Last year, TAG blog was at the stockholder meeting in Anaheim, taking notes and reporting back first-person.
Disney Returns to Hand Drawing With `Frog Princess'
2007-03-08 13:04 (New York)
By Andy Fixmer and Cecile Daurat
March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co., owner of Pixar animation studio, will release ``The Frog Princess'' in 2009 in a return to the hand-drawn movie format the company had ceased producing.
``The Frog Princess,'' set in New Orleans, will be directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, who made ``The Little Mermaid'' and ``Aladdin.'' The film, based on the pair's original story, features Maddy, Disney's first African-American princess, Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter said.
``We're going back to hand-drawn animation,'' Lasseter told investors at Burbank, California-based Disney's annual meeting in News Orleans today. ``This movie is going to be classic Disney and yet you have never seen this before.''
The move is part of an effort by Lasseter, who joined Disney last May with the $8.06 billion purchase of Pixar, to focus Disney's Burbank-based animation unit on hand-drawn films. Disney had abandoned the format after 2004's ``Home on the Range'' flopped.
Shares of Burbank, California-based Disney rose 26 cents to $34.69 at 12:51 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They were little changed this year before today.
``Home on the Range'' cost $110 million to make and took in $50 million at the domestic box office, while Pixar's ``The Incredibles'' cost $92 million and garnered $261.4 million.
In addition to Lasseter and Disney Animation president Ed Catmull, the Pixar deal brought Disney its largest shareholder Apple Inc.'s Steve Jobs. Pixar has created five of 10 top- grossing animated films of all time, including No. 2 ``Finding Nemo.''
Disney finished third at the domestic box office last year with $1.52 billion in ticket sales on hits such as ``Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'' and Pixar's ``Cars.'' The company will release a third ``Pirates'' this year and the animated ``Ratatouille.''
Methinks that having hand-drawn features come out of WDFA in Burbank and cg features out of Emeryville will help differentiate brands. Time will tell if that ends up happening full-time.
Right now, both studios are turning out cgi films -- Robinsons and Ratatouille -- and no doubt will continue in that mode for the next few years.