Author James B. Stewart '73 Discusses Walt Disney Company's Challenges in Salt Lake Tribune

Author James B. Stewart '73 Discusses Walt Disney Company's Challenges in Salt Lake Tribune

June 12, 2006

james b stewart.jpgJune 12, 2006, Greencastle, Ind. - Under the leadership of Michael Eisner, at the Walt Disney Company "a culture of failure had set in," according to James B. Stewart, author of the bestselling DisneyWar and 1973 graduate of DePauw University. "There was a certain lack of imagination, a sense of using these formulas that seemed to have worked in the past, but nobody could figure out why the formula can't keep working," Stewart tells the Salt Lake Tribune. The newspaper examines the struggles Disney faces as the company attempts to reinvigorate its animation studio.

In January, Disney acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion. Disney "has been in a creative slump," while Pixar "is riding a winning streak since Toy Storydebuted in 1995," writes the newspaper's Sean P. Means. Eisner was replaced by Robert Iger in September; this year's transaction brings Pixar's creative team of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull to Disney.

"I look at that deal as the most expensive employment contract in history," Stewart states. "They are essentially buying human talent." He callsstewart disneywar.jpg Cars, the Pixar film that opened last weekend, "an important test ... Eisner was always telling me that in that business, you cannot go indefinitely without a failure." Cars took in $60.1 million in its opening weekend, less than the $70 million some analysts had expected based on the opening takes of previous hits Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.

Read the complete story at the newspaper's Web site.

The chair of DePauw's Board of Trustees, James B. Stewart won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as front page editor of the Wall Street Journal. Now editor-at-large of SmartMoney magazine, Stewart's other bestselling books include Den of Thieves, Blind Eye, Blood Sport and Heart of a Soldier: A Story of Love, Heroism, and September 11th. He was recently re-elected vice president of the Author's Guild. Learn more here