News of Disney cutting film output

I’m amazed at how big a story this Variety story on Disney cutting film production by 50% (and the resulting job loss) has become. Rumors of the desire to slash production have floating around for the last 10 years or so. Ever since Disney reached their high point of 30 films in one year (including Miramax, Hollywood Pictures, etc) they have been cutting back.

Claiming the desire to reduce all the way all they way down to 8 pictures a year is no more than a weight loss goal. Those sugary soft drinks and chocolate covered donuts will no doubt be too enticing for Disney to slim down all the way. But we’ll see, Disney may have the will power to slim down to a petite studio size.

Additionally, if  you’re only releasing 8 pictures a year if three or four of them bomb, it’s harder to make up the difference with only 4 other films. With 18 films you can have a bunch of small successes and still not have the overall bottom line affected by the few flops. You have to really be at the top of your game all the time to do this right. The law of averages will come back to bite you if you play that line too thin.

What suprises me most is Disney’s supposed elimination of the Miramax brand. Does that mean any documentaries, art films, period pieces, etc will be released under the the main Disney brand or does that mean Disney is getting out of the business of creating those pics? The Miramax business, while usually just a break even endeavor, did result in a few big hits that helped counter balance some of the pictures that may have closed in the red on the other side. Same thing with Hollywood Pictures and Touchstone. Will Disney give up making R rated films totally? I don’t think the Disney name should be expanded to include some of the more racey and less family friendly films that Disney has been known to release under the other labels.

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