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More Animation Studio Closings

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 11:52 AM

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Disney To Close Japan Animation Studio In June


TOKYO (Nikkei)--Walt Disney Co. will close in early June its Japanese unit that has handled production of hand-drawn animation, as part of a move to reorganize its animation business globally, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Thursday morning edition.

The U.S. entertainment and media giant is shifting from traditional hand-drawn animation to 3-D productions involving computer graphics, and will consolidate its animation operations into two locations, including California, where the company is based.

Disney will be shutting down its studio in Tokyo, Walt Disney Animation (Japan) Inc., which was established in 1989 and produced material mainly for television and video release.

Of the 100 or so personnel there, about 30 will transfer to Disney's U.S. headquarters or to affiliates. The remaining 70 or so plan to establish a production company independently, aiming to launch in June.

Because Disney places much emphasis on quality, it sends work out to directly run studios at home and abroad instead of outsourcing.

The company established the unit in Japan because it highly regarded the ability of Japanese artists. However, as successful animated features in the U.S. recently have been done in 3-D using computer graphics, some have pointed out the high costs and low returns of hand-drawn animation.

Disney has already decided to close its studio in Florida. And after the Japan studio is shut down, the only remaining overseas studio will be in Australia.

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