Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

"Toy Story 3″ Is One of Summer's Few Big Movie Hits–And Another Win for Apple's Jobs

It looks like the iPad isn’t Steve Jobs’s only hit these days.

As it turns out, the hottest movie this summer–and one of the season’s few big successes–looks like it might be “Toy Story 3.”

The third in the innovative flagship film franchise, it was made by the Pixar Animation Studios unit of Disney (DIS). While he did not actually craft this film, as he does his “magical” devices, guess who is Disney’s largest individual shareholder, with a seven percent stake?

Yes, the Apple (AAPL) CEO.

While a string of prominent movie sequels is getting panned and performing weakly at the movie box office, “Toy Story 3” is garnering near-perfect reviews, as well as piles of money.

The animated flagship film–being shown in 3-D, as are all movies it seems like now–was No. 1. in North America this past weekend, hauling in just over $110 million in its debut. It is now at $141 million, picking up another $43.4 million internationally.

No wonder: It got a 98 percent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes movie review site, which is pretty unprecedented.

(Ironically, the free iPhone app for “Toy Story 3” is getting really poor feedback at the iTunes store.)

But the accolades for the movie are much deserved–BoomTown took the kids last night, and we were all blown away by its humor and heart, as well as terrific animation.

Also the tear-jerking, but happy, ending.

That kind of quality has been pretty typical for Pixar, which Jobs bought from movie icon George Lucas in 1986 for $10 million and sold to Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion.

That deal left Jobs as Disney’s largest individual shareholder and one of its directors.

He’s also making bank, with Disney shares up 46 percent compared with a year ago.

Of course, that’s nothing compared with Apple stock, which has spiked 94 percent since last year.

Which is what Hollywood would definitely call a very happy ending.

Until you see the movie, here’s an interesting video about the new characters in “Toy Story 3”:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald