Change is big draw at Mouse

Pixar execs plan on returning Disney to its roots

The tune at the top of Disney has certainly changed when it comes to toons.

A year ago, then-CEO Michael Eisner referred to Pixar’s artistic efforts as “pretty pathetic” compared to his studio’s own work.

But at an investor conference Feb. 27, new topper Bob Iger, who engineered the acquisition of Pixar, naturally had only effusive phrase for his new employees.

“What Pixar has managed to do is create five great franchises, and they’re on course to create many more,” he crowed. Iger did denigrate some animation, but it wasn’t Pixar’s. It was his own company’s.

“We had 10 years of real failure, in many respects, in a business I believe is most vital to us,” he said in the Mouse House’s most frank admission yet of its recent animation woes.

Disney animators might be insulted, if they weren’t so excited at the prospect of Pixar execs Ed Catmull and John Lasseter taking over in a few months.

Starting with a new contract for composer Alan Menken last week, the Mouse is looking to bring back well-liked Disney vets who haven’t worked on recent Mouse House toons.

And Lasseter and Catmull supposedly have their sights set on bringing directors John Musker and Ron Clements — makers of hits “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin”– back to the fold.