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A Few Less Animated Ghosts at Disney

Production has been halted on the Walt Disney Co.'s A FEW GOOD GHOSTS at Feature Animation in Orlando, Florida (BROTHER BEAR, LILO & STITCH and MULAN) due to creative differences and subject matter deemed not "universally appealing." The shutdown falls on the heels of recent closures (Paris and Tokyo) and layoffs, including 50 at the Orlando facility. It also puts into doubt the future of the Orlando facility, which employed 258 artists and staff on GHOSTS, a 2D/3D hybrid directed by Barry Cook (MULAN). Set to bluegrass music, the voice cast included Hal Holbrook, Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin.

According to a company response, "We have shut down production on A FEW GOOD GHOSTS due to [a] variety [of] creative reasons. At this point in time it is undetermined if there will be layoffs or not. We are exploring our options and looking at our overall development slate to determine our next steps with the many talented animators." A decision on the fate of the Orlando facility is expected in January, as consolidation continues to swirl around the studio's home base in Burbank.

The beleaguered GHOSTS (previously titled MY PEOPLES and ANGEL AND HER NO GOOD SISTER) got caught in the continuing struggle to redefine feature animation at Disney, not only in terms of the trendier computer animation style popularized by Pixar but also in terms of commercial appeal. The plot centers on a group of ghosts inhabiting folk art dolls.

Meanwhile, BROTHER BEAR collected another $12M in its fourth weekend at the box office, bringing the total to $63M.

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