Well is wasnt exactly Santa Claus who attended the Animation Guilds holiday open house party on Dec. 12, 2003 but it was just about as anticipated and welcome amongst animators when Roy E. Disney strode into the banquet room at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, California. The huge crowd rose to its feet and parted like the Red Sea for Moses when Disney, embroiled in a power structure with Michael Eisner for the direction of the Walt Disney Co., made his dramatic entrance. Animation chat rooms have been buzzing with gratitude for Disneys letter to Eisner, in which he resigned from the company board of directors before it officially dumped him, and accused Eisner of mishandling and leading the company astray from the vision of his uncle and father who founded the company.
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If the honey jar dont fit you must In another twist to the legal battle between WINNIE THE POOH U.S. rights holders the Slesinger family versus Walt Disney Co., the Slesingers have hired O.J. Simpsons criminal trial lawyer Johnnie Cochrin their ninth lawyer, reported the Associated Press. In mid October, the law firm Jones Day stepped down from the case after less than five months on the 12-year long case, because the family could no longer afford its services.
Paul Robinson, svp of worldwide programming strategy for ABC Cable Networks Group and svp/md of Disney U.K. branded television is leaving the Walt Disney Co. to pursue new opportunities.
Following is the text of Roy Disney's Letter sent to Michael Eisner, asking him to resign:
Mr. Michael D. Eisner, ChairmanThe Walt Disney Company500 South Buena Vista StreetBurbank, CA 91521
It is with deep sadness and regret that I send you this letter of resignation from the Walt Disney Company, both as Chairman of the Feature Animation Division and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Close on the heels of Roy Disneys resignation from the Walt Disney Co., Stanley P. Gold today, Dec. 1, 2003, sent the following letter of resignation to the Walt Disney board of directors. Gold, 60, worked with Roy Disney in 1984 to save the company from a takeover attempt and install Eisner as chairman. Gold heads Shamrock Holdings, which manages Roy Disney's investments.
The text of Golds letter follows:
December 1, 2003
To the Board of Directors of the Walt Disney Company:
Roy E. Disney, vice chairman of Walt Disney Co. stepped down from the board of directors and called on chairman/chief exec Michael Eisner to resign in a scathing letter.
On Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003, he sent a three-page letter to Eisner criticizing the chairman's leadership over the past seven years. Disney has called for Eisner's resignation in the past, but the idea was rejected by the board.
LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. has teamed with Disney Publishing Worldwide to bring Disney character to its LeapPad Learning System. Children place the Disney books on the LeapPad player, pop in the cartridge and touch any page with the Magic Pen to have LeapFrog read the words. These books also work with the LeapPad Plus Writing Learning System and the Quantum Pad Learning System.
Andy Bird leaves Warners TBS International to join Walt Disney as the new president of Walt Disney International effective January 12, 2004. The U.K. native will be based in Burbank, California.
From a strategic perspective, one of Disneys most significant long-term growth opportunities resides in markets outside of the United States, and it is crucial that the company continue to have a well-coordinated approach to business development around the world, said Michael Eisner, Disney chairman/ceo.
Marketing veteran Dennis Rice has been named svp, publicity for Buena Vista Pictures marketing and Heidi Trotta has been elevated to the position of svp, communications for The Walt Disney Studios.
Mickey Mouse celebrates his 75th anniversary today as one of the world's most beloved cultural icons. Ever since Mickey debuted in the first synchronized sound cartoon, STEAMBOAT WILLIE, on Nov. 18, 1928, he has remained in our consciousness while also presiding as the face of The Walt Disney Co. around the globe. Today, the company honored Mickey 75th by kicking off 18 months of celebration beginning at Walt Disney World Resort with the unveiling of 75 uniquely designed, 700-pound, 6-foot-tall Mickey statues -- a tribute to Mickey from an impressive group of friends. Chairman/ceo Michael D.
Due to "overwhelming consumer demand and retailer orders for Buena Vista Home Entertainment's WALT DISNEY TREASURES WAVE 3," the highly anticipated and collectible limited series has been pushed back from December 2, 2003 to May 18, 2004. Apparently Technicolor is backed up with manufacturing orders (including FINDING NEMO, THE LION KING and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN), because, according to an official statement, "demand for the four titles in the upcoming wave has exceeded BVHE's ability to manufacture enough [units]."
The Disney Channel will debut a new animated series DISNEYS DAVE THE BARBARIAN, from Walt Disney Television Animation, in January 2004. Created by Doug Langdale, DISNEYS DAVE THE BARBARIAN follows the comedic adventures of an offbeat family in the Middle Ages as they protect themselves and their kingdom from a world of odd foes. Dave is joined by his primping older sister Candy and his fierce younger sister Fang.
Walt Disney has greenlit two new 3D projects from LILO & STITCH creator Chris Sanders and veteran animator Glen Keane. Carolyn Soper, vp of production for Walt Disney Feature Animation, briefly discussed the projects at a Producers Guild function on Nov. 6, 2003.
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, recently unveiled MICKEY'S PHILHARMAGIC, a new 3D film presented by Kodak starring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other favorite Disney characters. It marks the first attraction to feature the beloved Disney characters in computer animation. Set in Fantasyland Concert Hall, the musical experience unfolds on one of the largest - if not the largest -- seamless screen ever created for a three-dimensional film: a 150-foot-wide canvas. Disney Feature Animation in Burbank was responsible for the animation.
The Walt Disney Co. recognized 11 honorees as 2003 Disney Legends for their "creativity and imagination" in a ceremony held Oct. 16 at Disney Legends Plaza on the studio lot in Burbank. Disney vice chairman Roy Disney presided over the induction ceremony, which has honored 163 individual talents since 1987, beginning with actor Fred MacMurray.
The 2003 Disney Legends honorees are as follows:
Make it eight. Eight law firms that is. Law firm Jones Day, which represent the Slesinger family in their case against Disney over Winnie the Pooh right, have stepped down, reported DAILY VARIETY. In papers filed, the law firm stepped down because the Slesinger family informed them they could no longer afford the firms services. The family has not appointed new attorneys yet. The law firm has only been involved in the 12-year long lawsuit since June. On Oct. 8, 2003, the case was moved over to a new judge, Charles W. McCoy, who is L.A.
Disney president Robert Iger divulged on Wednesday that he has come up with a compromise to stay in partnership with Pixar Animation Studios. In a video conference with business analysts, Iger said he has offered to revise the terms of the current 50/50 profit split with Pixar in the hopes of forging a contract renewal. Disney would provide an ownership stake and greater share of the profits on Pixar's next two computer-animated features, THE INCREDIBLES and CARS, in exchange for a greater distribution fee, as reported in THE NEW YORK TIMES.
In what has now become the longest running lawsuit in the L.A. Superior Court, the case of POOH heirs, the Slesinger family, versus Disney has received a new judge, according to a report in DAILY VARIETY. The man in charge of complex legal suits, Charles W. McCoy, will take over for Judge Ernest Hiroshige, who requested the move. The first hearing in the next phase of this mega-suit is October 22, 2003.
The Walt Disney Company announced the launch of its MovieBeam on-demand movie rental service, allowing consumers instant access to recent DVD and video releases, as well as a wide variety of popular films from almost all of the major studios. The service will first launch in Jacksonville, Florida; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Spokane, Washington. MovieBeam has agreements in place with DreamWorks SKG, MGM Studios, Miramax Films, New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox Studios and Walt Disney Studios.
Bill Desowitz takes a look at how Disney Studio France adapted the artwork of Salvador Dali to complete Destino.
In further belt-tightening, the Walt Disney Co. plans to shut down Walt Disney Animation (Japan) in Tokyo. Part of DisneyToon Studios that specializes in DVD-premieres (101 DALMATIANS II: PATCH'S LONDON ADVENTURE) and smaller-budgeted theatrical releases (PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE, THE TIGGER MOVIE), the Japanese facility employs about 100 animators and will cease operations after completing the WINNIE THE POOH spin-off, THE HEFFALUMP MOVIE. Work for 2004 and beyond will quickly segue over to Walt Disney Animation (Australia), which recently made JUNGLE BOOK II.