The animation unit responsible for Disney's DVD-premiere movies such as THE LION KING 2: SIMBA'S PRIDE has been renamed DisneyToon Studios. The new name and logo were officially unveiled on June 5, 2003, at an internal event held at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. The new division, which split from Walt Disney Television Animation in January, is overseen by evp Sharon Morrill, in charge of all aspects of production and development for the Disney Video Premieres and MovieToons produced by DisneyToon Studios. She reports to David Stainton, president, Walt Disney Feature Animation.
Barry Blumberg continues to serve as president, Walt Disney Television Animation, reporting to Anne Sweeney, president at ABC Cable Networks.
Morrill supervised the launch of the first Disney Video Premiere in 1994 (THE RETURN OF JAFAR) and has been a driving force in developing the market for animated films made exclusively for home entertainment distribution. Under her leadership, the group has generated $2.8 billion in revenue from video/DVD premiere movies. In addition, Morrill's group produces MovieToon theatrical releases, including the successful RETURN TO NEVERLAND, THE JUNGLE BOOK 2 and PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE.
DisneyToon Studios' upcoming release schedule includes:THE LION KING 1-1/2 - on video and DVD, February 2004
WINNIE THE POOH'S SPRINGTIME WITH ROO on video and DVD in spring 2004
MICKEY, DONALD AND GOOFY IN THE THREE MUSKETEERS on video and DVD in summer 2004.
MULAN II on video and DVD - fall 2004
MICKEY'S TWICE UPON A CHRISTMAS on video and DVD in holiday 2004
In addition to its busy production slate, DisneyToon Studios is teaming with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for needy families June 17-19. About 120 volunteers will "donate sweat" at a construction site in Glendale. The volunteer endeavor is the brainchild of Morrill who encouraged the unique team building effort. Additional volunteer opportunities will follow throughout the year.