DisneyToon Studios

This article is about the direct-to-video animation studio. For the area in EuroDisney, see Toon Studio. For the main animation division of The Walt Disney Studios, see Walt Disney Animation Studios.
DisneyToon Studios
Industry Motion pictures
Founded 1988 (1988)
Headquarters Disney Grand Central Creative Campus, Glendale, CA[2], US
Key people
Products Animated films
Owner Walt Disney Animation Studios
(The Walt Disney Studios)
Number of employees
44 (2014)[2]
Website DisneyToon Studios

DisneyToon Studios, originally Disney MovieToons[4] and was also Disney Video Premieres,[5] is an American animation studio which creates direct-to-video and occasional theatrical animated feature films. The studio is a division of Walt Disney Animation Studios, with both being part of The Walt Disney Studios itself a division of The Walt Disney Company.[6] The studio has produced 47 feature films, beginning with DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990), and its most recent being Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2015).[2]


Disney MovieToons

Disney MovieToons logo as seen on DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp

Disney MovieToons' first feature production was in 1990 with DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp with animation from Walt Disney Animation France.[4] Disney Television Animation hired a director of specials, Sharon Morrill, in 1993.[7]

Disney began producing direct-to-video sequels of Walt Disney Feature Animation films: the first of which was the Aladdin (1992) sequel The Return of Jafar (1994). 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 both the Australian and Japanese animation units, the opening story was instead green lit for a direct-to-video release. Thus with The Return of Jafar and its success, the direct-to-video unit started. Then a second sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), assign work to both the Australian and Japanese animation units.[8]

Morrill was in charge of the above first Aladdin DTV film launching Disney Video Premiere.[5] Morrill expanded the DTV market[5] making it more important for Disney thus the overseas Disney studios were increasing assigned to these features.[9] Morrill was promoted to vice president of Direct to Video by November 1997.[9]

The Disney Television group, upon the departure of its president Dean Valentine in September 1997, was split into two units: Walt Disney Television (WDT) and Walt Disney Network Television (WDNT), reporting to the Disney Studios chair Joe Roth. WDT would be headed by Charles Hirschhorn as president and consist of Disney Telefilms and Disney TV animation group including DisneyMovieToons and Disney Video Premieres.[10][11]

The unit released a short in 1997, Redux Riding Hood, under the WDTA name that was nominated for an 1998 Academy Award.[7] More direct-to-video sequels followed, among them Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997), Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998), The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), and Cinderella II: Dreams Come True (2002).[9] By April 1998, MovieToons was folded in with Disney Video Premiere films and network TV specials of Disney TV Animation as Morrill was promoted to executive vice president over her existing unit of Disney Video Premiere films, network TV specials and Movietoons.[7]

DisneyToon Studios

DisneyToon Studios headquarters in Glendale, California

In a January 2003 Disney reorganization, Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premieres unit was transferred from Walt Disney Television Animation to Walt Disney Feature Animation and renamed DisneyToon Studios (DTS) in June. Morrill continued to lead the division as executive vice president.[5] With the split, both DisneyToon and Disney Television Animation were issuing direct to video features.[8]

Disney closed Disney Animation Japan, one of the two remaining internal overseas studios DisneyToon worked with, in early June 2004 with Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2004) to be its final DTS work.[12][13][14] By March 2005, Morrill was promoted to president of DisneyToon.[8] On July 25, July 25, 2005, Disney announced that it was closing DisneyToon Studios Australia in October 2006, after 17 years of existence, with its final feature being Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (2007).[15]

In the early 2000s, DisneyToon joined Disney Consumer Products (DCP) as their internal Disney conglomerate video partner in developing the new Disney franchises then only consisting of Disney Princess and Disney Fairies. While DCP eyed other potential franchises, DTS looked to the Seven Dwarfs for a male centric franchise to counterbalance the female centric Fairies by 2005.[16]

John Lasseter joining Disney with the purchase of Pixar Animation Studios made it clear that he disliked DisneyToon's undercutting the value of the feature animated films with the sequel and prequel. Following complications relating to the production of Tinker Bell (2008), the debut film of DCP's Fairies franchise, lead to discussion over the focus of the division. Thus, Sharon Morill, president of the studio, moved to a new position in the company. On June 22, 2007, management of DisneyToon Studios was turned over to the control of Alan Bergman, president of Disney Studios, with input from Ed Catmull and Lasseter. As chief creative officer, Lasseter called for the cancellation of all future films in production or development at DisneyToon Studios. As a result, planned or in-progress sequels to Chicken Little (2005), Meet the Robinsons (2007), and The Aristocats (1970) were all cancelled, among other projects. Tinker Bell's animation was scrapped and was restarted while two project DCP formed franchised projects were canceled, "Disney's Dwarfs" and the Disney Princess Enchanted Tales line after the first DVD. The release of The Little Mermaid 3 was put on hold.[1][17] Disney Studios President Alan Bergman took oversee of day-to-day operation of DTS.[17] Thus DTS was out of sequel and prequel production with it originally indicated that the division would shift to supporting various Playhouse Disney franchises with direct to home videos.[17]

Meredith Roberts transferred over from Disney TV Animation to head the division as senior vice president and general manager in January 2008.[3] At the April unveiling of Disney's animated feature line up, it was announced that DisneyToon Studios would no longer produce future sequels to Disney animated films, but will instead focus on spin-offs. Also, the division was under the banner of renamed Feature Animation studio, now called Walt Disney Animation Studios, led by Catmull and Lasseter.[18]


Feature films

# Title Release type Release date Franchise
1 DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp Theatrical[2][4] August 3, 1990 DuckTales
2 The Return of Jafar Direct-to-video[8] May 20, 1994 Aladdin
3 A Goofy Movie Theatrical[19] April 7, 1995 Goofy
4 Aladdin and the King of Thieves Direct-to-video[8] August 13, 1996 Aladdin
5 Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin[9][20] Direct-to-video August 5, 1997 Winnie the Pooh
6 Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas Direct-to-video[9] November 11, 1997 Beauty and the Beast
7 Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World Direct-to-video February 17, 1998
8 Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World Direct-to-video[9] August 25, 1998 Pocahontas
9 The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Direct-to-video[9] October 27, 1998 The Lion King
10 Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Direct-to-video November 9, 1999 Mickey Mouse
11 Seasons of Giving Direct-to-video November 9, 1999 Winnie the Pooh
12 The Tigger Movie[1][21] Theatrical[13] February 11, 2000
13 An Extremely Goofy Movie Direct-to-video February 29, 2000 Goofy
14 The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea Direct-to-video[16] September 19, 2000 The Little Mermaid
15 Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Direct-to-video[16] February 27, 2001 Lady and the Tramp
16 Return to Never Land Theatrical[5] February 15, 2002 Peter Pan
17 Cinderella II: Dreams Come True Direct-to-video[16] February 26, 2002 Cinderella
18 The Hunchback of Notre Dame II Direct-to-video[8] March 19, 2002 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
19 A Very Merry Pooh Year Direct-to-video November 12, 2002 Winnie the Pooh
20 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure Direct-to-video[22] January 21, 2003 101 Dalmatians
21 The Jungle Book 2 Theatrical[5] February 14, 2003 The Jungle Book
22 Piglet's Big Movie Theatrical[5][13] March 21, 2003 Winnie the Pooh
23 Atlantis: Milo's Return Direct-to-video May 20, 2003 Atlantis: The Lost Empire
24 The Lion King 1½ Direct-to-video[5] February 10, 2004 The Lion King
25 Springtime with Roo Direct-to-video[5] March 9, 2004 Winnie the Pooh
26 Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers Direct-to-video[5] August 17, 2004 Mickey Mouse
27 Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas Direct-to-video[5] November 9, 2004
28 Mulan II Direct-to-video[5] February 1, 2005 Mulan
29 Pooh's Heffalump Movie Theatrical[1] February 11, 2005 Winnie the Pooh
30 Tarzan II Direct-to-video[8] June 14, 2005 Tarzan
31 Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch Direct-to-video[8] August 30, 2005 Lilo & Stitch
32 Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie Direct-to-video[23] September 13, 2005 Winnie the Pooh
33 Kronk's New Groove Direct-to-video[8] December 13, 2005 The Emperor's New Groove
34 Bambi II Direct-to-video[8]/Theatrical February 7, 2006 Bambi
35 Brother Bear 2 Direct-to-video[1] August 29, 2006 Brother Bear
36 The Fox and the Hound 2 Direct-to-video December 12, 2006 The Fox and the Hound
37 Cinderella III: A Twist in Time Direct-to-video[8] February 6, 2007 Cinderella
38 Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams Direct-to-video[17] September 4, 2007 Disney Princess
39 The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning Direct-to-video August 26, 2008 The Little Mermaid
40 Tinker Bell Direct-to-video[1] October 28, 2008 Disney Fairies
41 Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Direct-to-video October 27, 2009
42 Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Direct-to-video September 21, 2010
43 Secret of the Wings Theatrical (limited release) October 23, 2012
44 Planes Theatrical[2] August 9, 2013 Cars
45 The Pirate Fairy[2] Theatrical (limited release) April 1, 2014 Disney Fairies
46 Planes: Fire & Rescue Theatrical[2] July 18, 2014 Cars
47 Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast Theatrical (limited release)[24] March 3, 2015 Disney Fairies
48 Untitled film[25] Theatrical April 12, 2019

Short films

Title Release type Release date Franchise
Redux Riding Hood August 5, 1997 Totally Twisted Fairy Tales[7][26]
The Three Little Pigs[27][28][29][30] Festival 1998
The Cat That Looked at a King Direct-to-video: DVD extra December 14, 2004 Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary DVD[22]
Pixie Hollow Games Television special November 18, 2011 Disney Fairies
Pixie Hollow Bake Off October 20, 2013
Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular Direct-to-video November 4, 2014 Cars

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Baisley, Sarah (June 21, 2007). "DisneyToon Studios Prexy Morrill Steps Down". Animation World Network. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Graser, Marc (August 11, 2014). "Layoffs Hit 'Planes' Producer DisneyToon Studios". Variety. Retrieved August 12, 2014. Of the 60 employees on staff at the Glendale, Calif.-based division of Walt Disney Animation Studios, 16 are being affected by the layoffs and started to be told of the reductions last week, individuals close to the situation confirmed to Variety.
  3. 1 2 Ball, Ryan (January 30, 2008). "Disney Snags Nick Exec Coleman". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on August 25, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 Harrington, Richard (August 7, 1990). "'DuckTales: The Movie'". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Baisley, Sarah (June 16, 2003). "DisneyToon Studios Builds Slate Under New Name and Homes for Needy". Animation World Network. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  6. "DisneyToon Studios: Job Description" (PDF). The Walt Disney Company. DisneyToon Studios. Retrieved 11 August 2013. Disneytoon Studios is a part of Walt Disney Animation Studios...
  7. 1 2 3 4 Olson, Eric (April 27, 1998). "Disney ups TV animation duo". Variety. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Strike, Joe (March 28, 2005). "Disney's Animation Cash Crop — Direct-to-Video Sequels". AnimationWorld. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Hoffman, Ilene (November 1997). "Buena Vista Home Entertainment: A Very Lucky Accident Indeed". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  10. Hofmeister, Sallie (September 17, 1997). "Disney Splits Television Group Into 2 Units". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
  11. "Executive Profile: Charles Hirschhorn". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg Business. Retrieved December 30, 2015. For the TV and TV animation group, he was responsible for the Disney Telefilms, including all live-action films airing on "The Wonderful World of Disney" - which he re-launched on ABC in 1997, and also animated series and specials for Disney Video Premieres and Movietoons.
  12. Kilday, Gregg (September 23, 2003). "Dis To Shut Japan Ani Unit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  13. 1 2 3 Ball, Ryan (September 23, 2003). "Pencils Down at Walt Disney Animation Japan". Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  14. "Disney to close Japan animation studio in June". Asia Times Online. April 9, 2004. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  15. Grimm, Nick (July 27, 2005). "Disney cans Australian animation operation". Australian Broadcasting Company. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  16. 1 2 3 4 Armstrong, Josh (August 14, 2013). "Mike Disa and The Seven Dwarfs: How the Snow White prequel became a Dopey movie". Animated Views.com. Animated Views. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  17. 1 2 3 4 Hill, Jim (June 20, 2007). "Say "So Long !" to direct-to-video sequels : DisneyToon Studios tunes out Sharon Morrill". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  18. Hayes, Dade (2008-04-08). "Disney unveils animation slate - Entertainment News, Film News, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
  19. Beck, Jerry (2013). "Animated Movie Guide 3". Cartoon Research.com. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  20. "Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997) Production Credits". New York Times Movies. New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  21. "The Tigger Movie (2000) Full Production Credits". New York Times Movies. New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  22. 1 2 Desowitz, Bill (October 27, 2004). "Japan's New Answer Studio Builds on Animation's Past and Future". VFXWorld. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  23. "Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  24. Alexander, Bryan (October 21, 2014). "Ta-da! Ginnifer Goodwin turns into Tinker Bell's best friend (fairy exclusive)". USA Today. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  25. Hipes, Patrick (October 8, 2015). "Disney: 'Ant Man And The Wasp' A Go, 'Incredibles 2' Dated & More". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  26. "Redux Riding Hood (film)". D23: Disney A to Z. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  27. "26th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (1998)". Annie Awards. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  28. "The Three Little Pigs". Annecy. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  29. Plume, Ken (September 18, 2007). "Interview: Frank Conniff". A Site Called Fred. Retrieved September 16, 2015. Yeah, and I wrote a script for Disney TV Animation, a thing that was supposed to be for home video called Twisted Fairy Tales, and I wrote a Three Little Pigs script.
  30. Simon, Ben (September 15, 2004). "Home On The Range". Animated Views. Retrieved September 16, 2015. In the mid-1990s, Disney sponsored a series of Totally Twisted Fairytales – three modern takes on classic stories, similar to Jay Ward's Fractured Fairytales series of the 1960s. One of these was a re-imagining of Walt's short The Three Little Pigs (the other two were Little Redux Riding Hood and Jack And The Beanstock),...

External links

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