Charlie Munger on Disney & Paramount: BLOOD BATH in Movie Business | Collection: Charlie Munger #289
Art Presser writes in and says, “The Florida governor and legislative body has recently taken a stand to try and control Disney’s exclusive self-governing authority previously set up in Florida under the founder, Walt Disney. As your organization, and I guess, by this I mean, DJCO still owns Disney shares, you think Disney shares are still a good investment given this backdrop?"
We’ve never owned Disney shares.
That’s my mistake then.
Daily Journal, no. But Disney is an interesting case. Practically every business that Disney has, has gotten tougher than it used to be. Again, welcome to human life. Think about Disney once owned the world. Lion King was running a long run on the Theater District of New York. They went from triumph to triumph, marching, marching, marching. All of a sudden, practically every front, it’s more difficult. This is what happened. Imagine Kodak, which totally dominated photography in the world, and they invented this new technology, Kodak wiped out its common shareholders.
Do you think Disney is headed down the same path? Or do you think that they’ll be able to pivot? I mean, I know you followed the company closely.
No, no. I think Disney has a lot of assets in it. But it’s unpleasant to have something — how would you like running the sports, ESPN now at Disney compared to its heyday? It’s going to be way harder for them.
The stock is up this year.
Movies look to me like it’s going to be a bloodbath, too. So it’s not a bit easy. And it was easy in the heyday of ESPN, Disney made nothing but money out of ESPN. It was a total gold mine.
What about other movie businesses? I’m thinking of Paramount, which is a huge holding that Berkshire now owns recently?
I live within a few blocks of Paramount Studios. And I don’t even know anybody at Paramount. I have avoided the movies like the plague as an investor all my life.
I’ve never made an investment in the movie business in any way, shape, manner, or form. It always gives me the willies. I don’t like the unions. I don’t like the crazy agents. I don’t like the goddamn crazy lawyers. I don’t like the crazy movie stars. I don’t like the people who sell dope to the musicians. Everything about it is not my culture.
I like those old English actors when they came over. I grew up with them.
And — but basically, movies are not my scene. So I avoided it. It’s always been very hard for the people to put up the money. It may be a very good place to make a living as an actor or a writer or something or a musician. But it’s a hard place to make money if you’re an investor.
Charlie Munger believes that the current business environment has become more challenging for Disney, with many of its businesses facing difficulties. He also expresses skepticism about the movie industry as a whole, stating that it's not his scene and has historically been a challenging place for investors to make money.