Friday, December 29, 2006

'Toon Year in Review -- Part I

Kevin and I have been posting on this blog for almost a year now, and it's time -- since we are at the end of '06 -- to look back at some of the milestones in Southern California animation from the year gone by. Let's face it, there were a lot of them. So, without further ado...

January '06

The Weinstein Co. goes wide with its animated feature Hoodwinked after a limited release in December. Picture, budgeted somewhere around $15 million, goes on to gross over $50 million domestically and $100 million worldwide.

Disney announces the acquisition of Pixar. WDFA exec David Stainton moves to new offices in the Frank Wells Building.

February '06

DisneyToon Studios cancels Chicken Little 2. Development staff laid off.

Ballots for the new IATSE Basic Agreement (negotiated in November-December '05) mailed out to IA members. (TAG members receive no ballots as they aren't part of the bargaining unit.)

TAG blog is launched. Animation artists everywhere rejoice.*

March '06

The Simpsons' feature is announced via a theatrical trailer attached to Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (which, in and of itself, goes on to gross almost $700 million worldwide. Between "The Simpsons" and the output of Blue Sky Animation in New York, Fox finds itself warming to animation...)

Animation director Mark Dindal (Cats Don't Dance, The Emperor's New Groove, Chicken Little) and animation producer Randy Fullmer depart Walt Disney Feature Animation.

The Simpsons (the teevee series) gets picked up for another two years -- until 2008.

Andrew Millstein, former veep of DreamQuest and Disney Animation Florida, named exec v.p. of Walt Disney Feature Animation.

WDFA's Gnomio and Juliet feature leaves the feature division, ultimately moving to Miramax.

Fox's King of the Hill, after a three-month shutdown, is announced to be returning to production.

IA Basic Agreement ratified by 67.3% of voting members.

TAG President Kevin Koch registers his first complaint on the blog about media whining over the "animation glut." More complaints from Koch and Hulett follow.

DizToon production execs tell Hulett that Tinkerbell might not go over well with new production topkick John Lasseter. Production execs turn out to be psychic. Or knowledgeable. Or both.

Disney-Pixar marriage becomes official (after the 45-day waiting period required by Securities and Exchange Commision.) Buzz goes around at WDFA's "hat building" that the division might eventually move to a new facility in Glendale.

The TAG 2006-2009 Collective Bargaining Agreement is negotiated and approved by the TAG negotiating committee.

*This is known as I-R-O-N-Y.


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