Walt Disney Internet Group announced the launch of its critically acclaimed Disney's Toontown Online (www.disney.co.uk/toontown) in the U.K. The award-winning downloadable massively multiplayer 3D online game first launched in the U.S. in June 2003 and hit the Japanese market earlier this year.
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Jack Bradbury, animator/comic book artist best known for his work with Walt Disney's characters in both media, died of kidney failure at a nursing home in Sylmar, California, May 15, 2004, at the age of 89, it was reported in the LOS ANGELES TIMES.
A native of Seattle, he started at Disney in the mid-1930s and worked his way up to a full animator position, working on such famous shorts as Ferdinand the Bull and on memorable features, including FANTASIA, BAMBI and PINOCCHIO.
Buena Vista International Television kicked off the start of the L.A. screenings for some 1,000 TV buyers from around the world in high-spirited style, unveiling six new and seven returning primetime series, with most of the cast and key creatives from each show on stage of the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood May 23, 2004, followed by a party across the street at The Annex, which featured a live performance by rocker Cyndi Lauper.
Jonathan Treisman has joined Walt Disney Feature Animation as vp of development, responsible for finding and developing new projects as well as furthering development on existing projects.
The Career Coach explains what recruiters do for their company or client and how to help them land you a job.
After an initial delay last December, Disney's popular WALT DISNEY TREASURES DVD series continues with the May 18, 2004, release of WAVE 3, four new, separate limited tin sets offering more uncut, uncensored and never assembled or released wonders (Walt Disney Home Ent., $32.99 each). All the volumes are fully restored and hosted by film historian Leonard Maltin.
Doug Miller has been appointed evp/md of Walt Disney International (Asia-Pacific), as well as svp/md of Walt Disney Television International (Asia Pacific), overseeing all Disney television activities in the region. Miller will continue to lead television development for the company in Asia and is based in Hong Kong.
Despite previous reports that the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels would be the last amusement park ride turned feature film, The Walt Disney Co. has announced that it plans to turn the Jungle Cruise ride into an adventure flick, reported HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. "It's completely inspired by and relates to the ride and will contain elements of the ride in the story," producer David Hoberman said.
The Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE, has posted the May issue of their newsletter, The Peg-Board, on their website at http://www.mpsc839.org which is hosted by the Animation World Network.
Thanks to a rise in income from the theme parks, ESPN and such DVDs as FINDING NEMO and BROTHER BEAR, The Walt Disney Co. reported a 73% operating income growth for the second fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2004. Every division saw growth, except the film studio, thanks to disappointing box office returns from HIDALGO and other releases.
Is the current state of animation employment a cause for concern for students entering the field in the U.S.? Animation vet Tom Sito reflects upon similar times and looks at the cycles of the animation business.
Disney Channel has hired David Levine as exec director, program planning, and Penelope Jewkes as director of program planning, both based at the networks Burbank, California headquarters.
Levine will oversee the development and implementation of programming strategies for Disney Channel as well as for ABC Familys Jetix block. Jewkes will be responsible for the programming strategies related to Playhouse Disney, Disney Channels preschool programming block.
Former Disney director Stanley Gold said he and fellow dissident investor Roy Disney chairman will nominate an alternate slate of directors next year if the current board does not "face up to the issues," he told REUTERS NEWS.
Comcast Corp. announced April 28, 2004 that it has withdrawn its proposal to merge with The Walt Disney Co., right after the Disney board of directors concluded its annual retreat where it reiterated its confidence in ceo Michael Eisner, which, in turn, angered Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold, who have been trying to oust the chief executive.
Brian L. Roberts, president/ceo of Comcast said, "It has become clear that there is no interest on the part of Disney's management and board in putting Comcast and Disney together. As a result, we have withdrawn our offer."
Board members of the Walt Disney Co. assembled at Disneyland on Monday for an informal two-day retreat to discuss, among other things, whether to renew ceo Michael Eisners contract, which expires in 2006, the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported. CalPERS and other pension funds recently demanded a meeting with the board, which is scheduled for May 21, 2004.
Disney and Hanna-Barbera animtor Harry Holt passed away April 14, 2004. He was 93 years old.
Holt first went to work at Disney in 1936 during the hiring ramp up for production on SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. Trained at the studio, he started out as an apprentice and worked his way helping develop the feature. He would later help design scenes for LADY AND THE TRAMP.
After 20 years at Disney, he moved to Chicago to work in television production and art direction. Later he joined HB, where he worked on THE FLINTSTONES and TOM AND JERRY.
The Walt Disney Co. has made some sweeping changes this week in the top executive ranks at the ABC network. Anne Sweeney and George Bodenheimer have been named co-chairs of Disney's Media Networks unit. Sweeney will be adding the ABC Television Network, which includes ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime, ABC News and Touchstone Television to her portfolio of responsibilities, while Bodenheimer remains head of ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports.
The ongoing war between The Walt Disney Co. and ex-Disney board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold has flared up again with the two sides debating the actual percentage of No Confidence votes received by Disney ceo and former chairman Michael Eisner and board member and newly elected chairman George Mitchell.
Roy Disney sued the Walt Disney Co. on April 8 to release information on how many employees participated in last month's protest vote against the reelection of chief exec Michael Eisner, the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported.
In the suit filed in Delaware Chancery Court, Disney asked the court to make the company show documents, records, proxies and ballots from the annual meeting in Philadelphia.
TOKYOPOP Inc. and Disney Publishing Worldwide are teaming on a new line of Cine-Manga books. The first new Disney Cine-Manga title, LILO & STITCH, is set to debut in stores April 2004, with versions of THAT'S SO RAVEN, PRINCESS DIARIES 2, THE INCREDIBLES and THE LIZZIE MCGUIRE MOVIE set to roll out throughout the year. In total, there will be more than 24 Disney Cine-Manga projects slated for release over the next three years.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles McCoy dismissed the 13-year-old lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co. brought by Stephen Slesinger Inc., the owners of the Winnie the Pooh merchandising rights, after concluding that they "tampered with the administration of justice" by hiring a private investigator to take documents from Disney's trash bins. Mondays ruling spares Disney from having to pay royalties and damages that might have totaled hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Disney.
DISNEYS BRANDY & MR. WHISKERS and DISNEYS AMERICAN DRAGON: JAKE LONG will join the Disney Channel new season schedule while Toon Disney and ABC Family will add three new series, SUPER ROBOT MONKEY TEAM HYPERFORCE GO from Walt Disney Television Animation, the mid-season series W.I.T.C.H. from SIP Animation, based on the fast-selling international comic magazine from Disney Publishing; and DRAGON BOOSTER from Alliance Atlantis.