Disney: Miramax Still Alive and Kicking… Sorta

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The Associated Press is reporting that The Walt Disney Company affirms that the Miramax label will continue to exist and the films reported as being shelved will be distributed throughout theaters through 2011.

Disney says the most recent move was in line with the long term plans involving Miramax which include reducing the number of films produced per year to a maximum of three.

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Disney Shuts Down Miramax; Shelves Films Not Yet Released

The Wrap reported yesterday that Disney has officially decided to shut down Miramax Films after a recent period of slowly shrinking the production and distribution company, most recently ousting its president Daniel Battsek and closing the New York offices. Founded in 1979 by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the pioneering film company was named in honor of the Weinsteins’ parents (Miriam and Max) and was acquired by Disney in 1993. After a strained relationship with The Walt Disney Company, the Weinsteins left Miramax in 2005 and began another new film company on their own.

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Nikki Reed Named Vice President of Original Series Development for Disney Channel

Nikki Reed has been named Vice President, Original Series, overseeing live-action development for Disney Channel and Disney XD, it was announced today by Adam Bonnett, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Disney Channel, to whom she will report.

Reed, who has more than 13 years’ experience overseeing feature films and television series development, will be responsible for developing new live-action series geared towards kids, tweens and families on Disney Channel, Disney XD, as well as numerous platforms around the world.

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Name for Disney’s Walt Disney World Private Community Unofficially Confirmed

If your internet was slow yesterday, we think we know why. It seems the Disney elves fairies were hard at work, registering a slew of domain names for the new ‘on property’ five star resort and reported multi-million dollar community being developed by Four Seasons.

Although we can’t confirm the name of the actual resort itself, it appears that the custom family (vacation homes) community will in fact be dubbed Golden Oak as first reported by Screamscape. Disney fanatics already know that the Walt Disney Company is famous for using key geographic location names for other purposes such as Buena Vista and Hyperion. As innocuous as those examples are, however, Golden Oak just makes us think of a retirement home (its location doesn’t hurt) in spite of being well aware it’s an homage to the legendary Disney production ranch for which Disney recently announced an expansion.

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‘TRON Legacy’ Producer Sean Bailey Named New Disney Studios Production Chief

Rich Ross, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios (TWDS), announced today that Sean Bailey has been named President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production as the segment continues to restructure its operation.  In his new role, he will oversee all aspects of live-action development, film production and physical production for Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures.  Additional changes to international theatrical distribution, multicultural initiatives, publicity, communications and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment were made as part of the business’ new strategic direction.

“Building upon a strong foundation with the company, Sean brings great creative instincts and considerable filmmaking experience to his new role at The Walt Disney Studios.  His close relationships throughout the creative community and industry at large make him an ideal leader to set the direction of TWDS’ future film slates,” said Ross. “Sean’s talent, energy, and commitment to delivering quality content will help us achieve our goals of producing and distributing Disney-branded movies that entertain audiences worldwide.”

“I am honored and thrilled to join a company with the history and tradition of The Walt Disney Studios,” said Bailey.  “Working with the strong team that has been assembled under Rich’s leadership, I look forward to working with the Studios’ impressive array of talented filmmakers to create entertaining, inspiring films that uphold the legacy and quality of classic Disney movies and capture the imagination of our global audiences.”

Bailey’s feature film producing credits include Matchstick Men, Gone Baby Gone and the upcoming Disney film, Tron Legacy. He is the founder and president of the production company, Idealogy, Inc. He also co-founded the integrated media firm, LivePlanet, with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore and was the executive producer of several high profile television programs including LivePlanet’s three-time Emmy-nominated Project Greenlight. Sean wrote the screenplay Liberty for The Walt Disney Company and co-wrote the screenplay Solace.

(more…)

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Disney May Be Seeking to Limit Starz Control Over Online Distribution of Films

Bloomberg reports that Disney and Starz are in negotiations concerning future exclusivity the network has to upcoming releases from Walt Disney Studios. Currently, the Starz cable network has first rights to live action films from Disney and wishes to continue the option for as long as five years, but at dispute is the digital rights to the films which Starz would would be able to farm out to online services such as Netflix, whereas Disney is reportedly looking to prevent Starz from having such capabilities.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise, however, as Disney has been generating news lately with Iger constantly promoting Disney’s own subscription-based services, not to mention the forthcoming Keychest technology.

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The Walt Disney Company to Contribute $100K to Red Cross Efforts in Haiti

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced today it will contribute $100,000 in humanitarian aid to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The donation will be provided to the Red Cross International Fund to support Haiti’s relief efforts.

“We at the Walt Disney Company are deeply saddened by this tragedy and send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Haiti and their loved ones, which include our Cast Members and employees,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.

“We hope this donation will help the Red Cross to provide immediate aid and relief to the thousands of people affected by this terrible tragedy,” Mr. Iger added.

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Photo: The New Face of Tom Staggs, Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts

Or was that supposed to be The New Face of Disney Parks and Resorts, Chairman Tom Staggs?

Well, anyway, ever since we first learned the news that Tom Staggs (former CFO of the Walt Disney Company) and Jay Rasulo (former Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts) were going all Freaky Friday on us  (that’s the Jodie Foster kind if you will), the atmosphere quickly became thick with questions and theories about the future of the parks (oddly, not so much for the bottom line) and speculation that Staggs was being groomed by Iger for bigger and better things.

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Disney Strengthens Bonds with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment

Building on an already successful three year creative and business relationship, POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment Inc. (Pink Sheets: POWN), the advanced media and entertainment company led by comic book and motion picture icon Stan Lee, announced today it is deepening its ties with The Walt Disney Company.

“Enhancing our relationship with one of the world’s most creative and innovative entertainment companies makes perfect sense given all the exciting projects we have underway,” said Lee, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of POW! “Disney has been a great partner for us and we look forward to working closely with them in the coming years. In addition to the huge creative opportunity this affords POW!, it also provides for the next positive stage in the expansion of the company itself.”

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Disney Board Nominates Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to Join

BURBANK, Calif. — The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) Board of Directors has nominated Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., to be a new independent director, effective upon her election at the Company’s next annual meeting.

“Sheryl is an outstanding executive who can add incredible value to what is already a diverse and highly experienced group of directors,” said John E. Pepper Jr., Disney’s chairman. “She brings great expertise in the online world, considerable international experience and a deep understanding of consumer behavior.”

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