Hyperion Launches Book’s Companion Site to Battle Teen Suicide and Bullying

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Earlier this month, By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead Julie Anne Peters was released by Disney’s Hyperion publishing.

In the book, teenager Daelyn Rice, who has faced a life of bullying, decides once and for all that her next suicide attempt will be the last. To ensure success, she turns to a fictitious online website, http://www.through-the-light.com which helps its readers become ‘completers.’

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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.

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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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Chuggington Set to Thrill on Playhouse Disney January 18 (Video)

Global television hit Chuggington is racing its way into American families’ homes this month. Kids and families can tune into Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel’s preschool-focused programming block, on January 18, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT for Chuggington’s U.S. premiere.

The train-centric series invites preschoolers to follow the humorous and educational adventures of three young ‘trainees’ as they learn to ‘ride the rails’ of life. Following the series premiere, Chuggington will air Tuesdays through Fridays at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT and weekends at 7:30 a.m. ET/PT.

Using feature-quality CGI animation, Chuggington’s fast-paced, kid-centric stories highlight a colorful, modern cast of characters and are designed to teach simple, yet important, social-emotional lessons that help preschoolers ‘ride the rails’ through their learning years. Throughout each episode, children climb aboard and follow the trainees as they embark on different adventures where they learn to explore Chuggington, an exciting and safe world.

Chuggington was created by Ludorum, a London-based company whose founders and principals have extensive backgrounds in building and managing some of the most beloved children’s entertainment properties including Bob the Builder, Barney and Thomas the Tank Engine. Continue reading…

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WDW Refurb Update: HISTK Playground to Remain Open; Bibbidi Bobbidi and Sunshine Tree Terrace

A few changes to the Walt Disney World refurbishment schedule:

First, the official list from Disney that once listed the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure removed it a few days ago and there are no signs of it coming back, so I removed it from the list here.

Second, we have two additional, unverified additions: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the Downtown Disney Marketplace to be closed from January 18 through March 6 and the Sunshine Tree Terrace quick service location in the Magic Kingdom, from January 17 through February 12.

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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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David Tutera Helps Bring A Touch of Disney to Weddings Everywhere in New Book from Disney Editions

Disney plays host to over two-thousand weddings each year, with ceremonies occurring at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. And in February of 2007, Disney launched a Fairytale Wedding Collection by master party planner David Tutera, bringing celebrity style and cache to Disney Weddings. Then in April 2007, Disney partnered with Kirstie Kelly to create wedding dresses inspired by the Disney princesses.

However, for many couples, a wedding on Disney property is not a possibility because of high demand and travel or cost constraints. And with the Disney weddings website getting 60,000 visitors every month, it’s clear that many brides would love to bring a little Disney magic to their weddings, even if they can’t say ‘I do’ in Anaheim or Orlando.

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Stella McCartney Offers Limited Edition Jewelry Inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Stella McCartney designs a limited edition costume jewelry necklace and bracelet inspired by Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Tim Burton’s highly anticipated film, featuring favorite characters from the classic Lewis Carroll tales, hits the big screen on March 5, 2010 (U.S. theatres). Stella McCartney uses the iconic images from the epic 3D fantasy tale and translates them into a cheeky and playful design. Hand made in Italy, the Alice necklace and bracelet are designed with a brass and aluminium light gold anthracite chain, the same chain used in Stella McCartney’s best selling Falabella bag. The chain is adorned with plexi Alice charms such as a rabbit, a Mad Hatter’s hat; a suit of: spade, club, hearts and diamond, all in Stella McCartney’s usual color palette of muted pinks, nudes, taupe and brown. Additionally, pearl baubles and Swarovski crystals accents provide a feminine touch.

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Wild Planet to Release Woody’s Run-Around Roundup RFID Educational Game in May

Woody’s Run-Around Roundup, featuring the gang from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story, follows Wild Planet’s successful listen-think-move format and promotes physical and mental exercise.  It can be played indoors or out, solo or in teams, and does not require the use of a computer or television.

Woody (atop his horse Bullseye) is the electronic hand-held tagger in the game and his Toy Story co-stars Buzz Lightyear, Jesse, Hamm and Rex are targets.  Players listen for Woody to call out clues about different characters, then run to and tag the corresponding targets.

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Disney Marathon Runners Leave 13 Tons of Clothing Behind for Central Florida Organizations

Thousands of runners braved record cold temperatures to participate in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna and left behind a trail of donations that will benefit Central Florida charities.

Disney Marathon organizers collected more than 26,000 pounds of clothing shed by runners who layered on winter attire to keep warm along the 26-mile race route. From Epcot to Magic Kingdom, runners left behind approximately 30,000 pieces of clothing including coats, hats, sweaters, shirts and gloves that will be laundered at Disney textile services and later delivered to Central Florida organizations such as Harvest Time International, Salvation Army and Coalition for the Homeless.

Some runners also used the weekend as a way to raise funds for charitable causes. For example, several groups of runners collectively raised $5.4 million dollars for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Locally, friends and colleagues teamed up to put their best foot forward. The Burnham Institute’s Team Burnham raised $140,000 for blood cancer research, while two teams from Florida Hospital raised more than $54,200 for the Florida Hospital for Children. “I have never been a runner but decided since this was for a good cause to give it a try,” said Samantha O’Lenick, organizer for Florida Hospital’s Females in Training or F.I.T. team.

More than 55,000 runners registered for events such as the Disney Half Marathon, the Disney Pixar Up and Away Family Fun Run 5K, Disney’s Kids Races and a Health & Fitness Expo, marking the largest Disney Marathon Weekend since the event’s debut in 1994.

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