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February 28, 2005
'Incredibles' Nabs Oscars For Pixar, Disney
In the most competitive year yet for computer animation movies, Walt Disney topped its rivals at the Academy Awards on Sunday with "The Incredibles." The film, which won the Oscar for best animated feature, tells the tale of a family of superheroes consigned to a subdued suburban existence. Eventually they return to action and, of course, save the world.
Walt Disney Co. and Miramax Films Corp. co-founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein are putting the finishing touches on the dissolution of their Hollywood marriage.After several weeks of intense negotiations, the two sides have reached agreement on the main terms of their divorce, according to sources close to the negotiations. The deal could be announced as early as this week."It's pretty much ironed out right now," one source said.Representatives of Disney and Miramax would not comment.
The Walt Disney Co. agreed to sell the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to billionaire Henry Samueli and his wife Susan. The deal, announced Friday by Samueli, is subject to approval by the NHL. Samueli's company operates the Arrowhead Pond, where the Mighty Ducks play. "The Mighty Ducks have become a wonderful asset to this community, with a terrific following, a history of winning and a strong nucleus of outstanding young prospects and talented veterans," Samueli said. "Our acquisition of the team assures that the Mighty Ducks will remain in the hands of local ownership committed to keeping the team in Orange County and putting a consistent winner on the ice."
Chamilia Charm Jewelry Debuts New Disney Bead Collection
The cornerstone of Chamilia's Disney collection is a 14K gold Mickey Mouse head with diamond eyes. Known for their beautiful and customizable bead bracelets and necklaces, Chamilia's exciting new line of beads will include a special Disney-edition bead collection. Cast in sterling silver and 14 carat gold, Chamilia has developed life-like character beads with their customary craftsmanship to complement their already expansive bead collections.
Manhattan-based Disney Publishing Worldwide named David Mevorah and Lisa Stiepock to the newly-created positions of publisher and editor, respectively, of Wondertime, a parenting magazine slated to launch in early 2006. Mr. Mevorah was previously publisher of Gruner & Jahr's Child magazine, orchestrating that title's re-launch in 2001. He also served as national advertising director for Primedia's Healthy Kids, as well as its American Baby and Healthy Kids television programs. Mr. Mevorah will report to Glenn Rosenbloom, senior vice president and group publisher of Disney Publishing's U.S. consumer magazine group.
Walt Disney Co. plans to relocate its Miramax Films unit to Los Angeles, where a streamlined version of the arthouse titan will operate like "an elite SWAT team," according to a Disney source. The two companies began a new series of meetings Wednesday to determine the terms of a separation agreement that will see Miramax co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein leave the New York-based firm in September after several years of strained relations with Disney. According to studio sources, Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook plans to hire a new executive to run a reconfigured version of the specialty division, which will be located in Burbank under Disney production president Nina Jacobson.
The Walt Disney Co. will test the concept of offering guided tours to destinations far from its theme parks and having little to do with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or its other famed characters, a spokeswoman said Thursday. Disney is recruiting families aboard its Disney Cruise Line, at its World of Disney Store in New York and elsewhere, offering them discounted trips to Hawaii and Wyoming in the summer. Disney will charge $5,600-$7,800 for a family of four and will take groups of about 30 on guided tours to the two states. Plans are for six tours to Wyoming and nine to Hawaii.
In contrast to the Philadelphia rebellion of one year ago, Walt Disney Co.'s annual stockholder meeting Friday was a tepid, three-hour affair. It was last March that Eisner was roasting on the grill as big institutional shareholders slapped him with a 45 percent no-confidence vote that led to his being stripped of his chairman's title. This year, Eisner and Disney's 11 other directors got a warm reception in a city where Friday's 40-plus degree temperature seemed downright tropical compared to the sub-freezing days of late. Encouraged by better earnings, an improved stock price and a promise that Disney's board is searching for Eisner's successor, shareholders overwhelmingly elected each director. Disney President Robert Iger, who hopes to succeed Eisner, got a boost for his candidacy by garnering 95 percent of the shares voted for his re-election. Beyond that, the meeting touched on, but revealed little new, about such pending issues as the search for a potential successor to Eisner, its strained relationship with the company's Miramax film unit and Disney's falling out with Pixar Animation Studios, maker of such hits as The Incredibles and Finding Nemo.Indeed, the meeting, with more than 2,000 attending, had the air of a populist, grass-roots convention.
For many it was already over, but any chances of a reconciliation were dampened when Pixar chief Steve Jobs said that his blockbuster animation company would not renew their deal with Disney next year. Over the course of a 10-year relationship Disney has co-produced and distributed all six Pixar features from Toy Story in 1995 to current smash The Incredibles, which have earned more than $3billion in worldwide ticket sales. However Jobs is known to be dissatisfied with a profit-share arrangement in which Pixar and Disney split revenues 50-50 after Disney takes a hefty distribution fee. Reporting strong fourth quarter 2004 earnings that were largely attributable to the success of The Incredibles and excellent sales of Finding Nemo on DVD, Variety says Jobs told investors it was "likely we will not forge a new relationship with Disney beyond our current deal."
Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company today displayed strong support for the Company's Board of Directors at the Company's 2005 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, voting at least 92 percent in favor of each member of Disney's Board of Directors. Shareholders voted as recommended by the Board of Directors on four of five proposals presented, including election of 12 existing directors to new one-year terms, ratification of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company's independent accountants for the current fiscal year, and approval of the 2005 Stock Incentive Plan. Shareholders rejected a shareholder proposal regarding China labor standards, and approved a non-binding shareholder resolution to bar payment of greenmail.
Walt Disney Co.'s board of directors, including Chief Executive Michael Eisner, were easily re-elected at the annual meeting on Friday, a sharp turn from last year's widespread shareholder protest. Eisner, whose re-election to the board was opposed by 45 percent of votes cast last year, on Friday won 92.2 percent.
Flamboyant rocker SIR ELTON JOHN has asked a hoard of celebrity pals including JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, CATHERINE ZETA-JONES and ELIZABETH HURLEY to star in a $38 million movie of his life. The ROCKET MAN hopes Timberlake will agree to play him in the star-studded WALT DISNEY biopic, which will chart his battles with alcohol, drugs, bulimia, his brief marriage, etc.
The Walt Disney Company to Web Cast Its Annual Meeting of Shareholders
The annual meeting of shareholders of The Walt Disney Company will be available live via audio Web cast at www.disney.com/investors beginning at 11:00 a.m. EST on February 11, 2005. A re-play will be provided through Friday, February 18, 2005 at 4:00 p.m. PST.
Walt Disney Records will release Disney's Karaoke Series: Disneymania to CD on February 15, the company says. The disc will contain instrumental and vocal versions of eight updated Disney classics previously released on Disneymania and Disneymania 2: "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," "Welcome," "Hakuna Matata," "Kiss the Girl," "Part of Your World," "He's a Tramp," "The Second Star to the Right" and "True to Your Heart." Disney will also release The Best of Pooh & Heffalumps, too and Pooh's Heffalump Movie Read-Along to CD on February 8 to coincide with the release of Pooh's Heffalump Movie. The former will feature songs written for the new film as well as nine classic Pooh songs.
The world's largest media brand, Walt Disney Television International, expects India to become one among its top three markets in a year's time with a viewership of 20 million. The company is also seriously looking at original production in India after its recent success with the short story series "Legend of the Ringfire", produced in Asia. On the sidelines of the launch of Toon Disney, a kids channel in Tamil, Rajat Jain, managing director, Walt Disney Television International (India) said, "This the first time in the world that Walt Disney Television International is launching its Toon Disney channel in a local language. This shows that it wants to meet the gap in the Indian kids channel."
Roy Disney And Gold Say Withholding Votes On Board
Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, the former Walt Disney Co. directors who sparked a shareholder revolt, said on Tuesday they would withhold their votes on the board of directors at the company's annual meeting. Disney and Gold said they are waiting to see how board members handle the selection process for a successor to Chief Executive Michael Eisner. They said they had not asked other shareholders to withhold their votes.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives out Hollywood's Oscars (news - web sites), has extended the deal to air its annual awards show on the ABC television network for 10 years, Academy President Frank Pierson said on Monday. Pierson declined to give financial details of the pact with the network, which is owned by The Walt Disney Co . Pierson said this new deal gives ABC the right to air the telecast through 2014. ABC has broadcast the Oscars for nearly 30 years, reaching tens of millions of U.S. viewers and bringing in lucrative revenues from expensive advertising.
It was reported in 2003 that Disney was to start selling self-destructing DVDs. Basically you could watch these discs for 48 hours after you buy them, but the discs coating reacts with oxygen and turns black and unreadable after that time. Disney marketed it as a rental that you never had to remember to bring back to avoid late fees. The disc was called EZ-D by its developer Flexplay. However, Disney has now decided to drop the self-destructing DVDs, but that doesn't necessarily mean the technology is dead just yet.
Disney has been selected as worldwide marketer for festivities surrounding Andersen's 200th anniversary. Disney and the Hans Christian Andersen Fund have agreed to the terms of an agreement under which Disney will market Hans Christian Andersen and the festivities surrounding the 200th anniversary of his birth. Initially, the partnership will be limited to the worldwide marketing of the anniversary festivities, but the announcement from Disney leaves room for other forms of cooperation, including using the author's stories as inspiration for new music, movies, cartoons, and amusements.