Chicken Little's News for Pixar
Business Week - 11/8/05

Chicken Little's News for Pixar

The film's strong debut may well give Disney a leg up in its talks with Steve Jobs's animation studio. Now all eyes are on Jobs

The sky is falling? Not for Walt Disney (DIS ). Its latest animated flick, Chicken Little, opened to an impressive $40.1 million box office take this past weekend -- a far better debut than the industry had expected. Suddenly, the sky looks like the limit.

All of which gives the power-lunching crowd at Los Angeles' Spagos or the Ivy plenty to talk about this week. With Pixar Animation Studios (
PIXR ) set to announce earnings on Nov. 8, Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs has a decision to make. His Pixar studio has been waiting to see how Disney's chicken would fly -- sans Pixar in the picture. Chicken Little is the work of Disney's new computer-generated (CG) animation studio. Now Pixar is expected to enter into tough negotiations over extending its distribution deal with Disney.

"IMMINENT" DEAL? Will Jobs play nice? That's about as likely as Buzz Lightyear going soft. In fact, the last Pixar flick, The Incredibles, opened with -- well, an incredible -- $70.1 million in the same weekend slot as Chicken Little (see BW Online, 11/15/04,
"Pixar's Superhero Exploits"). So pardon Steve Jobs if he isn't clucking just a little on Nov. 8. There are, I'm sure he will say, hits, and there are big hits.


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