Entries Tagged 'Business' ↓

“Quality is the Best Business Plan,” or Even More Proof That the Experts Don’t Know Jack-Jack.


You know those lists of bad predictions from the 1800s and early 1900s, where people who should have known better say stuff like, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” (Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943), or “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” (H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927)?

Well, add Richard Greenfield of Pali Research, Chris Marangi at Gabelli & Company, and Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company to that esteemed company. Don’t know their names? You better learn ’em while these guys still have jobs: They’re the analysts from that now notorious NY Times article, back in April, “Pixar’s Art Leaves Profit Watchers Edgy,” who predicted doom for Pixar Animation Studio’s 10th feature, Up:

Richard Greenfield of Pali Research downgraded Disney shares to sell last month, citing a poor outlook for “Up” as a reason. “We doubt younger boys will be that excited by the main character,” he wrote, adding a complaint about the lack of a female lead.

Mr. Greenfield is alone in his vociferousness, but not in his opinion.

“People seem to be concerned about this one,” said Chris Marangi, who follows Disney at Gabelli & Company. Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company said qualms ran deeper than whether “Up” will be a hit — he thinks it will — but rather whether Pixar can deliver the kind of megahit it once did.

“The worries keep coming despite Pixar’s track record, because each film it delivers seems to be less commercial than the last,” Mr. Creutz said.

Big freaking yawn. Of course, now, Disney-Pixar can pun, “Up yours!” since, to the surprise of none who’ve seen it, Variety reported yesterday that

After less than a month at the multiplexes, Disney-Pixar’s 3-D toon “Up” has enough lift to likely become the second-highest-grossing Pixar title at the domestic B.O. after “Finding Nemo.”

Through Sunday, “Up’s” domestic total was $187.4 million — the second best of any summer film to date. Par’s “Star Trek” has cumed $231.9 million. …

At the rate it’s going, “Up” will soon surpass the $206.4 million grossed by Pixar’s “Ratatouille” in summer 2007, and the $223.8 million grossed domestically by Pixar’s “Wall-E” last summer.

“Finding Nemo,” released in 2003, cumed $339.7 million domestically. Next-best Pixar grosser is “The Incredibles” at $261.4 million.

Based on its performance, box office observers now believe “Up” has every chance of surpassing “Incredibles.”

john_lasseter_372x495That quote in our hed, “Quality is the best business plan,” is attributed in the Times piece to John Lasseter, right, one of Pixar’s co-founders, and chief creative officer at Disney, post the Mouse’s $7.4B purchase of the famed computer animation company in 2006. It speaks to the focus on making compelling films via captivating stories that has always marked the Pixar way.

Even Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, seems to be learning how Luxo rolls: “A check-the-boxes approach to creativity is more likely to result in blandness and failure.”

Or, as Up‘s cranky protagonist, Carl Fredericksen, would say to those analysts,

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Is This Baby a Future CEO?
Yes, If By “Future” You Mean the Beginning of Next Week.

cbdf_black_baby_jpegJust when you thought that the dreamlike logic of white supremacy couldn’t produce any further absurdities, the Caucasians drag another one out of the cornfield: According to the Associated Press, a study, conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, to be published in the September edition of the journal, Psychological Science, has concluded that

Black Fortune 500 CEOs with a “babyface” appearance are more likely to 0508ceo1lead companies with higher revenues and prestige than Black CEOs who look more mature, an upcoming study says.

In contrast with research showing that white executives are hindered by babyface characteristics, a disarming appearance can help Black CEOs by counteracting the stigma that Black men are threatening….

As the AP notes,

A babyface is characterized by combinations stanonealof attributes, including a round face, full cheeks, larger forehead, small nose, large ears and full lips, the study says.

You know: The kind of visage typified by folks like American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, above; E. Stanley O’Neal, right, former CEO of Merrill Lynch; almost everybody in this 2005 list of Black CEOs; or by this famed board chairman, after the jump:

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Green Eggs and Crack.


us_bigApparently, the Danish didn’t want to go with the U.S.’s apples-and-oranges cover graphic, right, when they published their cracked yolk version, above, of economist Steven Levitt’s and journalist Stephen J. Dubner’s 2005 smash, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.

Levitt and Dubner’s treatise on the economics of drug dealing, sumo wrestler cheating, and the effects of abortion on crime has sold over 3 million copies to-date. That kind of worldwide success, you think, would move other countries to tow the line, stay with what works, and, from the look of these other versions, most did. Not the Danes, though…or the British, for that matter, who avoided foodstuffs altogether for both the hardcover and paperback versions of the book.

Why? Hopefully Levitt/Dubner will explain it in their upcoming text, SuperFreakonomics. I kid you not.

Is Terminator: Salvation Director McG About to Put a Bullet in the Head of the Hollywood System?


“You and me are fucking done professionally!!”:
John Connors (
Christian Bale) and Terminator

From looking at his movies—mostly the Charlie’s Angels ones—and music videos—like the Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”—I’d kinda assumed that Michigan-born director Joseph McGinty Nichol, better known as McG, was sorta shiny, fast, and shallow, like his cinema.

I think I owe this guy an apology. Continue reading →