As evidenced by the screenshot from its introduction video — in which it is in mid-Nemo drawing form after completing Mickey Mouse — Disney Research’s BeachBot knows how to have fun when it comes to creating two-dimensional art on a difficult surface such as the beach.
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors today declared an annual cash dividend of $1.15 per share, up 34 percent, or $0.29 per share, from the previous year. The dividend is payable on January 8, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 15, 2014. This is Disney’s 59th consecutive dividend payment to shareholders.
‘Disney delivered the highest results in its history in Fiscal 2014, reflecting the extraordinary quality of our creative content and the unparalleled strength of our brands,’ said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. ‘We achieved record revenue, net income and earnings per share for the fourth year in a row, and we are delighted to be able to increase our shareholder dividend by 34 percent while continuing to invest for future growth.’
Although the fourth dimension is time, it hasn’t stopped amusement parks from hijacking the term as a way of saying they’ve plussed traditional 3D movies by adding a new ‘dimension’ of effects. Usually these effects involve dropping things on the audience such as cold water to simulate breaking glass (followed by warm water to simulate the blood from all the sliced skin), fog, bubbles and — most of all — haptic feedback right from the very seat the audience member is sitting in. Whether it’s mice running past your feet or bugs crawling under your butt, tactile feedback is big in the amusement park experience, especially when virtually anyone can bring the 3D experience home.
Most of the time, when you are planning to attend a Broadway event and have already purchased your tickets, you are out of luck if you are unable to attend the performance. Today, Disney Theatrical announced it is introducing an unprecedented ticket exchange program for those planning on attending performances of ‘Aladdin’ or ‘The Lion King.’ The new policy allows ticketholders for Disney’s Broadway shows — in advance and for any reason whatsoever — to change the date they see the show at any time up until two hours in advance of their scheduled performance. There is no limit to the number of times the tickets may be exchanged. Tickets must be exchanged at the original point of purchase via the Disney on Broadway Hotline, Ticketmaster (phone and web) or in-person at the respective show box offices (New Amsterdam and Minskoff Theatres), and a modest exchange fee of $12 per ticket applies. This service is available only to guests of Disney’s New York City productions of Aladdin and The Lion King, and the exchange may be made only for another performance of the production originally purchased. Specific terms and conditions follow.
Perhaps taking a cue from its stateside sister theme parks as well as answering some previous speculation due to recent land acquisition, Oriental Land Company — the owners and operators of the Tokyo Disney Resort — today announced a ‘2016 medium-term business plan’ which will see new expansions to both theme parks through 2017. While specifics have yet to be unveiled, Tokyo Disney Resort says for Disneyland, it will double the size of the existing Fantasyland, while DisneySea will receive a new themed land (‘port’) about the same size as Arabian Coast, which will be located south of the existing Lost River Delta. OLC says the investment will come at a cost of about 500 billion yen, or about 4.6 billion dollars, with 80% of that going to the new theme park additions and the remaining going to backstage efforts to strengthen the infrastructure. Development is expected to begin in 2017, after the medium-term business plan expires.
The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors today announced that it has extended Bob Iger’s contract as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer through June 30, 2018. Previously, Iger was expected to step down from his current positions in 2016 after already having been extended from a planned leave next year, in 2015.
Hasbro and Disney Consumer Products today announced that starting in 2016, Hasbro will be granted worldwide rights (except for Japan) to produce dolls based on the Disney Princess properties including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Frozen. This will further expand Hasbro’s existing deal which already encompasses Star Wars and Marvel properties.
The deal most likely spells trouble for Mattel, which currently has had the lock on producing dolls and other products in the Disney Princess line. We have reached out for comment to Disney Consumer Products, but have not yet heard back regarding how Mattel’s existing relationship will be affected by the new deal with Hasbro. Mattel’s Hot Wheels line has recently introduced a line of vehicles inspired by Marvel properties.
Beginning today, Disney shareholders are now eligible to purchase the brand new Disney Shareholder commemorative certificate, available exclusively through Disney Store — available for a limited time with an introductory price of just $35 (regularly $50). Because the Walt Disney Company no longer issues paper stock certificates as a way to streamline and secure shareholder’s holdings, the new 8″x12″ commemorative certificate is a non-negotiable form of being able to proudly display ownership in the company as with paper stocks in the past.
Although he had no shortage of words for Disney on his Twitter account in response to Disney’s move to block his trademark registration, he and his lawyers upped the ante earlier today by serving a cease and desist letter to Disney Interactive, claiming they were engaging in both copyright and trademark infringement.
In a whopping 171-page complaint, the Walt Disney Company earlier today filed a ‘Notice of Opposition’ of trademark registration against Ronica Holdings, the corporate identity responsible for staking claim to the logo for the music artist, Deadmau5 (pronounced: Dead Mouse). First reported by Stitch Kingdom back in March, Ronica Holdings now has 40 days to respond to Disney’s claim.
Pictured left are just some of the logos cited in the notice which Disney feels demonstrates their hold on the three — sometimes ‘incomplete’ — circles that compose the silhouette of a mouse head.