Michael Eisner memo to staff of Walt Disney Co.

Following is Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner’s internal memo to employees of Walt Disney Co. early in the week of May 21, 2001:

Dear Fellow Cast Members:

This Friday, the Touchstone film “Pearl Harbor” will open in the United States and Canada, followed quickly by its release in most parts of the world. Because the awareness of this film is so incredibly high, this e-mail will be brief. I don’t need to list the cast or give you the synopsis of the plot. I will just give you the synopsis of the film’s significance for our company: Enormous (enough said).

There are no sure things in the entertainment industry, but this comes close. It better, because I’ve already predicted this in the annual report letter I wrote in December. And I’ve been on CNBC and CNN in the last two weeks proclaiming it a smash. I’ve been telling anybody who would listen that this will be our biggest live action film ever.

Thanks to the passion, commitment and artistic drive of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay, “Pearl Harbor” is truly an epic film that was made on a less-than-epic budget. This is not to say it isn’t expensive, but I believe it will be profitable by Labor Day (he said, getting much too cocky!). Jerry, Michael and the film’s cast and crew were incredibly devoted to this project throughout the many months of development and production. And Studios chairman Peter Schneider, Motion Picture Group chairman Dick Cook, Motion Picture Group president Nina Jacobson, president of production Bruce Hendricks and their entire team have worked tirelessly to make this a really magnificent achievement for the entire studio.

In short, everyone at every level pulled together to make the best possible film. I think that one of the aspects of “Pearl Harbor” that motivated people so greatly was that this film represented a chance to honor the veterans of World War II. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the conflict truly became a world war, involving terrible suffering and sacrifice around the globe. This film pays tribute to the men and women who gave so much in so many places … theirs was a generation that made a difference.


JD Lasica
Written by JD Lasica
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