Started by Kristof, January 30, 2006, 06:11:39 PM
Quote from: "url]http://www.jimhillmedia.com[/url]"]Okay. So we now all know that Steve Jobs, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull are officially riding to the Walt Disney Company's rescue. But what does the Disney / Pixar merger actually mean? Will the Disney theme parks now be over-run with Pixar characters?Well, not exactly. But what this does mean is that -- from here on in -- we're probably going to be seeing a lot more impressive attractions being added to the Disney theme parks. At least that's the word coming from all the Imagineers who heard John Lasseter speak during his first official visit to their Glendale headquarters last Wednesday. During this talk, WDI's new Principal Creative Advisor reportedly told everyone within earshot that " ... the Walt Disney Company isn't going to make any more mediocre attractions." Which (I'm guessing here) means that we've seen our last "Heimlich's Chew-Chew Train." Of course, one wonders where Jay Rasulo now fits into this new (Disney) world order. As the newly appointed Chairman of Parks & Resorts, Rasulo's main job was to keep cost down. Pull even more profits out of the Disney theme parks by pushing the clone agenda (I.E.: Why spend money developing new rides & shows when it's just as easy -- and, more importantly, more cost-effective -- to clone pre-existing attractions?).But now here's John Lasseter. A man whose WDI battle cry isn't clones or cost containment. But -- rather -- quality. That the Disney theme parks have to return to their tradition of innovation & quality. And given that Lasseter doesn't actually have to report to Rasulo (Under the terms of the Disney / Pixar merger agreement, John only reports to one man. And that's Disney's CEO, Bob Iger) ... One wonders what Jay is thinking right now? Will he be the next Disney exec to pull a David Stainton (I.E. The former head of Disney Feature Animation who stepped down on the very day that the Pixar acquisition was officially announced. The way I hear it, Stainton was smart enough to recognize that it's far better to willingly climb down into the lifeboat than to suddenly be heaved over the side)?Anyway ... One wonders who else is feeling nervous at WDI these days? Imagineering president Don Goodman, executive vice president Tom Fitzgerald and/or vice chairman Marty Sklar? Surely this trio -- which rode herd on WDI this past decade as it slowly drifted toward becoming a management company that out-sources all creative projects -- will feel some heat when Mr. Lasseter starts asking those really difficult questions. Like: "How could you let construction of DCA and Walt Disney Studios go forward? Theme parks that you knew were fatally flawed right from the get-go? Why didn't one of you stand up and say 'This isn't going to work? We need to fix this before construction gets underway. Not after we throw open the gates and charge the public to come inside'? "Mind you, I've heard that Tony Baxter, WDI's senior VP of design, may be safe. Mostly because Tony was smart enough to reach out on his own and forge his own relationship with the artists and technicians at Pixar prior to this merger. Of course, the fact that Mr. Baxter is currently riding herd on Disneyland's "Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage" attraction doesn't exactly hurt Tony's chances of staying on either.