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.
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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 announced April 28, 2004 that it has withdrawn its proposal to merge with The Walt Disney Co., right after the Disney board of directors concluded its annual retreat where it reiterated its confidence in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 As a result, we have withdrawn our offer."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.
Bill Desowitz gets a first look at Disneys new animated short, Lorenzo, about a narcissistic cat that boasts a unique look.
Disney artist David Willardson has opened his pop art exhibit, "Still Laughing" The showing opened on March 4, 2004 at SoHo's Animazing Gallery, located at 461 Broome Street (between Greene and Mercer Streets). The show will be in the gallery for a few months.
"I dont believe that my work should be considered Pop Art," said Willardson. "Its not just about bringing mass media into the art world in this case. Its about evoking memories of your childhood and bringing joy back to life in which we often forget as a society that is always on the move."
The Walt Disney Company is exploring India as a production base for its animation and feature films, and is planning to tap the country's commercial ability, including that in radio, animation and TV broadcasting and content, reports the HINDUSTAN TIMES.
Disney veteran animators Tom Bancroft and Rob Corley have formed a new animation development company, Funnypages Prods. Llc, which joins their already existing subsidiary comic book publishing company, Funnypages Press in Orlando, Florida. Funnypages Prods. will offer a full range of animation production as well as illustration, character design and artistic development. The animation house has also developed many original properties for film and television.
A whopping 43% of Walt Disney Co. shareholders voted against retaining Michael Eisner as chairman and ceo today (March 3, 2004) in Philadelphia, delivering a stunning blow that lead to the Disney board of directors stripping Eisner of his chairman title within hours after the vote, the strongest rebuke in U.S. corporate history. The Disney board then elected former U. S. Senator George Mitchell to the newly created position of chairman of the board.
A day before the Walt Disney Co.'s annual shareholder meeting in Philadelphia, ex-directors Roy Disney and Stanley Gold proclaimed at a news conference they will work as long as it takes to oust Disney chairman and ceo Michael Eisner. They believe that a dissenting vote of 15-20% will be sufficient. Gold said whatever the outcome they are not going away. They hope to rally as many as 1,000 shareholders during their 15-minute presentation at Wednesday's (March 3, 2004)10:00 am meeting (EST), which will be Webcast live at www.disney.com/investors.
Six more state pension funds lined up Thursday to oppose the reelection of chairman Michael Eisner to the Walt Disney Co. board. Funds in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia plus the California State Teachers Retirement System joined the California Public Employees Retirement System in withholding support for the embattled Eisner, according to Bloomberg.
The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the 29th largest single shareholder in Disney, has announced its decision to withhold voting for Michael Eisner for the position of chairman/ceo of The Walt Disney Company at Disneys annual shareholder meeting on March 3, 2004. CalPERS cited the firms dismal performance for the past five years and its lack of confidence in the long-term strategic vision of the company for its decision.