Eisner Still Hopeful for Pixar Pact

Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner hasn’t burned any love letters from Pixar yet as he apparently remains hopeful that the studio and the 3D animation house can still patch things up. He said Wednesday that though talks have broken down, there is still a chance for a new film distribution deal with the Finding Nemo creators, according to Reuters.

“I will not believe it is over until it is over,” Eisner told investors. He argued that Disney’s marketing machine was valuable to Pixar but stated, “We can only make half the deal. I am just an eternal optimist.”

Under the current contract, Disney owns rights to films produced by Pixar, and the two companies split profits. Pixar topper Steve Jobs has been trying to negotiate a new deal under which Pixar would pay Disney a distribution fee and retain profits and film rights. Other issues at hand include a disparity between Disney’s desire to exploit existing properties with sequels and Pixar’s focus on creating new properties. Two such new properties are The Incredibles (due out this November) and Cars (2005), the last pics to be produced under the current deal.

Eisner also commented on the state of traditional animation, stating, "The 2D business is coming to an end, just like black and white came to an end." Even before the 2D Home on the Range posted disappointing box office numbers, Disney decided to ditch traditional animation altogether in favor of computer-animated fare like its first in-house 3D production, Chicken Little and Valliant, a WWII pigeon story being produced by U.K. CG house Vanguard Animation. Vanguard has a four-picture deal in place with the Mouse House.