Disney’s annual shareholder meeting was held this year on March 23rd in Salt Lake City, Utah. Once again, Disney CEO Robert Iger has dismissed the possibility of releasing Song of the South on DVD. Since 2006, shareholders have annually raised the question at every shareholder meeting. In 2006 and 2007, Iger assured shareholders that they were taking another look at the film due to the “numerous requests” they received. By 2008, however, his tone began to change, and by 2010, he was calling the movie “antiquated” and “fairly offensive”. And now, for 2011’s response—shareholder Matthew Hansen was able to squeeze in the meeting’s final Q&A question:
Hansen: My name is Matthew Hansen; I’m a shareholder here locally. This year is a large anniversary for one of Disney’s classic films. Disney restoration team artistic supervisor Dave Bossert recently said, ‘There’s been a lot of internal discussion about it, and at some point we’re going to do something about it. I don’t know when, but we will. We want people to see it because we realize it’s a big piece of company history and we want to do it the right way.’ With this year being the 65th anniversary of Song of the South, I was wondering when we might see that. [Applause]
Iger: [laughs] We almost got through the meeting! I thought you were going to say it’s the 60th anniversary of Peter Pan, I was kind of hoping for that. I said last year at our shareholder’s meeting that I had watched Song of the South again and, even though we’ve considered from time to time bringing it back, I didn’t think it was the right thing for the company to do. It was made in a different time. Admittedly you could use that as context, but I just felt that there are elements to the film, while it was a relatively good film, that wouldn’t necessarily sit right or feel right to a number of people today. And, just felt that it wouldn’t be in the best interest of our shareholders to bring it back, even though there would be some financial gain. Sometimes you make sacrifices on the financial side to do what you believe is right and that’s an example of that.
Hansen: Would it be possible to have, kind of how they have the Disney exclusive videos that aren’t available in stores?
Iger: I just don’t feel that it’s right for us to use company resources to make it available, whether it’s wide or whether it’s narrow… narrowly available. It’s a strong belief that I have— consulted with other top executives of the company. They all agreed, and I think, just remember it as it was, and don’t expect to see it again for… at least for awhile, if ever.
So there you have it, folks. An audio archive of the shareholder meeting is available here:
Special thanks goes out to Matthew for posing the question, and for notifying me!