The Walt Disney Co. has inked a deal with Japan's second-largest toy maker, Tomy Co. Ltd., to market, produce and distribute its toys and games in Japan. The exclusive deal does allow Tomy to sublicense certain products to other toy producers. The pact takes affect in April 2001. "This agreement completes a restructuring of our toy business that we began in September, when we established licensing arrangements with Hasbro and Mattel," said Andy Mooney, president of Disney Consumer Products Worldwide.
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Great gift ideas for Disney buffs of all ages. Plus, the AWN store has plenty more Disney favorites available...
In celebration of the initial release of FANTASIA/2000 on VHS and DVD, Walt Disney is releasing the original FANTASIA on DVD. Hitting stores November 14, 2000, fans can own the magic and spectacle of both of Disney's masterpieces. The FANTASIA/2000 DVD will feature: a 48-minute making of documentary; two commentary tracks featuring artist Al Hirschfeld, executive producer Roy E. Disney and many of the filmmakers; the 1953 Oscar winning short film, TOOT, WHISTLE, PLUNK AND BOOM; and the never-before-released short entitled MELODY.
Q: What do some non-dancing cats and a llama with an attitude have in common? A: Mark Dindal. Here the director of Cats Don't Dance and Disney's upcoming major holiday release, The Emperor's New Groove, sits down with Joe Strike and talks and talks and talks...
Disney has ordered 21 episodes of a new toon series entitled, LLOYD IN SPACE, to air as part of the "Disney's One Saturday Morning" line-up on ABC. From the creators of DISNEY'S RECESS and RUGRATS, the series is the coming of age tale of Lloyd, a space station-bound alien teenager. Set to debut in 2001, the show features the voices of Courtland Mead (NYPD BLUE), Diedrich Bader (THE DREW CAREY SHOW), Ben Stein (WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY) and John O'Hurley (Mr. Peterman on SEINFELD).
On Friday, October 27, 2000, four-year Sony Pictures veteran Bob Levin officially settled out the remaining 1 1/2 years of his contract and left his post as president of worldwide marketing for Columbia TriStar Pictures Group. His resignation came one day after Sony restructured the executive arm and gave chief of worldwide distribution, Jeff Blake, Levin's duties. According to insiders, there were tensions between Blake and Levin. Levin is best known in the animation community for playing a key cog in the phoenix run of Walt Disney animation.
Disney vice chairman Sanford "Sandy" Litvack has decided to leave the company at years end. The move has been long rumored since the very public fight in court between Disney and former Disney executive and now DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. Apparently, the feud weighed a great deal on Litvack. Disney chairman Michael Eisner said, "I regret Sandys decision, but I accept it and respect his desire to pursue new ventures." Litvack did not announce any specific new business plans.
The Walt Disney Co. has announced the recipients of the 2000 Disney Legends Awards in honor of individuals whose work has made a significant and lasting impact on the Disney legacy. Grace Bailey will posthumously receive the honor for a 40-year Disney career in which she served as head of the Ink and Paint department. Harriet Burns was the studio's first woman Imagineer and a pioneer in designing and building prototypes for Disney's theme park attractions. Joyce Carlson was a studio inker, who went on to build prototypes of IT'S A SMALL WORLD and other theme park attractions.
Disney vice chairman Roy Disney has shut down production on the CGI feature WILD LIFE. According to the online magazine INSIDE, Disney decided to bail on the film because it had "an inappropriate adult sensibility" for a Disney animated feature, "sexual innuendo" and a "gay-friendly" tone. Reportedly the film had already eaten through US$20 million, spurring Disney chairman Michael Eisner to request reviews of every project in development.
A British spec script about two rival gangs of gnome neighbours has been put on the fast track in Hollywood. The trade paper SCREEN INTERNATIONAL reports A GNOME'S STORY, written by Rob Sprackling and John Smith, has been acquired by Walt Disney Feature Animation and Rocket Pictures, the production outfit owned by pop star Elton John and David Furnish. The big-budget project "may use TOY STORY-esque digital effects." Disney has a first-look pact with Rocket, and is funding development on GNOME'S STORY.
DIC Entertainments CEO Andy Heyward is set to purchase DIC from owner Walt Disney Co. The deal backed by investment firms Bain Capital and Chase Capital Partners is valued in the nine digits. Disney acquired a majority stake of DIC in 1995 when it purchased ABC/Capital Cities. In 1986, Heyward purchased the toon house from France-based CLT and retained a small minority interest in the firm after ABC/Capital Cities obtained the majority share in 1993. DIC television properties include INSPECTOR GADGET (Disney co-produced a live-action feature version), G.I.
Disney has decided to divide its toy merchandising between rivals Hasbro and Mattel. Disney has had a long licensing relationship with Mattel, which now will only handle their preschool and plush toys, dolls, games and puzzles. Hasbro will handle the more lucrative toys, action figures and games portion of Walt Disney products.
SGI announced that it would be providing Walt Disney Feature Animation with more than 500 of its Silicon Graphics visual workstations, which will include their new Silicon Graphics Octane2. Previously, Disney has used SGI workstations to create digital characters and special effects for their features GONE IN 60 SECONDS, MISSION TO MARS, DINOSAUR and the upcoming 102 DALMATIANS. The Silicon Graphics Octane2 has more visualization power, a high-performance MIPS RISC processor and new industry-first features.
Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman analyzes the summers animated releases and relays what we can all learn from their successes failures.
On Friday, August 25, 2000, cartoonist Carl Barks, who reinvented the fowl-mouthed Donald Duck into an endearing Everyman on the comic book page, passed away. He died at his home in southern Oregon of leukemia. He was 99 years old. Barks started his association with the Walt Disney Co. in the early 1930s as an in-betweener and then moved over to the story department to write gags for many of the early Donald Duck cartoons. In 1943, he moved over to Western Publishing, which published Walt Disney comic books, to draw the Donald Duck segments for WALT DISNEY COMICS & STORIES.
* Tuesday, September 12, 2000. San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Robin Allen will discuss his book EUROPEAN INFLUENCES ON WALT DISNEY and the images that influenced Disney artists. Dr. Allens research is based on interviews with the artists who created the features and short films made by Disney. The event gives a rare chance to discuss the influences on Disney films from SNOW WHITE to THE JUNGLE BOOK. For more information contact Karl Cohen at: (415) 386-1044.
planetLingo, an Internet-based language learning company, has hired three former Disney executives John Feenie as president and CEO; Cedric Astor as executive VP and CFO; and Greg Probert as executive VP and head of content and curriculum. Previously, Feenie served as executive VP, China Affairs for Disney, in which he was responsible for all of the companys activities in China. For planetLingo, Feenie will help establish markets around the globe. Most recently, Astor served as senior VP for Disney consumer products in Europe/Middle East/Africa.
How would the world of animation be different if instead of being a new tool the Web was an old one? Get ready for some pretty wild "classics." Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman takes us theorizing...
New York-based New Tinkerbell, Inc. has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co. in regards to the Tinkerbell trademark. As reported in the on-line magazine, INSIDE, New Tinkerbell and its several affiliates claim they purchased the rights to the character from the then rights holder, the Hospital for Sick Children of London, in 1952 a year before Disneys PETER PAN was released. For 13 years, New Tinkerbell has been producing various products with the image of Tinkerbell on them.
Late swing-jazz singer Louis Primas widow, Gia Prima, has filed suit against the Walt Disney Company for unpaid royalties from video and DVD sales of THE JUNGLE BOOK, in which her husband voiced the character King Louie of the Apes. The Prima estate has received royalties on audio recordings of the soundtrack, however Disney contends the contract Prima signed was for audio recordings only and that Disney has "met all contractual obligations to Mr. Prima's estate." However, new technologies, like videocassettes and DVDS, were not invented when Prima signed the contract.
Best known for his work on SLEEPLING BEAUTY and LADY AND THE TRAMP, Eyvind Earle, creator of eclectic backgrounds for Disney cartoons, has passed away. He was 84 years old. Earle succumbed to esophageal cancer on Thursday, July 20, 2000. The 1953 Academy Award and Cannes Film Festival winning short film, TOOT, WHISTLE, PLUNK AND BOOM, is the film that made people truly notice Earles artwork. His other toon credits include PETER PAN, FOR WHOM THE BULLS TOIL, WORKING FOR PEANUTS, PIGS IS PIGS and PAUL BUNYAN.
When everyone was making toons in New York, Walt Disney was in Kansas City. Now the KANSAS CITY STAR reports that the Walt Disney heirs have pledged funds to refurbish the original animation studio of Walt Disney. For nearly a decade, the Thank You, Walt Disney organization has been fighting to set up a Disney Museum in Kansas City, the birthplace of Mickey Mouse and other early Disney characters. The US$450,000 pledge by the Walt and Lily Disney Foundation is contingent on whether the Thank You organization can match the amount.
Disney Interactive has enlisted Into Networks PlayNow.com to create the Disney Interactive Channel for Disney-themed games on the Net. The new channel will be like Sonys Station, which features on-line versions of JEOPARDY and WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Into Networks will produce 12 titles for Disney that will be available on a pay-for-play basis through high-speed Internet services available from cable set-top box providers. Games will be based on Disneys feature films THE LION KING, TOY STORY and TARZAN.
In a 22-page decision filed Friday, June 23, 2000, L.A. Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige ruled that the Walt Disney Co. willfully destroyed documents regarding the long-running litigation over royalties on WINNIE THE POOH. The judge ruled that plaintiff Stephen Slesinger Inc., owner of the rights to late author A.A. Milne's WINNIE THE POOH characters, is entitled to monetary sanctions and that the jury in the upcoming trial be instructed that Disney willfully suppressed evidence to prevent it being presented.