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  1. #1

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    'Tinker Bell' still needs tinkering - Los Angeles Times 12/21/06

    'Tinker Bell' still needs tinkering, Disney decides

    By Joseph Menn
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    December 21, 2006


    Top Walt Disney Co. animation executives have delayed next year's release of a "Tinker Bell" DVD that the company was counting on to drive sales of a key new line of merchandise aimed at young girls.

    The decision is important because Disney has been hoping Disney Fairies, introduced last year, can replicate some of the success the company has enjoyed with its lucrative Disney Princesses line of dolls, clothes, videos and other merchandise.


    But executives from Pixar Animation Studios, who now run Disney animation, decided the plot of "Tinker Bell" needed some tinkering of its own.

    As a result, the film, originally scheduled for next fall, is being pushed back until at least 2008, according to Disney animation employees and company executives.

    Pixar executives John Lasseter and Ed Catmull were tapped to turn around Disney's feature animation unit, which has struggled in recent years to turn out hits, as part of Disney's $7.4-billion acquisition of the studio. Pixar's track record includes such blockbusters as "Cars," "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles" and "Toy Story."

    One of the first things the Pixar executives did was review existing Disney projects, taking an especially close look at the strength of their story lines. "Tinker Bell" is expected to introduce new characters to pave the way for new movies and other products with her friends.

    Actress Brittany Murphy is scheduled to voice Tinker Bell, who doesn't speak in Disney's 1953 animated film "Peter Pan."

    But Lasseter, who reports directly to Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger, decided that the "Tinker Bell" script needed substantial work, according to Disney insiders. Another concern: that the DVD lacked appeal for older girls.

    Disney had no comment. Employees who provided information did so on condition they not be named, citing the company's policy on keeping mum about projects that are still taking shape.

    Ordinarily, the delay of a DVD movie would have attracted little attention. But "Tinker Bell" was to have been the centerpiece of a merchandise plan that has been in the works for years.

    Disney Fairies was inspired by the success of Disney Princesses, which rang up sales of more than $3 billion, with a minimum 5% licensing fee going to the Burbank-based entertainment company. Items feature such characters as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Ariel from "The Little Mermaid."

    Disney is already selling Disney Fairies books, play sets and dolls. One executive said that the company was sticking with a forecast of $500 million in overall retail sales related to the products for the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

    Still, the merchandise line won't enjoy the kind of boost next year that comes from a heavily promoted DVD. Disney insiders expect the movie to still be made because of all the merchandise tie-ins.

    One chief critic of Disney's direct-to-video strategy has been board member Steve Jobs, who in the $7.4-billion Pixar acquisition swapped his stake in that firm to become Disney's largest shareholder.

    Jobs, who also runs Disney business partner Apple Computer Inc., has argued internally that Disney should make the movies better and release them to theaters, where continuing publicity would help lift DVD sales.
    http://www.latimes.com/
    Last edited by Dustysage; 12-21-2006 at 11:17 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: 'Tinker Bell' still needs tinkering - Los Angeles Times 12/21/06

    This isn't entirely bad news. Lasseter delaying the release of Tinker Bell so the studio can get the story right is a very Walt-like thing to do. Despite the delay, the tie-in merchandise will still move off the shelves if the DVD is good when it's finally released. Imagine how much the merchandise could languish if Tinker Bell completely sucks.

    Disney's making a smart move here. Maintaining high standards, what a concept!

  3. #3

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    Re: 'Tinker Bell' still needs tinkering - Los Angeles Times 12/21/06

    Quote Originally Posted by disneytim View Post
    This isn't entirely bad news. Lasseter delaying the release of Tinker Bell so the studio can get the story right is a very Walt-like thing to do. Despite the delay, the tie-in merchandise will still move off the shelves if the DVD is good when it's finally released. Imagine how much the merchandise could languish if Tinker Bell completely sucks.

    Disney's making a smart move here. Maintaining high standards, what a concept!
    You bet it is a smart move, when I saw the trailer I was not happy with what I saw... It seemed too much like Secrite Garden than a story about Neverland... I think it is important to keep the two tied together...
    Check out my other blog:

  4. #4

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    Re: 'Tinker Bell' still needs tinkering - Los Angeles Times 12/21/06

    Thank goodness.

    Quality above all else! Walt would certainly be proud

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    Re: 'Tinker Bell' still needs tinkering - Los Angeles Times 12/21/06

    The books are very well written, my daughter is 7 and she loves the stories. With such good source materiel it's puzzling that this film would be having "plot problems." USE THE BOOKS. I hope they sort it out.

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    Re: 'Tinker Bell' still needs tinkering - Los Angeles Times 12/21/06

    Jim Hill wrote an article about this at his site on 12-18. This Tinkerbell movie is suppose to be followed by a trilogy of "DisneyFairies" movies,
    so making sure this 1st movie is important in setting up the following
    releases.

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    Re: 'Tinker Bell' still needs tinkering - Los Angeles Times 12/21/06

    maybe its just me but I see the script needing work as an excuse. Jobs doesn't like the marketing strategy of direct to video or in this case DVD, both catmull and lassetter worked for jobs... Sounds like stall tacticts to me. Make the script so good as disney couldn't help but want to release it to theaters. as for appeal for older girls, maybe they learned their lesson after cars. as big a hit as it was girls didn't want to see it originally because it was a movie about race cars.

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