Walt Disney Pictures
|Founded||October 16, 1923 (as Disney Bros. Cartoon Studio)|
Roy O. Disney
500 S. Buena Vista Street,|
Burbank, California, United States
|Sean Bailey (president, motion picture production)|
The Walt Disney Studios|
(The Walt Disney Company)
Walt Disney Pictures is an American film production company and a division of Walt Disney Studios, owned by The Walt Disney Company. The division is based at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, and is the main producer of live-action feature films within the Walt Disney Studios unit. It took on its current name in 1983. Today, in conjunction with the other units of Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Pictures is classified as one of Hollywood's "Big Six" film studios.
Nearly all of Walt Disney Pictures' releases along with Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures films are distributed theatrically by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, through home media platforms via Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and through television syndication by Disney–ABC Domestic Television.
The studio's predecessor (and the modern-day The Walt Disney Company's as a whole) was originally founded as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, by filmmaker Walt Disney and his business partner and brother, Roy, in 1923.
The creation of Mickey Mouse and subsequent short films and merchandise generated revenue for the studio which was renamed as The Walt Disney Studio at the Hyperion Studio in 1926. In 1929, it was renamed once again to Walt Disney Productions. The studio's streak of success continued in the 1930s, culminating with the 1937 release of the first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which became a huge financial success. With the profits from Snow White, Walt relocated to a third studio in Burbank, California.
In the 1940s, Disney began experimenting with full-length live-action films, with the introduction of hybrid live action-animated films such as The Reluctant Dragon (1941) and Song of the South (1946). That same decade, the studio began producing nature documentaries with the release of Seal Island (1948), the first of the True-Life Adventures series and a subsequent Academy Award winner for Best Live-Action Short Film.
Walt Disney Productions had its first fully live-action film in 1950 with the release of Treasure Island, considered by Disney to be the official conception for what would eventually evolve into the modern-day Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. By 1953, the company ended their agreements with such third-party distributors as RKO Radio Pictures and United Artists and formed their own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution.
A newly formed unit, Walt Disney Pictures, was incorporated on April 1, 1983 to diversify film subjects and expand audiences for their film releases. In April 1983, Richard Berger was hired by Disney CEO Ron W. Miller as film president. Touchstone Films was started by Miller in February 1984 as a label for their PG-rated films with an expected half of Disney's 6 to 8 movies yearly slate would be released under the label. Berger was pushed out as a new CEO was appointed for Walt Disney Productions later in 1984, as Michael Eisner brought his own film chief, Jeffrey Katzenberg. Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures were formed within that unit on February 15, 1984 and February 1, 1989 respectively.
Originally—instead of a traditional production logo—the opening credits of Disney films featured a title card that read "Walt Disney presents" and subsequently, "Walt Disney Productions presents". Beginning with the release of The Black Cauldron in 1985, Walt Disney Pictures introduced its fantasy castle logo. The logo was created by Walt Disney Feature Animation in traditional animation and featured a white Sleeping Beauty Castle design against a blue background, with the studio's name and underscored by "When You Wish Upon a Star".
This logo and variations was seen before all films until 2006, when it was updated with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at the behest of then-Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook and studio marketing president Oren Aviv. Designed by Disney animation director Mike Gabriel and producer Baker Bloodworth, the modernized logo was created completely in computer animation by Weta Digital and featured a redesigned 3D Waltograph typography. The final rendering of the logo was done by Cameron Smith and Cyrese Parrish. In addition, the revamped logo includes visual references to Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, and Cinderella, and its redesigned castle incorporates elements from both Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella Castle, as well as Walt Disney's family crest. Mark Mancina wrote a new composition and arrangement of "When You Wish Upon a Star" to accompany the 2006 logo. Beginning with the release of The Muppets in 2011, the words "Walt" and "Pictures" were dropped from the branding.
The studio's first feature-length motion picture was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and its first live-action film was Treasure Island (1950). Animated films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar are also released by Walt Disney Pictures. Walt Disney Pictures has released four films that have received an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination: Mary Poppins (1964), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Up (2009), and Toy Story 3 (2010).
‡—Includes theatrical reissue(s).
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Disney also exploited new technologies and delivery systems, creating synergies that were altogether unique among the studios, and that finally enabled the perpetual “mini-major” to ascend to major studio status.
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