Directory:The Walt Disney Company
|The Walt Disney Company|
|Type||Public (NYSE: DIS)|
|Founded||Burbank, California, USA (1923)|
|Founder||Walt Disney and Roy Disney|
|Headquarters||Template:Country data US Burbank, California USA|
|Key people||George J. Mitchell, Chairman|
Robert Iger, President/CEO
|Industry||Media and Entertainment|
|Products||American Broadcasting Company, Buena Vista Distribution, Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, Walt Disney Studio Entertainment, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Consumer Products|
|Revenue||$31.9 billion USD (2005)|
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The Walt Disney Company (most commonly known as Disney; NYSE: DIS) is one of the largest media and entertainment corporations in the world. Founded on October 16, 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney as a small animation studio, today it is one of the largest Hollywood studios and also owns eleven theme parks, two water parks and several television networks, including the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).
Disney's corporate headquarters and primary production facilities are located at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, USA. The company is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It had revenues of $31.9 billion in 2005.
Disney's original (and, until 1955, only) business is motion picture production. Disney Studio Entertainment, also known as the Walt Disney Studios, includes Disney's movie and animation studios, record labels, and Broadway-style stage shows. Since 2002 it has been headed by chairman Dick Cook.
- Walt Disney Feature Animation
- Walt Disney Television Animation
- DisneyToon Studios
- Pixar Animation Studios
Parks and Resorts
In addition to the well-known theme parks and resorts, this division includes Disney Regional Entertainment (which operates the ESPN Zone sports-themed restaurants), Walt Disney Imagineering, and Walt Disney Creative Entertainment. Previously, "Anaheim Sports, Inc." was also within this division. Anaheim Sports operated the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey club (sold in 2005 to Broadcom executive Henry Samueli) and the Anaheim Angels baseball team (sold to advertising magnate Arturo Moreno in 2003).
- Walt Disney Television
- Touchstone Television
- ABC Entertainment
- ABC Television Network
- Buena Vista Television
Disney also owns a group of cable networks including: The Disney Channel, ABC Family, Toon Disney, the ESPN group, and SOAPnet. Disney also holds substantial interest in Lifetime (50%), A&E (37.5%), E! (40%, recently sold to Comcast) and Jetix Europe N.V. (74%).
Through ABC, Disney also owns 10 local television stations, 26 local radio stations, and ESPN Radio, Radio Disney, and the ABC Radio (to be sold with another properties to Citadel Broadcasting, which carries such radio personalities as Sean Hannity and Paul Harvey and distributes news bulletins by ABC News). Buena Vista Television, which also is a part of the Media Networks unit, produces such syndicated television programs as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Live with Regis and Kelly, and Ebert & Roeper.
Disney also operates its Hyperion publishing company and Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) through Media Networks. Hyperion has recently published books by comedian-author Steve Martin and bestselling author Mitch Albom. WDIG includes the Go.com web portal, based on the old Infoseek search engine which it purchased in 1998, and leading websites such as Disney.com, ESPN.com, ABCNews.com and Movies.com .
Founding and early success (1923–1954)
- 1923: The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, founded on October 16 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney and animator Ub Iwerks, produces the Alice's Wonderland series.
- 1925: At Walt Disney's insistence, the company is renamed Walt Disney Studios; Disney creates the cartoon Alice's Egg Plant, a cartoon containing anti-union propaganda.
- 1927: The Alice series ends; Disney picks up the contract to animate Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
- 1928: Walt loses the Oswald series contract; first Mickey Mouse cartoon Plane Crazy released; Steamboat Willie released, the first cartoon with sound to achieve widespread popularity.
- 1929: First Silly Symphony: The Skeleton Dance. On December 16, the original partnership formed in 1923 is replaced by Walt Disney Productions, Ltd. Three other companies, Walt Disney Enterprises, Disney Film Recording Company, and Liled Realty and Investment Company, are also formed.
- 1930: First appearance of Pluto.
- 1932: First three-strip Technicolor short released: Flowers and Trees; first appearance of Goofy.
- 1934: First appearance of Donald Duck.
- 1937: Studio produces its first feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- 1938: On September 29, Walt Disney Enterprises, Disney Film Recording Company, and Liled Realty and Investment Company are merged into Walt Disney Productions.
- 1940: Studio moves to the Burbank, California buildings where it is located to this day. Release of animated features Pinocchio, the first animated film to win both Best Original Score and Best Song Academy Awards, and Fantasia, the world's first film to be recorded in stereophonic sound ("Fantasound").
- 1941: A bitter animators' strike occurs; as the USA enters World War II, the studio begins making morale-boosting propaganda films for the government.
- 1942: Saludos Amigos marks the beginning of a series of low-budget "package" animated films that would continue until 1950.
- 1944: The company is short on cash; a theatrical re-release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs generates much-needed revenue and begins a reissue pattern for the animated feature films.
- 1945: The studio hires its first-ever live actor for a feature film, James Baskett, to star as Uncle Remus in Song of the South.
- 1949: The studio begins production on its first all-live action feature, Treasure Island; the popular True-Life Adventures series begins.
- 1950: Cinderella is released, ending the series of "package" animated films and reviving Disney feature animation.
- 1952: Walt Disney forms WED Enterprises on December 16 to design his theme park.
- 1953: Walt Disney forms Retlaw Enterprises on April 6 to control the rights to his name. It will later own and operate several attractions inside Disneyland, including the Monorail and the Disneyland Railroad.
- 1954: The studio founds Buena Vista Distribution to distribute its feature films; beginning of the Disneyland TV program
- 1955: Disneyland Resort opens in Anaheim, California
After Walt's death
- 1967: Construction begins on Walt Disney World; the underlying governmental structure (see Reedy Creek Improvement District) is signed into law. The Jungle Book, the last animated film involved with Walt Disney himself, is released.
- 1971: The Walt Disney World Resort opens in Orlando, Florida; Roy Oliver Disney dies; Donn Tatum becomes chairman and Card Walker becomes president.
- 1977: Roy Edward Disney, son of Roy and nephew of Walt, resigns from the company citing a decline in overall product quality and issues with management.
- 1978: The studio licenses several minor titles to MCA Discovision for laserdisc release; only TV compilations of cartoons ever see the light of day through this deal.
- 1979: Don Bluth and a number of his allies leave the animation division; the studio releases its first PG-rated films, Take Down and The Black Hole.
- 1980: Tom Wilhite becomes head of the film division with the intent of modernizing studio product; a home video division is created.
- 1981: Plans for a cable network are announced. Dumbo hits the shelves for video retail, making it the first animated Disney feature available on video.
- 1982: EPCOT Center opens at Walt Disney World; Walt Disney's son-in-law Ron W. Miller succeeds Card Walker as CEO.
- 1983: As the anthology series is canceled, The Disney Channel begins operation on US cable systems. Tom Wilhite resigns his post as head of the film division. Tokyo Disneyland opens in Japan.
The Eisner era (1984–2004)
- 1984: Touchstone Pictures is created after the studio narrowly escapes a buyout attempt by Saul Steinberg, Roy Edward Disney and his business partner, Stanley Gold, remove Ron W. Miller as CEO and president, replacing him with Michael Eisner and Frank Wells. The Walt Disney Classics and Masterpiece video collection starts up.
- 1985: The studio begins making cartoons for television beginning with Adventures of the Gummi Bears and The Wuzzles; The home video release of Pinocchio is a best-seller.
- 1986: The studio's first - release comes from Touchstone Pictures; the anthology series is revived; the company's name is changed on February 6 from Walt Disney Productions to The Walt Disney Company.
- 1987: The company and the French government sign an agreement for the creation of the first Disney Resort in Europe: the Euro Disney project starts.
- 1989: Disney offers a deal to buy Jim Henson's Muppets and have the famed puppeteer work with Disney resources; the Disney-MGM Studios open at Walt Disney World; The Little Mermaid sparks an animation renaissance.
- 1990: Jim Henson's death sours the deal to buy his holdings; the anthology series is canceled for the second time.
- 1991: Beauty and the Beast is released, becoming the first animated film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
- 1992: The controversial Euro Disney Resort opens outside Paris, France.
- 1993: Disney acquires independent film distributor Miramax Films; Winnie the Pooh merchandise outsells Mickey Mouse merchandise for the first time; the policy of periodic theatrical re-issues ends with this year's re-issue of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but is augmented for video.
- 1994: Frank Wells is killed in a helicopter crash. Jeffrey Katzenberg resigns to co-found his own studio, DreamWorks SKG. Plans for Disney's America, a historical theme park in Haymarket, Virginia, are abruptly dropped. No explanation is given, and Disney announces a search for an alternate location. Euro Disneyland is renamed Disneyland Paris. The Lion King, the highest-grossing traditionally animated film in history, is released.
- 1995: In October, the company hires Hollywood super agent, Michael Ovitz, to be president. The world's first computer animated feature film Toy Story, produced by Pixar Animation Studios, is released by Disney, and becomes the year's top-grossing film.
- 1996: The company takes on the Disney Enterprises name and acquires the Capital Cities/ABC group, renaming it ABC, Inc. To celebrate the pairing, ABC's first Super Soap Weekend is held at Walt Disney World. Disney makes deal with Tokuma Shoten for dubbing and releasing of Studio Ghibli films in the U.S. In December, Michael Ovitz, president of the company, leaves "by mutual consent."
- 1997: The anthology series is revived again; the home video division releases its first DVDs.
- The Southern Baptist Convention votes to boycott The Walt Disney Company over opposition to the latter offering equal health and other benefits to gays and lesbians, as well as Disney allowing outside organizers to have "Gay and Lesbian Days" at Walt Disney World. Disney ignored the boycott, which failed and was withdrawn by the SBC on June 22, 2005.
- 1998: Disney's Animal Kingdom opens at Walt Disney World. Kiki's Delivery Service, the first Studio Ghibli film under the Disney/Ghibli deal, is released on video.
- 2000: Disney-owned TV channels are pulled from Time Warner Cable briefly during a dispute over carriage fees; Robert Iger becomes president. Disney begins their Gold Classic Collection and Platuim Edition DVD line, replacing their Classic and Masterpiece Collection series.
- 2001: Disney's California Adventure and Tokyo DisneySea open to the public; Disney begins releasing Walt Disney Treasures DVD box sets for the collector's market. Disney buys Fox Family for $3 billion in July, giving Disney programming and cable network reaching 81 million homes.
- 2002: Walt Disney Studios open near Disneyland Paris (renamed Disneyland Park). The entire area is now called Disneyland Resort Paris. Disney finishes negotiations to acquire Saban Entertainment, owner of children's entertainment juggernaut Power Rangers. Subsidiary Miramax acquires the USA rights to the Pokémon movies starting with the fourth movie. Disney teams up with famous video game company Squaresoft (later known as Square-Enix) to release their first ever role-playing game with various Disney characters, Kingdom Hearts. Disney begins joint venture business with Sanrio for Sanrio's greeting cards.
- 2003: Roy E. Disney resigns as the chairman of Feature Animation and from the board of directors, citing similar reasons to those that drove him off 26 years earlier; fellow director Stanley Gold resigns with him; they establish "SaveDisney" to apply public pressure to oust Michael Eisner. Pixar computer animated film Finding Nemo is released by Disney, becoming the highest-grossing animated film in history until 2004's DreamWorks film Shrek 2. Live-action film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is released, becoming the first film released under the Disney label with a PG-13 rating.
- 2004: Comcast makes an unsuccessful hostile bid for the company. CEO Michael Eisner is replaced by George J. Mitchell as chairman of the board after a 43% vote of no confidence. Disney turns down distributing controversial quasi-documentary "op-ed" film Fahrenheit 9/11, which ends up making $100 million. On February 17, Disney buys the Muppets (excluding the Sesame Street characters).
Today (2005– )
- 2005:On July 8 Roy rejoins the company as a consultant with the title of Director Emeritus. Disneyland celebrates its 50th anniversary on July 17. Hong Kong Disneyland officially opens on September 12. Robert A. Iger replaces Michael Eisner as CEO on October 1. Also on October 1, Miramax co-founders Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein leave the company to form their own studio.
- 2006: On January 23, Disney announces a deal to purchase Pixar Animation Studios in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4bn. The deal is finalized on May 5. In the process, former Pixar CEO, and current Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs, becomes the single largest individual Disney shareholder, holding 7% of outstanding shares. On June 12, 2006 Disney Mobile phone service is launched. In July 2006, the Disney film Pirates of the Caribbean 2 is the highest grossing movie in opening weekend history at $135,000,000 USD. In September 2006, the film becomes the third film in the world to reach the $1 billion mark. Kingdom Hearts II becomes one of the most highly anticipated video games of all time.
Disney's films have often been accused of exhibiting racism and being overly-commercialized. In particular, Aladdin has been accused for its negative portrayals of Arabic people, as has Pocahontas for its negative portrayal of Native Americans. Disney has also been criticized for its films being nothing more than extended commercials marketing their products to children.
Senior Executive Management
- Robert A. Iger (President and CEO)
- Thomas O. Staggs (Senior Executive Vice President and CFO)
- Alan N. Braverman (Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel)
Current board of directors
- John Bryson
- John S. Chen
- Judith Estrin
- Robert Iger
- Steve Jobs
- Fred Langhammer
- Aylwin Lewis
- Monica Lozano
- Robert Matschullat
- George J. Mitchell (Chairman until 12/31/2006)
- Leo J. O'Donovan
- John E. Pepper, Jr. (Chairman from 01/01/2007)
- Orin C. Smith
Current division heads
- Walt Disney International - Andy Bird
- Walt Disney Parks and Resorts - Jay Rasulo
- Walt Disney Studios - Dick Cook
- Consumer Products - Andrew P. Mooney
- Disney-ABC Television Group - Anne Sweeney
- ESPN and ABC Sports - George W. Bodenheimer
Disney Chairmen of the Board
- 2004-present: George J. Mitchell
- From 1945 to 1960, Walt and Roy O. Disney were co-chairmen of the board. Walt dropped the chairman title but kept the title of president so he could focus more on the creative aspect of the Disney parks and feature animation. Roy O. Disney remained as chairman of the board and CEO, taking care of the business aspects of the company.
Disney Vice Chairman of the board
- 1971-1976: Donn Tatum
- 2005-present: Robert Iger
- 2000-Present: Robert Iger
- Notable feature films released under the Walt Disney name
- Notable television series produced by Disney subsidiaries
- List of assets owned by Disney
- List of Disney people
- A Trip Through the Walt Disney Studios, a documentary from 1937
- List of Disney animated features, List of Disney live action films, List of Disney direct-to-video films
- Disney feature film source material
- List of Disney characters
- Walt Disney Television Animation
- Disney Online, The Official Home Page of The Walt Disney Company
- The Walt Disney Company - Corporate information
- United States Securities and Exchange Commission - Company Information: WALT DISNEY CO
- The Walt Disney Company - Google Finance
Most recent financial statements
- Income Statement
- Balance Sheet
- Cash Flow
- Most recent Disney quarterly conference call transcripts
- Disney Quarterly Earnings Reports
- Disney Company Filings
- Disney Financial Reconciliations
- Cult of the Mouse, Harry M. Curoselli.
- The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney, Richard Schickel, 1968, revised 1997, ISBN
- Disney: The Mouse Betrayed, Peter Schweizer
- Walt Disney: An American Original, Bob Thomas, 1976, revised 1994, ISBN
- Storming the Magic Kingdom: Wall Street, the raiders, and the battle for Disney, John Taylor, 1987, , , ISBN ISBN
- Building a Company: Roy O. Disney and the Creation of an Entertainment Empire, Bob Thomas, 1998, ISBN
- How to Read Donald Duck, Ariel Darton
- The Keys to the Kingdom: How Michael Eisner Lost His Grip, Kim Masters, 2000, ISBN
- Disneyization of Society: Alan Bryman, 2004, ISBN
- DisneyWar, James B. Stewart, 2005, ISBN, ISBN
- Married to the Mouse, Richard E. Foglesorg, Yale University Press.
- Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records, Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar, 2006, ISBN
- Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland, David Koenig, 1994, revised 2005, ISBN 096406054X
- Inside the Dream: The Personal Story of Walt Disney, Katherine Greene & Richard Greene, 2001, ISBN
- Team Rodent, Carl Hiassen.