I'm trying to stay neutral about the ongoing "insurrection" at the Walt Disney company, which Michael Eisner seems to be weathering just fine for now, but the more snippy, conspiratorial articles and message board threads about Michael Eisner I read, written, usually, by people whom don't know any more than I do about the specifics of the situation, the larger the gut feeling I get to side with Michael Eisner, or, at the very least, give him even more of the benefit of the doubt than I otherwise would. I think what's going on, and not just between Eisner and Roy Disney, but, also, between Eisner and Steve Jobs and, going back a few years, Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and other such conflagrations, are merely the sort of conflicts and in-fighting and faction-building and ship-jumping between people with (mega super hyper) "Type A" personalities you get at the top of any large corporation from time to time, except, perhaps, a little more theatrical because it is Hollywood, after all.
Even unpopular moves that seem fairly damning for Eisner on the surface, like closing the Florida animation studio which produced some of the more popular recent Feature Animation films for Disney like Lilo & Stitch and Mulan, and scaling back the Feature Animation division in general in favour of more live-action features and more computer-animated features, seem more damning to us because 99.9% of us only have a surface knowledge of what's going on from reading articles which are often very biased against Eisner, since Michael Eisner-bashing is (and has been since about 1984) a popular bandwagon to jump upon. The simple fact is that, while it's fun to believe that Disney is run on magic and pegasus feathers and pixie fairy dust, and, while it's easy for some guy on some message board somewhere to say that Disney needs to take greater artistic risks and not care so much about the bottom line, the fact is it's a business like any other, and, while we do get the absolute bottom line for Disney from shareholders' meetings and such every financial quarter or so, very few people have intimate knowledge of all the balance sheets with all the little facts and figures that add (and subtract) up to the end-of-quarter results, and, as such, being CEO, Michael Eisner often has to make some tough decisions, many times which will be very unpopular, both within the company itself and with animation fans in general.
Has Eisner made some bad choices over the years? In all likelihood, yes, since he's only human, but I think his micromanaging style in general is good for the company overall and, while Eisner might hold some serious grudges, the grudges work both ways. I also hope that Disney isn't out of the feature animation (industry-speak for classical, hand-drawn animation) business for good after Home on the Range, but, the downside of Disney-style Feature Animation films is that they're bloody expensive to produce, and they've been, overall, getting diminishing returns at the box-office, and Disney can't keep on spending gobs of cash for the sake of "tradition", and, no, I do not think that it's because Disney films are creatively bankrupt and formulaic... as a matter of fact, I still think they're as good as what Ghibli and Pixar produces, just in a different way, and I think that the Disney formula, by and large, is a myth (not counting the sequels); each Disney film is quite different from one another. (Except for a couple of specific plot points, Brother Bear was very little like The Lion King, and, while The Lion King is still a better film, Brother Bear was much better than a lot of critics would have you believe.)
In this thread in the RottenTomatoes.com forum about a JimHillMedia.com
"The primary cost that Disney is and should be concerned with is the difference between profit with the division and without. If it makes more without (investing that money in projects management project as having a better rate of return), then the decision was correct vis-a-vis Eisner's primary duty to the corporation. Concern for his work force is a secondary concern, as a matter of corporate fiduciary duty. Damage to Disney's public image, if any, should be part of the forecast - I expect it will be negligible in the public-at-large. Productivity costs would be a part of the financial analysis that motivated the decision in the first place.
Also, it's worth noting that maximizing shareholder wealth is not for the benefit of "top dogs" alone. Disney is a huge corporation, many large mutual and pension funds possess large stakes in Disney, and those funds are in turn owned by many middle and working class persons."
Also, for people whom immediately assume Roy Disney has clear moral superiority to Michael Eisner by virtue of Disney being his family business, I think I can ask the obvious question.
"Isn't suggesting that Roy Disney knows how to run Disney better than Michael Eisner does by virtue of his family connection sort of like suggesting that Paris Hilton knows how to run Hilton better than Stephen Bollenbach does?"