- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

‘Pixar vs. Pixar’

“Hollywood’s El Dorado is a concept or character that can be spun into sequels — or, as in the case of ‘Star Wars,’ prequels — and serve as an expanding platform for DVDs, television, games, and other licensing rights.

“Although successful franchises … are few and far between, Steve Jobs, as head of Pixar Animation Studios, has handed Disney four of the potentially richest mother lodes in the history of filmdom. Namely, the sequel rights to ‘Toy Story’; ‘Finding Nemo’; ‘Monsters, Inc.’; and ‘The Incredibles.’ … Disney also has the exclusive rights to use all of the Pixar characters in its theme parks. …

“After fruitlessly attempting to renegotiate [Pixar’s contract with Disney] in 2003, Jobs announced in January 2004 … [Pixar] would terminate its arrangement with Disney. …

“But in the 20 months that have elapsed … Jobs has not been able to make a suitable [distribution] deal with any [other] studios. The reason is … that any new Pixar films would face a potentially awesome competitor: Pixar sequels.

“For example, a new Pixar film might find itself competing for summer play dates with ‘The Incredibles 2,’ backed by a Disney juggernaut of merchandising tie-ins with fast-food restaurants, toy licenses, informational shows on the Disney Channel and overseas channels, and its proven Pied Piper effectiveness in recruiting children’s audiences.

“Simply put, it would be Pixar vs. Pixar.”

Edward Jay Epstein, writing on “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

Familiar message

“Sixty-seven percent of New Orleans’s population is black. Twenty-eight percent live below the poverty line and account for 88 percent of the city’s unemployment. Many were waiting for government checks due Sept. 1 — four days after the storm struck. They didn’t have cars to leave in, cash to pay for an impromptu vacation, or insurance to cover property they weren’t home to protect. …

“Katrina lent new context, but the message is familiar: someone should have done something more for victimized black America. …

“Refugees enraged that their rescue didn’t come more swiftly and looters robbing the city’s grave shared a common sense of entitlement. ‘To be honest with you,’ New Orleans resident Mike Franklin told the Associated Press as he watched the looters, ‘people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it’s an opportunity to get back at society.’ ”

Kara Hopkins, writing on “Fire and Rain,” in the Oct. 10 issue of the American Conservative

‘Misbegotten’ Roe

“[W]e can, once again, look forward to hundreds of questions all designed to elicit the same answer: What does [Supreme Court nominee Harriet] Miers think of Roe v. Wade? …

“Given Roe’s centrality, not only to the law, but also to our entire culture, it’s worthwhile to understand what Roe’s author, Justice Harry Blackmun, intended its reach to be. …

“Blackmun saw laws banning all abortions as infringements on the doctor’s rights, not the woman’s. … To Blackmun, Roe was about vindicating ‘the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment.’ … And at the time, Chief Justice [Warren] Burger predicted that Roe would not have ‘sweeping consequences.’ …

“[M]aybe some of the senators will see, as much of the public is beginning to see, that Roe is a misbegotten, badly reasoned decision that we are better off without.”

Charles Colson, writing on “The Accidental Touchstone,” Tuesday at www.pfm.org

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