Disney Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
With a $1.1 billion global box office and a certified-platinum soundtrack, Disney‘s Frozen is more that a blockbuster — it’s a pop-culture phenomenon. However, the folks at How It Should Have Ended found the animated film lacked a certain … something. Namely, an appearance by X-Men.
After all, where better than Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters for Elsa to learn more about her powers — and, of course, organize the joint faculty-student chorus?
Bloomberg Businessweek‘s profile of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, timed to coincide with the release this week of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, naturally focuses on the film division, but it also drops some fascinating nuggets about the company’s corporate culture and the 2009 purchase by Disney.
• “In March, Feige gave me a tour of Marvel Studios at Disney headquarters in Burbank, Calif.,” writes Devin Leonard. “The offices are furnished like a college dormitory, with threadbare couches. The hallways are decorated with cardboard superheroes hawking Pizza Hut and Burger King. There’s barely enough room in Feige’s office for a replica of Thor’s hammer.” While that description may come as a surprise to some, Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter has a well-established reputation as a penny-pincher, reusing paper, limiting the number of coffee pots and even fishing paperclips out of trashcans.
Claiming an appeals court “unconstitutionally appropriated” Jack Kirby’s copyrights and gave them to Marvel, the late artist’s heirs have taken their fight with the comics publisher to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a petition filed March 21, and first reported by Law 360, Kirby’s children argue “it is beyond dispute” that the artist’s Marvel work between 1959 and 1963 was not produced as “work for hire” and, therefore, is subject to a clause in the U.S. Copyright Act that permits authors and their heirs to reclaim copyrights transferred before 1978.
The appeal follows an August decision by the Second Circuit upholding a 2011 ruling that Kirby’s Marvel works were indeed made at the “instance and expense” — that term plays a significant role in the heirs’ petition — with the publisher assigning and approving projects and paying a page rate; in short, they were “work for hire.” As such, the courts found, the 45 copyright-termination notices the artist’s heirs filed in 2009 for such characters as the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Hulk were invalid.
Academia | The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont, is adding a masters of fine arts degree in applied cartooning that will allow students to focus on using the comics medium for journalism, medicine, business and other fields. [Valley News, press release]
Creators | With the arrival of the second issue of The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman talks about the joy of writing the first series and returning for this one, why he chooses to pen a story as a comic rather than a novel, and how his process differs as well: “When I’m outlining a comic, I write down the numbers 1 to 24, and I jot down what’s happening on each page, because I have to think of things in terms of pages, and double-page spreads. In a novel, if I want to move a scene, I just cut and paste. In a novel, it’s a completely different conversation.” [CNN]
Registration opened this morning for runDisney’s inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend, and it’s nearly sold out already. You’d almost think this was Comic-Con International.
Announced last month, the Nov. 14-16 event brings runners to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, for kids races, a 5K, a half marathon, a pre-race pasta party featuring the Marvel characters and a merchandise expo. It marks the first such collaboration since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009.
At the time of this post, the kids races and Avengers 5K were sold out, with the Avengers Half Marathon at 98 percent; there’s still a little room at the pasta party, however.
Update (11:25 a.m.): And just like that, the Avengers Half Marathon is sold out.
Filed in federal court in Philadelphia, and first reported by Deadline, Disney’s reply is the latest volley in what began last summer as a relatively straightforward lawsuit against the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based American Music Theatre, which was accused of using unlicensed elements from Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King.
However, as the media giant’s attorneys later noted, that “simple case” was “transmogrified” with the surprising assertion that the theater had licensed Spider-Man … from Stan Lee Media, which was named in a third-party counterclaim (it should be noted the license was obtained after Disney filed suit).
The failed dot-com, which hasn’t been connected to its co-founder and namesake in more than a decade, in turn sued Disney on Feb. 7, seeking a jury trial regarding ownership of Spider-Man, and, presumably, other characters co-created by Stan Lee. Disney responded with a motion to dismiss, which was of course opposed by SLMI; the company maintains none of the previous court cases has directly addressed ownership of the characters.
Legal | Those wondering how Stan Lee Media can possibly afford its long, and so far entirely unsuccessful, legal battle with Marvel and Disney may want to read this brief Wall Street Journal article about “litigation finance” — which it characterizes as the growing practice of investing in lawsuits. However, pointing to the fight over the rights to Spider-Man and other characters, writer Rob Copeland points out there are high risks: namely, that investors could never see financial return. As we’ve noted before, Stan Lee Media’s efforts are backed by a group of investors that includes the $21 billion hedge fund Elliott Management, which helps to explain why the lawsuits keep coming. [MoneyBeat]
Settling into an apparent “every other year” pattern, D23 focuses on “what’s new and what’s on the horizon from theme parks, television, music, games and films, including Pixar, the Muppets, Star Wars and Marvel.” At past D23 Expos, Disney has brought out everyone from Johnny Depp, dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow to announce the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, to the almost-complete cast of Avengers. Last year saw Tom Hiddleston singing “Bare Necessities,” while Disney and Marvel teased their “Seekers of the Weird” comic project.
Advance tickets for D23 Expo 2015 will go on sale at D23Expo.com beginning Aug. 14, 2014.
Adele Dazeem’s Idina Menzel’s performance of “Let It Go” from Frozen is inescapable (and downright catchy), I’d somehow missed widespread speculation that the big scene from Disney’s latest animated blockbuster is an elaborate homage to the Mars sequence from Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
It’s already inspired some mashups, but now Slate’s Forrest Wickman draws our attention to one that may just erase any doubts, ending the debate once and for all (or, y’know, not): Alex Wolinetz‘s combination of the song’s lyrics with Gibbons’ panels depicting a self-exiled Doctor Manhattan. (You can see the rest of the mashup at Slate.com.)
In documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Philadelphia, the failed dot-com again argued that none of the previous cases over the past decade — and there have been many — has directly addressed the merits of its ownership claims. “No judge has decided that Disney actually owns the Spider‐Man copyrights or, for that matter, that SLMI does not own the copyrights,” the papers state. “[...] That issue has never been decided, and Disney has now placed it directly before the court in this case.”
“This case” is a copyright- and trademark-infringement involving the use of elements from Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King in a musical revue staged by the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based American Music Theatre. What Disney’s lawyers thought would be “a simple case” took an unexpected turn in November when the theater responded that it had licensed Spider-Man, from Stan Lee Media, which was named in a third-party counterclaim (the license was obtained after Disney filed suit). That opened the door for the company, which no longer has a connection to Stan Lee, to sue Disney, seeking a jury trial regarding ownership of Spider-Man, and, presumably, the other Marvel characters it’s sought since emerging from bankruptcy in 2006.
Disney Interactive slashed about 700 jobs on Thursday, more than one-quarter of its entire staff, as part of entertainment giant’s continuing battle to make its video game and Internet division profitable. Although the cuts had been anticipated for some time, few expected them to run that deep.
The Playdom group, which produces social-media games, is believed to be hit hardest. Disney purchased that company in 2010 for $563 million, an investment that clearly didn’t pay off.
Disney also plans to dramatically scale back in-house development of games, relying instead on outside licensing, which The New York Times characterizes as “a major shift in strategy.” The newspaper reports the company, which last year released about two dozen games, will reduce its output by 50 percent, and merge Playdom with the more successful mobile games unit.
Renowned Disney cartoonist Don Rosa, who left comics in 2012, has returned to the character for which he’s best remembered — with the cover art for a concept album based on his Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. Yes, read that last part again.
Titled Music Inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge, likely in hopes of avoiding the all-seeing eye of Disney, it’s a solo album by Finnish keyboardist/songwriter Tuomas Holopainen, founder of the symphonic metal band Nightwish, and a major Rosa fan.
“This is my longtime dream come true, 14 years in the making,” Holopainen says on his website. “And a homage to one of the best storytellers of our time.”
Holopainen spent most of last year writing and producing the album, which contains 10 tracks, including “Glasgow 1877,” “Cold Heart of the Klondike,” and the first single “A Lifetime Adventure,” which arrives with a video. The full album will be available April 15.
Fresh from Sunday’s Disney Princess event, runDisney has announced the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. It marks the first such collaboration since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009.
Planned for Nov. 14-16 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the event includes a kids race, a 5K and half marathon — it’s a new 13.1-mile route through the theme park – a pre-race pasta party featuring the Marvel characters and a merchandise expo. Registration opens March 25.
“RunDisney races are a natural fit because our comic book Super Heroes embody many of the same brand attributes as runDisney, such as heroism and intensity with a heavy dose of fun,” Dan Buckley, Marvel’s president of TV, publishing and brand management, said in a statement. “This race weekend will have a very distinct atmosphere that will appeal to comic book fans and runDisney fans.”
After being pursued in court over the past seven years by Stan Lee Media, Marvel and its corporate parent Disney have had enough: On Valentine’s Day, the companies asked a federal judge to put a stop to the failed dot-com’s dogged claims of ownership of Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men and other lucrative characters.
Filed Friday in federal court in Philadelphia, and first reported by Hollywood, Esq., the motion to dismiss comes as part of what began in September as a seemingly straightforward copyright- and trademark-infringement lawsuit involving the use of elements from Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King in a musical revue staged by the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based American Music Theatre.
However, as Disney states in its filing, that “simple case” was “transmogrified” with the surprising assertion in November from the theater that it had licensed Spider-Man … from Stan Lee Media, which was named in a third-party counterclaim (it should be noted the license was obtained after Disney filed suit). That conveniently opened the door for the company, which no longer has a connection to its co-founder and namesake, to sue Disney on Feb. 7, seeking a jury trial regarding ownership of Spider-Man, and, presumably, other characters co-created by Stan Lee.
Continuing its long, and so far wholly unsuccessful, fight for ownership of many of Marvel’s best-known characters, the tenacious Stan Lee Media has sued a Walt Disney Co. subsidiary, seeking to join a dispute about licensing Spider-Man for the stage.
In September, Disney Enterprises, Marvel and Cameron Mackintosh Ltd. sued Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based American Music Theatre, saying it violated copyrights and trademarks by using elements of Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King in its musical revue Broadway: Now and Forever (Disney and Mackintosh jointly hold the copyright to the Mary Poppins stage production). The theater responded in November with the surprising claim that Disney doesn’t own Spider-Man. Instead, the counterclaim stated, the character belongs to Stan Lee Media, which licensed the rights to the American Music Theatre.