Disney pacts Esteves in ice

Weeks before the National Hockey League expansion draft, Walt Disney Co. has inked a two-year deal with the big-screen coach of the Mighty Ducks, Emilio Estevez, to develop movies for the Disney and Touchstone banners.

The pact allows Disney to contemplate the second and third sequels to the “Mighty Ducks” franchise while freeing Estevez to pursue other projects as an actor, writer and director.

Estevez, 31, received a reported $ 5 million to star in “The Mighty Ducks 2,” skedded to start production July 7 in Anaheim. Neither the star nor the studio would comment on the salary report. The original pic, released last year, grossed $ 51 million.

Under the deal, Estevez’s Euphoria Films will be based at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, where an executive will be hired shortly to head the company’s development operations.

The deal comes just as the Estevez/Richard Dreyfuss/Rosie O’Donnell starrer “Stakeout II” heads for July 23 release by Touchstone Pictures.

Estevez also takes a turn in director Stephen Hopkins’ “Judgment Night,” which will be distributed by Universal.

Katzenberg strategy

With Estevez in tow, Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg continues to lock up talent with which he has scored box office hits.

The strategy was first employed in the mid-1980s turnaround of the company, when such actors as Bette Midler, Dreyfuss and Goldie Hawn were studio staples.

William Morris Agency veepee and head of motion picture casting Brian Gersh represents Estevez.He was central in structuring the Euphoriaterm deal.

Estevez said it “just made sense to make movies for Disney” because the studio has demonstrated to him “impeccable taste and an unparalleled marketing department.”

At least two pictures have already been placed in the creative channels — one submitted by Disney and one brought to the table by Estevez.

Disney has submitted “Going Blind” as a possible Estevez starring vehicle. The pic is about a young college professor with deteriorating eyesight who must conceal his affliction to gain academic tenure at the college.

Estevez, in turn, has brought to the table “The War at Home,” which is a project he would both direct and star in.

The Euphoria pact was announced by Walt Disney/Touchstone president David Hoberman, while Touchstone executive vice president Donald De Line, Walt Disney Pictures executive veepee David Vogel and Walt Disney Pictures VP of production development Mireille Soria helped cinch the pact.

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