Monday, August 30, 2004

Renovating the House of Mouse: The New York Times spotlights Andrew P. Mooney, the chairman of Disney's cosumer products division who's putting the spring back in Mickey's step by turning the company name into a lifestyle brand:
Since 1999, when Mr. Mooney joined Disney, the publishing group has inaugurated its first original comic book series - W.I.T.C.H., a collection of stories about teenage girls with supernatural powers. The series sells well worldwide, and is being developed as a television show for Disney's cable networks.
And Disney's even embracing anime. Sort of:
At Fred Segal in Los Angeles, Disney recently tested Snap watches, which have interchangeable faces and wristbands and are based on Disney characters but with a hipper, more urban appeal. In his interview at the hotel, Mr. Mooney held up a pink T-shirt from the Disney Cuties line for young girls and teenagers, introduced 15 months ago. The shirt was printed with a blue and white Eeyore outlined in thick black lines, more anime-style than conventional Disney animation.

"This is Japanese anime meets the library," said Mr. Mooney, a grin sliding across his face. "We started in T-shirts and now we're making pillows and cellphone cases. We are always looking for sustainable ideas that cross all lines of business."
Mooney also notes that the W.I.T.C.H. comics sell a million copies worldwide each month. The first W.I.T.C.H. graphic novel, which was released in June in the United States, already has sold 650,000 copies.