Eisner's Successor - It could be worse... lots worse

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Eisner's Successor - It could be worse... lots worse

Post by 2099net »

There are a number of topics that come up when discussing Eisner and the current state of Disney.

One is the overuse and explotation of characters. Another is how Disney is underperforming compared to other media companies (like for example Time-Warner) and another is stupid decisions (such as buying ABC).

OK so let's compare Eisner at Disney to Time-Warner.

[1] Explotation of Characters

Well, I don't think I need to convince anyone that Time-Warner has less respect for their character properties than Eisner or anyone else at Disney. Let's look at what's happened over the past year or so at Time-Warner.

Excorcist IV
Not only did they refuse to accept the first movie which was made from a script approved by the executives and kept the inteligence and atmosphere of the highly acclaimed first film, but they insisted on creating and shooting a whole new "dumbed down" film filled with gore and cheap thrills. The resultant film as a mere 5/10 on the IMDB listings.

Here is a film that has been in development for literally years and years. However, instead of taking a strong property and constructing a film around her already vast comic-book lore (which let's face it has stood the test of time) they make a film with a totally unrelated Catwoman. The result in number 62 on the worst movies of all time list on IMDB. (3/10)

Scooby Doo Films
Talking of over exposure, Warners Scooby Doo character must be more exposed than any Disney film of character. But Scooby Doo is popular (so popular that new animated DTVs are regularly released now). However, Warners screwed up the live action movies big-time, thinking cheap fart and burp jokes would pull in the crowds. It's shocking to hear that they played their hand so badly that there "probably won't" be anymore Scooby Doo live action films as this should have been a cornerstone franchise for the company.

If we ignore the trainwrecks that were the final two Batman films (incidently the narrative and camper "feel" of these two films was calculated simply to sell more toys and happy meals, despite the previous two Burton films being box office successes) then look at how Warner is treating the Batman property now.

Ever wondered why the highly acclaimed "Animated Series" Batman has suddenly been ditched in favour of the all new "The Batman" animated series? (Which I see has been getting mixed reviews on the internet). Well, its because Hasbro asked Warners to create a new "look" for the character so they could make new toys and sell more figures. So hey presto, fifteen years or so of successful cartoons are dumped, simply because a licensor want to sell more toys. Warners don't care about how well Dini and Timm managed to capture the Batman character and universe. They don't care how positively the Animated Series and its sequels were embraced by the fans. They just want to sell more toys to pre-teenagers.

Of course, this mistreatment of successful properties is nothing new at Warners. The Avengers movie was hacked to pieces simply because the executives didn't understand the origins and appeal of the property they had signed-up and wanted to change it. Warners have been dithering over a new live-action Superman film for years and years. Hear some of Kevin Smith's stories about when he was asked to write a draft screenplay and shudder at how much a company can totally misunderstand one of their premiere characters. And there were strong rumours for a while Warner were going to make a gross-out comedy version of Green Lantern starring Jack Black!

[2] Performance
This is interesting because on the whole Warners is doing well. Even despite the AOL fisasco [see later]. However a chunk of income is coming from TV interests, and their vast print empire. Also, a lot of money is still being generated by New Line and their Lord of the Rings films - films Warner management had no belief in and promised to take control of New Line themselves if the films failed. The list of Warner flop movies for the past year is easily as big as Disney's - if not bigger.

[3] Stupid Business Decisions
Well, the most stupid business decision of Time Warner was the AOL merger. Far more harmful than Disney buying ABC. Not only has AOL's value plumeted, but it was actually investigated for fraud on two occasions (I think - please don't sue).

So what am I saying? Well I suppose it appears as though I'm apologising for Eisner, when really I'm not (honest). I'm just pointing out that if you look at other examples in the "real word" things can be a lot worse.

The admittedly crappy release of Cinderella II is nothing compared to how Warners destroyed the Catwoman character in the high budgeted film of the same name. And also, by allowing Home on the Range to be made, Eisner and Disney have shown that they're not just concerned with selling happy meal toys, where as Warners destroyed their Batman franchise twice based simply on calculations on how many toys they could shill from the movies and cartoons series.

Eisner may not be perfect, but his replacement could be worse, a lot worse.
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