Disney and Pixar – Synergy Strategies

Synergy is an aspect that many conglomerates use to promote their products without the public knowing it. Synergy is when a conglomerates subsidiary’s promotes a product owned by the company themselves. Disney is a great example because they are one of the first ones to really incorporate synergy.  Disney’s major theme parks are all used as large-scale advertising tools. The park uses the characters from the movies to promote the parks and uses the parks to promote the movies. The multiple theme parks sell an absurd amount of merchandise. There is a diagram here created by Disney that explains all their synergy strategies.


As time went by Disney started to buy other companies. Particularly media company’s which opened the doors up to vast amounts of new ways to use synergy. Disney released a new take on The Princess and The Frog in 2009. Main actress Anika Noni Rose featured in an interview with on the View, a popular American chat show. The View airs on the American channel ABC, which was bought by Disney in 1996. This is an example of synergy people wouldn’t realise without looking at the media company’s history.

Another example of Disney’s clever synergy is that The Pirates of The Caribbean movies are actually based on a Disney ride. Disney makes a movie from a Disney ride, and then advertises it by using a Disney owned company. Johnny Depp is the main character of the film and ABC news did an interview with him talking about the release of the second movie.

For most people they would not know that Disney owns ABC. Americans watch ABC for news, they do not think about what media conglomerate owns the company. Many think they are a conglomerate themselves. That is just not the case for most companies though. Most conglomerates like Disney have many subsidiaries. It is easy for a company to promote a product through their subsidiary. They have a lot of leeway on how much a product is discussed; they can talk about the new Disney film as if it’s the best movie ever. ABC is a credible source; Disney itself can’t promote their movie as big as ABC can and get away with it.

With Disney owning so many media subsidiaries, it’s no wonder that Disney owns a company capable of dominating the box office. Pixar’s synergy with Disney is probably the most successful example anyone could find, with over 10 full feature animated films, and all of these films reaching over a worldwide gross of $360,000,000, reaching an average worldwide gross across all films released by the Pixar/Disney pairing to a sum of $557,250,519. The numbers speak for themselves, the union between Pixar and Disney have been an incredibly successful business strategy played out by Disney, and financially a hugely profitable move. If all the budgets of each Pixar/Disney film were added together it would reach a grand total of $1,441,000,000. This might seem like a lot over the course of 18 years, but the gross total of all these of these releases combined reaches a staggering total of $7,244,256,747, reaching a gross profit of $5,893,256,747. Just as a visual aid, here is a list of the top ten highest grossing Pixar films worldwide.

10. Cars (2006) $462 million

9. Toy Story 2 (1999) $485 million

8. WALL-E (2008) $521.3 million

7. Monsters, Inc. (2001) $525.4 million

6. Cars 2 (2011) $559.9 million

5. Ratatouille (2007) $623.7 million

4. The Incredibles (2004) $631.4 million

3. Up (2009) $731.3 million

2. Finding Nemo (2003) $867.9 million

1. Toy Story 3 (2010) $1,063.2 million


Cranford Mock

The extract starts with a shot long angle shot of the boy in the woods. This shows the viewer that he is on his own which could create sympathy for him. The camera pans to the child’s house in the woods to show where the boy lives, first impressions suggest the home is run down and poorly made. This coupled with the diegetic sound of birds gives the impression that the family is poor as they do not own the land their house is built on – As well as this boy having no shoes which again attributes to his lower class appearance, along with his scruffy clothes and his soot ridden face.

The scene then continues onto the boy walking into the house where he is greeted by his family with a cheer as it’s his birthday, the scene uses invisible editing to create a sense of time moving forward The scene is accompanied with more cheerful non-diegetic music which raises the mood and gives connotations of the family’s happiness and their celebratory feelings. Straight cuts are used to cut to the boy’s expressions as he is happy to see his family, although his attention could be pointed towards seeing his father as later on in the scene, the father’s speech suggests that he has been working away from home and hasn’t seen his children for a long period of time.

The mood of the hut scene changes as the father moves on to the father shouting at his son as he reads from the wrapping of his boots. This briefly shows the contrast/clash of classes as the father discourages anything to do with the “higher” class. Weaved in-between the intense close ups of the fathers face are close ups of the mother, her facial expressions show that she doesn’t like confrontation, and she is scared bring anything up or stand up for her son in the argument, this has connotations of a “weaker” gender stereotype which was quite common in the time this show was set. The father’s anger against his son reading shows the fathers grudge against the higher class, this matches the stereotypical “working” class mind set of that time, which is that the higher class are useless and they haven’t got anything in common with the working or lower class. Although this particular grudge wouldn’t match a contemporary working class mind set as simple things such as reading and writing aren’t seen as a higher class trait. After the father scolds his son, he sends him off to complete some chores.

The boy now walks off into the forest, coming across the large estate; the scene skips to the boy walking towards the botanical house of the estate as he leers over the fruit. His astonishment of the fruit shows the difference between the classes, something as simple as fruit is seen as a prized possession to the lower class child. As the scene cuts to a POV shot of the child looking around in the garden, eastern style music is played when the camera focuses on the fruit, this exaggerates the exoticness of the fruit and shows connotations of the previous point that was made.

History of The Walt Disney Company (1923-1965)


Key People/Production – Distribution:

Walt Disney

Roy Disney

RKO Radio Pictures

Buena Vista Distribution

Walt Disney Production/Films

Walt Disney Recording Company


In early 1923 animator Walt Disney created a short film entitled Alice’s Wonderland, which featured child actress Virginia Davis interacting with animated characters. After the bankruptcy in 1923 of Walt’s previous firm, Laugh-O-Gram Films, Disney moved to Hollywood to join his brother Roy O. Disney. M.J. Winkler Productions contacted Disney with plans to distribute a whole series of Alice Comedies purchased for $1,500 per reel with Disney as a production partner. Walt and his brother Roy Disney formed Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio that same year.

In January 1926 with the completion of the Disney studio on Hyperion Street, the Disney Brothers Studio’s name is changed to the Walt Disney Studio.

After the end of the Alice comedies, Disney developed an all-cartoon series starring his first original character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was distributed by Winkler Pictures through Universal Pictures. Winkler had copyrighted Oswald, so Disney only made a few hundred dollars. Disney only completed 26 Oswald shorts before losing the contract in February 1928 when Winkler’s husband Charles Mintz took over their distribution company.


In 1928, to recuperate from the loss of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Disney came up with idea of a mouse character named Mortimer while on a train headed to California drawing up a few simple drawings. The mouse was later renamed Mickey Mouse and starred in several Disney produced films. Disney’s first sound film Steamboat Willie, a cartoon starring Mickey, was released on November 18 1928 through Pat Powers’ distribution company.

Disney continued to produce cartoons using popular characters like Mickey Mouse, and began the Silly Symphonies series with Columbia Pictures signing on as Symphonies distributor in August 1929. In September 1929 theatre manager Harry Woodin requested permission to start a Mickey Mouse Club which Walt approved.

On December 16, the Walt Disney Studios partnership was reorganized as a corporation with the name of Walt Disney Productions, Limited with a merchandising division, Walt Disney Enterprises, and two subsidiaries, Disney Film Recording Company, Limited and Liled Realty and Investment Company for real estate holdings. Walt and his wife held 60% (6,000 shares) and Roy owned 40% of WD Productions.

In 1932, Disney signed an exclusive contract with Technicolor to produce cartoons in colour.


Deciding to push the limits of animation even more, Disney began production of his first feature-length animated film in 1934. Taking three years to complete, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered in December 1937 and became highest-grossing film of that time by 1939. Snow White was released through RKO Radio Pictures, which had assumed distribution of Disney’s product in July 1937, after United Artists attempted to obtain future television rights to the Disney shorts.

Using the profits from Snow White, Disney financed the construction of a new studio complex in Burbank, California. The new Walt Disney Studios, in which the company is headquartered today, was completed and open for business by the end of 1939. The following year on April 2, Walt Disney Productions had its initial public offering.

The studio continued releasing animated shorts and features, such as Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi. When the United States entered the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, many of Disney’s animators were drafted into the armed forces. The U.S. and Canadian governments commissioned the studio to produce training and propaganda films. By 1942 90% of its 550 employees were working on war-related films. Films such as the feature Victory Through Air Power and the short Education for Death were meant to increase public support for the war effort. Even the studio’s characters joined the effort, as Donald Duck appeared in a number of comical propaganda shorts.


With limited staff during and after the war, Disney’s feature films during much of the 1940s were “package films,” or collections of shorts, such as The Three Caballeros and Melody Time, which performed quite poorly at the box-office. At the same time, the studio began producing live-action films and documentaries.

The release of Cinderella in 1950 proved that feature-length animation could still succeed in the marketplace. Other releases of the period included Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, both in production before the war began, and Disney’s first all-live action feature, Treasure Island. Other early all-live-action Disney films included The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, The Sword and the Rose, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Disney ended its distribution contract with RKO Pictures in 1953, forming its own distribution firm, Buena Vista Distribution.


In 1954, Walt Disney used his Disneyland series to unveil what would become Disneyland, an idea conceived out of a desire for a place where parents and children could both have fun at the same time. On July 18 1955, Walt Disney opened Disneyland to the general public. On July 17 1955, Disneyland was previewed with a live television broadcast. After a shaky start, Disneyland continued to grow and attract visitors from across the country and around the world.

Disney continued to focus its talents on television throughout the 1950s. Disney’s film studios stayed busy as well, averaging five or six releases per year during this period. While the production of shorts slowed significantly during the 1950s and 1960s, the studio released a number of popular animated features.

10/10/12 – Film Noir Analysis – Sin City

Sin City Opening Scene

The scene begins with a longshot towards the balcony, this establishes to the audience that there are two people in the scene, the female (victim) and the male (Assassin), As the man seduces the women, the audience is presented to a  non-diegetic monologue, this could either be the character speaking to himself, or explaining the scene to another person, the film does not end up explaining the monologue, so it leaves the audience to decide for themselves.

Before the first image in the opening scene, the audience is presented to the film by the sounds of stereotypical saxophone music(non-diegetic), police sirens, and car engines, (Diegetic) These are all classic aspects to the genre known as “film-noir”. This immediately sets the scene for the viewers, as the audience can piece these three sound aspects together. The saxophone tells us that the film must be set in a time period when this sort of music was popular. The car engines suggest that the setting must be a large, busy city, and the police sirens suggest a theme of crime and violence to the film. These diegetic and non-diegetic sounds are all featured before the fade from black to the first image.

From the opening image, it shows the lone woman staring out at the city view, this establishes the scene’s setting, and confirms the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds during the 5-10 seconds of black screen. The high angled long shot suggests that the female presented in this image is alone, and vulnerable, As she is looking down on the city, you could argue that this can empower the female, in contrast you can say that the vast city dwarfs the female, making her insignificant. Her clothing also has presents sterotypical aspects of film noir, the dress is open and revealing, this could present her as the femme fatale (A woman of great seductive charm who leads men into compromising or dangerous situations)

Opening Scene Analaysis – Training Day

In the opening scene of the film “Training Day,”  the audience is introduced to Alonzo, Denzel’s character. Alonzo plays a Los Angeles police detective who is training a young man how the LA streets work. Many would perceive Alonzo as a confident, yet cocky man who acts more like a criminal than he does a police officer. The film portrays this side of Alonzo in many ways. The first way is his dress. Alonzo dresses in all black; He also wears several silver chains with crosses attached to them. This type of dress shows the dark side of Alonzo, but it also coordinates with the rainy day. The chains show a “thug” side of Alonzo.

When Alonzo approaches his car, he walks with a lean, also giving off a feeling that Alonzo is kind of a thug. The biggest hint to Alonzo’s thug side however is the song he plays when he gets into his car, which is “Still Dre” by Dr. Dre, and is a hip-hop song with extremely vulgar language. This is not a typical song for a police officer to be driving around in. The car Alonzo drives, an older Chevrolet Impala, is not a typical police car. When Alonzo starts the car he pulls up a switch that controls the hydraulics on the car, which really makes the viewer question Alonzo’s true identity. The fact that Alonzo even drives an Impala makes the viewer wonder if he is even a police officer. When Alonzo and his trainee are driving down the street, the camera angles rapidly change as the hip-hop song plays. It starts with a view of the wheels on the car, which are very fancy, and then quickly flashes to the front of the car, focusing on the emblem, then switches quickly from the front to the side to the back. All of these rapid camera angles showing off the fanciness of the car top off Alonzo’s hip-hop view. Overall, the whole point of this scene is to introduce Alonzo as a strange policeman that has a different identity than we typically perceive a police officer.

The Watershed – 19th September 2012

On the watershed trip we had viewed three independent films, either funded by kickstarter programmes, or by personal funding. We had seen films from 3 directors. Short animation, Operator by Matt Walker, fictional film The Claw written by Nathan Hughes, Produced by Jacob Parish and The Small Storytellers, and documentary 7 Stones directed and produced by Conor MacCormack

I personally found this really informative, as it gave me a good insight into what it takes to produce an independent film, it takes a lot of time and hard work, and many sources of funding, but if you can pull it off the end result is worth it.

We found out that all three films were actually financed by multiple funding schemes, the most popular scheme being the “kickstarter” programme, this is where the director/directing group release their idea (pitch) to the public, and through their page, people can view their ideas and see whether it is a worthy cause to donate to, many independent film today are now funded this way.


Home Analasyis – Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut – Scene Analysis

The scene I chose to analyse was a scene out of Stanley Kubrick’s drama, Eyes Wide Shut. Tom Cruise plays the main character as a New York city doctor (Dr. William Harford)  and Nicole Kidman plays as Williams’s wife (Alice Harford).

The scene i chose to analyse is the scene where Dr. Williams walks into an establishment shown as “Sonata Cafe/Jazz”, he proceeds in and exchanges dialogue with a waiter before he sits down and watches Nick Nightingale (Played by Todd Field) signing off a performance. Once the performance concludes, Nick joins Bill (Dr. Williams) and starts to press Nick for details, this is where Bill learns more information from Nick about the quasi-religious event happening that night. The scene concludes with Nick confronting Bill with the small possibility of getting a fully covered, masked outfit a such a late time, as Bill learns that he needs such an outfit to be let into the event.

Diegetic Sound:

Jazz Band

Multiple Instruments (Piano, Cello, Saxophone)

Dialogue with Nick and Waiter

Paper Rustling

Telephone Ringing

Pen Clicking

Ambient Piano Music

Non-Diegetic Sound:


Tracking Shot

Medium Close-Up



No Cuts/One Long Scene

Mise En Scene:

City Street


Jazz Band/Nick

Table/Table Light/Drinks


Dark Setting

Key Lighting (Sets the mood as it just highlights both their faces)


12th September 2012 – Scream Opening Scene

What I analysed from the opening scene to Scream consisted of:

Starting Scene – A State Of Equilibrum

Diegetic Sound:

Dialouge between between character and murderer

Gas Hub


Knife Being Unsheathed

Phone Ringing

Non-Diegetic Sound:

Tense music in key spots where it matches the Mise En Scene


Medium Close Up

Close Ups Of Key Items (Popcorn, Gas Hob Etc)


Quick, Choppy cuts near more tense parts of the scene

The pace of the scene quickens during tense parts of the scene

Mise En Scene:

Main Character – Kitchen – Telephone

Popcorn – Blonde Wig – Knifes


Low key lighting – Artificial lighting to match the scenes setting

12th September 2012 – Sex and The City Analasyis

Sex and The City Movie Poster

Today’s lesson consisted of learning about key elements that a director or producer would try to include in their production, this involved using key terms like Dismemberment, Camera angles, Stereotyping and Representation. We also looked at Freud & Lacan’s theory of Scopophilia and Laura Mulvey’s theory of The Male Gaze –

We also wrote a 400 – 500 word analysis about the opening scene of Sex and The City where in you had to include some of the key terms that you would have to include in an essay or exam question in order to reach the higher bands of marking. The following was written in about 20 minutes:

Sex and The City Opening Scene Analysis

Analyzing the opening scene of “Sex and The City”, The main character “Carrie” is represented as a “fish out of water”.
The first initial shots cut to close-ups of the main characters face and iconic sky scrapers, this could be seen as Darren Star trying to covertly trying to  “empower” the main character as the quick cuts almost compare her to the huge structures. The choppy cuts could also represent the fast paced urban life of New York, or even show how fast things can go wrong in life, as the speed of the opening scene gradually slows down near the end of the opening scene.

Dismemberment is also used in most of the opening scene, as right up to the end, where the camera pans out to a medium-longshot to show the full length of the main character’s body. The rest of the shots where the main character is shot in, only the top half of her body is shown, this could show slight factors of male gaze, but also appeals to women in a different way, as “Carrie” is shown in a certain fashion where she is desirable to women. This creates a situation where the female viewer want to BE the main character in many ways, wether it be her fashion sense, or what she represents as a female character, i would even go as far to say some key viewers aspire to be the main character. This is the way that “Carrie” is represented, the character that can viewers can relate to, this was probably a major key in the shows success through out its broadcast and box office releases

At the start of the opening scene, there are multiple shots of high buildings, this ould also represent her ego as when she get’s “splashed”, the camera angle seems to pan down to her level, I think that this shows a contrast to the start of the opening scene, where she is almost presented as “untouchable” but then is brought down to everyone’s level as even the amount of people increase’s closer to the end where everything goes wrong.

In the earlier shots of the opening scene, where the close up “dismembered” shots of her upper body/face can suggest that she’s in her own fairy-tale life, and is oblivious to the real world, subtle things like her outfit and her facial gestures/body language throughout the opening scene can suggest this.