Disney Animation’s Success Is Tied To Pixar Acquisition

Disney Animation’s Success Is Tied To Pixar Acquisition, Says Bob Iger On His Way Out Of Disney

Bob Iger will have left Disney for good and ready to devote his time to book writing, investing, sailing, and whatever else might occupy the rest of his career. Though he hasn’t signed the contract or started writing. But he said “in observing how leaders reacted to the pandemic and to Covid, it struck me that leaders are frequently balancing a set of countervailing dynamics in order to successfully lead through a crisis of that magnitude.” He mentions the need to balance swift action with deliberation, and to be optimistic but also very realistic about the challenges.

Iger admits that he took a while to understand movies and the value of theatrical exhibition after becoming CEO. That said, “I do think the big-screen movie experience is migrating, not completely, but to a significant extent to an in-home experience versus an out-of-home experience.”

He adds, “The whole day-and-date thing, I don’t know what that gets anybody, frankly. I know everybody says, ‘Give consumers a choice,’ but I think I prefer a model where certain movies — not all movies — are projected on the big screen for a certain period of time and then made available on screening platforms pretty quickly.”

During his first earnings call as CEO in 2005, Bob Iger told investors that under his direction Walt Disney would be “disciplined” in its approach to acquisitions, seeking out opportunities that helped the business adapt, not just expand for the sake of expansion.

Within two months of that call, he announced that Disney would acquire Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion.

Buying the animation studio of Pixar in 2006 was great “because it was the first [of Iger’s acquisitions], and it put us on a path to achieving what I wanted to achieve, which is scale when it came to storytelling,” Igor said. Iger also bluntly attributed the success and of Disney’s in-house animation studio to the Pixar acquisition. It’s not clear if he means Disney Animation’s financial or creative success (or both), but it’s an interesting take that will surely spark discussion. Says Iger, “You look at Frozen and you look at Moana and you look at Zootopia and you look at Wreck It Ralph and you look at Tangled and the number of Academy Awards and the box-office success, and all of the IP that that created — generated and what how basically we’re going to mine that IP for Disney+, you know, it all was tied really, everything that we’ve done at Disney Animation since then, was tied to the Pixar acquisition.”

Disney shares closed down 1.5% at $146.47 on Monday. The stock has dropped more than 19% so far in 2021, putting its market value at $266.23 billion.

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