Disney disbands Japanese studio

posted on 2003-09-26 10:50 EDT
Japanese Studio responsible for Spin-offs / sequels from establibled brands to be shut down after current project ends

Walt Disney has announced in an internal memo that it is shutting down Walt Disney Animation (Japan), its 14-year-old Tokyo-based animation studio responsible for the "Piglet's Big Movie" and "The Tigger Movie" theatrical movies as well as OVAs such as "101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure."

The studio's current project, a "Winnie the Pooh" spinoff called "The Heffalump Movie," will be its last.

Disney confirmed the closure of the studio, which employs 103 animators and artists, in a statement issued earlier this week. The closure follows a similar one in France, where Disney shut down its Disney Studio France (DESTINO) last summer, and recent layoff of 50 employees from its Orlando animation studio.

According to the statement from Disney, "Our experience working in Japan for the past 14 years has been outstanding, primarily because of the world-class artists and executives who have produced exceptional animation. However, after reviewing our business plans and production requirements, we determined we no longer can support this additional production capacity."

Although the Japanese animation studio is being shut down, Disney's other Japanese ventures will not be affected. "A number of our company's business ventures in Japan remain strong: Tokyo Disneyland Resort, the Disney Stores Japan and Buena Vista International, among others. The Walt Disney Co. looks forward to continued successful partnerships on other business fronts."

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