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3 items from 2007


Dis drawing on N'awlins charm

9 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

In New Orleans for its annual shareholder meeting, the Walt Disney Co. announced Thursday that The Frog Princess, the company's first hand-drawn animation project in years, will be set in the Crescent City and feature what John Lasseter called "the very first African-American Disney princess."

Disney Animation has started production on Frog Princess, which harkens back to classic Disney fairy tales and is set for a 2009 release. Aladdin and The Little Mermaid creators Ron Clements and John Musker are the creative forces behind the musical, which will also have a "soulful singing alligator," said Lasseter, chief creative officer for Pixar and Disney Animation Studios

In a surprise, Randy Newman, who spent his childhood in New Orleans and is writing the music for the film, performed a song from Frog Princess for the shareholders and received big applause.

Lasseter also noted that Toy Story 3, now in production, is set for a 2010 release via Pixar Animation Studios.

During the 2 1/2-hour shareholder meeting, company executives and shareholders lauded CEO Robert Iger for his leadership, people skills and ability to blend the traditional Disney magic with a strong financial performance.

Iger made several gestures to show that his team is committed to including old and new fans of Disney and connecting the company's legacy to its future. He welcomed Roy Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, saying: It is good to have you with us. Shareholders gave a round of applause to Disney, a former company executive who battled Iger predecessor Michael Eisner.

Chairman John Pepper later took a shareholder question about whether the company could add a member of the Disney family to its board or executive team. "We're really not looking at a member of the Disney family" even though the firm always wants to have the "best talent in place," he replied. »

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'Toy Story 3,' 'Frog Princess' on tap

9 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK - The Walt Disney Co. is in production on Toy Story 3, via its Pixar Animation Studios, and its first hand-drawn animation project in years, The Frog Princess, via Disney Animation, John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, said Thursday.

In an appearance during Disney's annual shareholder meeting in New Orleans, Lasseter said: "We are finally in production on 'Toy Story 3'," adding the film is scheduled to come out in 2010. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are back on board to voice Buzz Lightyear and Woody.

The screenplay is by Michael Arndt, who just won the original screenplay Academy Award for Little Miss Sunshine, according to Lasseter, who said: "We got a great story."

He also announced - to much applause - that Disney Animation has started production on Frog Princess, which goes back to hand-drawn animation and classic Disney fairytales. Aladdin and Little Mermaid creators Ron Clements and John Musker are the creative forces behind the animated musical, which "takes place entirely in New Orleans," features "the very first African American Disney princess" and includes a "soulful singing alligator," Lasseter said. »

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Howard tapped to lead Exodus

8 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Max Howard has been named president of Exodus Film Group, Exodus CEO John Eraklis said Wednesday.

Howard has held posts as president of Warner Bros. Feature Animation and senior vp at Disney Feature Animation.

"Max is one of the most talented and experienced animation executives in the business today," Eraklis said. "His track record of building outstanding animation teams worldwide is unparalleled."

During his 12 years at Disney, Howard collaborated on such films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas and The Lion King. At Warners, he oversaw The Iron Giant and Space Jam. More recently, he was an executive producer on DreamWorks Animation's Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

Exodus is working on the CG-animated feature Igor, set for fall 2008 release by the Weinstein Co.

Igor, with a voice cast that includes Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Jay Leno, Jennifer Coolidge, Molly Shannon, Steve Buscemi and John Cleese, is a comic version of the classic monster tale about an evil scientist and his lab assistant. Tony Leondis is directing the screenplay by Chris McKenna. »

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3 items from 2007


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