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Disney Headline News

Stitch DVD Bridges Original Movie and Fall Series

STITCH! THE MOVIE (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99), the DVD premiere sequel to LILO & STITCH that's currently in stores, concentrates more on the antics of the mischievous alien than on the domestic crises of the little Hawaiian girl, as they try to thwart the other 625 alien experiments on the loose. But that's because it serves as a bridge between the successful and gorgeous feature and the upcoming LILO & STITCH: THE TV SERIES, premiering Sept. 20, 2003 on ABC's Saturday morning lineup and on the Disney Channel.

Disney Headline News

Kim Possible Next Mission Hits Happy Meal

Disney Channel and McDonalds have agreed to bring characters from the animated TV series KIM POSSIBLE to the fast-food restaurants Happy Meals. Featuring action figures and spy accessories, the new Happy Meal toys will be available September 5, 2003 through October 2, 2003.

Disney Headline News

Shadedbox to Develop Francis Feature at Disney

Hot off its Student Emmy Award for the clever animated short LITTLE RED PLANE, Shadedbox, the Pasadena-based animation studio formed two years ago by a group of college buddies, has optioned its first CG-animated feature to Disney. LETS GET FRANCIS is a fast-paced comedy about two hamster brothers, Joe and Francis, who live inside a mall pet store, and compete for the attention of customers during the busy holiday season.

Disney Headline News

Disney Offers 100 Kids the Chance to Draw with Disney Artists

Along with six Disney filmmakers, Walt Disney ceo Michael Eisner will be hosting 100 children for lunch and a hands-on demonstration of how films like LILO & STITCH, THE LION KING and TARZAN were made. The event will take place in the Disney Animation attraction at Disney's California Adventure park in Anaheim on September 6, 2003 starting at 11:30 am.

Film Headline News

Destino Follows Melbourne Prize with Rhode Island Kudos

After winning the Grand Prize for Best Short Film at the 52nd Melbourne International Film Festival on Aug. 8, 2003, DESTINO repeated the honor two nights later at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. The recently completed Disney project, which picks up where Salvador Dali and Walt Disney left off 57 years ago, will now play at festivals in Venice (Aug. 27-Sept. 6), New York (Oct. 4-20), Chicago (Oct. 2-16) and Montreal (Oct. 9-19).

Film Headline News

Destino Seems Destined for Oscar Nomination After Taking Melbourne Prize

The recently completed DESTINO, which surrealist Spanish artist Salvador Dali and Walt Disney aborted in 1946 leaving behind unfinished fragments, storyboards, sketches and an original score, won the Grand Prize for Best Short Film at the 52nd Melbourne International Film Festival, Aug. 8, 2003.

Disney Headline News

Disney Films Available for Download at Movielink

Buena Vista Pay Television has signed a pact with Movielink to allow viewers to download Walt Disney Co new releases and selected library titles. This landmark distribution deal encompasses films from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone, Miramax and Dimension. The first titles to be available at Movielink include the Academy Award Best Picture winner CHICAGO, GANGS OF NEW YORK, THE RECRUIT, 25TH HOUR, FRIDA and THE JUNGLE BOOK 2, MONSTERS, INC., THE ROOKIE and IN THE BEDROOM, among others.

Disney Headline News

Pirates Sequel Already in Works

With PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK already past $85M after one week of release, Disney has acted quickly in setting course on a sequel with all of the main participants, including Johnny Depp, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, and confirmed by a Walt Disney Co. spokesperson. No story has been conjured, but writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are said to be huddling with the studio.

Disney Headline News

Disney Int'l TV Promotes Kreissl

Walt Disney Television International promoted Michael Kreissl from managing director of Disney Channel Germany to vp, programming and production of WDTV-I, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Kreisel will continue his position with the German channel and will oversee planning of the programming schedules and production for eight Disney channels (France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Scandinavia, U.K. and Middle East) in addition to 42 Disney branded blocks across 32 countries. Kreissl reports to John Hardie, svp and managing director of Walt Disney Branded TV, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Disney Headline News

Disney Books New Comics Deal With Gemstone

After a four-year hiatus for Disney comic books in the U.S. market, Disney Publishing Worldwide has signed a deal with Gemstone Publishing to bring Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and other Disney favorites back onto the printed page. Gemstone will release the first two monthly comics, WALT DISNEY COMICS AND STORIES and UNCLE SCROOGE, in June at $6.95, while the first bi-monthly, DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES ($7.95), debuts in July, and monthlies DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS and MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS ($2.95), arrive in September.

Disney Headline News

Cablevision to Offer New Disney Channel on Demand

Disney's new branded service, Disney Channel on Demand, will be offered to Cablevision's 400,000 digital TV subscribers across the nation for an additional $4.95 per month. As part of a pact with ABC Cable Networks Group, this video-on-demand package consists of original series programming for preschoolers from Playhouse Disney and original movies and series for older kids.

Disney Headline News

Newly Completed Destino Premieres at Annecy

It was destiny after all that the curious, unfinished 1946 animated collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali be completed. Long considered a lost cause, DESTINO was recently produced by the Disney Co. and given a surprise world premiere June 2, 2003 at the opening of this year's Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The five-minute short will also screen June 3 on the lake at 10:00 pm, with free access to all Annecians.

Disney Headline News

Disney Wants Out of Retail Stores

Walt Disney has announced that Disney Stores president Peter Whitford is stepping down and the firm is looking to sell its 548-store chain with locations throughout the U.S. and Europe. The retail stores have struggled in the past few years and U.S. stores have been downsized from 522 to 387. In 2001, Disney sold all its stores in Japan to Oriental Land Co., which runs the Tokyo Disney Resort theme park. However, Disney says it will hold onto the six Disney Stores in Hong Kong, in anticipation of the opening of Hong Kong Disney in the beginning of 2006.

Online Headline News

Disney's Multiplayer 3D Online Game To Launch June 2003

Disney Online, part of the Walt Disney Internet Group, has announced it will launch Disneys Toontown Online (www.toontown.com), the first massively multiplayer (MMP) 3D online game designed for kids and families, on June 2, 2003. To handle billing, customers will buy a Disney specialty card powered by AT&T Prepaid Web Cents technology, a new secure payment alternative for consumer purchases of online digital content. The cards will be available in retail stores starting in September 2003.

Disney Headline News

Disney TV Turning Japanese

Twenty years after the first international Disney theme park opened in Tokyo and the Disney Channel debuted in the U.S., Disney will launch the Disney Channel Japan on cable and satellite in winter 2003/2004. Satellite platform Sky PerfecTV will offer the 24-hour channel as an á la carte option in winter 2003/4, with the channel also going into basic tier on Japanese cable networks around the same time.

Animation Headline News

Disney Chief Says Computer Animation Rules

Traditional animators' worst fears were realized as David Stainton, Disney's recently appointed head of feature animation, told the 525 animation employees gathered April 28, 2003 that he wants them to produce lush, classic fairy tales entirely on computers, according to a profile on the Disney exec in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES. Animation Website forums and chat rooms have been abuzz for some time about Disney possibly eliminating traditional animation altogether at its Burbank, California studio.

Disney Headline News

Produce Customized Disney Stationery Items Via New Website

Online users can customize their own stationery goods with Disney characters via Disney Magic Artist online (www.disney.com/magicartist), recently launched by Disney Online, part of the Walt Disney Internet Group. The new site, powered by HP, allows visitors to design and print their own coloring pages, greeting cards, calendars, play sets and personalized pages for scrapbooks and photo albums. "Printables have always ranked among our most popular online attractions," said Ken Goldstein, evp/gm for Disney Online.

Disney Headline News

Disney Brings Shankman On For Enchanted

VARIETY reports that BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE director Adam Shankman has been brought on board to direct another Disney picture, ENCHANTED, a live-action/animated romantic fable about a fairytale princess banished from the cartoon kingdom who finds herself loving her live-action life as a real flesh-and-blood person in New York City. The cartoon prince who loves her and the evil queen who banished her follow the princess to the Big Apple to mix things up. Barry Josephson and Barry Sonnenfeld will serve as producers while Sunil Perkash will exec produce the script by Bill Kelly and rewritten by Rita Hsiao (TOY STORY 2) and Todd Alcott (ANTZ). Shankman is also attached to direct the live-action version of THE JETSONS for Warner Bros., produce Denise Di Novi and Hanna-Barbera Prods. Start date has not been set yet for the film about the futuristic family, which has been attached to many top producers and directors in Hollywood for more than 20 years.

Animation Headline News

Disney Hopes for Blustery Box Office As Piglet Movie Opens

Walt Disney Picture's gift for the start of spring and a safe film for parents to take their kids to is PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE, opening in theaters across America March 21, 2003. The second ever original animated Pooh feature created for the big screen, it follows in the successful footsteps of the 2001 release of THE TIGGER MOVIE. The Hundred Acre Wood characters have appeared in four previous theatrical featurettes, three Disney Video Premiere releases, four holiday-themed primetime television specials and two TV series.

Disney Headline News

FOX Kids Europe Counts Weigold In

Martin Weigold, CFO of Fox Kids Europe, will remain seated in his position for another two years in the game of musical chairs underway at the broadcaster ever since the Walt Disney Company bought a majority interest in FKE. Weigold has been with FKE since 1999. Previously Weigold was VP of finance at Walt Disney TV Int'l and served on the board of Super RTL, the German free-to-air broadcaster.

Animation Headline News

Max Howard Sets On SecondSun's Board

Animation industry veteran Max Howard has joined SecondSun Entertainment's board of directors. Howard is chairman/CEO/founder of Melwood Pictures, a Hollywood-based producer of animation and live-action films. Formerly he was president of feature animation at Warner Bros., a SVP at The Walt Disney Co. and, most recently, a producer at DreamWorks where he helped develop and produce SPIRIT, STALLION OF THE CIMARRON amongst the DreamWorks slate. While he was at Warner Bros., the studio produced THE IRON GIANT, QUEST FOR CAMELOT and SPACE JAM.

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