Here's a few animation news items from the past few days that you might have missed (and should know, since the following stories impact animation artists' future employment):
At Disney, the Princesses Franchise (a huge money spinner the last couple of years) will be making room for the oncoming Fairy Franchise, with Tinker Bell as "Fairy in Chief":
Walt Disney consumer products chief Andy Mooney does the division's numbers crunching.
What he sees in his magic mirror, he says, is "modest, single-digit growth" this year for Disney Princesses, the retail juggernaut that's captured the hearts of small girls worldwide -- and plenty of their parents' dough.
...That's why Princesses will be passing the baton to a whole new group of gals: the Disney Fairies, with Tinker Bell as the Fairy-in-Chief...
It also explains, despite a raft of development tangles with the dvd feature Tinker Bell, why the picture is still on track to get made (even with John Lasseter's lack of enthusiasm for sequels to the classic Disney features.)
Speaking of sequels, Mr. Lasseter and Ed Catmull were in Orlando last week (we mentioned this visit earlier), and while there they confirmed Toy Story III is in the works with a possible 2009 release, directed by Lee Unkrich and written by live-action scribe Michael Arndt.
In an unusually candid presentation from the typically tight-lipped execs, Lasseter and Disney Animation prexy Ed Catmull provided extensive details on their upcoming slate at the Mouse House's investor conference Thursday.
In addition to confirming for the first time that a third "Toy Story" is in the works, most likely for 2009 release, Lasseter said Lee Unkrich will helm it.
Unkrich co-directed "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc." and "Finding Nemo" but has never before been sole helmer on a Pixar pic.
And over at Sony Pictures Animation, there has been some changes in the division's executive ranks:
Penney Finkelman Cox, a veteran animation executive who helped launch Sony Pictures' foray into animation, is stepping down to become a producer for the division, the company announced Friday.
The management shake-up follows mounting tensions between Finkelman Cox and Yair Landau, vice chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, over creative control of the animation division.
With the changes, Landau will be directly in charge of creative decision-making in the animation group while continuing in his role as president of Sony Pictures Digital.
Finkelman Cox's longtime partner, Sandra Rabins, will remain executive vice president of the animation unit and report to Landau.
This was the other topic of conversation among Sony Pictures Animation employees when I visited the Culver City studio last week. But since Mrs. Hulett didn't raise her little boy to be a big-mouthed fool, I kept my yap shut about it until the story broke on Friday.
And a happy Sunday to you.