Is Elemental Pixar’s Last Film?The Dark Herald
The house that Lasseter built will shortly be launching Elemental. A romance between a flame elemental (kickass female) and a water elemental (hopeless simp). Wonderful. The cast is one long checklist and it was directed by the same guy who helmed The Good Dinosaur. Peter Sohn being one of the few creative lights at Pixar that Jon Lasseter didn’t see fit to tuck under his arm and run off to Skydance with.
Elemental has a budget of $200 million and a release date of June 16. It’s tracking badly and will be going head-to-head with The Flash (which isn’t doing well but at least it registers on Google Trends, Elemental does not). Carryover from Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will likely bury it. It may well open under $30 million.
By now it’s obvious, 2023 is going to be the absolute worst year in the Disney Company’s 100-year motion picture history. Pixar has proven itself to be far more interested in Woke activism than they have been in turning their corporate owner a profit.
A fact that even Bob Iger appears to have noticed.
This is the second major Pixar theatrical release to have its marketing budget cannibalized to support a film that looked like a better bet.
There is also some major tribal hostility within Disney directed at Pixar. Jon Lasseter was well respected at Disney until Pixar staged its MeToo coup against its boss. Admittedly, it was a revolt that Iger quietly supported, as Lasseter was becoming a fairly obvious heir to his throne. They never seem to last at Disney for some reason.
Then there was Pixar being the heart of the Woke revolt when Florida passed its anti-groomer law. When Chapek vowed to use Disney resources to force Florida to repeal its legislation, Florida slapped down Disney tooth crackingly hard.
Everybody in the company knew who to blame for these things. Now if it was super profitable, then suck it up buttercup but it’s not. It’s the biggest money loser Disney has.
A Pixar release doesn’t even have a prayer of getting into the same league as Super Mario Brothers. There was a time that that would have been unthinkable. That a major Pixar release would be completely culturally irrelevant.
However, even if Pixar was pulling its weight, why would Disney want to keep around a studio that is producing a duplicate product to Disney’s own headlining animation studio? At this point, you can’t tell the products apart. Honestly, if Pixar was still pulling major bank then it would make sense to force Disney Animation Studios to go back to hand-drawn while Pixar makes computer animation. But as it is, Pixar is just an expensive headache. One that even Disney’s very Woke BOD is rumored to be quietly admitting is now in need of “restructuring.”
Meaning shutdown the studio and move what few assets that are worth moving down to Anaheim and selling off Pixar’s tech (Renderman) to Apple (who may have a right of first refusal on that anyway).
With the Earth shaking Hulu purchase that Disney can’t get out of… Brief reminder on that, Disney has to buy Universal’s remaining stake in Hulu in seven months. Disney is claiming that the company is claiming that Hulu is only worth $30 billion and therefore they only have to pay $10 billion. Comcast is claiming that Hulu is worth $80 billion and therefore Disney owes $26 billion. Disney doesn’t have anywhere near $26 billion. Not now. Not thanks to Disney+. Obviously, it’s going to have to go to arbitration but let’s say Disney gets seriously hurt in the arbitration and has to cough up something close to that.
Disney would have to pay out enough stock to Universal to cancel out Blackrock and Vanguard’s stake in Disney. Universal/Comcast would get at least two seats on the Disney board and Nelson Peltz is guaranteed to get on it as well. Iger is guaranteed to back into retirement at that point and no face-saving chairmanship with it. He joins Michael Eisner at his window seat.
Consequently, Iger needs to make some big moves. Selling Renderman to Apple could get him some desperately needed cash in the ten-digit range. He is now a motivated seller, and that could well be the end of the studio that began Bob Iger’s legendary buying spree.