Categories
Disney

California Screamin’ Accident

California Screamin' accident

As any long term readers of my blog know, I’m a pretty big fan of Disneyland. However, I have to say my love of the park is slowly diminishing with all the bad news coming out of Disney theme parks lately. For instance there was a low speed collision on Disney’s California Adventure’s Screamin’ rollercoaster yesterday. No one was killed but about 15 people have minor injuries. What is going on with the maintenance lately that there have been so many theme park accidents? From NBC News 4:

Fire crews, ambulances and other emergency vehicles were at the California Screamin’ ride, which features a 108-foot drop. Crews received the report at about 6:40 p.m.

City spokesman John Nicoletti said 15 of the 48 people on the ride were hospitalized for treatment of minor injuries.

[…]

The slow-speed collision occurred on a flat portion of the roller coaster. Officials were attempting to determine a cause.

It was the second accident in four months at a Disneyland Resort park in Anaheim.

Categories
animation copyright Disney

"Vice presidents from Disney don’t contact just any old Joe Schmoe off the street."

After reading this Newsday.com (Updated link:) wdwmagic forum article about a scuba-diving dentist that claims Disney and Pixar Animation Studios stole the idea for the hit film “Finding Nemo” from him, I think he may have a case.

He claims he submitted an illustrated manuscript to Disney and talked on the phone about his story with a writer from Pixar. (The two companies have a distribution partnership.)

A Disney vice president told Sternberg in 1996 that although the story had “great potential,” it did not fit into the studio’s “development slate” at that time, according to the suit.

Seven years later, Sternberg was in a movie theater and saw a preview for the upcoming release of “Finding Nemo.”

“I thought, ‘Hey, I’m the scuba-diving dentist. Those are my characters, that’s my story,”‘ he told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Wednesday’s editions. “It made me sick to my stomach.”

One big similarity: Sternberg story has a character named “Nimo.”

The thing is, before he submitted his manuscript he signed a two-page waiver that said he would be entitled to only $500 if he were to claim that the company used his material without permission or authorization. His lawyer is asking the court to void that waiver.

Categories
crime Disney life

T I Double Geh Errrrrr

There is a mother that is suing a Walt Disney World worker accused of groping her 13-year-old daughter while dressed as Tigger.

I asked Anna-Maria what she thought about the possibility it was an accident since she has actually tried on some of the Disney costumes.

She says that, “[While wearing the costume] your vision is greatly, greatly reduced. Furthermore, the suit is not just one layer. You have, generally, an under layer of padding followed up by a fur costume with large mittens on your hands that are often three times your regular hand size.

I tried out many costumes. One was a cat costume, the cat from Pinochio and the sleeves go almost all the way to the ground on them so your hands are covered.

Your feet are the same, you have shoes on followed up with a big fur boot, or depending on the costume a giant rubber shoe or boot.

Also it’s so hot in there you don’t function properly. You’re biggest concern is getting enough oxygen. Definitely not groping someone — although I could be wrong. But I don’t think you could even think about that in that costume. It’s like a pure mental exercise just to stand wearing the costume.

If it was one of the face characters, Santa Claus, Aladdin I could see it. But those other costumes are just unbearable.

I danced for half an hour in one and I was gasping for oxygen. Even when I just tried it on I began to sweat and breath heavily as if I had just run a marathon completely untrained.”

So when I asked her one more time if she thought the accused was truly innocent she replied, “Do you think a fat kid with asthma being chased by a pack of wild dogs could think about that? Because that’s what it’s like being in one of those costumes with parents and kids trying to run you down. You are in survival mode.”

About a second after publishing this post I discovered this AP News Story. It turns out “Tigger” was acquitted earlier today.

The acquittal came less than an hour following a three-day trial during which the defense attorney for Michael Chartrand donned a Tigger costume in an effort to show jurors how difficult it is to maneuver and see in the outfit.

[…]

Chartrand’s defense attorney has contended that the girl’s mother was merely after money and planned to sue Disney. The mother also claimed Tigger touched her breast during the visit to Disney World last February, although no criminal charges followed her allegation.

Categories
Disney

Disney’s 71% Increase in Profits and Fahrenheit 911 Update

Things are looking up for both Eisner and Moore.

Disney reported a better-than-expected 71% increase in income for the second quarter which must come as an extreme relief for Michael Eisner who has been under pressure to improve performance or risk losing his job.

Meanwhile a Miramax spokesman has stated that Miramax will distribute Michael Moore’s new film, though not under the Miramax label.

Update: May 25, 2004: From the New York Post:

Michael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” could wind up costing Disney more than $100 million and go down as another Michael Eisner blunder.

The movie is poised to set a new record for highest-grossing documentary after its release in six weeks’ time.

The stakes are higher — and hotter — between Miramax and Disney, its corporate parent, now that Moore has nabbed the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, for the Bush-bashing documentary.

The post-Cannes publicity for the film only intensifies the battle over who will distribute it in he United States, and if Miramax can get back in the mix.

Update June 29th, 2004: If you are wondering when Fahrenheit 911 is coming to Lethbridge (I am too), try the Cineplex Odeon website. In the meantime, I recommend reading Plastic’s commentary on the film. Plastic is one of the few places, I know of – on the net, where you can get quality discussions.

Update June 30, 2004: An anti-Michael Moore website is encouraging people to download Fahrenheit 911 for free. They are offering the same version of the film that you can find at Suprnova.

Categories
Disney documentary

Disney Blocks Moore’s New Anti-Bush Movie

The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush, tracing the links between the Bush family and Saudis like Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Moore’s agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney’s chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush’s brother, Jeb, is governor.

While Emanuel admits that Michael Eisner asked him not to sell this movie to Harvey Weinstein, he defiantly states, “that doesn’t mean I listened to him.”

According to news sources Miramax and Disney spokespeople had no comment, but Moore on the other hand did.

“Some people may be afraid of this movie because of what it will show,” Moore wrote. “But there’s nothing they can do about it now because it’s done, it’s awesome, and if I have anything to say about it, you’ll see it this summer — because, after all, it is a free country.”

Fahrenheit 9/11 is one of the films in competition at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

Categories
Disney

Pixar Short

I’m guessing this short film Tin Toy will be featured at the beginning of one of the next two new Pixar movies (either The Incredibles or The Cars). But why wait, check it out now – it appears to be a test piece for Toy Story and it’s actually quite brilliant.

Categories
Disney

Roy Disney May Have Some Tricks Up His Sleeve

Jim Hill has an interesting conspiricy theory about how Roy Disney and Stanley Gold have reportedly recruited members of the Jim Henson family to help out with their bid to oust Michael Eisner.

From JimHillMedia:

You see the strategy that’s emerging here? “Michael Eisner can’t get Steve Jobs to agree to a Pixar contract extension. But Roy Disney — who’s a friend of John Lasseter — can.” And “Michael Eisner missed out on closing a deal to acquire the Jim Henson Company (again) in May. But the Henson family is willing once more to do business with the Walt Disney Company … provided that Michael Eisner is out of the picture.”

This is really an ingenious strategy on Roy and Stanley’s part, don’t you think? Getting Disney shareholders to overlook the modest gains that the corporation has made over the past year by pointing out how much better the Walt Disney Company could theoretically be doing if Michael Eisner weren’t in the hot seat.

Categories
Disney law

Pooh heirs hire Cochran in Disney suit

Attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., best known for his work in OJ Simpson’s murder trial, stated last month that he is swearing off criminal law. It was announced today that his newest client is Winnie the Pooh — actually the heirs of the Stephen Slesinger. They allege that Disney owes them millions of dollars because they miscalculated royalties due from the sales of Pooh dolls, books and other merchandise for years. The lawsuit has been going on for the last 12 years, and the Slesinger’s have changed attorneys several times in that time.

Pati Slesinger stated, “We are honored to have Mr. Cochran […] on our team.” Stephen Slesinger, Pati’s father, acquired the rights to Pooh from British author A.A. Milne in 1930 and expanded them in a 1932 agreement.

Update: A legal opinion on the case was delivered December 21, 2012.

In 1930, A.A. Milne transferred to Slesinger exclusive merchandising and other rights to Winnie-the-Pooh works in the U.S. and Canada. In 1961, Slesinger exclusively “assigned, granted, and set over to” Disney the rights in the 1930 agreement. A 1983 agreement sought to resolve the parties’ disputes, but Slesinger contends it retained rights in the works, while Disney maintains Slesinger assigned all rights. In 1991, before the present litigation, Slesinger sued in state court, alleging breach of the 1983 agreement. Slesinger acknowledged that the 1983 agreement “regranted, licensed and assigned all rights” to Disney. The action was ultimately dismissed. The dispute continued in federal court. The district court dismissed, noting that the parties’ actions indicated the rights were transferred to Disney in the 1983 agreement. Between 1983 and 2006, Disney registered at least 15 trademarks. In 2004, Disney registered copyrights in 45 works and renewed copyright registrations for another 14. Slesinger did not attempt to perfect or register trademarks or copyrights before asserting its federal claims and never objected to Disney’s registrations until 2006, when the state court dismissed its claims and Slesinger attempted to cancel Disney’s applications and marks. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s dismissal, citing estoppel.

Categories
Disney

Disney Fan Builds 11,000 sqft Haunted Mansion Replica

Special-effects guru Mark Hurt design and built a scale replica of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. He lives in the home, which he explains, “will always be a work in progress”. He even has his own home-brew audio-animatronics and a ghost that appears in his bathroom mirror.

Categories
Disney

Roy Disney resigns from Disney, slams Eisner

MiceAge.com shares Walt’s nephew, Roy Disney’s, resignation letter. Roy blames Michael Eisner’s poor leadership and relates point by point reasons how Michael Eisner has failed:

  1. The failure to bring back ABC Prime Time from the ratings abyss it has been in for years and your inability to program successfully the ABC Family Channel. Both of these failures have had, and I believe will continue to have, significant adverse impact on shareholder value.
  2. Your consistent micro-management of everyone around you with the resulting loss of morale throughout the Company.
  3. The timidity of your investments in our theme park business. At Disney’s California Adventure, Paris and now in Hong Kong, you have tried to build parks “on the cheap” and they show it and the attendance figures reflect it.
  4. The perception by all of our stakeholders — consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers — that the company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the “quick buck” rather than long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust.
  5. The creative brain drain of the last several years, which is real and continuing, and damages our Company with the loss of every talented employee.
  6. Your failure to establish and build constructive relationships with creative partners, especially Pixar, Miramax, and the cable companies distributing our products.
  7. Your consistent refusal to establish a clear succession plan.