Within the past few days, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has filed several trademark applications in attempt to secure ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ across multiple areas. Dia de Muertos, or ‘Day of the Dead,’ is a holiday most associated with Mexico, where it serves as a national holiday on November 1 and 2 — the days following Halloween — in which families gather together to remember and pray for relatives who have passed on. Interestingly enough, it has also been selected as the topic of an upcoming film from Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Lee Unkrich, tentatively being titled The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dia de los Muertos. The move could indicate that Disney is simply hedging its bets or that Pixar has indeed settled on simply calling its film Dia de Los Muertos, though they have yet to file for films that will precede it, such as Inside Out (2015), though trademarks have been filed for The Good Dinosaur (2014).
The areas covered by the recent trademark applications include:
- Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Education and entertainment services
- Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: Confectionery and chewing gum; breakfast cereals and preparations made from cereals; cereal bars; bread; muffins; muffin bars; pastry; waffles; pancakes; cookies; crackers; biscuits; popcorn; corn chips; pretzels; puddings; coffee; tea; cocoa; sugar; rice; flour; ices; ice; honey; condiments; sauces; spices; pizza; pasta and noodles; macaroni and cheese; frozen meals consisting primarily of pasta or rice; staple foods
- Goods and Services IC 003. US 001 004 006 050 051 052. G & S: Cosmetics; dentifrices; non-medicated toiletries; fragrances; perfumes
- Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; audio books; audio recordings; audio and visual recordings; video game software; computer programs and software; consumer electronics and accessories therefor; eyeglasses and sunglasses and accessories therefor; binoculars; decorative magnets; graduated rulers
- Goods and Services IC 014. US 002 027 028 050. G & S: Clocks; jewelry; jewelry boxes; jewelry cases; key rings of precious metal; coins; watches; watch bands
- Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: Paper and paper articles; cardboard and cardboard articles; printed matter; publications; books; photographs; portraits; paintings; stationery; office and school supplies
- Goods and Services IC 018. US 001 002 003 022 041. G & S: Bags; backpacks; calling card cases; coin purses; fanny packs; key cases; key chains; luggage; luggage tags; purses; umbrellas; wallets
- Goods and Services IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: Clothing, footwear and headwear
- Goods and Services IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: Toys, games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles (except clothing); hand-held units for playing electronic games for use with or without an external display screen or monitor; Christmas stockings; Christmas tree ornaments and decorations; snow globes
- Goods and Services IC 029. US 046. G & S: Fruit preserves; fruit-based snack foods; eggs; jams; jellies; potato chips; nuts; dairy products; meat; poultry; fruits; vegetables; prepared or packaged meals consisting primarily of meat, fish, poultry or vegetables
A subpoena was issued earlier this week by the United States District Court in California against Stan Lee in the lawsuit by Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLMI) against The Walt Disney Company (USDC Colorado, case 12-cv-02663). The multi-billion dollar lawsuit claims that it is SLMI, not Disney/Marvel, that owns the rights to characters that Lee owned, but then transferred to Marvel in the late ’90s. It was prior to this that Lee founded SLMI (which would later fail), the shareholders of which are claiming Lee signed the rights over to them and therefore never had the rights to transfer to Marvel, which would then go own to be owned by Disney, including iconic properties such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, X-Men, Thor and the Incredible Hulk, amongst others.
According to the subpoena, Lee is ordered to offer a deposition in the case on February 19. In addition, Lee is being asked to produce documents including all communication between himself and Disney, Marvel or Stan Lee Media pertaining to the issue as well as communication between SLMI and Disney or Marvel along with financial and corporate information for SLMI, all dating back to 1998.
Effective February 1, 2013, George A. Kalogridis will become the president of the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, it was announced today. Kalogridis, a 41-year veteran of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was named president of the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. George will oversee a workforce of more than 66,000 Cast Members at the world’s premier vacation destination.
Since 2009, George has served as president of the Disneyland Resort, where he leads more than 25,000 Cast Members at the over 500-acre resort, which comprises the world-famous Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Paradise Pier Hotel and Downtown Disney.
George began his career at Walt Disney World in 1971 as a busboy at the Contemporary Resort. During his tenure, George has held numerous executive positions, gaining a breadth of experience from all aspects of the operation.
From 2006 until his appointment to Disneyland Resort, George served as chief operating officer for Disneyland Resort Paris and was responsible for leading the daily operations of the Resort’s two theme parks, seven hotels and the Disney Village. During his tenure in Paris, George oversaw the highly successful 15th anniversary celebration of the resort. He also played an instrumental role in reorganizing the Resort’s operations structure to help improve both Guest and Cast satisfaction.
Prior to his role in Paris, George served as senior vice president of Resort Operations for the Disneyland Resort, where he played a significant role in the first expansion of the resort – the opening of Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney. In addition, he was responsible for the daily operations of both theme parks and three hotels, as well as Downtown Disney.
In addition to his leadership roles in both Paris and Anaheim, George served as vice president of Travel Operations at Walt Disney World in Orlando, where he implemented a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that continues to serve as the foundation for how millions of Guests book their travel to Walt Disney World. George also served as vice president of EPCOT, where, in addition to overseeing park operations, he led the Millennium Celebration for The Walt Disney Company.
Also effective February 1, Meg Crofton will fully assume her global role as president, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France – a position she has held since July 2011 – while concurrently serving as president of Walt Disney World. With Meg’s transition complete, George A. Kalogridis is named president of the Walt Disney World Resort, and Michael Colglazier is named president of the Disneyland Resort. Both Kalogridis and Colglazier’s roles are also effective Feb. 1.
“With all that we currently have in flight across our resort destinations in the U.S. and France, the time is right to move forward with this leadership transition,” said Staggs. “This group of Disney veterans has the knowledge and expertise needed to continue delivering on our legacy of creating unforgettable experiences that our guests have come to know and expect. I would like to thank Meg for her tireless devotion and the extraordinary contributions serving in both positions, and wish George and Michael the best of luck in their new roles. They both bring a wealth of operational expertise, leadership and passion to these roles, which will contribute to the success of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.”
With the appointment of a Walt Disney World president, Crofton will focus all of her attention to providing strategic oversight of the broader initiatives that impact Disney destinations in the U.S. and France.
Kalogridis brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise to his new role at Walt Disney World, including more than 40 years of experience at Disney parks in a number of positions around the world. Most recently as president of the Disneyland Resort, he oversaw one of the most extensive expansion projects in the Resort’s history — including the immensely successful transformation of Disney California Adventure. Throughout his career, Kalogridis also has proven himself to be a leader in the travel and leisure industry, as well as a respected partner in the community.
For the last several years, Colglazier has served as head of Disney’s Animal Kingdom where he has been instrumental in the planning and development of an Avatar-themed land. He brings more than two decades of wide-ranging experience to his new role at the Disneyland Resort, including leadership positions in Operations, Global Development, Operations Strategy and Technology and Strategic Planning.
The company also announced several other corresponding changes. As part of the organization’s approach to providing new opportunities and challenges to leaders, each of these transitions is designed to give seasoned executives the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the segment’s diverse businesses and operations around the world.
Claire Bilby will relocate to Paris as senior vice president, Sales and Marketing Disneyland Paris and Europe, reporting to Leslie Ferraro, executive vice president of Global Marketing and Sales and Philippe Gas, CEO of Euro Disney S.A.S. Bilby has held a variety of executive positions around the world, including several in sales and marketing, and most recently she has been instrumental in leading the Disney Vacation Club business, making it a priority to deliver an exceptional experience to the more than 175,000 Member families.
As a result of Bilby’s new position, Ken Potrock has been named senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney, reporting to Karl Holz, president of New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line. Throughout his Disney career, Potrock has been a leader in a wide array of Parks and Resorts businesses, and has become known as a creative catalyst with deep experience in marketing and operations. Most recently leading both the sports and Downtown Disney organizations, his leadership abilities have been apparent with the sports business and the unprecedented growth of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
Paperwork was filed earlier today with the comptroller’s office in Orange County, Florida earlier today, which announces that a lawsuit against Walt Disney World by Leanne Deacon, on behalf of her daughter, was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice. This likely indicates that an out-of-court settlement between the parties has been reached.
The lawsuit, which was filed in early 2009, alleges that Deacon’s then-teenage daughter suffered permanent brain damage after collapsing as a result of riding Disney’s Tower of Terror attraction in 2005. Deacon claimed Disney Parks and Resorts was negligent in providing ample warnings about the potential dangers of the attraction and was reportedly seeking in excess of $15 million, an amount Deacon claimed would be necessary to support her daughter for the remainder of her life.
If the case were in fact settled out of court — which is the likely outcome given that the case was voluntarily dismissed — terms generally prohibit either party from disclosing the final results.
Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced today that Disney has completed its acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Lucasfilm to the Disney family,” said Iger. “Star Wars is one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time and this transaction combines that world class content with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets, which we believe will generate growth as well as significant long-term value.”
Under the terms of the merger agreement, at closing Disney issued 37,076,679 shares and made a cash payment of $2,208,199,950. Based upon the closing price of Disney shares on December 21, 2012 at $50.00, the transaction has a total value of approximately $4.06 billion.
Lucasfilm’s assets include its massively popular Star Wars franchise, operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production, as well as a substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies. It operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC, LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound.
Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq:NFLX) and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) today announced a new multi-year licensing agreement that will make Netflix the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run live-action and animated feature films from The Walt Disney Studios.
Beginning with its 2016 theatrically released feature films, new Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Disneynature titles will be made available for Netflix members to watch instantly in the pay TV window on multiple platforms, including television, tablets, computers and mobile phones. Also included in the agreement are high-profile Disney direct-to-video new releases, which will be made available on Netflix starting in 2013.
Separately, Disney and Netflix have reached agreement on a multi-year catalog deal that today brings to U.S. Netflix members such beloved Disney movies such as Dumbo, Pocahontas and Alice in Wonderland.
“Disney and Netflix have shared a long and mutually beneficial relationship and this deal will bring to our subscribers, in the first pay TV window, some of the highest-quality, most imaginative family films being made today,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix. “It’s a bold leap forward for Internet television and we are incredibly pleased and proud this iconic family brand is teaming with Netflix to make it happen.”
“With this cutting-edge agreement, we are thrilled to take our highly valued relationship with Netflix to the next level by adding Disney’s premier films to their programming line-up,” said Janice Marinelli, President, Disney-ABC Domestic Television. “Netflix continues to meet the demands of its subscribers in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, and we are delighted that they will have much earlier access to our top-quality and entertaining slate,” she continued.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Safety, courtesy, show and efficiency; these are the four guiding principles (or keys) that Disney Parks and Resorts ingrains into its ‘cast members’ that not only highlight how to conduct themselves in their ‘roles,’ at the parks, but stress their order of importance. Therefore, safety is the primary concern of the company and its employees.
But what if a cast member were to run ‘afoul’ of the organization and its management and cite concerns regarding safety? And especially where management is effectively swapping the importance of safety for the sake of efficiency? Worse yet, what if that cast member claims retaliation for their whistle-blowing and says they were wrongfully terminated as a result?
This is the reported story of Victoria Ann Smith, who last week filed a lawsuit against Disney Parks and Resorts and Local Union 362 President Eric Clinton, stating that despite a near-exemplary record, she was fired not because of a terminable offense as claimed by management, but because she consistently called out the manager on safety concerns.
Smith’s role, as it pertains to the suit, was that of the ‘Gangster’ at The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. According to the suit, Disney claims her termination came as a result of leaving her microphone on in the cast member break room and using an expletive (namely ‘Oh s—-!’) which would theoretically be heard by guests inside the attraction. While Smith disputes the event even took place, she also argues that the offense is only terminable if spoken in front of guests (as per the union contract) and that by being separated from the guests by being inside the break room, the claim does not stand.
To her defense, Smith argues in her two and a half years as a cast member, she received no less than 16 ‘great service fanatic cards’ and only small number of points for tardiness as well as a case where her provided ‘extra service to a guest’ was ‘misconstrued as her leaving her station.’ Smith asserts that retaliation was the motivation behind the termination by her manager (named as ‘Steve S.’) who had a personal vendetta against her for continuously noting safety infractions (‘such as a broken door threatening Cast Member safety, a broken fan failing to clear smoke threatening guest and Cast member safety, and her refusal to abide by the manager’s violation of the red light/green light vehicle system to speed up the ride (designed for guide safety).’)
Bolstering her claim, Smith notes that while the manager in question immediately obtained (and reportedly influenced) accounts from other cast members, he did not speak to her directly about it for a week following, despite her working every day since. Smith even includes the statements from three other cast members regarding the alleged incident in her complaint and disputes each one accordingly.
Smith is seeking $250,000 for emotional distress and for lost future wages.
Disney Research Pittsburgh has just released the video below which demonstrates one of its latest projects: an audio animatronic robot that can interact with people by playing catch with them. The system uses an off-the-shelf Microsoft Kinect (according to the video’s narration) along with an external camera system (ASUS Xtion PRO LIVE) to locate balls and a Kalman ?lter to predict ball destination and timing. So not only is the robot able to track a human’s position and size by the location of their head, but it can attempt to move its hand to catch the ball. If the robot misses the catch, it’s fully aware and even responds with one of several different humorous animations to elicit a response from the person interacting with it.
Disney Research has also been able to use its system to successfully juggle up to three balls at a time when a professional juggler is used as the participant.
According to the video and its description, Disney Research is hopeful that this product leads to a fully interactive experience between guests and audio animatronics in environments such as theme parks, while managing to keep the guest a safe distance from the robots.
rn Daylight Time
The Walt Disney Company Commits $2 Million for Hurricane Sandy Relief and Rebuilding Efforts
BURBANK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced today a $2 million cash commitment to the relief and rebuilding efforts for those severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. One million dollars will be donated to the American Red Cross for immediate, critical assistance, and another $1 million will be designated for organizations working on rebuilding efforts. In addition, Cast Member and employee eligible donations to organizations involved in disaster relief will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Disney Employee Matching Gifts: A Program of The Walt Disney Company Foundation.
“It’s hard to fathom the devastation from this storm”
“It’s hard to fathom the devastation from this storm,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company. “Thousands of people in the hurricane’s path lost everything and face the daunting challenge of putting their lives and communities back together. We hope this helps provide immediate aid needed to get through this disaster and begin the road to recovery.”
In addition to financial assistance, Disney-ABC Television Group and ESPN will run public service announcements on ABC, ABC.com, ABCNews.com, Radio Disney, and ESPN’s family of networks encouraging viewers to support relief and rebuilding efforts.
Today’s announcement is part of Disney’s ongoing disaster preparedness and response program. As a proud sponsor of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, Disney provides support for disaster relief services, as well as comfort and hope to children in impacted communities.