Disney has finally nixed the straight-to-DVD sequels that have done much to damage the company's reputation for creating quality animation. The move follows comments made by Apple (opens in new tab) and former Pixar CEO Steve Jobs who called the sequels "embarrassing" at a press conference four years ago.
The sequels are thought to be the brainchild of former Disney CEO Robert Iger. Iger was also the subject of a boardroom rebellion four years ago that saw Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt, resign. In his resignation, Roy E. Disney said:
"The perception by all of our stakeholders - consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers - [is] that the Company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the 'quick buck' rather than the long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust."
Walt Disney once vowed that he would never make a sequel to any of the films he'd created.
Steve Jobs has apparently been instrumental in culling the DVD sequels at Disney, according to Yahoo News . It cites Jobs' speech at a Disney 2003 press conference where he said "We feel sick about Disney doing sequels. If you look at the quality of their sequels ... it's pretty embarrassing."
Disney's animation successes in recent years have been largely down to Pixar, the computer animation studio of which Steve Jobs was CEO. Big hitters like Cars, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Toy Story also reinforced the impression that Disney's own DisneyToon Studios had lost its way, following years of turgid releases.
It's certainly no accident that Pixar insisted on making its own Toy Story sequel, after it learned that Disney was planning one anyway.
Toy Story 3 coming 2010
The direct-to-DVD cull looks like it's part of the latest move by Disney to reinvigorate itself. Pixar's chief animators now call the shots at Disney, following Disney's acquisition of Pixar last year. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is also now the largest individual shareholder at the company.
The last direct-to-DVD release will be Little Mermaid III. A second Toy Story sequel - Toy Story 3 - will be released in 2010.