Bill Peet, author and illustrator of 35 children's books and the legendary Disney storyman who is credited with writing 101 DALMATIANS, passed away on Saturday, May 11, 2002 at the age of 87. He died at his home in Studio City due to complications from several long-term illnesses. Peet joined Disney Studios in 1937 at the age of 22. He went to work immediately as an apprentice animator on SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS.
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Robin Allan paints a vivid picture of Marceline, Missouri, Walt Disney's home town. Walt truly harkened back to his days in this rural American town, which continues to strengthen its bonds with this honored native son.
As the U.S. Copyright Term Extension Act approaches the Supreme Court, Dr. Toon discusses how it will impact toondom. Is corporate America protecting itself or robbing the public?
The Walt Disney Studios has acquired all domestic theatrical, home entertainment and television rights to Hayao Miyazaki's animated blockbuster SPIRITED AWAY, Japan's all-time top grossing film with a total to date of 29.3 billion yen ($234 million). The film, which recently received the coveted Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, is scheduled to be released theatrically in the U.S. fall 2002. Pixar's John Lasseter will serve as creative consultant for the newly dubbed version.
Disney Feature Animation president Thomas Schumacher confirmed that more cuts are scheduled in the Mouse House Feature Animation division. According to the LOS ANGELES TIMES, Disney plans to lay off up to 265 employees at its Burbank facility over the next year. The cuts will reduce the staff to about 1,000 by May 2003 and are part of Walt Disney's ongoing restructuring of its animation division. When the company-wide cuts were announced in April 2001, approximately 200 animation employees were laid off from the Burbank facility and animation salaries were reportedly cut by 30% to 50%.
Will Ryan interviews Eric Goldberg regarding his non-influences and just who he considers animation's first, true pioneer.
David Stainton has been upped from his current position of executive vice president to president, Walt Disney Television Animation. Stainton's responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations for the division's animated television series and specials, Disney video premieres and February theatrical features (sequels like RETURN TO NEVER LAND). He continues to report to Thomas Schumacher, head of Walt Disney Television Animation and Walt Disney Feature Animation, in his new position.
Richard W. Cook has been promoted to chairman of The Walt Disney Studios where he will head production for Walt Disney, Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures. In addition, he will be responsible for worldwide distribution and marketing for live-action and feature animated films, worldwide home entertainment operations and the studio's legal and business affairs. He will report to both Disney chairman and CEO Michael D. Eisner, and Disney president and COO Robert A. Iger.
Robin Allan reviews John Canemaker's new book, Walt Disney's Nine Old Men & The Art Of Animation, and declares it "one of the few great books on the golden age of Disney."
Rich Ross has been named to the newly created post of president, entertainment, Disney Channel, a division of the ABC Cable Networks Group. In his new position, Ross oversees all creative development, programming and production for Disney Channel including the programming, production, advertising and promotion departments. Ross also oversees the new kids' programming block on ABC Family. The fourteen-hour a week programming block premieres Saturday, March 2. Ross was most recently general manager and executive vice president, programming and production, Disney Channel.
Disney Interactive and Nintendo of America have entered into a licensing agreement to publish titles for Game Boy Advance. The first title under this agreement will be Disney's PETER PAN RETURN TO NEVER LAND, releasing in conjunction with the feature film Disney's RETURN TO NEVER LAND on February 15, 2002. Disney Interactive plans to publish several Game Boy Advance titles this year, including two based on the upcoming animated feature films, LILO & STITCH and TREASURE PLANET.
Disney Interactive has launched a new publishing label called Plaid Banana Entertainment to create a complete line of software in the kid's adventure genre. Disney is teaming with Hulabee Entertainment, a digital media company established by Humongous Entertainment co-founders Shelley Day and Ron Gilbert. Under the agreement, Disney Interactive will handle all marketing and distribution for Plaid Banana Entertainment titles.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) kicks off its celebration of 100 years of Disney on Friday, February 1, 2002 with a screening of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, the one that started it all. On Saturday, February 3, 2002 at 5 pm, noted animation historian John Canemaker will be at LACMA presenting "The Nine Old Men," highlights of the work created by the now-legendary group of artists that joined the Disney studio in the 1930s and remained there over many decades. Mr. Canemaker will also be available to sign copies of his new book WALT DISNEY'S NINE OLD MEN.
Toon Disney, ABC Cable Network Group's 24-hour all-animation network, will add DISNEY'S TEACHER'S PET to the channel's schedule. Produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, the series, including 18 previously unaired episodes, will air on Toon Disney Monday - Friday at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning January 7, 2002. New episodes will premiere on Fridays. DISNEY'S TEACHER'S PET will continue to air as part of "Disney's One Saturday Morning" at 8:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT on the ABC Television Network.
The Disney Channel has ordered additional episodes of two of its newest animated shows -- preschooler-oriented series Stanley and the NAACP Image Award-nominated series THE PROUD FAMILY. Both shows premiered in September 2001. Stanley, developed by Jim Jinkins and David Campbell (DISNEY'S DOUG, DISNEY'S PB&J OTTER) and based on characters from the popular book series of the same name, is currently Disney Channel's highest rated series with two to five year olds.
Paul Yanover has been named senior vice president and general manager of The Walt Disney Company's newly formed business unit, Buena Vista Game Entertainment Studio. Yanover will oversee all aspects of operations, including business, creative and product development, and strategic planning for the newly created entity. Yanover's extensive technology and entertainment background includes eight years at The Walt Disney Company in Feature Animation.
Disney has announced plans to close The Secret Lab, the visual effects unit of its Feature Animation group. The Secret Lab was formed two years ago, emerging from Oscar-winning effects house Dream Quest Images, which was founded in 1979 and became a division of Disney in 1996. In a VARIETY report, Walt Disney Feature Animation president Thomas Schumacher stated that The Secret Lab is no longer actively seeking outside contracts. However, he also said, If the studio comes to me and says heres a movie that we have a special demand for, then fantastic.
The Walt Disney Company has formed a new business unit, the Buena Vista Game Entertainment Studio, a new organization created to leverage and combine new and emerging technologies, such as broadband and wireless, with video consoles, PCs, other technological innovations, and online games to deliver integrated interactive entertainment for a new consumer experience. Jan E. Smith has been installed as its president. Smith, a 14-year Disney veteran, will also continue to serve in her current role as president of Disney Interactive.
In a global partnership that includes Disney consumer products, theme parks and resorts, and an array of promotional initiatives, the Walt Disney Company and Kellogg Company announced a new global, multi-year corporate alliance. Kellogg, the world's leading producer of cereal, will have exclusive rights to develop and market co-branded Disney/Kellogg breakfast foods based on Disney characters. In addition, Kellogg will become the "official sponsor of breakfast" at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris.
Walt Disney Internet Group and Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited (Hutchison Telecom) have entered into a cooperative relationship to distribute Disney-branded wireless content under the Disney Mobile brand over Hutchison Telecom's Orange Dualband and CDMA networks in Hong Kong. Available this fall, the Disney Mobile service on Hutchison Telecom will include downloadable content based on Disney's lineup of popular characters, including screensavers, wallpapers, logos, e-cards and ring tones. Orange users will also be able to download the territory's only Disney color content.
Walt Disney Internet Group and SeaRainbow Holding Corporation have launched Disney.com.cn, The Walt Disney Company's official site in China. The Website includes content from Walt Disney's theme parks, movies and television units. Other content channels include Zeether, an area geared toward young teenagers, and Fun for Families, which offers activities designed for the entire family. In addition, Disney.com.cn offers online games and activities through an online subscription service called Disney's Blast.
Excited about seeing Hayao Miyazaki's new film SPIRITED AWAY? Don't hold your breath. Disney has no plans of releasing the film in the U.S. In an Inside.com article, David Jessen, vice president of acquisitions at Disney's Buena Vista, said he has seen the film and that he likes it, but that other Disney executives have not. Disney currently has no official plans to release any more of Miyazaki's films in America, he said, adding "we are strategizing now worldwide." The reason for the move is the disappointing results of PRINCESS MONONOKE.
Side Effects Software has announced that Walt Disney Feature Animation made a significant purchase of the company's Houdini 3D animation software package. Houdini has been used in many projects at the Walt Disney Company including FANTASIA 2000, GONE IN 60 SECONDS and TARZAN. "Houdini's flexible procedural paradigm helps our artists be more creative, while maintaining an efficient production environment," said John Carey, VP of technology at Disney.