×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney re-elects directors

Lasseter unveils 'The Frog Princess'

Disney re-elected all its directors, rejected a poison pill provision and took the wraps off its first hand-drawn animation project in years at its annual meeting in New Orleans Thursday.

Walt Disney Feature Animation chief creative officer John Lasseter officially unveiled “The Frog Princess,” Disney Animation Studio’s 2009 toon release, to shareholders.

Toon was previously known to be in development (Daily Variety, July 26), but this was the first time Disney discussed the project publicly. “Frog Princess” will be a hand-drawn musical, the type of pic that defined Disney’s triumphant animation run in the ’90s, but was abandoned by the Mouse in 2005 after a string of flops. Like every other major studio, Disney has since focused on CGI toons, such as “Chicken Little” and this month’s “Meet the Robinsons.”

“The Frog Princess” is being directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, helmers of “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “Hercules.” They left the studio several years ago but were wooed back last year after Lasseter and Ed Catmull took over Disney animation following the acquisition of Pixar. Original songs and score are being penned by Pixar favorite Randy Newman.

Alan Menken, who wrote the music for many of Disney’s ’90s toon musicals, had previously been attached to write the songs when he re-joined the Mouse last year.

Pic will be set in New Orleans and tell the story of a young girl named Maddy, whom Disney described as “the newest Disney princess.” She’ll be the first African-American in the Mouse’s lucrative princess line.

Poison-pill provision, which would have defended the company against a hostile takeover, was rejected by shareholders.

Such provisions essentially trigger a new stock issuance when one shareholder snaps up a large amount of shares, diluting the new stockholder’s stake in the company.

Vote, which avoided passage by a relatively narrow margin, is a signal that Mouse House is not especially concerned about a single shareholder making a play for the company.

Largest Disney shareholder at present is Steve Jobs, who owns about 7% of Disney stock.

While poison pills haven’t been exceedingly common at congloms, News Corp. made news several years ago when it enacted a poison pill to fend off encroachments of John Malone’s Liberty Media.

Disney also turned down a proposal that would have protected against greenmail, a practice in which a raider snaps up stock and then sells it back to former shareholders at inflated prices.

All 11 sitting directors were re-elected, including Jobs, topper Robert Iger, energy exec John Bryson and tech honcho Judith Estrin. Georgetown U. professor Leo O’Donovan retired from the board at the meeting.

Company reps said the meeting was held in New Orleans as a show of support for the city. Decision also ensured there were few business reporters in the room.

Also on Thursday, Disney’s investment arm announced that it was one of several investors in Chinese video site UUSee, as U.S. congloms continue to make tentative steps to push into the market despite piracy and censorship fears.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Snow White

    What's Coming to Disney Plus Starting in November

    Disney unveiled the complete list of films to premiere on its streaming service Disney Plus via a lengthy Twitter thread Monday. With its powerhouse catalog including Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic properties, the full magnitude of the Disney empire will be seen once the streaming service launches. Along with Disney originals previously announced [...]

  • Grace Helbig

    Grace Helbig Hosting Facebook Watch Show 'Ladies First' About Empowered Women

    Longtime YouTube creator Grace Helbig has a new series — coming to Facebook Watch. In the unscripted eight-episode show “Ladies First with Grace Helbig,” set to premiere Tuesday, Oct. 22, the digital star sits down with a series of “empowered women” to learn about how they’re making a positive impact. Guests include actress-comedian Margaret Cho, [...]

  • Fortnite-Season-X-Out-of-Time

    'Fortnite' Goes Dark: A Masterful Marketing Stroke by Epic Games

    On Sunday, “Fortnite” — the most popular game on Earth right now — without warning, imploded into darkness. At around 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 13, a meteor in Season 10 of “Fortnite” that had been biding its time set off a cataclysmic chain reaction that sucked up everything on the the island and eventually [...]

  • reddit-snapshat-sharing

    Reddit Adds Snapchat Sharing to Its iOS App

    In a first such integration with other social networks, Reddit has added an option to share content from its iOS app to Snapchat. iPhone users can now share Reddit posts with their contacts on Snapchat, or add Reddit content to their Snapchat stories. Anything shared on Snapchat includes a special Reddit sticker, and links back [...]

  • tubi kids

    Tubi to Launch Tubi Kids, U.K. Offshoot

    Ad-supported video streaming service Tubi is the latest to jump on the children’s entertainment bandwagon: Tubi is set to launch a dedicated kids section on Oct. 21, the company announced at Mipcom in Cannes Monday. Additionally, Tubi will also bring its service to the U.K. early next year. Tubi’s new kids section will offer access [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

  • Jay Frank

    Jay Frank, UMG Senior VP and Digital Music Veteran, Dies at 47

    Universal Music executive and digital music veteran Jay Frank died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 47. UMG chief Lucian Grainge remembered him in a message sent to the company. “Dear Colleagues,” it reads. “I’m deeply saddened to tell you that our colleague and friend Jay Frank has passed after a recurrence of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content