Senior Editor
04.07.09 12 Comments

Pixar constantly makes great movies, but it seems some people are a still a little worried about Up.  Because they’re not sure how many toys and crap it’s going to sell, you see.

Some industry watchers, a few of them still griping about the hefty $7.4 billion that Disney paid for Pixar in 2006, are fretting about the film’s commercial potential, particularly when it comes to benefiting other Disney businesses.
Richard Greenfield of Pali Research downgraded Disney shares to sell last month, citing a poor outlook for “Up” as a reason. “We doubt younger boys will be that excited by the main character,” he wrote, adding a complaint about the lack of a female lead.
“People seem to be concerned about this one,” said Chris Marangi, who follows Disney at Gabelli & Company. Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company said qualms ran deeper than whether “Up” will be a hit — he thinks it will — but rather whether Pixar can deliver the kind of megahit it once did. “The worries keep coming despite Pixar’s track record, because each film it delivers seems to be less commercial than the last,” Mr. Creutz said.
Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, responded, “We seek to make great films first. If a great film gives birth to a franchise, we are the first company to leverage such success. A check-the-boxes approach to creativity is more likely to result in blandness and failure.”
Retailers, meanwhile, see slim merchandising possibilities for “Up.” Indeed, the film seems likely to generate less licensing revenue than “Ratatouille,” until now the weakest Pixar entry in this area. (“Cars” wears the merchandising crown, with sales of more than $5 billion.)
Perhaps Wall Street would not care so much if Pixar seemed to care a little more. The co-director of “Up,” Pete Docter — who also directed “Monsters Inc.” — said in a recent question and answer session with reporters that the film’s commercial prospects never crossed his mind. “We make these films for ourselves,” he said. “We’re kind of selfish that way.” [NYTimes]

I understand expecting movies to be soulless and sh-tty, but it blows my mind how many people actually want them that way.  Oddly, the only person in this story who sounds sane is THE CEO OF DISNEY.  If I were working for Pixar and I had investor types trying to tell me what to do, I’d just be like, “Hmm, let’s see… I made Wall E, and you… oh that’s right, you ruined the economy.”  Then I’d reach into my pocket like I was grabbing something – “Hold on, I think I have some notes here..” – then flip everyone off and walk out of the meeting.  Then I’d come back with a gun, kill everyone, and blow my brains out before the cops came.  You gotta have your principles, you know?

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