Apparently Steve Jobs has set a date for the negotiations to end. By December 25th we should know if Pixar and Disney were able to work out the details required for an ongoing relationship between the two companies.
Some are suggesting that Chicken Little has been performing well enough to give Disney a leg up in the negotiations. Some say that holding the sequel rights has put Disney in that position already. That doesn’t mean it will be any easier to arrive at a deal. Negotiating from a position of power is near useless if you don’t have the goods in your possession in the first place. This means the option of a buyout is still on the table… for the right price.
From a fan’s standpoint part of me doesn’t want to see a buyout of Pixar by Disney for the single reason I think having that competition out there is the only thing driving Disney to improve the WDFA department right now. I’m beginning to wonder if the partnership hasn’t been that good for Disney either. As long as the bucks kept rolling in from Pixar what incentive did Disney have to worry about WDFA. I know those are conflicting pressures. But that conflict might be responsible for a lot of the muddled work that has come from Burbank recently.
Animation studios are popping out of the woodwork these days. The Weinstein bros, now freed from their bond to Eisner, are even releasing their own pic Hoodwinked (a take on Little Red Riding Hood that looks great). So the competition will only get thicker. Disney won’t get very far releasing a lot of ‘Valiant‘ quality pictures (did anyone actually go see that in theaters?).
But Disney just might have a niche with their 3-D technology. I just saw Chicken Little in 3-D, and while the movie wasn’t edited to take advantage of the medium, it did make the picture that much more fully realized and the action sequences (except the final ‘invasion’ sequence oddly enough) that much more exciting. Based on the concept art I’ve seen for Rapunzel, I’m very excited to see that universe realized in 3-D.
If they keep up the cute character work, improve the 3-D use in their films, and keep perfecting the storytelling and Disney will soon be back on top of the Feature Animation heap.