Disney, Pixar In “Really Good Discussions”

Disney president, chief operating officer and CEO-Elect Bob Iger spoke at the Deutsche Bank’s 13th Annual Media/Telecom Conference on Tuesday, mentioning that striking a new deal with Pixar is still a possibility, and that both sides are striving to come to a compromise.

“We’ve had really good discussions,” Iger noted. “The goal is, to use Steve [Jobs]‘s terms, see where we can reach common ground, which is basically trying to determine what are the critical issues for both companies and is there a deal that makes sense for both sides? Obviously, we’ve not gotten to that point, but we haven’t gotten to the point where we’ve decided there’s a deal that doesn’t make sense, either. The fact that we’re having a dialog is a really good thing and it’s been really healthy. We’ve gotten to understand the issues that are important to both sides, whether they’re financial, creative or both.”

Iger praised Pixar’s creative abilities, stating, “In my opinion, Cars is a great movie." However, his words on Disney’s own Chicken Little seemed a bit more tempered. "We think it is a really strong movie," he said. "The more we’ve seen it and the more work that’s done on it, the better we feel about it. I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people and excite a lot of people–hopefully shareholders."

As Disney works to keep its investment modest when dealing with live-action features, Iger indicates that the majority of the studio’s resources will be channeled into animation. He commented, "I liken our theatrical-release animations as giant wave machines that have the ability to create a ripple effect across so many of our businesses–online, theme parks, our games business, publishing and all the other consumer products businesses and TV. So it’s really important for us that we get that right."

Reiterating key strategic priorities for Disney, Iger named creativity and content creation as main c\focal points. "We think that’s the heart and soul of the company, where we need to allocate most of our money, our time and our people resources as well," he remarked. One new franchise set to launch is Fairies, which draws it inspiration from the classic Tinkerbell character from Peter Pan. Fairies will initially roll out as a publishing vehicle but Iger said the studio is already developing movies and TV shows based on the property.