of the spectrum.

    Show why this report could be right and why this report could also be wrong.  Mention why doesn't a large studio/company like Disney know of ways to re-introduce these characters or run new merchandise campaigns.

    I just had a hard time believing this news: that a studio that has been around as long as Disney would have a hard time understanding that you only have a good 2 year time frame to earn most of the money you will from movie.  As I stated yesterday, if they are smart they will continue to find a way to re-invent characters and sell merchandise.  In the long run though they have to trust that the quality of the pictures, talents, and animation Pixar has and makes will produce the good profits and probably even more once the CGI frenzy dies down.

    In other words Jim,  I think people just want both sides of the story.  The good and the bad.  To know that maybe Disney and even your own thoughts, research, and opinion could be wrong.  To look at possible questions and solutions.  

    I just get tired of hearing all about the money.  Is all success measured in dollars?  Just because one movie doesn't make as much as another is it a disaster even when it makes a nice profit?  Will Ratouille be a failure if it makes less than Cars? Will Pirates 3 be a disaster because it didn't make as much as P2? (which it probably won't with the high competition in May).  In my opinion, if these movies are making a nice profit for the company then great and of course, the more the better.  I just have a hard time believing that Disney won't make a lot of money from the Pixar purchase and even a harder time believing they paid too much especially after I saw what they paid for ABC Family a few years back. (It is nice to see it and Disney Channel doing better these days though).

    That's just my take on the situation Jim.

  • How about Star Tours?

    But seriously, I do enjoy reading the not-so-good news about Pixar. The fact is, though, that much of your take is regurgitating the corporate suits' concerns. What Disney fans disliked about the last few years was the pressure for quick returns and maximizing investor value. This all sounds well and good, but in a creative environment, it's sometimes difficult to mesh the two.

    Yes, the return might not be as fast as the suits want, Cars didn't make a gazillion dollars. But yet, the Pixar deal gives hope that hand-drawn animation may return, that WDI might become less management bloated, and that the creative element of TWDC may be "re-born".

    So, it's important to temper articles on the problems that Pixar poses with the positive side of what is happening. Always reporting the negative is what may turn some people away.

    Granted, Monsters, Inc may be losing some of it's draw (which can be seen at the parks when there are shorter lines for Mike & Sulley than for Woody & Buzz), but there may be stronger characters in the future for the company to market (although I think the upcoming Rat will be a marketing challenge...I don't see plush toys rolling off the shelf)

  • The Pixar articles are fine, Jim - it's interesting to hear about some of the intrigue at WDFA and Pixar right now. It's just seems like we don't seem to hear about much else these days.

    I'd love to hear your take on some of the stuff going on at the other divisions of the Company. What about the rumors swirling about Jay Rasulo's head being on the chopping block at WDP&R because of the underwhelming response to "Year of A Million Dreams"? Has anybody got a handle yet on what the Company will be doing for Epcot's 25th anniversary?  Does anybody know anything about the enigmas Rasulo has appointed to head up Disneyland and WDW?  It seems like there's an attempt to seriously pinch pennies at WDW - outsourcing of jobs, declines in upkeep and show quality, and so on. Why for, when the parks are coming off one of their most successful years ever? What's the reaction from folks inside the company to the complaints from us dweebs?

    And that's just parks and resorts. What the freak is going on at Disneyshopping.com? The whole idea of unloading the Disney Stores was to put the rest of the merchadise division on a better footing, but it seems like Disneyshopping.com's imploding.   Why's BVHE giving the Walt Disney Treaures the heave-ho - does that mean BVHE's given up on selling the classic stuff to the public?  Are the turf wars still going on at Imagineering, or is Lasseter helping to mend fences? Is Bob Iger still looking to slash jobs there and turn WDI into a outsourcing operation a la Universal Creative?  There must be people at the other divisions of the Company who are willing to spill their guts (off the record, of course)about what's happening.

    I'd also love to see more articles on how attractions came to be and why some proposed parks and projects never happened - either the conclusions of the series that haven't been completed yet or some new stories; those stories have always been my favorites. I realize these stories don't generate the traffic or the buzz that the Pixar stories or the box office stories do, but those stories are the ones that got me reading your colums to begin with.

    Lastly: How about an update on or excerpts from some of your book/CD projects? Y'know, the Disneyland CD, "Neverlands", "Once Upon An Orange Grove", etc.? I've been saving space on my bookshelf for them for a while now, and it'd be kinda cool to know how they're coming or what we've got to look forward to.  

  • Wow so some talkbackers disagree with Jim's "opinion"....yes Jim there is a  line between real fact...did you see this report...did you hold it in your hot little hand?..these talkbackers then dare to give an opinion of their own....and we get to read Jim's whining and complaining about it... "come on people believe every word that I type".......

    I fondly remember a long winded post filled with inside information about how the Mouse House was no longer going to do 2 disc special edition DVDs...the article went on and on about it.....I remember this fondly as I now gaze at all the 2 disc special editions that have come out since then.....

    Again common sense tells ya that there are ALWAYS going to be new kids for Pixar and Disney product.....

  • Jim, Jim, Jim...it seems like whenever you want to demonstrate someone disagreeing with you, you always pull out some obscenity filled tirade to make the dissenters look bad, even though there are plenty of people who made articulate enough statements in the comments.

    Listen, the reason why people have been unhappy about articles like yesterday's (and I'm sure the last chunk of today's won't make people too happ either) is because you've become a broken record.  You mention Cars, you say it underperformed and point to the ludicrous box office expectations, ignore the merchandise sales when you can, or ignore the DVD sales...it's the same thing over and over, and people have grown tired of it.  We KNOW that you (and the folks on Wall Street) think Cars underperformed.  However, there are plenty of folks who have absolutely no interest in that side of things, and surely don't like seeing a film they greatly enjoyed being constantly dragged through the mud.

    We get it; Cars didn't perform as well as Nemo.  Established.  May we please move on from this point?  We've been hearing things to this effect since June.  It's time to get past this.

    One of the problems seems to be that people want to see the type of material that brought them to this site in the first place (and I'm not talking about the people who showed up to spike the hits when you talked about Cars or anything like that).  People want the stories about attractions that almost were, or the history behind attractions that are, or actually interesting stories ABOUT the movies, instead of just about the branding and profitability of said movies.

  • //(although I think the upcoming Rat will be a marketing challenge...I don't see plush toys rolling off the shelf)//

    To be fair...would you have expected to see plush cars rolling off the shelves?  Because I remember hearing a lot of concern about the "cuddle factor" before Cars came out, and yet there are kids cuddling with their Maters every night.

    Pixar, thus far, has a good track record for making movies featuring characters that people can respond to.  If kids love the characters in Ratatouille, they will want the plush toys and so on, despite it being a rat.

  • Hi Jim:

    Great to see Why For back. My first editorial wish - regular Why For!

    That said, I like the business info even if it is bad. I think what often goes unexplored is the motivations of the various reports and concerns. Disney will make back its investment. Income will be derived for decades to come. Unfortunately, the stock market isn't willing to look more than a few quarters down the road so that seems to be bad news which impacts stock value. That in turn puts executives' jobs at risk (see Paul Pressler.)

    I would have liked to see a little more digging on your part. Was this report "commissioned" by some Execs that are threatened by Lasseter and want to embarass him or under cut his ideals by creating a "reason" to have to do Bug Life 2.5?

    Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder of Disney and he more than anyone is hurt by short term down turns in the stock price. Remember, much of that 7.4 billion was paid for with Disney stock. Enough on my follow up on that article.

    Other things I would like to see (besides the CD!) more of your multi-part articles on film and attraction development. I love the "history" articles. There are so many interesting stories that seem to arise.

    On a final note, anyone who would be so vulgar in a response to you is not someone you want reading your work anyway!

  • Dear Jim...

    I think it would be immature of readers to want to read only about the good stuff about Disney.  It's like wanting to deny reality.  Oh come on guys!  You can't be an idealist forever!

    Jimmy... I think the site is fine as it is.  I personally want to hear the good news AND the bad news.

    BTW, I agree with Tonks.  I'd rather there were less non-Disney articles.  Those Scrooge U articles were killing me!  ;D

    Oh!  Jim...I beg you, please read this: Do you have any article in the works about the current WDFA situation regarding American Dog and future projects such as Rapunzel?  I'm DYING to know more, and I keep checking JHM everyday with the hopes of seeing an article on that matter, after the last one regarding American Dog.

    Just want you to know that there's demand for that kind of thing (WDFA I mean...) ;) , OK?

    Ooops... before I forget...

    I personally condemn that e-mail sent to you by that Dory.  It is utterly sick and disgusting!  It's shameful that a person would spout such malicious comments.  I don't know you Jim (and you don't know me - I just appear on the net as "Julian Carter" (my real name, by the way)), I don't know your family, and I don't know what kind of person you are, but I'm glad to say that I wish that you and your entire family REMAIN in perfect health; now and forever.  Hope that makes you feel better... ;)

    Regards (Wow... this looks more like an ultra-formal letter than a post),

    Julian Carter

  • Count me in as a great admierer of Jim's journalistic coverage of The Mouse.  I want the facts.... I'm a Disney stockholder and admired of some of its product, not someone using Disney to hide from the world and all its unpleasantness.  Hill haters I say to you:  "Grow Up!"

  • Jim,

    I have to echo DouglasLive and Anonymouse here. What originally drew me to JHM was stories like Light Magic, articles about rides and attractions that never were, behind the scenes looks at movies and attractions, and profiles on Disney legends. Lately, JHM has become more of a business news website. If I want to read what Wall Street thinks about the Disney/Pixar deal, I'll read the Wall Street Journal. That is not what I come to JHM for.

    Also, as mentioned above, we get it. You and everyone else feels Cars underperformed. But it seems that every single article since June that mentions Pixar in any manner brings this up. My guess would be in part you do it to combat the people debating with you that this isn't the case. However, all that is happening is the creation of controversy by stirring up controversy. Just let it be. Cars has had its DVD release and it's marketing push is nearing its end. Let the sleeping dog lie.

    I guess my final point is, I'd rather devote your (much appreciated) time and energy to finishing articles like Light Magic or your CD rather than putting your own spin on Wall Street and business happenings.

  • You're a really good sport, Jim.  I love the site and applaud all the work you do to deliver (almost daily) content.  So thanks.  On the other hand, I can see where people (myself included) can get frustrated with some of your reporting.  The danger of trading in gossip is that one rarely gets the full story.  And while we as readers are hungry for any morsel of info coming out of the Disney, we want to know more More MORE.  For example, what is the rationale for believing that Ratatouille will underperform?  What factors substantiate this fear?  The title?  The rats?  Test screenings?  And how is it different from Disney's erroneous belief that Finding Nemo would do worse than Monsters Inc.?  If there is reason behind Disney's corporate mentality (big if) I'd like to know more of it.  But you get the info that you get and I thank you for passing it on.  People need to remember: Don't shoot the messenger.

    And Cars did underperform, but I think it did so for one reason: the horrible teaser trailer.  Disney/Pixar fans and general movie goers alike were turned off from the get go.  If there is Pixar brand erosion, I look forward to hearing what Disney is doing to reverse it.  Merchandising is NOT the answer.  Pixar should consider more shorts employing their stable of existing characters and fewer of their usual pleasant Oscar bait.

  • Jim,

    I don't think that you should exclude the negative pieces.  Unfortunately, it seems that your articles focus ONLY on the negative.   I think the point is that it would be nice to hear some of the positive things happening too.  

    Now if you truly believe that there's nothing positive happening within the Walt Disney Company at all, and nothing positive in store for the future, then maybe you're right—I should stop reading your site.   I became an avid reader of yours because of the NON-PARTISAN content.  The fact that you used to show both sides of the story and also gave us exciting insight into what the company had in store OR had shelved.   Unfortunately, you have now seemingly become ONLY a critic of the Disney company and nothing more.   We get enough of that from the mainstream media.      

    We're not looking for fairy tales and pixie dust.   You're taking our posts much too literally in order to make us, your faithful readers—feel stupid.   Thanks for that!  

  • Jim,

    I would love more behinds the scenes stories and pieces about folks who create animation and attractions.

    Stories that paint the Disney Co. in a not so nice light is fine with me. For good changes to happen sometimes we have to see the whole picture. Even if it sometimes pisses us off.

    I also would love to finally get your Audio/Pod tour for Disneyland.  I have not been to the park for a few years and I would love to see the DLR with your narration on my iPod.

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