Nemo Dethrones King, Disney Fights Current with Pixar Deal

Whatever game face they might be putting on over at the Walt Disney Company this morning, inside there’ll be more than a little concern. True, they’ve topped their own record, but at what cost?

This weekend, Finding Nemo became the biggest-grossing animated film of all-time knocking off the previous crown-holder, Disney’s mega-hit The Lion King. But with the acrimonious negotiations between Disney and Nemo-creator Pixar far from complete, this new development will only strengthen Pixar’s hard-line. Currently, Disney and Pixar split the profits from Pixar product. Company head Steve Jobs is looking for a new deal similar to the one George Lucas has with Fox concerning his Star Wars franchise. Under the terms of that deal Fox gets a distribution fee and no cut of the profits.

The $1 million Nemo took in this past weekend brought its domestic box office total to $329.8 million. That passed the $328.8 million The Lion King clawed up between its initial run and last year’s IMAX re-release.

In a related story, The Matrix Reloaded shrugged off its tepid media and fan response of earlier this summer to become the highest grossing film of the year to-date. So far it has grossed $730 million worldwide, boding well for the release of the franchise’s third chapter later this fall.