Las Vegas, NV – June 2, 2009 – Disney Consumer Products(DCP) today announced new content and product line extensions behind its renowned portfolio of character franchises starting with the return of the classic Toy Story franchise, the addition of two Disney Princess characters, new Mickey Mouse initiatives, a new Winnie the Pooh theatrical movie and the expansion of the Disney Fairies film series. Disney Channel also announced major milestones for the global sensational hit Hannah Montana as the series is renewed for a fourth season and the award-winning Handy Manny preschool series adds two primetime specials and a new 20 episode short-form series.
“Everything we do is inspired by the magic and creativity that only Disney can deliver,” said Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products Consumer Products. “Each product tells a story and this year sets off an unprecedented slate of entertainment offering many storylines that will translate into global merchandise programs uniquely positioning DCP for breakout growth.”
Handy Manny adds Short-form Series, Two Primetime Specials
Disney Channel’s hit multicultural animated preschool series Handy Manny has quickly become a breakout Disney character franchise. A Top 10 player among series geared towards kids age 2-5, Handy Manny will add two primetime specials to debut in 2009 and 2010 and an all-new 20 episode short form series, “Handy Manny’s School for Tools,” scheduled for a 2010 premiere. DCP opened Licensing Expo with an appearance by Wilmer Valderrama, star of Handy Manny, along with the Handy Manny character and Rich Ross, president, Disney Channel Worldwide, who joined Andy Mooney as they announced the expansion of the Handy Manny franchise.
“Handy Manny is a strong, compassionate and distinctive character that preschoolers love and identify with, and while we’re most proud that each episode helps kids learn how to get along with others, we’re thrilled that Handy Manny consistently delivers top ratings and has made its mark at retail,” said Rich Ross.
Mooney added “Based on the retail success of the first Handy Manny product line, released last fall with an award-winning toy assortment, DCP is also expanding the line beyond toys into apparel and accessories, books, a magazine, home furnishings, stationery and food products.”
Hannah Montana Renewed for 4th Season
The tween business segment remains a focal point for DCP as Disney Channel continues to deliver captivating content for a new generation of tweens and inspired product lines evolve with new trends. Gary Marsh, president, entertainment, Disney Channel Worldwide, announced today that the Hannah Montana series has been renewed for a fourth season with a storyline twist in the works.
“Kids and tweens around the world have responded to Hannah Montana, its relatable characters, music and consumer products. We’re thrilled to announce we will be moving forward with a fourth season of the series that catapulted Miley Cyrus to superstardom, and will resume production early next year in Hollywood — but with a brand new twist as the Stewarts grapple with moving out of their Malibu beach house.”
Toy Story Back With Three Theatrical Releases & All New Product Lines
Backed by new content and companywide initiatives, Toy Story is primed for long-term growth opportunities setting the perfect stage for optimal merchandising and retail programs worldwide. The classic film franchise returns with the re-release of the first two movies in 3D for a two week engagement this October, a third new movie next summer and a spectacular array of new merchandise releasing this fall – from light up apparel and home décor to innovative toy lines such as the motor-powered Ultimate Buzz Lightyear robot which responds to 25 voice commands as well as an assortment of collectible figures and food, personal care, stationery and party items.
“The ‘Toy Story’ films and characters will always hold a very special place in our hearts. We’re excited to bring the first two films back for audiences to enjoy in a whole new way with the latest Disney Digital 3D™ technology,” said John Lasseter, chief creative officer of The Walt Disney Company and Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and director of Toy Story and Toy Story 2. “As new technologies present great new possibilities in the art of animation, they also create opportunities for true innovation in product development making it possible to create very cool merchandise that stays true to the characters and brings them to life right in the homes of families and playgrounds all over. I’m obviously a huge fan of toys and the new Toy Story toy line will push imagination boundaries- it’s truly fascinating to see characters you created come to life that way.”
To showcase the excitement “building” around the Toy Story franchise and the enthusiasm around LEGO’s first ever Toy Story line releasing next spring, a 5-foot tall LEGO model of Buzz Lightyear, constructed from 40,000 LEGO bricks in 250 hours by 3 Master Builders, was unveiled by LEGO and DCP at the Licensing International Expo.
New Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh Initiatives
Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh remain among the company’s key character franchises; for a broad cross-section of consumers, these two classic characters boast a deep emotional connection and an unrivaled affinity like no other. In support of this, DCP has developed comprehensive plans to propel the growth of these classic character properties and keep them “top of mind” across demographics.
Beginning with Winnie the Pooh, DCP and Walt Disney Animation Studios today announced a new theatrical film planned for spring 2011, making it Pooh’s first theatrical release in six years since Pooh’s Heffalump Movie in 2005. DCP will focus merchandise strategy on moms of infants and toddlers, with a secondary focus on women. Other Disney businesses, including Disney Publishing, are developing Pooh content for a new generation of consumers that will further drive the growth potential of this classic character.
No other character – classic or contemporary – occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of people from around the world as does Mickey Mouse. Mickey remains a global icon and the company’s top character franchise. To that end, DCP has developed a comprehensive global brand plan for Mickey and his friends Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto to connect them to consumers in every age segment, from infants and preschoolers to older kids and fashion-conscious young adults.
DCP’s plan will address each consumer target in a specific manner:
• For preschoolers, Disney Channel’s top-rated Mickey Mouse Clubhouse series has contributed to a 60% increase in Mickey and friends merchandise sales at key retail accounts. As Disney Channel plans new episodes and prime-time specials coupled with new title releases on Disney DVD, the core of Mickey’s preschool business should continue to grow.
• For kids and adults, Disney Have-A-Laugh is a new companywide initiative that will showcase the rich library of original Mickey cartoon shorts across a variety of formats and platforms, including television, online and DVD starting this fall. The Mickey of “Have a Laugh” is young, funny, a bit mischievous, and contemporary. DCP will reflect the humor and fun from these Mickey moments into products for kids that will incorporate editorial, fun designs and fresh images.
• For young adults, DCP will focus on fashion. Mickey was first depicted as a fashion icon in 2003 with the launch of the Mickey vintage t-shirt line that went on to grace the pages of global fashion magazines influencing taste makers and celebrities alike. A merchandise line quickly evolved across product categories and retail tiers. Similarly in 2010, DCP will launch “Mickey By,” a program centering on possibly the most recognized Mickey image – an iconic pose taken from one of the original character model sheets. DCP is commissioning well-known artists to interpret the pose for art that will serve as the foundation for fashionable applications across many product categories. “Mickey By” will be global in scope and ambition, but with locally relevant execution. Consumers will also have a chance to personalize product using “Mickey By” images through our on-line shopping portal, DisneyStore.com.
Disney Princess Adds Princess Tiana & Rapunzel to Royal Court
A perennial favorite for girls ages 2-6, the Disney Princess franchise remains the top girls brand worldwide. Coming up Disney’s royal court prepares for incremental growth as it celebrates the homecoming of two new characters and the release of two classics from its vault: beginning this holiday with its newest princess in more than 10 years, Princess Tiana from Walt Disney Animation Studios The Princess and the Frog releasing this November with an incredible assortment of merchandise. Also this fall, families will fall in love all over again with “the one that started it all,” Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as the film is released from the Disney Vault in high-definition Blu-ray™ for the first time ever.
Then in 2010, the fairytale continues as Disney releases Rapunzel theatrically adding its second new Princess character to the Disney Princess franchise and complementing this new Princess story with a classic one as Beauty And The Beast is planned for re-release from the Disney Vault.
This bookend strategy to introduce new Disney Princess fairytales in conjunction with re-releasing classic ones for a new generation is expected to enable licensees and retailers alike to grow their Disney Princess programs globally.
Disney Fairies Expands with 5th Film Title
The Disney Fairies franchise continues to reach new heights- among key milestones are: Tinker Bell, the first installment in the Disney Video Premiere series, sold millions of copies leading it to become the #1 Direct-To-DVD release of 2008; millions of Disney Fairies products are now sold across the globe at major retailers; DisneyFairies.com is now available in 20 countries boasting the creation of more than 16 million unique fairy avatars; Disney Fairies magazines are now available in 28 countries and 18 million books have sold globally; and the interactive meet and greet attractions at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort featuring walk-around characters of Tinker Bell, Fawn, Iridessa, Rosetta, and Silvermist, have become popular destinations for park visitors to meet their favorite fairies.
Backed by this renowned success and reinforcing the expected growth surrounding the Disney Fairies franchise, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment recently announced it will continue the wondrous adventures in a fifth installment beyond the previously announced four films, with Tinker Bell: Race Through the Seasons (working title), which is currently in development.