Life after death
In 1968, Disney was awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. There is also a widespread version of the multiplier freezing in a cryogenic chamber, which he went to in the hope of finding a method for defrosting the human body in the distant future.
His place was taken by brother Roy, who ran the Walt Disney Company until 1971. After his death, the company was headed by three people – Card Walker, Donn Tatum and Ron Miller, whom the Disney brothers had already begun to prepare for leadership. Walt Disney left to his successors many projects and ideas that he did not manage to realize himself.
The gradual implementation of Walt’s ideas allowed the company two more decades to maintain its leading place in the global entertainment industry, won during the life of the founder. And in recent years, the company has also grown seriously, having bought several companies that were famous for their unique individual style – Pixar, Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm. Millions of fans watched in horror, expecting Disney to ruin everything they bought, take humor, violence and true romance from their favorite works. In reality, everything turned out to be not so bad.
Disney’s total profit in 2014 amounted to $ 7.5 billion. The company owes much of its current success to the fact that in 2005 the then little-known Bob Iger took over as CEO. The manager genius began his career as a leading weather forecast on the ABC channel, then became the head of this channel, and after the takeover, ABC received the post of vice president of Disney. The company at this moment was experiencing the second crisis in its history (the first happened after the death of Walt Disney). Under the direction of Michael Eisner, she released one disastrous film after another – Pearl Harbor, Hercules, Atlantis: The Lost World. Even the successful trilogy “Pirates of the Caribbean” came out against Eisner’s will. As a result, the board of directors decided to replace the head of the company. Eiger who replaced him explained his strategy this way: if Disney has a problem with creativity and creating new profitable characters, then you need to buy them from other companies.
Despite the setbacks in the production of cartoons, the company entrusted to him was still very rich – it made a profit thanks to its TV channels, shops and theme parks, which received more than 120 million guests annually. The foundation of this structure, tirelessly supporting the company in difficult times, was laid by Walt Disney. It is believed that Walt was the first Hollywood producer who realized that television was the future. The production of full-length cartoons required a lot of money. Even the successful rental in cinemas did not allow his studio to really get on its feet. In less than a year, the company was not on the verge of bankruptcy. Disney was looking for other sources of income – and in 1937 came up with Disneyland. To find money for the construction of a huge park, Disney entered into a brilliant agreement with the ABC channel. They had to invest in the construction of the park, and he had to conduct a weekly broadcast on the channel, showing the children their cartoons. The program, which was loved by the children, was called Disneyland, it naturally advertised the park under construction and made Disney’s company synonymous with American animation.
Even now, amusement parks bring companies 20% of the profits. The problem is that when the children come to the park, they want to see not only the Disney princesses and Mickey Mouse, but also the Nemo fish and Iron Man. Disney’s creative monopoly on favorite characters ended in the era of computer animation. But with money, Bob Iger quickly turned this minus into a giant plus.
How Disney Tamed Pixar
It’s funny, but the future Pixar founder Ed Catmell showed his first 3D animation program to Disney employees back in 1973, where he underwent an internship. He was then told that there was nothing in common between computers and animation, and until his program could draw realistic bubbles, they were absolutely not interested in them. With these words, they expressed the opinion of the entire film industry, which remained so until May 25, 1977. On this day, the first “Star Wars” was released.
Unlike the others, George Lucas opened a computer division in his company and hired Catmell to manage it. When in 1983, Lucas divorced his wife and lost most of his fortune as a result of the divorce proceedings, he needed to somehow optimize his business, and he decided to get rid of the computer unit. For several years he was looking for a buyer, who eventually became Steve Jobs, who was recently dismissed from Apple. He invested $ 54 million in the new company. So Pixar was born.
In the first years of its existence, Pixar created several short animated films, one of which received an Oscar, and a couple of commercials, but did not bring any profit. Three times, Steve Jobs tried to resell the company to someone else, such as Microsoft and Alias.