Disney Publishing to expand

New mags to be based on 'Cars,' Thor and more

Disney Publishing is expanding further into the kids’ periodical market with new magazines based around Disney Channel animated series “Phineas and Ferb,” film property “Cars 2” and Marvel characters Captain America and Thor (Marvel Comics will not be directly producing content for these publications).

“It’s a natural extension of our existing business — we have the content along with the consumer marketing and distribution expertise,” said Disney Publishing Worldwide topper Aparna Pande.

Pande said that the decision to move forward in this area was driven in part by the publisher’s success with its “Toy Story 3” and “Phineas and Ferb” stand-alone mags, which hit big both domestically and internationally. Thus, “Phineas” will become a bimonthly pub for Disney Publishing, and “Cars 2” – — a very successful franchise from a merchandising standpoint — will get a standalone publication timed to the pic’s June 24 release date and an ongoing mag (published eight times a year) available by subscription starting in September.

One unique aspect of the venture: Due to the nature of Disney subsidiary Marvel’s distribution agreement with Paramount (made before Disney purchased Marvel), Disney is able to peg its Thor and Captain America stand-alone magazines to dates that will allow publicity for those Par-distribbed films to drive sales. The Thor mag will see print in April, Captain America in July.