Thursday, April 24, 2008


Betting that multiplex audiences are hungry for lavish nature documentaries, the Walt Disney Company has established a new production banner to deliver two nature films a year starting in 2009. The effort, to be called Disneynature, reflects efforts by Disney to spur growth at its film unit after a retrenchment in 2006.

Disney’s chief executive, Robert A. Iger, said the success of “March of the Penguins” — a 2005 documentary from Warner Independent that cost $3 million to make and sold $127.4 million in tickets worldwide — helped spark the company’s interest in the genre.

Mr. Iger declined to specify costs. “The films will cost enough to deliver the type of quality our customers expect, but less than a typical feature,” he said.

They certainly sound expensive. Crews will spend three years in the Ivory Coast jungle to prepare “Chimpanzee,” to be released in 2012. “Oceans,” set for a 2010 release, will rely on new technology to film underwater drama with precision. The unit’s first movie, “Earth,” from the producer behind the “Planet Earth” series, will be released on April 22, 2009.
Glad to hear Disney is getting involved, as in my opinion you can never have too many nature documentaries, especially high quality ones.

While most nature documentaries have good footage, lots of them lack an interesting narrative. I hope Disney will make these documentaries seem more like movies with plots as "March of the Penguins" did so well.

I also hope that these movies are financially successful allowing them to have big budgets and spend lots of money in the communities were they are filmed. Like eco-tourism, this would give the locals an economic incentive to protect the wilderness. It is much easier to protect the wilderness if people make more money from it being intact then they do from destroying it.

via NY Times

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