Ten year old Asante, a male giraffe, left Disney’s Animal Kingdom earlier this week, headed for Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri. Owned by the San Diego Zoo and loaned out to other zoological parks for breeding purposes, Asante reportedly suffered a broken neck most likely in transit. Upon arrival at the Dickerson Park Zoo, the giraffe had difficulty exiting the trailer and maintaining his balance.
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Since they were first introduced for Valentine’s day, Hallmark has been steadily growing its offering of augmented reality greeting cards. By purchasing the cards in-store, the recipient can download special software specific to the card (Windows only) and use their webcam to produce an interactive augmented reality visual featuring their favorite characters.
Pictured on the top are new Father’s Day cards featuring Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Disney’s The Lion King and are available at most Hallmark stores. The cards on the bottom feature characters from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story and the Disney Princesses and are available exclusively at Walmart. To see pictures of all of the available cards, visit the Hallmark augmented reality card website.
Disney Channel has ordered a fourth season of its Emmy Award-winning sitcom “Wizards of Waverly Place,” and is in development on the sequel to “Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie,” cable TV’s second-highest rated scripted telecast of all time in Total Viewers (13.5 million), Kids 6-11 and Tweens. The announcement was made today by Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment, and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide. Production on the fourth season is scheduled to begin in August with show runners Vince Cheung and Ben Montanio (“Married…with Children,” “Greetings from Tucson”) executive-producing. Todd J. Greenwald (“Hannah Montana,” “Saved By the Bell: The New Class”) is the series creator and also an executive producer.
You Again is slated to make its theatrical debut in North America on September 24, 2010.
Next month, former Walt Disney World cast member Ana Rosa will begin serving out a two year+ prison sentence as part of a plea bargain for identity theft according to a report from WFTV in Orlando. Although Rosa insists she never used the stolen credit card information, she does admit to purchasing and using a skimming device (using theme park tickets as part of payment) and to selling the information to an outside source who was known to use the information.
Not really sure whether these are simply promotional images (not your typical Disney fare) or if they’re from something bigger and better as we received no details other than the images themselves, but after intently studying them for several hours, I have made an executive editorial decision that it doesn’t matter.
With strong retail sales of licensed Disney merchandise thus far in 2010, Disney continues its reign as the world’s largest licensor with $27 billion in global retail sales for 2009. During a presentation this week in preparation for the annual Licensing International Expo 2010 trade show next week, Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products (DCP), announced DCP’s new goal to significantly increase annual global retail sales of Disney and Marvel licensed merchandise within the next five years, with boys’ merchandise playing a prominent role.
DCP’s core strategy is to focus on newer properties targeting the boys’ market, including popular Marvel franchises, TRON and Disney Channel and Disney XD hit series Phineas and Ferb, as well as continued support of its six key franchises: Disney/Pixar’s Cars, Disney Fairies, Disney Princess, Mickey Mouse, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story and Winnie The Pooh. With unmatched content, rich franchises and given recent signs of an improved economy, DCP is primed for significant growth through the remainder of 2010 and into 2011.
Retail sales of merchandise for boys’ properties have clearly been on the rise for DCP.
WHERE THE BOYS ARE
“Our brand is our strongest asset and there is no better time in history for licensees or retailers to be associated with Disney; our strong slate of boys properties are designed to capture this market in a very big way,” Mooney said. “The tremendous strength of the Cars franchise, coupled with the recent acquisition of Marvel, which appeals to older boys, puts us in an optimum position to increase our share of this segment.”
Toy Story Expected to Reach $2.4 Billion Mark
With fiscal year 2010 retail sales expected to reach $2.4 billion, Toy Story and its beloved cast of characters have become a priority and long-term franchise for The Walt Disney Company and DCP’s biggest event film licensing program ever generating $9B in global retail sales since its inception. As Toy Story 3 readies to release in theaters June 18, major retailers have rolled out significant Toy Story product statements which have only set in the last month. But already in that short time, over 3.5 million units of Toy Story merchandise have been sold. In addition to the momentum from the film and merchandise, the Toy Story franchise will grow into a cross-company initiative that will include the introduction of all-new short form content on multiple Disney platforms modeled after the popular series, Cars Toons.
Cars Franchise Poised To Lead Disney Boys Franchises in 2011
Following the incredible success of Toy Story, DCP’s biggest event film licensing program, the upcoming release of Cars 2 in June 2011 will be supported with unprecedented cross-company initiatives that are expected to dwarf DCP’s huge Toy Story 3 retail sell-in. Cars was the highest grossing animated film in the U.S. in 2006 and has generated $2B in annual global retail sales every year since then. Cars has been a huge and consistent hit with boys, parents and collectors; years after the original film’s debut, Lightning McQueen and Mater still rank as the #1 and #2 most popular movie characters among moms of boys 2-5. Cars Toons, the hilarious series of shorts airing on Disney Channel, has made Cars relevant to young boys and provided fresh merchandising themes for incremental retail programs globally. To date, there have been 150 million die-cast cars sold around the world.
Marvel Drives Boys’ Marketshare Growth
The acquisition of Marvel and its wildly popular properties, including Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, gives DCP a tremendous opportunity to reach older boys and enhance its overall marketing and growth efforts.
DCP will initially leverage its strong retail and licensing relationships to stimulate sales internationally; the core Marvel management team will continue to run Marvel’s domestic brand in New York and will collaborate with DCP’s domestic team on select, synergistic opportunities. Disney Store and DisneyStore.com began selling Marvel-licensed products this year with the release of Iron Man 2 and will continue through the year and into 2011.
And as the anticipation with TRON Legacy builds with the theatrical release approaching this holiday, DCP is laying the groundwork for a stellar merchandise assortment filled with innovation and something exciting for all, primarily older boys.
Phineas and Ferb Reigns As #1 Disney Channel Series For Boys 6-11, the #1 Animated Series on TV in Total Viewers, Kids 6-11 and Tweens
Phineas and Ferb is Disney Channel’s #1 series among Boys 6-11 and is TV’s #1 animated series in Total Viewers Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14. It is also delivering strong ratings on Disney XD in more than 135 countries and in 26 languages around the world. In the spring of 2009, DCP soft-launched a Phineas and Ferb t-shirt and by the end of the year Phineas and Ferb became one of the top three licensed properties in the boys departments at national retailers. The franchise has also demonstrated strong sales with stationery, fruit snacks, books, a DS video game and music sound track. For the first time this summer, consumers can enjoy a full line of Phineas and Ferb merchandise including skateboards, action figures and an assortment of toys and playthings. A Talking Perry plush has been a top seller at Disney Store, and DisneyStore.com now lets consumers create personalized Phineas and Ferb merchandise.
There’s just no denying the success of video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band (even to the point of successful ports to the iPhone), but when it comes right down to it, they’re nothing like playing actual instruments. Instead, the plastic ‘guitar’ one holds is nothing more than a glorified typical video game controller with a bunch of colored buttons. Hardly beneficial to anyone who wishes to learn the real thing.
I confess when I first was alerted to the site that it really seemed like not much more than a glorified Mii creator (a built-in avatar-creator for the Nintendo Wii), albeit with great graphics and cute animations. But the truth is that once you get through the fun of building a toy version of yourself (or anyone else you may or may not know), the really cool stuff happens at the new brand new Toy Story 3 website, ToyStoryToyCreator.com.