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Zemeckis & Disney to Partner on Performance Capture

The Walt Disney Studios formally announced that it is getting into the performance capture business with director Robert Zemeckis and his ImageMovers production company. This would not only complement Disney's animation output with the new 3D animation hybrid format, but would also expand its digital 3-D capability.

The multi award-winning team of Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey will set up a new performance capture unit based in Northern California. They will have new technology and will fold ImageMovers personnel into the new company. They have pioneered this hybrid with THE POLAR EXPRESS, the Oscar-nominated MONSTER HOUSE and the upcoming BEOWULF, utilizing innovative performance capture technology, staff and pipeline from Sony Pictures Imageworks.

The trio will produce all of the movies, with Zemeckis expected to direct a number of the projects. The Walt Disney Studios will distribute and market the movies worldwide.

Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, said, "The creation of this new company is yet another step in our leadership role in cutting edge technology as it relates to the movie industry. Bob is an amazing director who continues to push the envelope in creating the best in cinematic experiences. Along with his partners, Jack and Steve, they are one of the finest producing teams in the business. They have a real pulse on the future of motion pictures especially as it pertains to the creativity and technology of motion capture and 3-D film experiences. They are true leaders in every sense of the word and we are proud to be partners with them in this new endeavor."

Zemeckis added, "Jack, Steve and I are looking forward with great excitement to be working with Dick Cook and his team. In addition to being an enthusiastic champion of 3-D movies, The Walt Disney Studios is committed to the advancement of digital cinema in all areas, including performance capture."

Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures will release BEOWULF on Nov. 16 in both conventional and in approximately 1,000 Real D digital 3-D theaters as well as other digital 3-D theaters.

The Walt Disney Studios is a unit of The Walt Disney Co. and produces and distributes motion pictures under the following banners: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Disney-Pixar Animation and DisneyToon Studios, as well as Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax Films. Buena Vista International serves as the studio's international distribution arm. Buena Vista Home Ent. distributes Disney and other film titles to the rental and sell-through home entertainment markets worldwide. Disney Theatrical Productions is one of the largest producers of Broadway musicals, and the Buena Vista Music Group distributes original music and motion picture soundtracks under its four record labels: Walt Disney Records, Buena Vista Records, Hollywood Records and Lyric Street Records.

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