Animation studios owned by The Walt Disney Company

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Walt Disney Animation Studios' current headquarters, the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, is located in Burbank, California across the street from the main Disney studio lot.
The south side of the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, as seen from the public park that separates it from the Ventura Freeway.

The Walt Disney Company has owned and operated several animation studios since the company's founding on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio; the current Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California is the company's flagship feature animation studio and claims heritage from this original studio. Adding to the growth of the company and its motion picture studio division The Walt Disney Studios, several other animation studios were added through acquisitions and through openings of satellite studios outside of the United States. These expanded the company's animation output into television, direct-to-video, and digital releases, in addition to its primary feature animation releases.

Currently Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, DisneyToon Studios and Lucasfilm Animation are parts of The Walt Disney Studios unit. This article does not include other animation studios whose films were released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (the company's distribution unit) and not acquired by the company. For example certain Studio Ghibli films were distributed by Disney internationally but never owned by the company.[1] Also, Miramax, a independently operating unit of the Walt Disney Studios, also purchased US rights to foreign animated movies.[2]

Full list[edit]

Studio Established Parent unit
See below[Note 1]

Animation: Theatrical feature films and short films in Hand-drawn and CGI
Former Names: Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio (1923),[Note 2] Walt Disney Studios (1926),[Note 3] Walt Disney Productions (1929-1985),[Note 4] Walt Disney Feature Animation (1986-2006)[Note 5]
Units: Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida (1989-2004), Secret Lab (1999-2001), Disney Circle 7 Animation (2004-2006)[Note 6] DisneyToon Studios (2003-2006; 2008-)
Former satellite studios: Disney Animation Australia (1988-2006) Disney Animation Canada (1996-2000) Disney Animation France/Paris (1989-2003) Disney Animation Japan (1989-2004)

1979
The Walt Disney Studios

Animation: Computer generated animated theatrical feature films and short films
acquired in 2006.

1990
Walt Disney Animation Studios

Animation: theatrical, direct to video, short and television films and Wrap-around animation
Began as a sequel theatrical unit of Disney Television Animation an adding direct to video features before being transferred to Features Animation in 2003 and Disney Studios from 2006-2008
Former Names: Disney MovieToons (1990-2003; theatrical name)/Disney Video Premieres (1994-2003; direct to video)
Former satellite studios: Disney Animation Australia/Disneytoon Studios Australia (1988-2006) Disney Animation Canada (1996-2000) Disney Animation France/Disney Animation Paris (1989-2003) Disney Animation Japan (1989-2004)

1984

Animation: Television series
Original a part of the Disney animation group, Disney TV Animation was transfer into Disney Television and later to the Disney Channel
Former Names: Walt Disney Pictures Television Animation Group (1984), Walt Disney Television Animation
Former satellite studios: Disney Animation Australia/Disneytoon Studios Australia (1988-2006) Disney Animation Canada (1996-2000) Disney Animation France/Disney Animation Paris (1989-2003) Disney Animation Japan (1989-2004) Disney MovieToons (1990-2003; theatrical name)/Disney Video Premieres (1994-2003; direct to video) Jetix Animation Concepts (2004-2009)

2008

Animation: Television series and direct to video
Marvel Animation was incorporated in 2008, by Marvel Entertainment before it was acquired with Marvel Entertainment in 2009.

2003

Animation: Television series and Feature films
Lucasfilms Animation was acquired by Disney with its purchase of parent Lucasfilm in 2012.

  1. ^ The Animation studio took its current name in 2006
  2. ^ Original name for The Walt Disney Company, founded in Burbank, Hollywood, by Walt Disney and Roy Disney.
  3. ^ 2nd name for The Walt Disney Company
  4. ^ 3rd & original incorporation name for Walt Disney Studios partnership
  5. ^ name for the main feature theatrical animation division
  6. ^ subdivision of the main feature animation studio, founded to produce sequels to individual Pixar films owned by Disney before acquiring Pixar outright in 2006. No films were ever released by this division.
Divested or defunct animation studios
Studio Established status
1971
sold in 2000

Animation: Television series and Feature films
Originally founded in 1971 and was acquired with the purchase of Capital Cities/ABC in 1996. Founder with investment firms backing purchased the company in 2000.

1990
closed in 2000

Originally founded by Jim Jinkins and David Campbell and acquired by Disney in 1996.

1997
discontinued animation

Originally, founded in 1997 by stay-at-home mom and former teacher Julie Aigner-Clark, Acquired by Disney in 2000.[2] Discontinued making videos in 2009.

1996
merged in 1999

VFX & animated unit acquired in 1996 and merged into Secret Labs in 1999.

1999
closed in 2001

Formed from the merger of Dream Quest Images and Disney Feature Animation's computer graphics group.

Live production unit of ABC that dabbled in TV and feature film animation.

2007
closed in 2011

Joint venture between Disney and ImageMovers, venture cancelled after two films.

1984
closed in 2003

Formed in 1984 by music and TV producers Haim Saban and Shuki Levy. Acquired as part of Fox Family Worldwide on October 24, 2001. Renamed Sensation Animation from 2002 to 2003.
Units: SIP Animation (part owner), Saban International

1977
closed in 2008

Found in France by Haim Saban and Jacqueline Tordjman in 1977. Acquired in 2001 as part of Fox Family Worldwide on October 24, 2001, minor ownership, closed down in 2008.
Former Names: Saban International Paris

2004
Discontinued in 2009

Jetix acquired programming label

1998
Closed in 2006

Also known as: Disneytoon Studios Australia
One of Disney's overseas studios started in 1998 for animated TV series but became a general satellite studios of Disney Television Animation, Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premiere and Disney Feature Animation.

1996
Closed in 2000

One of Disney's overseas studios started in 1996 for animated TV series but became a general satellite studios of Disney Television Animation, Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premiere and Disney Feature Animation.

1996
Closed in 2003

Former name: Brizzi Films
Also known as: Disney Animation Paris
This Disney's overseas studios was acquired in 1989 for animated TV series but became a general satellite studios of Disney Television Animation, Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premiere and Disney Feature Animation.

1989
Closed in 2004

This Disney's overseas studios was formed in 1989 for animated TV series but became a general satellite studios of Disney Television Animation, Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premiere and Disney Feature Animation.

Disney-ABC Television Group[edit]

Disney Television Animation[edit]

In January 2003, Disney initiated a reorganization of its theatrical and animation units to improve resource usage and continued focus on new characters and franchise development. TV Animation was transferred to Disney Channel Worldwide.[5] Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premieres unit was transferred from Television Animation to Feature Animation.[6][7]

DIC Entertainment[edit]

With Disney's acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC in 1996 came another animated unit, DIC Entertainment. DiC management arranged for DiC to become independent from Disney on November 17, 2000.[2]

Greengrass Productions[edit]

Greengrass Productions is a unit of ABC at the time CC/ABC was acquired by Disney and produced some animation.[2]

Jetix related[edit]

Disney purchased Fox Family Worldwide on October 24, 2001 for the Fox Family Channel and also received ownership of several animation units, including Saban Entertainment and Saban International N.V. Fox Family, Fox Kids international, Saban Entertainment and Saban International N.V. were renamed ABC Family, Jetix, Sensation Animation and BVS International N.V. respectively.[2] The Saban library included the acquired Marvel Productions and Marvel Film Animation library.[8] Saban also sold Saban International Paris in 2001 with the purchase of Fox Family Worldwide, which was followed by The Walt Disney Company taking a stake in the company and a name change to SIP Animation on October 1, 2002.[9][10][11] Jetix Animation Concepts, also Jetix Concepts Animation, was a brand used for animation co-produced by and for the Jetix global group by the American partner, ABC Disney Cable Group, from 2004 to 2009.[12]

Walt Disney Studios[edit]

Walt Disney Animation Studios[edit]

Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida[edit]

Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida
Industry entertainment
Fate closed
Successor(s) Disney Circle 7 Animation[13]
Founded Bay Lake, Florida (1989 (1989))
Defunct January 12, 2004 (2004-01-12)
Headquarters Bay Lake, Florida, USA
Number of locations 1
Key people Andrew Millstein[13]
Production output Animation
Employees ~400 (peak, mid-1990s)[14]
Parent Walt Disney Feature Animation
(Walt Disney Studios)

Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida, a division of Walt Disney Feature Animation, opened in 1989 with 40 employees. Its offices were in the backlot of the Disney-MGM Studios theme park and visitors were allowed to tour the studio to observe animators at work from behind glass-paneled overhead breezeways.[14] On October 7, 1992, the Florida unit was incorporated.[15] On April 22, 1998, Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida moved to a new $70 million facility at the Disney-MGM Studios.[14][16] In January 2003, Disney initiated a reorganization of its theatrical and animation units to improve resource usage and continued focus on new characters and franchise development. Additional, Feature Animation was transferred to The Walt Disney Studios.[7] On January 12, 2004, Disney shut down Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida.[14] The Orlando studio was partially turned into a walk-through attraction. The rest of the studio was converted into theme park management offices.[citation needed]

Projects[14]

DisneyToon Studios[edit]

Main article: DisneyToon Studios

DisneyToon Studios, formerly Disney Movietoons,[17] is an American animation studio owned by The Walt Disney Company, responsible for producing direct-to-video and occasional theatrical films for Disney Animation Studios, a part of The Walt Disney Studios.[3]

Disney Circle 7 Animation[edit]

Main article: Circle 7 Animation

Circle 7 Animation, or Disney Circle 7 Animation, was a short-lived division of Walt Disney Feature Animation specializing in computer generated imagery (CGI) animation and was originally going to work on making sequels to the Disney-owned Pixar properties, leading rivals and animators[13] to derisively nickname the division "Pixaren't". The company released no movies during its tenure.[18]

Steve Jobs, Pixar CEO, announced in January 2004 that Pixar would not renew their agreement with Disney and would seek out other distributors for releases starting in 2006.[19] In 2004, Disney Circle 7 Animation was formed as a CG animation studio to create sequels to the Disney-owned Pixar properties.[18] In Late January 2006, new Disney CEO Bob Iger and Jobs agreed to have Disney purchase Pixar[20] which led to Disney closing Circle 7.[21]

Lucasfilm[edit]

Lucasfilm Animation[edit]

Lucasfilm Animation was purchased as a unit of Lucasfilm in 2012.[22]

Pixar[edit]

Main article: Pixar

Pixar Animation Studios, or simply Pixar (/ˈpɪksɑr/, stylized PIXAR), is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California. The studio is best known for its CGI-animated feature films created with PhotoRealistic RenderMan, its own implementation of the industry-standard RenderMan image-rendering application programming interface used to generate high-quality images. Pixar began in 1979 as the Graphics Group, part of the computer division of Lucasfilm before its spin-out as a corporation in 1986 with funding by Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, who became its majority shareholder.[23] Pixar and Disney had a seven feature agreement that allowed Disney to distribute the films with Disney owing the character rights. With the success of Toy Story 2 in 1999, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs began to disagree on how Pixar should be run and the terms of their continued relationship.[18] Eisner claimed that Toy Story 2 would not count towards the "original" film count of the agreement.[24] Jobs announced in January 2004 that Pixar would not renew their agreement with Disney and would seek out other distributors for releases starting in 2006.[19] In 2004, Disney Circle 7 Animation was formed as a CG animation studio to create sequels to the Disney-owned Pixar properties.[18] In Late January 2006, new Disney CEO Bob Iger and Jobs agreed to have Disney purchase Pixar[25] which led to Disney closing Circle 7.[26]

Distribution deals[edit]

In August 1996, Disney and Tokuma Shoten Publishing agreed that Disney would internationally distribute Tokuma's Studio Ghibli animated films.[1] In 2002, Disney signed a four-picture deal with Vanguard Animation,[27] although, only one film was released under that negotiation.[28]

Marvel Entertainment[edit]

Marvel Entertainment's subsidiary, Marvel Studios, is the parent company of Marvel Animation, with the latter unit answering to the Marvel Television division.

Marvel Animation[edit]

With Disney's 2009 purchase of Marvel Entertainment, Disney acquired Marvel Animation, which remain a component of Marvel Entertainment.[29] which now has a Studio in Glendale, California.[30][31]

Overseas studios[edit]

Three overseas animation studios (Australia, Japan and Canada) were set up to produce the company's animated television series. As direct-to-video increased in importance, the overseas studios moved to making feature films.[32]

Disney Animation Australia[edit]

Walt Disney Television Animation (Australia) Pty. Limited
Trading name Disney Animation Australia
Industry entertainment
Fate closed
Founded 1988
Defunct 2006
Headquarters Sydney[7], Australia
Number of locations 1
Key people Philip Oakes (general manager)[33]
Production output Animation
Employees ~ 250 (2005)[34]
Parent DisneyToon Studios[7]
(Walt Disney Animation Studios)

Disney Animation Australia (DAA), also Disneytoon Studios Australia,[34] was a Disney animation studio located in Sydney, Australia.[7]

DAA was started in 1988 at the former Hanna-Barbera overseas studio in St Leonards, Sydney. Initially, Animation Australia worked on various television shows including The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, Aladdin, Timon & Pumbaa, and Duck Daze. As staffing increased, the studio moved to Castlereagh Street.[33]

Disney began producing direct-to-video sequels of its Feature Animation productions, the first of which was the Aladdin sequel The Return of Jafar. When Aladdin was selected as a possible candidate as an animated TV series (before the film's release), as with many animated series, the first three episodes were one multi-part story which Disney used as a potential ‘family movie special’ for the Friday night before the series’ premiere. With work handed out to the Australia animation studio, the opening story was instead greenlit for a direct-to-video release. Thus with "Jafar" and its success, the direct-to-video unit started. A second sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, provided work to both the Australia and Japanese animation units.[3]

Australia was assigned additional film sequels: The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, An Extremely Goofy Movie and Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. The company's first feature film was Return to Never Land in 2002 grossing over $100 million worldwide at the box office. In 2005, the studio produced three animated movies: Tarzan II, Lilo & Stitch II and Bambi II.[33]

Disney Animation Australia was closed in mid-2006 after finishing Brother Bear 2 and Cinderella III.[33]

Productions

Disney Animation Canada[edit]

Walt Disney Animation Canada, Inc.
Trading name Disney Animation Canada
Industry entertainment
Fate closed[35]
Founded 1996[35]
Defunct Spring 2000[35]
Headquarters Canada
Number of locations 2: Vancouver and Toronto[32]
Production output Animation
Employees 200 (2000)[36]
Parent Walt Disney Television Animation
(Walt Disney Feature Animation)

Walt Disney Animation Canada, Inc. (WDAC) was a Canadian animation production company and subsidiary of Disney Television Animation.[32]

Walt Disney Animation Canada was opened in January 1996 to tap Canada's animator pool and produce direct-to-video. Industry Canada rules were dispensed by the Canadian Government with a multi-year commitment from Disney for the company.[35]

WDAC produced in 1997 Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas then worked with Australia and Japan subcontractors on Pocahontas II: Journey To The New World.[35] In fall 1999, Animation Canada stopped work on Peter and Jane, a Peter Pan sequel original designed as its first theatrical release but was changed to a video release.[35] In Spring 2000, due to weak financial performance, Animation Canada was closed.[35][36] With Canada's closure, Peter and Jane was to be restarted in Australia and Japan.[35]

Disney Animation France[edit]

Walt Disney Animation, France S.A.
Trading name Disney Animation France
Industry entertainment
Founded 1986[37]
Founder(s) Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi[37]
Defunct 2003[27]
Headquarters Paris, France
Production output Animation

Walt Disney Animation France, original Brizzi Films, was an animation company based in France that operated from 1986 to 2003.

Brizzi Films was founded by Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi in 1986 France. Brizzi worked on Babar in 1986 for Nelvana. In 1989, the Brizzi brothers sold the company to Disney Television Animation. The brothers continued on as general managers under the company's new name, Walt Disney Animation, France S.A.[37] In 1994, the Brizzi brothers transferred to Walt Disney Feature Animation.[37] In Summer 2003, Disney Animation France was closed.[27]

Disney Animation Japan[edit]

Walt Disney Animation (Japan) Inc.
Industry Entertainment
Fate closed
Successor(s) The Answer Studio Co. Ltd.[38][39]
Founded 1989[40]
Defunct June 2004[38]
Headquarters Tokyo[41], Japan
Number of locations 1
Key people Motoyoshi Tokunaga (VP, GM)[39]
Production output animation
Employees 103 (2003)[27]
Parent Disney Television Animation
(Walt Disney Feature Animation)

Disney Animation Japan (DAJ), officially Walt Disney Animation (Japan) Inc., was an animation production subsidiary of Disney Television Animation, a component of The Walt Disney Company.

The Japanese studio was set up to produce the company's animated television series in 1989.[32][40] As direct-to-video increased in importance, the overseas studios moved to making feature films.[32]

DAJ worked on The Tigger Movie (2000). In 2003, the company produced Piglet's Big Movie for DisneyToon Studios and 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure. In September 2003, Disney announced the closure of the studio, with Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2004) to be its final work.[40][41]

DAJ was closed in June 2004 with 30 employees expected to be transferred to one of the two Disney's remaining animation units.[38] With the closure of the Japanese studio, its remaining work for DisneyToon Studios was split between its US and Australia animation units.[41] Employees not transferred decided to launch a new company, The Answer Studio.[38][39]

Jumbo Pictures[edit]

Jumbo Pictures
Industry entertainment
Genre animation
Fate inactive[42]
Successor(s) Cartoon Pizza
Founded July 20, 1990[42]
Founder(s) Jim Jinkins
David Campbell[43]
Defunct 2000
Headquarters New York[43]
Production output Animation
Parent Walt Disney Pictures[43]

Jumbo Pictures was a New York based animation studio founded by Jim Jinkins and David Campbell in 1990.[43][42] On February 29, 1996, Disney purchased Jumbo Pictures to add "Doug", its hit TV show, to its roster of properties.[2][43] Jumbo's Disney's Doug was key show of Disney's One Saturday Morning since 1997.[43] The studio was closed in 2000.

Library
TV shows
Movies

Dream Quest Images[edit]

Dream Quest Images
Industry Entertainment
Fate closed
Founded Santa Monica, CA[13] 1979[44]
Defunct 2001[44]
Number of locations 2
Production output VFX, Animation
Parent Walt Disney Feature Animation (1999-2001)
Divisions DQ Films[45]
The Secret Lab's last location, at 3100 Thornton Avenue in Burbank, California

Dream Quest Images (DQI), later The Secret Lab, was an American special effects company that operated from 1980 to 2001.

Dream Quest was founded in a Santa Monica, California garage in [45] 1979.[44] The co-founders were Hoyt Yeatman, Scott Squires, Rocco Gioffre, Fred Iguchi, Tom Hollister and Bob Hollister.[46] Initial they did piecemeal work on Escape from New York, E.T., and One From the Heart,[46] The company then moved to Culver City. DQ Films, the company's television commercial production division, remained in Santa Monica. In 1987, DQI model-making operations moved into a Simi Valley industrial park with the most of the company following them to Simi Valley later.[45] The Abyss and Total Recall special effects works each earned the company an Oscars Award.[47]

The Walt Disney Company purchased the company in April 1996 and had the company moved to Burbank, California.[45] DQI was purchased to replace Buena Vista Visual Effects.[48]

Secret Lab[edit]

In October 1999, Dream Quest Images merged with Walt Disney Feature Animation computer-graphics operation to form The Secret Lab.[49][44] The Lab made only one computer animated film, Dinosaur, released in 2000.[49]

After Dinosaur, the Lab and Disney Feature Animation started working on Wildlife which was canceled in September 2000.[50]

The Lab being passed over for Disney work (and general industry decline), led to the unit being closed. The Secret Lab's last work was for the Spyglass Entertainment film Reign of Fire and the Castle Rock Entertainment/Warner Bros. comedy Down and Under.[44]

ImageMovers Digital[edit]

Disney purchased ImageMovers in February 2007. The renamed ImageMovers Digital began production under Disney on April 2, 2007.[2] ImageMovers Digital closed operations by January 2011, after the production was completed on Mars Needs Moms.[51]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]