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Gold on a Dead Man’s Chest

With the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel grossing approx $132 million over the weekend, Disney’s doing just fine in the post-Eisner era. Perhaps a media company can be run without a mega-ego at the helm.

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Not long ago, industry wags lamented what looked like a rigged succession process at Disney, designed to replace larger-than-life Michael Eisner with his buttoned-down deputy Robert Iger.

Now, nobody’s complaining. Since taking the CEO spot on October 1, 2005, Iger’s made some big moves and raked in major box office cash. During his final years as CEO, Eisner’s personality clash with Steve Jobs threatened to send Pixar to another distributor. After Eisner’s exit, Iger crafted a deal to acquire Pixar outright. A strategic triple play, the deal put Jobs on the Disney board, placed Pixar’s John Lasseter in charge of Disney Animation, and will bring innovative digital media ideas inside the mothership.

Now, with Pixar’s “Cars” still in theaters and “Pirates” breaking “Spider Man’s” opening weekend box office record, Iger is poised to control the summer’s two top-grossing films.

Not bad for a CEO who took over for a media-business legend.

Note: watches of HBO’s “Entourage” are loving the parallel: in the show, the fictitious movie “Aquaman” breaks Spiderman’s opening-weekend record on an episode broadcast just three weeks before Pirates does the same thing in real life.

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