Disney's Movie Line Up: Big Plans For Big Profits


When Disney unveils movies, it's not just revealing what it expects to provide a revenue pop, it's giving insight into what brands could become profit engines moving forward.

So, Disney has unveiled its 4-year animation slate.

Here's the Disney breakdown: ten theatrical releases plus four straight-to-DVD films that are part of the "Fairy" franchise.

I interviewed Walt Disney Studio chief Dick Cook who said it's the most diverse slate the studio has ever put together.

The presentation started with "Wall-E," about a robot in a post-apocalyptic future. The clips eliciting oohs and ahhs about the love story between robots (no joke, it was actually really sweet).

The presentation then shot forward to 2012 with a film called "King of the Elves" based on a science fiction story. It aims to take moviegoers into a world where elves are real and these images of little creatures covered in leaves and twigs were really appealing. Do I see another franchise like Disney's "Fairies"? Perhaps. And on that note Disney is releasing four Fairy movies straight to DVD. That's a good way to capitalize on the kids' DVD market without the expense of a theatrical release.

And Pixar--Disney's animation studio--announced its first ever 3-D film. Called "Up" it stars a 78-year old who bears a truly striking resemblance to Warren Buffett. Replete with heavy glasses. The set up is really sad- guy dreams of being an adventurer his whole life, his wife dies and he follows her dream. The animation manages to be very upbeat. I just wonder if they can do a sequel if he's already 78.

Disney is also going totally old school-In holiday 2010 releasing "Rapunzel," one of the few old-school fairy tales it hasn't done. Rendered with totally modern computer animation, Dick Cook told me the story would take a modern twist, i.e., the princess would play some role in her saving, that it wouldn't all be up to the prince.

These-and the others it announced have their natural consumer product opportunities: Rapunzel falls neatly into the princess franchise. And the ones that work like "Toy Story" has and will become key brands across the Disney empire: products, theme park, and even the Disney channel.

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