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.
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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.
On Feb. 24, 2004, the epic legal battle between the Walt Disney Co. and Winnie the Pooh copyright holders, the Slesinger family, heated up with Disney accusations that the family stole and altered documents, reported REUTERS. Disney lawyers again asked Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charles McCoy, who took over the case in October, to throw out the case, which could lose Disney hundreds of millions of dollars.
As Disney enters the Oscar home stretch with the acclaimed DESTINO, the studio will soon unveil its next animated short, LORENZO, at Florida Film Festival 2004 in Orlando. This five-minute black comedy about a fat and sassy cat terrorized by its own tail into a fit of ballroom dancing will have its world premiere March 6 at 12:00 noon at the Enzian Theater. LORENZO will screen again on March 10 at 7:00 pm and March 12 at 9:15 pm.
After Walt Disney Co. directors rejected Comcast's unsolicited $54 billion bid as too low and rallied behind beleaguered chairman Michael Eisner, Comcast defended its merger proposal on Tuesday, leaving doubt about its willingness to sweeten the offer. On Tuesday, Walt Disney Co. lost 9 cents to $26.83. But the board said it would "consider any legitimate proposal" that would create shareholder value. Comcast was up 87 cents at $30.77 after several sessions of declines.
Kermit and his Muppets pals have decided to move into the uproarious mouse house, having been acquired by The Walt Disney Co. in a deal announced Feb. 17, 2004, on the heels of Disney rejecting Comcasts hostile bid to buy the entertainment conglomerate. Disney has been trying for some time to acquire from Jim Henson Co.
Since its Tuesday release, Walt Disney Pictures' THE LION KING 1 1/2 has sold more than 3 million combined DVD/VHS units in North America. Based on this sales figure alone, THE LION KING 1 1/2 is now positioned to be the best-selling direct-to-video DVD of all time.
With cable TV giant Comcast Corp. stunning the entertainment world with its proposed offer on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2004, to buy the Walt Disney Co. for an estimated stock value of $66 billion, the industry was abuzz with speculation that Disney chairman/ceo Michael Eisner's days are now numbered. Especially in light of the fact that Institutional Shareholder Services, a leading provider of proxy voting and corporate governance services, also recommended on Wednesday that Disney shareholders withhold their vote for Eisner's reelection to the board of directors.
The Walt Disney Co. and Microsoft Corp. have signed a multiyear agreement to cooperate on several long-term digital media initiatives to improve the quality, security and reach of digital content within the home and on Microsoft Windows XP-based PCs, as well as on a growing number of home and portable entertainment devices. As part of the agreement, Disney will license Microsoft Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. Disney and Microsoft have identified three areas of joint focus that utilize effective rights management:
FINDING NEMO cast no doubt that Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Pictures) continues to ride the biggest wave in animation as it won in nine out of the nine categories it was nominated in at the 2003 Annie Awards held Feb. 7, 2004 at the Alex Theater in Glendale, California, culminating in the big kahuna, Best Feature. While it competed against 2D entries, including the beloved TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, animation professionals and fans, who comprise the voting membership of ASIFA-Hollywood that doles out the awards, favored the 3D production.
Everything was back to normal Friday on Wall Street after Pixar stock dipped slightly on Thursday following ceo Steve Jobs' mid-week assault on Disney during a conference call with analysts to rejoice Pixar's fourth quarter earnings. On Friday, shares of Pixar Animation Studios stock rose 1.1% to finish at $63.27 after slipping 1.5% on Thursday to finish at $62.58. On Wednesday, Pixar reported net income of $83.9M, or $1.44 a share, for the period-ended Dec. 31, thanks to the record-breaking FINDING NEMO, compared to $17M, or 31 cents a share for the comparable period in 2002.
A mouse displaced out of the Disney house is roaring. Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold have been busy in the past week stirring up supporters and media attention in their efforts to oust Michael Eisner, chairman of The Walt Disney Co.
Longtime Disney artist John Hench passed away on Feb. 5, 2004 after suffering heart failure after a brief illness and hospitalization at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. He was 95 years old.
Gnomon alumnus, Dave Pascuito has designed a new Website for Gnomon School of Visual Effects. The new site features one-click navigation, lots of student images, expanded instructor information and very clear descriptions of the numerous training options available through Gnomon, which is located in Hollywood. Check out www.gnomon3d.com.
It's official: Pixar has concluded discussions to extend its long-term partnership with The Walt Disney Co., and will go its own way as a potential indie powerhouse with its own strong brand identity. The Emeryville, California-based CG animation studio still has two features to deliver to Disney: THE INCREDIBLES in 2004 and CARS in 2005, but is now free to continue negotiations for a distribution deal with another studio. Last August, Pixar chairman and ceo Steve Jobs initiated talks with Fox and Warner Bros.