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NY Times: Bob Iger Effectively Back As CEO

DVCakaCarlF

Well-Known Member
I'll give this to Iger, he's always been someone who's positioned himself to be ahead of the curve and thinking about the future. He first hand saw the damage that shutting everything down had with the theme parks post 9/11, as well as how the competition gained on them as a result.
Then the question is “why allow it to stop in the first place?” Gut reaction? I’m sure Junior has to check with Dad...maybe Dad was letting junior fail?
 
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lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I'll give you the last few episodes were self serving to Iger, but the first 4 or so were actually quite revealing and not a lot was held back.

On a side note, what is with your hate of Iger? What is it that you just can't stand about him? I am curious. Truly.
I do not hate him, but he is incredibly duplicitous and my bigger problems is the sizable segment of Disney fans eagerly repeat the misinformation he puts out. The Imagineering Story is a great example of events being rewritten to fit him, not just by exaggerating the failures of his predecessors and his successes, but by reshuffling the series of events to give him credit for the successes of his predecessors (Haunted Mansion Holiday, trackless ride systems), takes credit for things pushed by others (Hong Kong Disneyland expansion) or outright deceitful (Disneyland Paris being the number one tourist destination after the opening of Ratatouille). He takes absolutely no responsibility for his tenure as COO, those very last years of Eisner's that are described as disastrous where he was in charge of executing that disaster and was not fighting against it. Buying Fox was supposed to be about acquiring content, content that Disney stopped producing because he shut down Disney's other studios and focused on only a few franchises. Now he has effectively spun his years of failure to properly put in place a leadership transition plan as him doing something good and people are again just eating it up.

More specifically focused on my passion, themed entertainment, he has been a complete disaster. He has pushed a view that themed entertainment is stupid entertainment for stupid people, inherently inferior to movies and television. He tried to sell off Disneyland and Walt Disney World because he did not understand them and did not think they fit Disney's core products. He sold off chunks of Walt Disney World for a quick buck. He spent billions against the advise of his operators, people he so disrespects he does not think them capable of actually leading the parks, in a ridiculous scheme to make the guest experience worse. When that failed and his team of Strategic Planners were out of ideas he finally started spending but only pushing his pet franchises and with costs so far out of control that the investment cannot be maintained, as return on invest during his tenure has decreased since the "roller coaster themed to India or whatever" opened. He is praised for putting out the fire he may not have started but poured gasoline on.
 

Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
There likely wouldn't even be a Disney if Eisner stayed on. Not just the theoretical "this isn't my Disney under Iger".

I'm actually not trying to praise Iger, just trying to wake people up to the reality of Eisner. Like all things fondness and nostalgia for things tends to put them on a pedestal in the Disney community.

Have you read Disney War?
I glad someone else remembers back to Eisner's last years. The company was a mess, to the point where even its new theme parks and animated films were receiving embarrassing publicity for their cheapness and low quality. As you mention, a lot of that came down to Eisner's personality disorders which saw him treat Disney like his own little fiefdom and ruin almost every relationship the company had.

My impression is also that Disney would have been swallowed up by another company had he stuck around much longer. I also don't love nor particularly want to defend Iger, but at least he is able to maintain productive relationships with other human beings and adapt to changing circumstances. Disney+ so far seems to have been a very successful entry for Disney into the new era of streaming. When the Internet started to revolutionise entertainment and communications during the 1990s, the response under Eisner was to buy Infoseek and launch go.com. His big response to the rise of Dreamworks and the looming departure of Pixar was to discontinue traditional animation and inaugurate Disney animation's bold new era of computer animation with... Chicken Little. Eisner's term was not going to end well if he wasn't forced out.
 
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ryguy

Well-Known Member
I get the argument for the theatre experience and a night out. But with 75" and bigger TV's becoming more common the pressure has to be seriously mounting on the theatre chains.
 

DDLand

Well-Known Member
I agree Bob Iger is complex. I would ask for you to supply an example of anyone anywhere who has produced or managed to care for a portfolio anything like the current Disney portfolio.

The real genius of Bob Iger is his ability to manage the ego’s which produce the stories and manage the diverse businesses within the Disney umbrella. If the management of Comcast, or Sony, or CBS/Viacom or any other (take your pick) media company purchased Disney, they would have consolidated for efficiency purposes all of these various businesses under a single management structure. The result would have killed the stories and characters these creators shepherd. Managing these ego’s and cajoling them to work together and leverage parks and consumer products is no small feat. In my opinion, this portfolio management strategy is Iger’s real success.

This strategy of sustaining these separate content engines to produce the tent pole stories which will be at greatest risk in the response to Covid-19. In the New York Times article there is a suggestion of a reduction in headcount coming. I suspect this isn’t focused on the Parks as we might all fear. Instead, I think the talent (or lack thereof) at 20th Century and subsidiaries which are at risk. I suspect he will have his foot on the accelerator for completion of the merger/consolidation. The company will be at risk of losing some “un-known tentpole stories” in an effort to save the company.

I also believe the reason he stepped back in to the CEO role (or sudo-CEO role, as there has been no announcement that Chapek is no longer CEO and the SEC would require such an announcement), is to manage this transition. I don’t think it is because they Need Iger to make decisions about how to manage the cost of the parks and consumer operations. Chapek has been running this for awhile. It’s the content producing businesses where he has no pedigree.

A couple of points to consider:
  • Star Wars box office may be lower as a percentage from 7-9 vs 1-6. You need to consider the status of the stories, and the value of the total $4 billion dollar purchase of Lucas, and what that investment is worth now. I would contend the investment was wildly successful, and the franchise is in better shape than it would have been, had the purchase not occurred. Other will disagree with me, but this is my opinion.
  • As for Disney being the “General Motors” of the Media, could you point out to me a Media Production company who has produced a better portfolio of stories, or manages a better resort hub? I don’t think anything else exists, or is even close. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want additional investment, or changes to refresh the parks portfolio. I don’t see this coming in the short-term as the mission of the day is to survive this virus.
His reputation as a “good partner” allowed him to work with difficult individuals like Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Ike Perlmutter, and Rupert Murdoch. If you had to pick 4 partnerships to make, those prickly/demanding guys would not be attractive.

But his Hollywood strategy brought with it problems too. His aversion to risk hampered truly great storytelling. Successful films like The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast were exploiting existing properties. There was nothing noteworthy about those films. Pixar, one of the most spectacular studios ever, fell from the relevance it once held. I think story by committee has become a real problem with Disney projects. Pixar’s innovative “braintrust” has been warped in a way to make generic projects company wide. The Disney of today often makes inoffensive but not spectacular content.

Honestly, the movies Disney has made recently prove my point. Disney churns out a reliable stream of similar movies that work exactly the way you would expect them to. Like General Motors, each brand has its own specialty:
Marvel Studios: A film where a protagonist(s) is faced with an impossible problem. Somehow things work out thanks to lots of explosions and punching. All part of one story.
Disney Studios: Remakes/sequels of your favorite Disney classics. You can expect largely the same story beats and music that you already know.
Disney Animation/Pixar: John Lassiter films.
Lucasfilms: Random protagonist(s) shoot stormtroopers and/or use the force.

They produce consistency. They also share parts across the company, just like the real General Motors. It’s not uncommon for the Pixar guys to send story feedback to other divisions and Pixar guys to seek feedback from others parts of the company. It creates an environment where glaring issues get ironed out, but also has a propensity to eliminate wacky genius too. It’s “mass produced” content the same way a factory could produce consistent products.

Financially, I can’t argue with his success. It has worked wonders. Artistically and as a moviegoer I wish Disney was more daring. But people honestly seem to enjoy General Stories.

On Lucasfilms, think on the margin. Of course Lucasfilms is more relevant than it was a few years ago. Disney has released an arsenal of content. What with 5 movies, 3 televisions series, 2 massive lands, countless books and comics. Disney has invested billions on top of the existing acquisition price. The question is not whether it is more relevant, but whether it is on a trajectory for a decade of success. It is in the midst of a reboot, not something a successful studio usually does. It can be fixed, but to pretend it was a successful last few years is not compelling.

As to a “better run” resort, that’s easy. Oriental Land Company, despite the many things they do wrong, does a much better job maintaining rides and operating them. I’d even say Iger’s own Disneyland Resort does a far better job than the awful Walt Disney World. WDW is an example of a spectacular lack of care and investment. It’s terrible.

Edit: Clarified that Jobs, Murdoch, etc were difficult. I kind of had a double negative. Some other mechanics.
 
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TJ Vazquez

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
I do not hate him, but he is incredibly duplicitous and my bigger problems is the sizable segment of Disney fans eagerly repeat the misinformation he puts out. The Imagineering Story is a great example of events being rewritten to fit him, not just by exaggerating the failures of his predecessors and his successes, but by reshuffling the series of events to give him credit for the successes of his predecessors (Haunted Mansion Holiday, trackless ride systems), takes credit for things pushed by others (Hong Kong Disneyland expansion) or outright deceitful (Disneyland Paris being the number one tourist destination after the opening of Ratatouille). He takes absolutely no responsibility for his tenure as COO, those very last years of Eisner's that are described as disastrous where he was in charge of executing that disaster and was not fighting against it. Buying Fox was supposed to be about acquiring content, content that Disney stopped producing because he shut down Disney's other studios and focused on only a few franchises. Now he has effectively spun his years of failure to properly put in place a leadership transition plan as him doing something good and people are again just eating it up.

More specifically focused on my passion, themed entertainment, he has been a complete disaster. He has pushed a view that themed entertainment is stupid entertainment for stupid people, inherently inferior to movies and television. He tried to sell off Disneyland and Walt Disney World because he did not understand them and did not think they fit Disney's core products. He sold off chunks of Walt Disney World for a quick buck. He spent billions against the advise of his operators, people he so disrespects he does not think them capable of actually leading the parks, in a ridiculous scheme to make the guest experience worse. When that failed and his team of Strategic Planners were out of ideas he finally started spending but only pushing his pet franchises and with costs so far out of control that the investment cannot be maintained, as return on invest during his tenure has decreased since the "roller coaster themed to India or whatever" opened. He is praised for putting out the fire he may not have started but poured gasoline on.
That's an interesting perspective and I certainly won't try to change your opinion, because in this day and age, that isn't possible. I would challenge you to make not be so cynical about Bob or any future Disney CEO. Disney will always be a business and will always have to answer to wall street, something the CEO of any publicly traded company is charged with. There are certainly things I don't like that have already happened or are in the works from a Parks perspective, and that is under Bob's watch, so I don't think he is a saint by any means, but the man was tasked with first fixing relationships, fixing a deplorable animation studio among other things, and he did that. You're obviously angry from the post above but still urge you to read his book, there is a lot of great insight there, and no its not all self serving, he admits to some mistakes he has made along the way. By the way, Bob was the on to disband the Strategic planning group from 65 to about 10.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
His reputation as a “good partner” allowed him to work with difficult individuals like Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Ike Perlmutter, and Rupert Murdoch. If you had to pick 4 difficult partnerships to make, those prickly/demanding guys would not be attractive.

But his Hollywood strategy brought with it problems too. His aversion to risk hampered truly great storytelling. Successful films like The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast were exploiting existing properties. There was nothing noteworthy about those films. Pixar, one of the most spectacular studios ever, fell from the relevance it once held. I think story by committee has become a real problem with Disney projects. Pixar’s innovative “braintrust” has been warped in a way to make generic projects company wide. The Disney of today often makes inoffensive but not spectacular content.

Honestly, the movies Disney has made recently prove my point. Disney churns out a reliable stream of similar movies that work exactly the way you would expect them to. Like General Motors, each brand has its own specialty:
Marvel Studios: A film where a protagonist(s) is faced with an impossible problem. Somehow things work out thanks to lots of explosions and punching. All part of one story.
Disney Studios: Remakes/sequels of your favorite Disney classics. You can expect largely the same story beats and music that you already know.
Disney Animation/Pixar: John Lassiter films.
Lucasfilms: Random protagonist(s) shoot stormtroopers and/or use the force.

They produce consistency. They also share parts across the company, just like the real General Motors. It’s not uncommon for the Pixar guys to send story feedback to other divisions and Pixar guys to seek feedback from others parts of the company. It creates an environment where glaring issues get ironed out, but also has a propensity to eliminate wacky genius too. It’s “mass produced” content the same way a factory could produce consistent products.

Financially, I can’t argue with his success. It has worked wonders. Artistically and as a moviegoer I wish Disney was more daring. But people honestly seem to enjoy General Stories.

On Lucasfilms, think on the margin. Of course Lucasfilms is more relevant than it was a few years ago. Disney has released an arsenal of content. What with 5 movies, 3 televisions series, 2 massive land, countless books and comics. Disney has invested billions on top of the existing acquisition price. The question is not whether it is more relevant, but whether it is on a trajectory for a decade of success. It is in the midst of a reboot, not something a successful studio usually does. It can be fixed, but to pretend it was a successful last few years is not compelling.

As to a “better run” resort, that’s easy. Oriental Land Company, despite the many things they do wrong, does a much better job maintaining rides and operating them. I’d even say Iger’s own Disneyland Resort does a far better job than the awful Walt Disney World. WDW is an example of a spectacular lack of care and investment. It’s terrible.
Animation is one of the few bright spots of Iger’s tenure, though that didn’t stop him from tying their hands in some places. A Harvard MBA who had no business running an animation studio was replaced by talented and capable leadership in John and Ed. Today’s WDAS makes dramatically better films in a much more artist friendly environment than pre-Pixar WDFA. They have certainly been hamstrung in many places, like killing hand drawn animation to suit false executive narratives, but they are in a good place long term. WRT Pixar, have you considered that the rash of sequels we’ve gotten, which we were always going to get because Iger paid $7.4 Billion for them, are the result of some original projects not being up to snuff? We’re about to get a decade of original Pixar features with the best possible successor to Lasseter; Pete Docter.

There have been many disappointments in animation over the Iger years, from losing more director driven films like Chris Sanders’ American Dog, Glen Keane’s Rapunzel, Brenda Chapman’s Bear and the Bow to the needless killing of hand drawn animation and the fledgling stop motion department at Pixar to John’s inappropriate touching of female staff. When the next regime takes over, and it won’t be Iger knighting his successor- sorry @realBobChapek, they’ve got two great feature animation studios well positioned to be let loose.
 
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Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
The Disney of today often makes inoffensive but not spectacular content.
Hasn't that always been the critique of Disney entertainment, though? Right back to Walt's day, critics argued that Disney was more reliable, mainstream entertainment rather than boundary pushing, experimental storytelling. There are definitely exceptions to that, but I think that's also kind of what Walt wanted and it has been at the core of Disney's brand.

I despise the remakes of the animated films, but overall Disney's filmmaking doesn't seem any more bland and generic than it was in the pre-Iger era. While Pixar has become more spotty, Disney Feature Animation has become a lot better. Was Disney producing much of note in terms of live action around the era Iger came in?
 

Atomicmickey

Well-Known Member
Why? Iger is the one who failed to set the company up for the future. He already repeatedly failed to plan for the company’s future over half a decade, so why is it good that he is trying again?

OK, you are on the 'cons' side. Others feel differently.

I am in the middle.

We shall see!
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I glad someone else remembers back to Eisner's last years. The company was a mess, to the point where even its new theme parks and animated films were receiving embarrassing publicity for their cheapness and low quality.
And who was the COO of that mess?

That's an interesting perspective and I certainly won't try to change your opinion, because in this day and age, that isn't possible. I would challenge you to make not be so cynical about Bob or any future Disney CEO. Disney will always be a business and will always have to answer to wall street, something the CEO of any publicly traded company is charged with. There are certainly things I don't like that have already happened or are in the works from a Parks perspective, and that is under Bob's watch, so I don't think he is a saint by any means, but the man was tasked with first fixing relationships, fixing a deplorable animation studio among other things, and he did that. You're obviously angry from the post above but still urge you to read his book, there is a lot of great insight there, and no its not all self serving, he admits to some mistakes he has made along the way. By the way, Bob was the on to disband the Strategic planning group from 65 to about 10.
Disney is a business? Really? Where did I say anything contrary to that? In fact, I addressed that. Iger's investments into the parks have only seen declining returns on investment as costs spiraled out of control. The things he had to first fix were things he let deteriorate at COO. He disbanded Strategic Planning by promoting people from the group into more prominent roles.
 

Josh Hendy

Well-Known Member
Financially, I can’t argue with his success. It has worked wonders. Artistically and as a moviegoer I wish Disney was more daring. But people honestly seem to enjoy General Stories.
General Stories will work fine ... until they don't work any more.

I just saw Zootopia which was a nice movie full of imaginative scenery and an "ok" buddy-movie plot featuring a naive dumb bunny and a cynical clever fox. But they tied themselves in knots stretching for the social justice themes. The heroine is the Rosa Parks of female herbivore police officers. Predators are the Visible Minority victims of prejudice. It uses politics, legal codes, regulation and taxation as major plot points ... what is it a cartoon or a freaking Social Studies class 😆

Remember "48 Hours"? Nobody felt the need to make that movie dwell on the problems Eddy Murphy faced due to the prejudice suffered by black ex-convicts. Or Nick Nolte's latent PTSD and alcoholism.

Meanwhile watch the Shrek and Despicable Me series. Those movies kill it! And they're only about characters dealing with stuff that happens in their lives, like Ralph Kramden or Lucille Ball. Ordinary people in funny situations.
 
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TJ Vazquez

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
And who was the COO of that mess?


Disney is a business? Really? Where did I say anything contrary to that? In fact, I addressed that. Iger's investments into the parks have only seen declining returns on investment as costs spiraled out of control. The things he had to first fix were things he let deteriorate at COO. He disbanded Strategic Planning by promoting people from the group into more prominent roles.
That last sentence is not true, but I see you're steeped in this hatred of him, for whatever odd and loose reasoning, so I'll agree to disagree with you on this one. But hey, you'll soon have the Bob you've always have been dreaming of in office soon ;)
 

peter11435

Well-Known Member
I don't think that acquisition would make it through the antitrust review.
It’s unlikely Disney would be interested. Currently the acquisition would be illegal. However if this administration gets its way studio ownership of theaters could be permissible.
 

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