Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Shorts - Tokyo Disneyland Still Closed, Cast Member Dies at Walt Disney World

Odds and Ends From the Week in Disney

Tokyo Disney Resort remains closed in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11. Previous reports suggested the resort could reopen as early as March 22, but a notice on TDR's website gives no projected reopening date.

While Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea sustained minimal damage from the disaster, they are still hampered by power shortages, transportation issues and radiation fears affecting a large part of the nation. Understandably, tourism has dropped off dramatically throughout Japan since the quake.

On Thursday, Disney announced it was suspending all administrative and store operations in Tokyo until further notice. In a statement, the Mouse House said, "Our top priority is the well-being of our employees and their families during this challenging time and we will continue to closely monitor the situation as it develops."


Not just a box office disappointment, Mars Needs Moms is being called one of Hollywood's biggest bombs. The family-friendly motion-capture sci-fi film took in a paltry $10 million during its first full week of release. That's a small crater compared to its planetary $150 million cost. MNM's poor return is consistent with Disney's decision last year to break ties with Robert Zemeckis's ImageMovers Digital studio, which co-produced the film, and to scuttle Zemeckis's plan to shoot a remake of the Beatles animated classic Yellow Submarine.


A maintenance worker at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom died Monday, a day after being struck in the head by a ride vehicle on the Primeval Whirl attraction. The victim was identified as 52-year-old Russell Sherry Roscoe.

Primeval Whirl is a "wild mouse" style roller coaster ride in Animal Kingdom's DinoLand area. It was closed for scheduled maintenance at the time of the accident.

Our condolences go out to Mr. Roscoe's family, friends and co-workers.


Four of a kind: Depp, Rush, Cruz and McShane

Disney released four new movie posters for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In this latest adventure in the Pirates saga, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) goes in search of the mythical Fountain of Youth. On his quest, he encounters his old rival Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), now in service to the British Navy, and meets an old flame (Penelope Cruz) who is none other than the daughter of Blackbeard (Ian McShane), "the pirate all pirates fear."

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens in the U.S. on May 20.


New artwork also surfaced for the upcoming Disney animated short The Ballad of Nessie. The cartoon will be shown with the new feature Winnie the Pooh when it opens on July 15.

The Ballad of Nessie evokes an animation style reminiscent of Disney in the 1940s and '50s, particularly that of legendary artist Mary Blair. It tells a revisionist story of the Loch Ness Monster, who has a run-in with an evil land developer who wants to take over her home.


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