“Cars 2,” “High School Musical” spin-off “Madison High” among biggest priorities for 2011
More pixie dust — and dollars — for Disney's franchises.
That's the message coming out of the Walt Disney Company's 2011 Investor conference, which is underway in Anaheim, California.
Disney chief Bob Iger (left) told investors that the company spent 40 percent of its production budget on franchises, like "Toy Story 3," in 2010 — and will double that amount to 80 percent in 2011.
The third film in the "Toy Story" franchise earned $10 billion when you include box office receipts and ancillary businesses including licensed merchandise such as well, toys and games.
Disney is fueling up for the release of "Cars 2" and related merchandise. (The company said it has an exclusive deal with Toys R Us to sell more than 70 "Cars 2" items.
But they don't necessarily need a new movie to do so.
Disney's "Cars" franchise generated $240 million in revenue in 2010, executives at the conference said, without a new film to market in theaters, or one on DVD.
"Studios own content," Anne Sweeney, Disney Media Networks co-chair and president of Disney's ABC Television Group told attendees. "And ownership creates opportunity."
On the television side, the company announced that the Disney Channel will produce a spin-off of "High School Musical" called "Madison High."
The pilot will feature theater students led by teacher Mrs. Darbus (Alyson Reed), who will slide over from the original series.
Newcomer Luke Benward, 15, will play the lead character, Devin Daniels, a motocross racer in need of a new hobby. The Nashville-born actor has previously appeared in the Disney movie "Minutemen."
Disney executives say they are fast-tracking production on the hopes of geting the show on the air as early as January 2012.
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