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Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group (1998)

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Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, Inc. is a corporation which develops scripts and oversees theatrical production for The Walt Disney Company's production companies and imprints. The Group, one of Hollywood's major film studios, is based at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. It includes:

  • Walt Disney Pictures and Television
    • Walt Disney Pictures
    • Touchstone Pictures
    • Disneynature
    • Hollywood Pictures

  • Walt Disney Animation Studios
    • DisneyToon Studios

  • Pixar Animation Studios

The Group in its current form was initiated in 1998 by then Studio Chairman Joe Roth in order to centralize the various production units and to make live-action film production within Disney more cost-efficient. The President of the Group is Mark Zoradi, who reports to Rich Ross, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. Ross, in turn, reports to Robert Iger, President/CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

The name Buena Vista comes from the much older company Buena Vista Distribution, a company founded by Walt Disney as a subsidiary to distribute his films and short subjects in 1953. That name in turn came from the street name South Buena Vista Street in Burbank where the Walt Disney Studios complex was, and still exists today.

In 2003, headlines were made as the first ever PG-13 certificate film was released under the Walt Disney Pictures imprint – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a film based on the famous Disneyland attraction. Although non-Disney branded imprints and divisions of the studio have released films with certificates PG-13 and as high as R . Disney had from the start of its Touchstone imprint until the release of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy a very strict approach to violence and other possibly mature elements in Disney-branded live-action films. Nevertheless, ever since the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, Walt Disney Pictures has produced more PG-13 branded films.

Film director M. Night Shyamalan, who had done The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village with Disney clashed with the Group's executives during pre-production of his 2006 film, Lady in the Water. Shyamalan left the studio after Nina Jacobson and others became, in Shyamalan's eyes, overly critical of his script, which would eventually be produced by Warner Bros. Shyamalan is quoted in a book about the difficult period that he "had witnessed the decay of her creative vision right before his own wide-open eyes. She didn't want iconoclastic directors. She wanted directors who made money." In her own defense, Jacobson said, "in order to have a Hollywood relationship more closely approximate a real relationship, you have to have a genuine back and forth of the good and the bad. Different people have different ideas about respect. For us, being honest is the greatest show of respect for a filmmaker."

In July 2006 Disney announced a shift in strategy of releasing more Disney-branded films and fewer Touchstone titles. The move was expected to reduce the Group's work force by approximately 650 positions worldwide, including that of its then President Nina Jacobson.

In April 2007, Disney retired the Buena Vista brand.

On February 9, 2009, DreamWorks SKG entered a 5-year, 30-picture distribution deal with the Touchstone Pictures division starting in 2011.

Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America .


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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.