Disney News Roundup 15th August 2004

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Disney News Roundup 15th August 2004

Post by 2099net »

Again, some of these stories will already have been discussed, but it's worth including them in a round-up of the last 7 days news.

Dillon revs up for 'Herbie'

Matt Dillon has signed on to play the heavy in the Walt Disney Co.'s ''Herbie: Fully Loaded,'' opposite Lindsay Lohan and Michael Keaton. Additionally, sources said Breckin Meyer is in negotiations to join the cast. In ''Herbie: Fully Loaded'' -- which will set the mysteriously strong-willed Volkswagen Beetle in the world of NASCAR -- Dillon takes the role of Trip, the bad boy of the racing circuit. Meyer would play Lohan's brother; Keaton is playing the duo's dad.

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Comcast still hunting despite Disney setback

On a wall in Brian Roberts's office overlooking Philadelphia hangs a picture by Alexander Calder. It shows two poker players at a table, clutching cards and swapping chips. Behind them are three stylized cards, including the ace of diamonds.

The picture is one of Roberts's favorites, not just because it adds a bit of dash to the otherwise ordinary suite he occupies as the chairman and chief executive of Comcast but also because it fits his image of how he and his father, Ralph, have built the largest U.S. cable operator - through guile, intelligence and a succession of ever bolder deals.

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Miramax "to cut" 35 percent of staff

Film studio Miramax, which has clashed recently with parent Walt Disney, plans this week to lay off about 35 percent of its workforce to cut costs and improve efficiency, the New York Post says, citing an unidentified source familiar with the situation.

The cuts would affect about 160 of Miramax's 450 employees in all areas of the company, mostly mid-level and lower-level employees, the newspaper said on Monday. Earlier this year, Miramax was considering 90 layoffs, published reports said.

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Disney Dream Auction

Bank One and Disney will launch an auction next month for "Disney VISA" cardholders offering more than 25 once-in-a-lifetime Disney items and experiences. The "Disney Dream Auction" will launch September 27th. Auction items include recording a song with a "Grammy Award"-winning Walt Disney Records producer, the last remaining pro-am spot in the PGA TOUR's "FUNAI Classic", and the "Royal Princess" treatment at Disney's Grand Floridian. Cardholders must be registered to participate in the auction. Those consumers who apply for and receive the card before the auction begins will also be eligible to participate.

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Disney chief back in control
Michael Eisner survives tumultuous 6 months, looks to ignite company stock with strong 3Q earnings.

On Feb. 11, Comcast Corporation, the country's largest cable operator, launched a hostile bid for The Walt Disney Company, where Eisner has served as chairman and CEO for two decades. The $54 billion unsolicited offer fueled a simmering uprising by dissident shareholders upset over Disney's sluggish growth in recent years.

Eisner, 62, lost a battle when he was forced to relinquish the chairman title in March. But he held onto his job as CEO.

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Lingering Troubles May Overshadow Disney's Gains

When the Walt Disney Company announces its third-quarter results on Tuesday, investors are expected to receive the good news that the company is on track to deliver on its promise of an increase in earnings of more than 40 percent this year.

But summertime optimism could be tempered this fall as Disney faces jockeying over a new board member, a potentially embarrassing trial in a shareholder lawsuit, testy negotiations over its art-house studio and continued questions about its growth prospects.

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Disney in Talks on Independence for a Weinstein

Representatives for the Walt Disney Company and its subsidiary, Miramax Films, are expected to meet this week to discuss an agreement that would allow Miramax's co-founder, Harvey Weinstein, to start a production company, while his brother Bob remains at Disney to make movies, according to people involved in the talks.

A deal is not expected to be reached this week, and Disney and the Weinsteins remain far apart on several important issues. Still, the progress so far indicates that despite past clashes, both sides recognize the importance of maintaining a successful relationship that has produced many award-winning films over the last decade.

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>> Read More Reuters Report of Article

SHYAMALAN may face legal action over Village

M Night Shyamalan, the writer-director of The Sixth Sense, is facing possible legal action for his latest hit, The Village, from publishers of a children's book.
Reuters reports that publisher Simon & Schuster is "reviewing" its legal options against Walt Disney and Shyamalan over perceived similarities between the movie and the plot of one of its books.

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WALT Disney "buy"

Analysts at Deutsche Bank Securities maintain their "buy" rating on the Walt Disney Company (DIS.NYS). The target price is set to $31.

The Walt Disney Company is a diversified global entertainment company, with interests in the media, parks and resorts.

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DISNEY 3rd-Qtr Net Rises as Parks, Cable Sales Jump

Walt Disney Co., the second-biggest U.S. media company, said third-quarter profit climbed 20 percent because more tourists visited theme parks such as Walt Disney World and advertising at its cable-television channels rose.

Net income rose to $604 million, or 29 cents a share, from $502 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier, the Burbank, California-based company said in a statement. Sales for the quarter ended June 30 increased 17 percent to $7.47 billion.

Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner is luring more visitors to theme parks after the introduction of new attractions such as ``Mission: Space'' at Walt Disney World in Florida. Advertising rates climbed at some of Disney's cable channels, including the ESPN sports network.

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DISNEY fined over Pluto death

WALT Disney Entertainment had been fined $US6300 ($8866) for the death of a worker dressed as Pluto who was run over and killed by a float as it entered a Magic Kingdom parade, officials said today.

The right foot of Javier Cruz, 38, became caught between the second and third sections of a three-part float as it was about to enter the parade route from a backstage area for the afternoon Share a Dream Come True parade last February.

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Disney slips as analysts turn cautious
Walt Disney Co. shares fell Wednesday as analysts responded positively to bottom-line results for the entertainment giant's third-quarter but remained cautious on underlying trends.

Disney shares fell 66 cents to close at $21.78, down nearly 3 percent.

The Burbank, Calif.-based company (DIS: news, chart, profile) said it earned $604 million, or 29 cents per share, on $7.47 billion in revenue. That compares with $502 million, or 24 cents a share, on revenue of $6.38 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The result includes a charge of $56 million, or 2 cents a share, related to the company's proposed sale of its Disney Stores in North America, as well as the closure of certain other stores.

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Disney Appoints Head of Parks in Japan

Walt Disney Co. said Nick Franklin, senior vice president of international development at its theme parks, added the responsibility of overseeing parks and resorts in Japan.

Franklin will report to James Rasulo, president of the parks and resorts unit, Burbank-based Disney said. Franklin will continue to oversee international development for the division.

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Disney faces likely tough scrimmage on football

Michael Eisner has had a busy year, fending off a hostile takeover from Comcast, a shareholder rebellion led by ex-directors Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, failed talks to renew the Pixar Animation Studios deal and ongoing uncertainty about contract renewals for the founding Weinstein brothers at Disney's Miramax unit.

Now, the Walt Disney (DIS) CEO will have to strap on his helmet for another bruising negotiation.

This time it will be with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue about the magic kingdom's estimated $1.2 billion annual football contract covering Disney's ABC and ESPN networks.

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DISNEY boss set for succession answer

EMBATTLED Walt Disney chief Michael Eisner may at last be set to name a successor. He is preparing for contract renewal talks with his deputy Bob Iger, negotiations that may force the unpopular chief executive's hand.

Iger's contract as president and chief operating officer expires at the end of next month, a year before Eisner's is up for renewal.

The question of succession has dogged Eisner for years and is a key issue among dissident shareholders seeking to have him thrown out.

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BSkyB and Disney launch interactive TV games service

BSkyB is to offer interactive Disney games, including 'The Lion King' and 'Aladdin', on interactive TV service Sky Gamestar.

The Disney Play Channel is available to 7.4m Sky Digital homes in the UK. The service will feature up to three games linked to Disney's extensive range of TV shows and films, including recent hits such as 'Lilo and Stitch' or older films such as 'The Lion King'. Viewers can link from the Disney Channel to the interactive games by pressing the red button on their remote control.

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Most of my Blu-ray collection some of my UK discs aren't on their database
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