Ross Gets Feet Wet with Studios and Depp Pockets: 20K? No. 30M? Yes.

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The Walt Disney Studios just can’t churn out big news fast enough. Two major projects couldn’t have had more opposite developments within the past 24 hours.

First, it’s been reported that McG’s remake of ’20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ has been shelved and all but abandoned.

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Third Shoe Drops as Disney Motion Pictures Group Prez Mark Zoradi Makes Exit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Mark Zoradi, who as president of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group handled worldwide marketing and distribution of films, resigned on Monday after 29 years at the company, the studio said.

Zoradi’s resignation comes amid a shake-up at the Walt Disney Co’s movie studio, as long-time chairman Dick Cook’s abrupt departure in September was followed in October by Cook’s replacement with television executive Rich Ross, who until then headed Disney Channels Worldwide.

Also last month Daniel Battsek, who ran Disney’s low-budget Miramax Films, also left after the company slashed the unit’s workforce and curtailed the number of films it would release.

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Disney Channel President Rich Ross Named New Chairman of Walt Disney Studios

Rich Ross (Photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Company)BURBANK, Calif., October 5, 2009 — Rich Ross, President of Disney Channels Worldwide, has been named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, it was announced today by Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger.

Ross will oversee worldwide production, distribution and marketing for the company’s range of live-action and feature animated film labels, including Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax and Disney/Pixar. In his new role, which he assumes immediately, he will also head Disney’s theatrical and music groups.

In his thirteen years at Disney, Ross has consistently created hit original programming, effectively expanded a worldwide creative and distribution organization, skillfully built the Disney brand with global franchises that work across borders and technology platforms and put in place a strong management team.

“Rich has an outstanding record of creating high-quality family entertainment that delights audiences around the world,” said Iger. “With his success in building the Disney brand across many of our businesses, his astute marketing sensibility, his proven ability in working effectively with talent and his skill at navigating complex global markets, I’m confident he’s the perfect leader for our studio group.”

(more…)

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Report: Dick Cook Burned; POTC4 Now on Rocky Seas

A reader sent me a link to this article which, through various updates. states that Dick Cook is shopping the idea around town that he was forced out although — other than the obvious shock to several systems — has no apparent corroboration. The article is updated to include reported reactions from several, including Johnny Depp who cites Cook as a reason for the entire POTC franchise.

Thank you for the link.

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D23 Expo Day Two: Dick Cook and the Walt Disney Studios Present Everyone

It was news when it was announced that Dick Cook would be a keynote speaker at the D23 Expo on behalf of the Walt Disney Studios. It was big news when it was announced that he would be joined on stage by actor Nicolas Cage. It was headlines when D23 announced at the eleventh hour that directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton would also take the stage. But what literally thousands of rabid Disney fans bore witness to this morning defies any category of news. Filled with exclusives and celebrities upon celebrities, even those who had an inkling there was more than Disney was letting on couldn’t have imagined what the Walt Disney Studio managed to pull off in front of the capacity crowd.

Getting settled in your seat, it  was impossible not to notice the orchestra setup at stage right – you knew then you were in for something a little extra. The lights dim and the orchestra fills the Arena with epic theme music as clips from Disney films begin to play. Then you start to hear singing voices as a 10 person choir chimes in when there are lyrics to be sung. Theme song after theme song, movie after movie, from Snow White to the Proposal and everything in-between. It has to be at least, oh, I don’t know… 23 minutes long. An absolute masterpiece crafted by Barnette Richie with music and songs sync’d perfectly every frame of the way, remarkably demonstrated by an extended clip of a musical number from Enchanted mid-way.

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick CookThen Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook took the stage. He talked of his love for the company ever since he started as a steam train and monoral operator at the Disneyland Resort some 40 years ago. He spoke of quality being the underlying factor in movies produced by the studio. He talked about the animation studios and upcoming projects such as Cars 2 and Rapunzel which will be covered in depth when John Lasseter takes the same stage on Sunday. He talked about how for the first time in history the Walt Disney Studios will open its gate to the public and invite them to see a limited pre-release engagement of The Princess and the Frog in the studio’s newly renovated state-of-the-art theater as well as the special engagement in New York City’s famous Ziegfeld Theatre.

He acknowledged the work of Miramax before turning to the Touchstone Pictures label and its newest upcoming release The Last Song, written by Nicholas Sparks for and starring Miley Cyrus. And he mentioned the upcoming sequel Wild Hogs 2: Bachelor Ride.

Director Robert Zemeckis takes the stage (more…)

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Video: D23 Expo Walt Disney Studios Presentation Featuring Dick Cook et al

Enjoy footage from the exciting events and announcements from the Walt Disney Studios presentation featuring WDS Chairman Dick Cook. Dick welcomes numerous celebrities to the stage for the event including directors Robert Zemeckis, Jerry Bruckheimer and Tim Burton, actors John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Ella Bleu Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, the Muppets, a performance by Miley Cyrus and more. Plus see what the fans have to say! Footage courtesy of Disney

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Walt Disney Studios Hosts Special Engagement of the Princess and the Frog; Ziegfeld in New York

UPDATE: SEE OUR FULL REVIEW ALONG WITH DOZENS OF PHOTOS OF THE ULTIMATE DISNEY EXPERIENCE HERE!

BURBANK, Calif. & NEW YORK — In celebration of Disney’s newest animated musical “The Princess and The Frog,” Walt Disney Studios is opening its Burbank gates to the public for a once-in-a-lifetime advance special engagement, welcoming Disney fans to experience its newest animated musical comedy Nov. 25-Dec. 13, 2009. The advance special engagement will also be featured in Clearview’s historic Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. Following the film, fans on both coasts will also be treated to The Ultimate Disney Experience, an exciting extravaganza that will feature—for the first time ever—all nine of the Disney princesses (including the film’s Princess Tiana, Disney’s newest princess), as well as exciting Bayou games, movie archives, how-to presentations from Disney animators, Studio tours (for L.A. guests) and more. Tickets went on sale at midnight last night.

“We’re welcoming families to our Studio to see where Walt Disney made real movie magic,” said Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. “Our Studio is not open to the public, so it’s an unprecedented opportunity for Disney fans to experience a movie right here on the Disney lot where we’ve filmed Disney classics like ‘Mary Poppins,’ ‘Princess Diaries,’ ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and many more. In fact, Walt built the original theater on the Studio lot back in 1940; it opened just in time for special audiences to view his ‘Fantasia.’ With a newly renovated, state-of-the-art theater, the Studio will open its gates once again, inviting audiences to not only see our newest animated musical, but to take part in a one-of-a-kind experience after the movie. We’re bringing the same exciting experience to New York City at the historic Ziegfeld Theatre and Roseland Ballroom.”

Themed to the film’s setting, New Orleans, The Ultimate Disney Experience will feature something for the whole family.

(more…)

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The View From Walt Disney Studios – Episode Details

[if you haven't yet, now would be a *great* time to check out Stitch Kingdom's tour of the Walt Disney Studios!]

Jimmy Kimmel (ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live”) and Calista Flockhart (ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters”) will make their first-ever appearances Monday, March 9 and Friday, March 13, respectively on ABC’s “The View,” as the popular talk and entertainment show broadcasts live from Disney Legends Plaza on the Walt Disney Studios lot, MARCH 9-13. Additional stars scheduled to appear include Patrick Dempsey (ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”), Kyle MacLachlan and Doug Savant (ABC’s “Desperate Housewives”), Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman (ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”), Maurice Benard (ABC’s “General Hospital”) Miley Cyrus, Jay Leno (host, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”), Sally Field (ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters”), “The Hills’” Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt and musical guests Lady Gaga and Keysha Cole. (more…)

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More Guests Named for The View at Walt Disney Studios

[Editor's Note: Remember to check out our very own tour of Walt Disney Studios right here on Stitch Kingdom!]

Patrick Dempsey (ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”), Kyle McLaughlin and Doug Savant (ABC’s “Desperate Housewives”), Maurice Benard (ABC’s “General Hospital”) and musical guest Lady Gaga have joined the lineup of guest stars scheduled to appear on “The View,” MARCH 9-13, as the popular talk show broadcasts live from Disney Legends Plaza on The Walt Disney Studios lot. They join previously announced superstars Miley Cyrus, Jay Leno (host, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”), Sally Field and Calista Flockhart (ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters”), Jimmy Kimmel (host, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”) and “The Hills’” Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. (more…)

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