Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Sonoran Disneys

This p.m. I was pleased to stumble around the two animation studios the Big Mouse owns in sunny Glendale. Both are housed in a large, rectangular building on Sonora Avenue, within spitting distance of the defunct Grand Central Airport, most of which Disney now owns.

Disney Television Animation, in the bottom half of the building, has staff working on the tail end of Mickey's Clubhouse, and that's pretty much it. Other shows are happening at the main Burbank lot, but Sonora is ... autumnal. One of the artists related:

"We're just finishing up on the show, and almost all of us will be out of here in the next few weeks. Word's gone around that a new show starts in June, so most everyone is going to hang on for the next couple of months and get onto it ..."

Upstairs at Toon Disney, work progresses on newer, feature-length Tinkerbells.

"Tinks three and four in tandem, since John Lasseter had the storyline for three reworked and we went back to square one. But I think it's better now, more focused." ... "The first feature's done better than the company expected. They're blocking out Tink 5, and Tinkerbell 6 is going to happen, although right now it's just a gleam in somebody's eye" ... "It's nice to know you have long-term employment" ...

There are more people working at Disney Toons just now, which happens when you have a franchise that's making the Big Mouse big money.

As the DVD market plateaus and ever more releases vie for space on store shelves, the direct-to-video kidvid sector is proving resilient in tough economic times.

Take Disney's "Tinker Bell," the runaway sales success of 2008. According to Meredith Roberts, senior VP and g.m. of DisneyToon Studios, the CG-animated property has far exceeded its revenue target and proves the resiliency of kidvid in times when families are cutting back on a night at the movies ...

Successful video features mean Disney hires more artists to turn out more installments of the hot franchise, which is a good thing.


Anonymous said...

Sounds good! Though the Tinkerbell movie was mostly animated in India; hopefully its success will be a boost to the US industry nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

I expect Disney will start developing the Sonora/ Grandview area big time very soon. There's a dedicated freeway exit and bridge being built right now that will scoot traffic from Flower St. directly onto the 134. Apparently there was alot of Disney money put up to build it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Disney money, but the the ramp make s a lot of sense traffic-wise. Aside from ABC, DCP, Imagineering, Toons and TVA, there is the ever expanding Dreamworks, all in the same area. If they add an eastbound ramp from the 134 to the northbound 5 they will have solve a lot of traffic problems.

Anonymous said...

If they add an eastbound ramp from the 134 to the northbound 5 they will have solve a lot of traffic problems.

Just bear in mind that "they" have been promising that since 1963. Given the state of things, don't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

Is Disney Toons only going to make Tinker Bell DVD's now?

Are there any other projects that they're working on? I hope so. Nothing against the fairy, but I'd like to see them do more than just Tink. How about some projects that are "SHOCK" hand drawn even?

Steve Hulett said...

Disney Toons is developing other properties, but nothing has been given the big greenlight.

Re hand-drawn product, I have no idea if they'll make more of it or not.

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