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 Walt Disney Studios Extending to Other Countries

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darthstich
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PostSubject: Walt Disney Studios Extending to Other Countries   Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:20 pm

Walt Disney Studios said Tuesday that it will spend $100 million over the next two to three years in an attempt to extend its brand into emerging markets.

Speaking at the 2008 Merrill Lynch Media Fall Preview Conference in Marina del Rey, Calif., Walt Disney Studios President Alan Bergman said that the company has particular interest in Russia, China and India, with plans to make Disney-branded films in local languages.

The studio's first foray into the arena was with last year's "The Secret of the Magic Gourd," which was released in China. It now has 15 movies in development and two in production for overseas markets.

While international efforts currently comprise approximately 40 percent of Disney Studios' business, Bergman said the company would like it to grow more.

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PostSubject: Disney Produces First Russian Film   Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:22 pm

Walt Disney’s first locally produced Russian pic is “Kniga Masterov” (The Book of Masters) a children’s adventure based on some of the country’s most famous fairy tales and characters.

Written and directed by Vadim Sokolovsky, head of production and acquisitions at Disney CIS, the Mouse House’s Russian arm, “The Book” is being produced with Moscow’s Three-T Studio, founded by director Nikita Mikhalkov.

Shooting on the film -- which has a reported budget of around $7 million -- began this month outside Minsk with studio filming scheduled later at Moscow’s Mosfilm Studios.

Drawing on stories “adapted from Russian fairy tales we all know from childhood,” the movie is aimed at family audiences with a release date set for fall 2009, Marina Zhigalov-Ozkan, Disney CIS head and general producer of the film said Monday.

Leonid Vereshchagin, general director of Three-T, said the studio was pleased to be working with Disney on its first film in Russia.

“We are extremely encouraged that Disney, known throughout the world for its film versions of immortal stories, aims to revive the feature-film fairy-tale genre in Russia,” Vereshchagin added.

Sokolovsky, an experienced TV drama director whose work includes “An Occasional Fellow-Traveler,” “The Ticket to the Harem” and “Ambulance 2,” was last year nominated for Russia’s Golden Eagle National Cinematography Award for his TV series “The Ticket to the Harem.”

Sokolovsky had also gained experience working with Hollywood studios.

Jason Reed, general manager of Walt Disney Studios Intl. Production, said, “The credit goes to our team in Russia. Because of Marina Zhigalova-Ozkan’s strong leadership and the hard work of her team, our first Russian-language production fully delivers on the goals of our mission internationally.

“We are working with a great director, one of the premier production companies in the world, and -- perhaps most importantly -- we have a wonderful story that will be a strong addition to the Disney tradition.”

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PostSubject: Disney foray into film production in India   Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:49 pm

The Walt Disney Company (India) on Tuesday announced its plans to independently produce four live action films. These will include The 19th Step with Kamal Haasan and Asin, to be directed by Bharat Bala, and Zokkomon with the Taare Zameen Par whiz-kid Darsheel Safari, to be directed by Satyajit Bhatkal.

It was Bhatkal who wrote The Spirit of Lagaan and directed Chale Chalo, the documentary on the making of Lagaan.

Mahesh Samat, managing director of the company, told The Hindu that this was in addition to its co-production arrangement with Yash Raj Films.

On the eve of the audio launch of the Disney-Yash Raj Films maiden co-production Roadside Romeo, the animation feature directed by Jugal Hansraj with voice by Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, Mr. Samat said the company was collaborating with Yash Raj Films for one more animation film.

On Zokkomon, he said: “It’s a family film driven by a great story. We should be starting work on it by the end of this year.”

The 19th Step will be a lavish production with an Indo-Japanese cast. “This is an interesting film because it’s a multilingual which will primarily be in Tamil and it is one of those unique films that will potentially be a global film. It’s got some elements of martial arts. We are proud to be associated with Kamal Haasan and A.R. Rahman.”

Disney’s foray into film production in India has been triggered by the size of the market. Mr. Samat said: “With 3.6 billion movie admissions a year, it’s a remarkable figure. With the value of movie admissions going up from Rs.25 to Rs.80 in five years, we are talking about a $7 billion box office. Disney has a huge amount of expertise in telling stories and building a franchise around the characters.”

“We are about creating products that take the story beyond the story,” said Roshni Bakshi, regional director, Disney Consumer Products. A whole range of products that will take the Roadside Romeo franchise to the consumer will reach the retail market by mid-October, two weeks before the film’s Deepavali release.

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