Thursday, July 20, 2006

Disney Makes Employees Walk The Plank

Don't think this has anything to do with Hollywood being in a slump. Every studio gets top-heavy and could use a good purge once in a while. So Disney firing 650 staffers is simply a good idea, regardless of how many movies they release or this year's box office in-take. Originally, I misread the number of movies Disney would be releasing under their new plans. They'll be shrinking from 18 to about 12 (as Priv8Pete gently pointed out to me). That's certainly not as dramatic as the anemic 8 I'd thought they were shooting for. But cutting your at-bats by 50% is not a terribly smart idea. And even if they've lowered their behind-the-scenes cost by cutting all those employees, the back office is already paid for whether you release 12 movies or 18. And 18 is by no means an exorbitant number of films to release. Finally, downgrading the movies put out under the Touchstone banner is meaningless since movies that would fall under the Touchstone purview (ie movies for grownups) are exactly the sort of movies that would gain nothing by being branded as "Disney." So all they're really doing is planning to make only family movies, which is an awfully limiting attitude to take. Wait till they have three bombs in a row -- suddenly 12 movies will seem a paltry number. And wait till they see how every other studio releases animated movies and family pictures as well -- thus diluting their brand.

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