|Steve Jobs and his iPad|
Steve Jobs resigned his post as Apple CEO earlier this week. The visionary behind the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and the Mac computer has had health problems in recent years stemming from pancreatic cancer and a liver transplant last year. What has this to do with Disney? Well, Steve Jobs is Disney's largest individual stockholder owning about 7% of the company. He also sits on Disney's Board of Directors. How did Steve get to be such an key figure in the Disney corporate realm? He owned Pixar Studios and when Disney bought Pixar in 2004, they paid Steve off in Disney stock. His direct influence on Disney operations is probably minimal in the scope of things. Perhaps his biggest influence can be seen in the way Disney has "tidied up" its retail stores. This is a direct result of the highly successful but spartan looking Apple Stores . We wish Mr. Jobs the best going forward into the future as he continues to contribute products of vision for people to use in their everyday lives.
The Help Surprises
Last weeks surprising hit at the movie box office was the The Help, a reasonably budgeted (25 million) film about white socialites in Mississippi and their African-American "help" set in the early 1960's. In a week's time, the drama/comedy is approaching the 100 million dollar range at the box office. The Help is one of the first films Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks Pictures is distributing through Disney's Touchstone Pictures in their 30 pictures partnership. Looks like that pairing is off to a pretty good and profitable start.
Disney web based forums, discussion boards, blogs, and podcasts continue to relive the highs and lows of last week's D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. While there were some definite high points to the Expo because overall the panel discussions and and displays put on by Disney were high quality, the complaints ran from disappointing to down right bitter. The biggest complaints were Disney's poor job at estimating the crowd levels which led to long lines and utter frustration when people who paid big bucks to get into the Convention Center could not see half of what they wanted to see. One thing is clear, Disney has got to get better at this kind of thing. This is the second Expo, the object is to get better at these things, not worse.