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Disneywar by James B. Stewart


by James B. Stewart
Interesting, but tiresome


This book gives an interesting behind-the-curtain look at Disney during the Michael Eisner years. It seems very well researched and the author’s many first-hand interviews lend a great deal of credibility to the story he’s telling. The author also includes lots of fascinating information such as Disney’s split on the Lord of the Rings package (ch 12). The Weinstein brothers brought Eisner LOTR and even though Eisner turned it down, Disney still got 5% of the gross. The Weinstein Brothers got half of that 5% (1.25% a piece), so all parties walked away with a pretty penny.

That said, the book has serious flaws that keep it from being a great read. The endless bickering and backstabbing at Disney gets tedious and becomes a laundry list of conflicts.

Key details are missing that would have added to the story. For example, the author repeatedly tells us of Katzenberg’s dismal performance at the box office with Disney live-action films, but rarely names the movies that bombed. Missing details like this frustrate the reader.

Also, some widely publicized events are barely discussed. I was truly interested in Euro Disney and the financial bailout by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal that made headlines. However, the Euro Disney problems are barely covered (maybe 12 total pages) and Prince Alwaleed isn’t even mentioned!

Essentially, this book is an interesting boardroom drama, but lacks the fun generally associated with books about the entertainment industry.