JORDAN PEELE’S GARGOYLE DREAMS MEET DISNEY’S BIG IP REALITY

This month we’re going to see the media get very confused about what story to tell about Disney. It could focus solely on the upside: Incredibles 2 is about to make something northward of a gazillion and a half dollars, reminding everyone of the power of these brands when executed at the level Disney can still execute. On the one hand: you’ve got a shopping cart overflowing with fiascos and more curses unfolding than one company should have to bear. Losing John Lasseter in such a drawn-out manner certainly counts as a fiasco. What he does next may count as a wrecking ball. That said, to paraphrase a recovery catchphrase, they’ve got problems in areas where other studios don’t have areas. This month we’ve seen a couple of downsides of the Big IP game. The first one, from the Solo experience, is clear: When you concentrate all your chips in the Big IP game,

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LASSEDAMMERUNG! DISNEY’S LAW OF THE JUNGLE CRUISE

The moment of decision approaches on the Fate of John Lasseter. At stake is more than the management of one animation division. This is the precedent-setting crossroads: On the line here is whether Me Too remains on the march or starts to be swept under the red carpet. Not to mention, incidentally, the fates of two or three studios. After an initially blasé reaction, the battle has been raging over the past week with increasing volume inside and out, as a social media Stop John movement has gained traction.  Over the past few days, the #LoseLasseter hashtag has been catching fire on Twitter; contributors include people from across the animation industry and even, shockingly for a company that brooks no public dissent, some Disney employees sprinkled in among the protesters. (I’ll let you find them yourself rather than draw undo attention to them.) And now, because of one obscure pebble in

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Dark Day in Mousetown

This is a preview of today’s edition of The Ankler, the entertainment industry’s most feared newsletter. Remember all the way back to yesterday morning when a mere disappointment was the worst thing that could happen to a company like Disney? What a difference a Tweet makes! Remember last week when all CEO IP Bob had to worry about was his still uncertain path to victory against Netflix in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals, how to finesse a Lasseter return, and Comcast’s challenge to his Fox acquisition? As of this week, you can add to that: canceling his network’s top-rated show and suddenly, concerns about one of the major tentpoles of his whole corporate strategy, Lucasfilm. (Okay, if you want to really get mean, you can throw in that once we get past the Incredibles 2, Disney has a suddenly very iffy release calendar for the next 12 months). That’s a lot

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Robert Iger: The People’s Choice?

Since the 2016 election, there can’t be a tycoon left in America who doesn’t wake up, look in the mirror and see the 46th President of the United States. In Hollywood, the name of one CEO has seemed to many such an obvious leader of the free world, that no less an august personage than Oprah, a President in waiting in her own right, reported that she begged him to run.  By her account she “really, really pushed him to run for president, so much so that I said to him, ‘Gee, if you ever decide to run for office, I will go door to door carrying leaflets. I will go sit and have tea with people.’” It’s easy to see why Hollywood believes the Iger coronation as close to inevitable as politics can get.  A man who could imagineer the acquisitions of Marvel, Pixar and Lucas and lead the company to

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Hollywood Preps for War!

With the madcap fun of the Oscar race behind us, we can get back to focusing on the subject at hand – the imminent meltdown of the entertainment industry as we know it as we head into the  World Entertainment Semi-Finals, coming sooner than we’d like. There are two parties whom we all but know (not that we ever really know) will have berths in the final showdown: Disney and Netflix.  And right now, which of those do you suppose has the upper hand? Given the numbers in this chart, Netflix will be worth more than Disney sometime by the end of the week, give or take a couple hours. That’s Disney, with its Marvel and its Star Wars and its total domination of the box office; its theme parks all over the globe; and its mountains of Winnie the Pooh-branded pajamas and Doc McStuffins ice capades shows. All of that is now worth less than an app with a bunch of

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Mouse of Cards

From the December 19th issue of The Ankler So a week in, we all get what this deal is all about, right?  Everyone? The main takeaway from the coverage so far: It will be big! Big all over! Big where it counts!  Look out Netflix! Or as Deadline dutifully put it, (do they ever put it any other way?) “The deal, officially valued at $66.1 billion including assumption of debt, will create an entertainment colossus that expands Disney’s footprint in every area.” Expanded in every area!  And that’s good, right? There’s been a lot of talk about Disney’s now unparalleled filmmaking capacity, as if they didn’t already have as much of that as they wanted; as if they were only making six movies a year because they couldn’t find anyone to rent them a soundstage or give them notes on the scripts they had piled up. The fact that people are flailing around

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AND THEN THERE WERE FIVE

FROM TODAY’S ANKLER: The good news is, after a hundred years of showbiz, Disney has repealed the Goldman Law. For a century now, we’ve been governed by one immutable principle – that Nobody Knows Anything, eventually codified by William Goldman. The Goldman Law does not refer just to the notion that we’re overseen by clueless venal con artists looking for a quick score and to cash out (although that’s often also the case). The principle invokes the essential nature of entertainment, which is perhaps the one product in the world where novelty is the only essential ingredient. If you’re in the food business, innovation is a constant, but more or less, you know that five years from now, people will want their sandwiches to look like sandwiches and their tacos, still to be, with tweaks and refinements, tacos. In the petroleum industry, people may want cleaner fuel, cheaper fuel, but basically you

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