Animation is king again at Disney
The family entertainment giant laid out its slate of animated flicks for the next five years. Like rival DreamWorks Animation
It's also aping DreamWorks Animation by planning to screen 3-D enhanced versions of its flicks, as well as putting sequels back on the production pedestal.
That last point is important, because Toy Story 3 (coming in 2010) and Cars 2 (in 2012) should be huge for Disney, especially now that it owns all of Pixar. And since Pixar's proven dream team is behind these efforts, you know that these will be quality flicks, instead of the low-budget filler that Disney settled for earlier this decade. Those brand-diluting knockoffs hosed down the reputation of Disney's classics, to the point where it needed a Pixar transplant to remain relevant.
Disney is also kicking off a few direct-to-DVD releases. Don't cringe. These won't be the shoddy sequels that devalue its bankable characters. Disney is using this platform for its more tv-centric brands, like Disney Fairies and DisneyToon Studios.
Animation is big business these days. It starts at the multiplex, where the shift to 3-D or premium screen deals like the one DreamWorks Animation has in place with IMAX
Successful characters also create opportunities for vibrant online communities. Kid-friendly companies like Mattel
This doesn't mean that every Disney film has to be a hit. With its firm commitment of putting out two new films a year, it can bounce back quickly after a flop, while milking its winners through the incremental revenue channels.
Yes, animation is king again at Disney. This time, the emperor has both a new groove and plenty of clothes.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a sucker for quality animation. Yes, he owns shares of Disney and DreamWorks Animation. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.