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.
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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.
Buena Vista International Television (BVITV) has concluded multi-year, multi-genre licensing agreements for the daytime and primetime programming on terrestrial channel Super RTL in Germany. The sale of childrens and family programming includes live-action and animated features, TV movies, as well as Disney-branded animated and live-action kids series.
HOLES, the family adventure concerning an ancient family curse and kids forced to dig holes to build character, comes to DVD (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99) on Sept. 23, 2003. Starring Stanley Yelnats (Disney Channel's EVEN STEVENS), HOLES is based on the Newberry award-winning book by Louis Sachar.
The WALT DISNEY TREASURES collectible DVD series continues with WAVE 3 on Dec. 2, 2003. The four new, separate, two-disc sets (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $32.99 each) include: WALT DISNEY ON THE FRONT LINES (featuring exclusive declassified material from World War II-themed productions); MICKEY MOUSE IN LIVING COLOR (VOLUME TWO); THE CHRONOLOGICAL DONALD; and WALT DISNEYS TOMORROWLAND. Each volume is fully restored and introduced by historian Leonard Maltin.
"It doesn't look good," remarked a Disney insider when asked about the prospects of renewing its partnership with Pixar Animation Studios. "It's not a slam dunk, but that doesn't mean it won't work out either," remarked another studio insider. Now THE LOS ANGLES TIMES reports that Disney and Pixar are far apart in their contract negotiations, which Disney co-chairman Michael Eisner would like to conclude by the studio's next board meeting on Sept. 23, 2003.
A federal judge dismissed a shareholder lawsuit against Walt Disney Co. on Sept. 9, 2003 that claimed the company had defrauded investors by hiding potential damages at stake in a separate legal dispute over WINNIE THE POOH merchandise, REUTERS reported.
ABC finally, officially, released its new ABC Kids fall lineup, which starts Sept. 20, 2003 with two new series, LILO & STITCH, THE SERIES, a spin-off of last summers highly successful animated feature, as well as Disney Channels hit sitcom, THATS SO RAVEN. Commenting on the new additions, Jonathan Barzilay, gm/svp of ABC Kids and Toon Disney said, These distinctive series will add new dimension to the popular ABC Kids lineup.
ABC Kids Saturday Morning Line-Up (all times are ET):
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.