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[[Image:Disney2004report.jpg|thumb|300px|The Walt Disney Company welcomes the Muppets into the Disney family in the 2004 Annual Report.]]
 
 
[[Image:WaltDisneyPictures.png|thumb|300px|Walt Disney Pictures logo, as attached to ''The Muppet Christmas Carol''.]]
 
[[Image:WaltDisneyPictures.png|thumb|300px|Walt Disney Pictures logo, as attached to ''The Muppet Christmas Carol''.]]
   
'''The Walt Disney Company''' is an American movie studio and entertainment company, dealing in everything from feature films and television, to various theme parks located around the world. The company acquired [[the Muppets]] and ''[[Bear in the Big Blue House]]'' franchises in [[2004]], forming [[#The Muppets Studio|The Muppets Studio]] (formerly Muppets Holding Company, LLC).
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'''The Walt Disney Company''' is an American movie studio and entertainment company, dealing in everything from feature films and television, to various theme parks located around the world. The company acquired [[the Muppets]] and ''[[Bear in the Big Blue House]]'' franchises in 2004, forming [[#The Muppets Studio|The Muppets Studio]] (formerly Muppets Holding Company, LLC).
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The Walt Disney Company is the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world, known mainly for its family-friendly products. Founded in 1923, by brothers Walt Disney and Roy Disney as an animation studio, it has become one of the biggest [[Hollywood]] studios, and owner and licensor of eleven theme parks and several television networks, including [[ABC]] and [[ESPN]]. [[Mickey Mouse]] serves as the official mascot of The Walt Disney Company.
   
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==Early Disney/Henson attempts (1980s-1990)==
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[[File:Eisner.henson.jpg|thumb|300px]]
 
In the early 1980s, [[Jim Henson]] considered purchasing the company which was then under the management team of Ron Miller and Roy Disney. The idea never went as far as negotiations, but a few years later when [[Michael Eisner]], Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg took over, the idea was revived. Due to lack of activity with the Muppets after ''[[The Muppet Show]]''’s run, Disney decided to pass on a merger.<ref>[[Bernie Brillstein]], ''[[Where Did I Go Right?]]'', p.327</ref>
 
In the early 1980s, [[Jim Henson]] considered purchasing the company which was then under the management team of Ron Miller and Roy Disney. The idea never went as far as negotiations, but a few years later when [[Michael Eisner]], Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg took over, the idea was revived. Due to lack of activity with the Muppets after ''[[The Muppet Show]]''’s run, Disney decided to pass on a merger.<ref>[[Bernie Brillstein]], ''[[Where Did I Go Right?]]'', p.327</ref>
   
 
Another aspect unattractive to the deal was that the ''[[Sesame Street]]'' franchise was untouchable. [[Joan Ganz Cooney]] recalled that "In the end... at the end of his life, when he was being pursued by Disney, and very close to being bought by Disney... they had tried to get control of the ''Sesame Street'' product as well as the Muppet franchise, and Jim said 'that's a deal breaker'... they should remain entirely separate... He said to me 'I intend to leave with you... in my will.' He wanted it to go on in perpetuity." <ref>[http://www.timetravelispossible.com/ourradioprograms.html Interview: "Time Travel with Dan Hollis & Jeff O'Boyle"]</ref>
 
Another aspect unattractive to the deal was that the ''[[Sesame Street]]'' franchise was untouchable. [[Joan Ganz Cooney]] recalled that "In the end... at the end of his life, when he was being pursued by Disney, and very close to being bought by Disney... they had tried to get control of the ''Sesame Street'' product as well as the Muppet franchise, and Jim said 'that's a deal breaker'... they should remain entirely separate... He said to me 'I intend to leave with you... in my will.' He wanted it to go on in perpetuity." <ref>[http://www.timetravelispossible.com/ourradioprograms.html Interview: "Time Travel with Dan Hollis & Jeff O'Boyle"]</ref>
   
Jim Henson again had a desire to sell the company to Disney in 1989, and this time [[Michael Eisner]] was more willing to buy the company without getting the rights to the ''Sesame Street'' cast (though Eisner did still want to have the rights to the ''Sesame Street'' Muppets).<ref>Davis, Michael ''[[Street Gang]]'', page 6.</ref> Many projects were planned, but very few were released. In 1990, Jim Henson died during the week that he was to sign the contract, and his family decided to keep the company private.
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Jim Henson again had a desire to sell the company to Disney in 1989, and this time [[Michael Eisner]] was more willing to buy the company without getting the rights to the ''Sesame Street'' cast (though Eisner did still want to have the rights to the ''Sesame Street'' Muppets).<ref>Davis, Michael ''[[Street Gang]]'', page 6.</ref>
   
Among the Disney/Henson collaborations that have been seen are the 1989 special ''[[The Muppets at Walt Disney World]]'', the stage show ''[[Here Come the Muppets]]'', and the theme park attraction/film ''[[Muppet*Vision 3D]]''. Among the projects that were made but never shown to the public are the proposed TV series ''[[The Little Mermaid's Island]]'', and a segment for ''The Mickey Mouse Club'' about puppeteering (this sequence was filmed while Jim Henson was making ''Muppet*Vision 3D''). Jim Henson had also pitched the series ''[[Dinosaurs]]'', which Disney developed and released after Henson died.
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In 1990, Jim Henson died during the week that he was to sign the contract, and his family decided to keep the company private.
   
The Walt Disney Company also produced and released ''[[The Muppet Christmas Carol]]'' and ''[[Muppet Treasure Island]]'', the first two Muppet movies made after Jim Henson died, and for a time in the early 90s, controlled the video release rights to ''[[The Muppet Movie]]'', ''[[The Great Muppet Caper]]'', episodes of ''[[Fraggle Rock]]'' and ''[[Muppet Babies]]'', and other properties, released through their Buena Vista Home Entertainment label (under a label titled [[Jim Henson Video]]). Disney had already distributed Muppet videos back in 1983, under the "Muppet Home Video" label. At present, the company has full ownership of the ''[[The Muppet Show]]'' and related characters and all the theatrically-released Muppet films, except for ''[[Muppets Take Manhattan]]'' and ''[[Muppets from Space]]''.
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==After Henson's death (1990-2004)==
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Many projects were planned; however due to Henson's untimely death, very few came to fruition. Among the Disney/Henson collaborations that have been seen are the 1989 special ''[[The Muppets at Walt Disney World]]'' (one of the few colaborations to be released before Henson's passing), the stage show ''[[Here Come the Muppets]]'', and the theme park attraction/film ''[[Muppet*Vision 3D]]''. Among the projects that were made but never shown to the public are the proposed TV series ''[[The Little Mermaid's Island]]'', and a segment for ''The Mickey Mouse Club'' about puppeteering (this sequence was filmed while Jim Henson was making ''Muppet*Vision 3D''). Also in development were several theme park attractions, including [[The Great Muppet Movie Ride]] and [[The Great Gonzo's Pandemonium Pizza Parlor]], which were abandoned once the Disney/Henson deal disolved. The Jim Henson Company also produced ''[[Mother Goose Stories]]'', an original series for the Disney Channel, which did not air until after Henson's death. Jim Henson had also pitched the series ''[[Dinosaurs]]'', which Disney developed and released after Henson died.
   
Recent DVD releases of certain properties currently outside of Disney's domain, such as ''[[Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas]]'', have been compelled to remove scenes featuring [[Kermit the Frog]]. The main exception, however, are DVD releases of ''Sesame Street'' productions featuring Kermit. [[Sesame Workshop]] currently has permission to include old Kermit segments in new episodes of Sesame Street, and DVD releases of past videos featuring Kermit have been released, uncut.
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Throughout the 1990s the Jim Henson Company partnered with Disney. The Walt Disney Company produced and released ''[[The Muppet Christmas Carol]]'' and ''[[Muppet Treasure Island]]'', the first two Muppet movies made after Jim Henson died, and for a time in the early 90s, controlled the video release rights to ''[[The Muppet Movie]]'', ''[[The Great Muppet Caper]]'', episodes of ''[[Fraggle Rock]]'' and ''[[Muppet Babies]]'', and other properties, released through their Buena Vista Home Entertainment label (under a label titled [[Jim Henson Video]]). ''[[Muppets Tonight]]'' was also produced for the Disney-owned [[ABC|ABC network]] and Disney Channel. Disney also produced [[Bear in the Big Blue House]] with The Jim Henson Company for the [[Disney Channel]].
   
==Disney-Owned Properties==
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==Disney aquires the Muppets (2004)==
Many Muppet productions are in fact owned, and controlled, by outside companies. This had been true even prior to the Disney sale where The Jim Henson Company owned the characters, but outside companies controlled the films or specials.
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[[Image:Disney2004report.jpg|thumb|300px|The Walt Disney Company welcomes the Muppets into the Disney family in the 2004 Annual Report.]]
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The company acquired [[the Muppets]] and ''[[Bear in the Big Blue House]]'' franchises in [[2004]], forming Muppets Holding Company, LLC (later retitled [[#The Muppets Studio|The Muppets Studio]]).
   
For example, [[Columbia Pictures|Columbia TriStar]] has retained the rights to ''[[The Muppets Take Manhattan]]'' and ''Muppets From Space'', which were produced by TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures, respectively. Unlike ''[[The Muppet Movie]]'' and ''[[The Great Muppet Caper]]'', which were independently produced and merely distributed by Columbia, these two remain in the Sony library and unless Disney purchases the film rights, Sony has control over distribution. Prior to the sale of the Muppets to Disney, Disney owned ''The Muppet Christmas Carol'' and ''[[Muppet Treasure Island]]'' in a similar fashion (with character rights belonging to Henson). After buying the Muppets the company gained full control over these two films, as well as gaining control over ''The Muppet Movie'' and ''The Great Muppet Caper''. Other productions, such as early commercials, talk show appearances, ''The Great Santa Claus Switch'' and others, are owned by outside groups.
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The Walt Disney Company and The Jim Henson Company announced on February 17, 2004 that they had entered into an agreement under which Disney would acquire the Muppets and ''Bear in the Big Blue House'' properties from Henson. The parties signed a binding purchase agreement, with the transaction closing in April 2004 after receiving the necessary regulatory clearances.
   
The Walt Disney Company gained rights to the productions with ''Sesame Street'' and ''Fraggle Rock'' crossovers featured in the Muppet film library, (i.e. ''[[A Muppet Family Christmas]]'' and ''[[The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years]]'').
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The transaction included all Muppet assets, including the Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and Animal characters, the Muppet film and television library, and all associated copyrights and trademarks, as well as all the ''Bear in the Big Blue House'' characters, television library, copyrights and trademarks. The transaction did not include the ''Sesame Street'' characters which are separately owned by Sesame Workshop. The deal also included non-exclusive production and consulting agreements under which Henson would develop potential new programming featuring the Muppets and ''Bear in the Big Blue House'' for Disney.
   
''Dinosaurs'' has always been owned by the Walt Disney Company and was not purchased through the 2004 Muppet acquisition.
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==The Muppets Studio (2004-present)==
 
A complete list of ownership rights is not available, as more production ownership is not as clear-cut. Disney, the Jim Henson Company and Sesame Workshop can work, and have worked, to clear the ambitiously owned and cross-over properties for release and use.
 
 
==The Muppets Studio==
 
 
[[Image:TheMuppetsStudio.jpg|thumb|300px|The Muppets Studio]]
 
[[Image:TheMuppetsStudio.jpg|thumb|300px|The Muppets Studio]]
[[Image:Logo-muppets-disney-sm.jpg|right|300px]]
 
[[Image:MuppetStudios-black.png|thumb|300px|Muppet Studios]]
 
[[Image:MuppetStudios-logo.png|thumb|300px]]
 
 
 
'''The Muppets Studio''' (formerly Muppets Holding Company) is a limited liability company that is wholly owned by the Walt Disney Company. The subsidiary was formed in 2004 after acquiring the Muppets and ''Bear in the Big Blue House'' characters from the Jim Henson Company. The company manages the use of the Muppet characters and serves as the production house for many Muppet projects.
 
'''The Muppets Studio''' (formerly Muppets Holding Company) is a limited liability company that is wholly owned by the Walt Disney Company. The subsidiary was formed in 2004 after acquiring the Muppets and ''Bear in the Big Blue House'' characters from the Jim Henson Company. The company manages the use of the Muppet characters and serves as the production house for many Muppet projects.
   
A Muppet Studios logo became the signature of the company on productions such as the Web series ''[[From the Balcony]]'' and [[muppets.go.com]]. The logo was also retroactively added as a leader to each episode of ''[[The Muppet Show]]'' on the Muppet Show season sets released by [[Buena Vista Home Entertainment]] (as well as ''[[The Muppet Movie]]'', ''[[The Great Muppet Caper]]'', ''[[The Muppet Christmas Carol]]'', and ''[[Muppet Treasure Island]]'' 50th Anniversary DVD editions). The liner notes for ''[[A Green and Red Christmas]]'' attribute copyright and trademark of the Muppets to the Muppets Studio LLC.
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The division has been managed by [[Chris Curtin]] (2004-2005), [[Russell Hampton]] (2005-2006) and [[Lylle Breier]] (2006-present).
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The first major production of The Muppets Studio was ''[[The Muppets' Wizard of Oz]]'', a tele-film that was already in development with [[ABC]] prior to Disney's purchase of the Muppets.
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The Muppets Studios logo became the signature on productions of the company, such as the Web series ''[[From the Balcony]],'' ''[[Studio DC: Almost Live]]'' and ''[[A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa]]''. The logo was also added to home video releases by [[Buena Vista Home Entertainment]] (including ''[[The Muppet Show]]'' season box sets, Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition DVDs, and other Muppet titles). In 2009 the Muppets Studio launched a [http://youtube.com/muppetsstudio YouTube channel], a promotional [http://twitter.com/muppetsstudio Twitter feed], and an official [http://facebook.com/p/MuppetsStudio/177534557034 Facebook page].
   
 
<gallery>
 
<gallery>
Image:MuppetstudiosKermit.jpg
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Image:Logo-muppets-disney-sm.jpg|The Muppets
Image:MuppetStudiosMissPiggy.jpg
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Image:MuppetStudios-black.png|Muppet Studios
  +
Image:MuppetStudios-logo.png|Muppet Studios
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
   
===Leadership===
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==Disney properties==
*[[Chris Curtin]], 2004-2005
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Before The Walt Disney Company bought the Muppets, there have been a number of references to the company and Disney's various productions and characters in various Henson productions and appearances. More recently, such references have occurred as cross-promotion in merchandise. The Muppets have also been referenced and have made appearances in Disney projects as well.
*[[Russell Hampton]], 2005-2006
 
*[[Lylle Breier]], 2006-present
 
   
===Projects Produced by Muppet Studios===
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See the individual Disney properties, characters, and productions for information on the specific references, appearances, mentions, and connections:
;Film & Television
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{| border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=8 valign=top
*[[The Muppets' Wizard of Oz]]
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|-
*[[Studio DC Hosted by Dylan and Cole Sprouse]]
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|valign=top|
*[[Studio DC Hosted by Selena Gomez]]
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*[[Aladdin]]
*[[A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa]]
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*[[Alice in Wonderland]]
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*[[Bambi]]
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*[[Desperate Housewives]]
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*[[Disney Adventures]]
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*[[Disney Channel]]
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*[[Disney News]]
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*[[Disneyland]]
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*[[Donald Duck]]
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*[[ESPN]]
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*[[Extreme Makeover: Home Edition]]
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*[[Fantasia]]
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*[[Hannah Montana]]
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*[[High School Musical]]
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*[[Lost]]
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*[[Mary Poppins]]
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*[[Mickey Mouse]]
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*[[Mighty Morphin Power Rangers]]
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*[[Peter Pan]]
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*[[Pinocchio]]
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|valign=top|
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*[[Pirates of the Caribbean]]
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*[[Pixar]]
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*[[Playhouse Disney]]
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*[[Robin Hood]]
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*[[Scrubs]]
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*[[Sleeping Beauty]]
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*[[Snow White]]
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*[[Swiss Family Robinson]]
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*[[Tarzan]]
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*[[The Hunchback of Notre Dame]]
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*[[The Jungle Book]]
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*[[The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe]]
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*[[The Mickey Mouse Club]]
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*[[WALL•E]]
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*[[Walt Disney World]]
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*[[Who Censored Roger Rabbit?|Who Framed Roger Rabbit]]
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*[[Who Wants to Be a Millionaire]]
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*[[Wild Hogs]]
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*[[Winnie the Pooh]]
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|}
   
;Online
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==Sources==
*[[Muppets.go.com]]
 
*[[Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony]]
 
*[[Disney Xtreme Digital|Muppets.com (DxD)]]
 
*[[Virmup|Muppet viral videos]]
 
 
;Merchandise
 
*[[Best of the Muppets]] CD
 
*[[A Green and Red Christmas]] CD
 
*[[The Muppet Christmas Carol (soundtrack)|The Muppet Christmas Carol Soundtrack]] CD
 
*[[The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (video)|The Muppets' Wizard of Oz]] DVD
 
*[[The Muppet Show: Season One]] DVD
 
*[[The Muppet Movie (video)|The Muppet Movie: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition]] DVD
 
*[[The Great Muppet Caper (video)|The Great Muppet Caper: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition]] DVD
 
*[[The Muppet Christmas Carol (video)|The Muppet Christmas Carol: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition]] DVD
 
*[[Muppet Treasure Island (video)|Muppet Treasure Island: Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition]] DVD
 
*[[The Muppet Show: Season Two]] DVD
 
*[[The Muppet Show: Season Three]] DVD
 
*[[Before You Leap]] book
 
*[[It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp]] book
 
*[[The Diva Code]] book
 
*[[Master Replicas|Muppet photo puppet replicas]]
 
*[[BOOM! Studios|The Muppets comic books]]
 
 
;Other
 
*[[Muppets Ahoy!]]
 
*[[The Muppet Whatnot Workshop]]
 
 
==References==
 
[[Image:Wheredreamshappenpin.JPG|300px|thumb|The Muppets as Walt Disney World's famous residents]]
 
[[Image:labyrinth-disneyhood.jpg|frame|Disney's Robin Hood in Sarah's scrapbook, from ''Labyrinth'']]
 
[[Image:Underthewater.jpg|frame|''The Little Mermaid'' spoof on ''Dinosaurs'']]
 
 
[[Image:WaltDizzy.jpg|thumb|300px|''Sesame Street'''s Disney parody]]
 
[[Image:WaltDizzy.jpg|thumb|300px|''Sesame Street'''s Disney parody]]
Before The Walt Disney Company bought the Muppets, there have been a number of references to the company and Disney's various productions and characters in various Henson productions and appearances. More recently, such references have occurred as cross-promotion in merchandise.
 
 
*When Kermit the Frog hosted ''[[The Tonight Show]]'' in 1979, he mentioned that the Muppets went to Disneyland, and the guard at the gate wouldn't let them out.
 
 
*A number of songs from Disney movies have been sung on ''The Muppet Show'', including "[[Never Smile at a Crocodile]]", "[[An Actor's Life For Me]]", "[[It's a Small World]]", "[[Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah]]", and "[[When You Wish Upon a Star]]".
 
 
* An early 1980s "[[Ask Oscar]]" segment on ''Sesame Street'' features a letter written to [[Oscar the Grouch]] in which he's asked what the longest grouch word is. Because this segment is being translated into sign language, he enjoys repeating "super-cali-fragile-istic-yucka-alidocious" several times. The word is a slight variation from a song in Disney's film adaptatation of ''[[Mary Poppins]]'', starring [[Julie Andrews]].
 
 
*On ''[[The Merv Griffin Show]]'' in 1984, during a discussion between [[Merv Griffin]] and [[Kermit the Frog|Kermit]] about the places [[Animal]] likes to go, the topic turns to the cinema. Kermit says he takes him to "nice movies" as Animal professes a particular love for ''Bambi''.
 
 
*In ''[[Labyrinth]]'', a panning shot of [[Sarah|Sarah's]] scrapbook reveals an image of the fox version of [[Robin Hood]], as seen in the 1973 Disney animated film.
 
 
*The ''[[Dinosaurs]]'' episode "[[Episode 317: Honey, I Miss the Kids|Honey, I Miss the Kids]]" featured [[Baby Sinclair|Baby Sinclair's]] favorite video, ''The Little Underwater Girl'', a spoof of ''The Little Mermaid''. The song "Under the Water," performed by [[lobsters]], parodies the original film's song "Under the Sea." Likewise, the title is a refference to the Disney film ''Honey, I Shrunk the Kids''.
 
 
*The ''Dinosaurs'' episode "[[Episode 304: Network Genius|Network Genius]]" featured references to two Disney shows on the schedule board in one scene. The shows listed on the board were "The Wonderful World of Black and White" (spoofing ''[[The Magical World of Disney|The Wonderful World of Color]]'') and "The Mickey Test Patterns Club" (spoofing ''[[The Mickey Mouse Club]]'').
 
 
*The ''Dinosaurs'' episode "[[Episode 411*: Variations on a Theme Park|Variations on a Theme Park]]" spoofed Disneyland as [[WESAYSOLAND]].
 
 
* [[Clifford]] calls [[Seymour]] "Dumbo" in ''[[Muppets Tonight]]'' [[Episode 202: Rick Moranis|episode 202]].
 
 
* On September 7, 2007, following Disney's purchase of the Muppets, a [[Disney pins|pin]] was released for sale only at Walt Disney World, featuring Kermit as Mickey Mouse, Miss Piggy as Minnie Mouse, [[Fozzie Bear]] as Goofy and [[Rizzo the Rat]] as Tinker Bell.
 
 
* In [[Episode 320: Sylvester Stallone|episode 320]] of ''[[The Muppet Show]]'', during the song "[[Let's Call the Whole Thing Off]], after the lion sings "I like Plato and you like Pluto", [[Sylvester Stallone]] says "You can have Plato, and I'll stick with Pluto, and Mickey, and Goofy".
 
 
* The ''[[Sesame Street]]'' segment "[[Pre-School Musical]]" parodies Disney's original film franchise, ''High School Musical''.
 
 
* Another ''Sesame Street'' sketch features a "Walt Dizzy Film" entitled "The Chicken King". In a parody of ''The Lion King'', a kingdom of animals look for the chosen one who will turn corn into an egg. A lion who wants to be king tries and fails when [[Elmo]] (in a chicken outfit) tries by eating the corn, which gives him energy to lay an egg. (The fact that he is a male is not addressed.)
 
 
* At the [[D23 Expo]] in 2009, [[Pepe]] appears in a video in front of the Muppet*Vision building, mentioning some Disney theme park attractions that will be changed to be centered around him. In another video, Gonzo and Fozzie join Pepe, trying to figure out the secret to Disney magic. Fozzie, having studied it at the "Country Bear Jamboree", deduces part of it is the magic element - "Sala kadula", leading to a brief rendition of "Bippity Boppity Boo" from ''Cinderella''.
 
 
* For other references, see [[Mickey Mouse]], [[Donald Duck]], and [[Bambi]]; for well-known Disney adaptations that didn't necessarily reference the Disney version: [[Snow White]], [[Cinderella]], [[Sleeping Beauty]].
 
 
==Sources==
 
 
<references />
 
<references />
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
*[[Mickey Mouse]]
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*[[Disney Ownership]]
*[[Bambi]]
 
*[[Fantasia]]
 
   
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
  +
{{wikipedia}}
 
* [http://www.disney.com/ Disney.com]
 
* [http://www.disney.com/ Disney.com]
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* [http://muppets.com Muppets.com]
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* [http://disney.go.com/characters/#/characters/allcharacters/themuppets/ The Muppets' Disney.com character pages]
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* [http://facebook.com/pages/MuppetsStudio/177534557034 The Muppets Studio on Facebook]
 
* [http://twitter.com/MuppetsStudio The Muppets Studio on Twitter]
 
* [http://twitter.com/MuppetsStudio The Muppets Studio on Twitter]
* [http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID115360.asp Jim Hill's history of the two companies' relationship history]
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* [http://youtube.com/MuppetsStudio The Muppets Studio on YouTube]
 
{{wikipedia}}
 
 
[[Category:Movie Studios|Walt Disney Company]]
 
[[Category:Movie Studios|Walt Disney Company]]
 
[[Category:Home Video Companies|Walt Disney Company]]
 
[[Category:Home Video Companies|Walt Disney Company]]

Revision as of 22:07, December 9, 2009

File:WaltDisneyPictures.png
Walt Disney Pictures logo, as attached to The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The Walt Disney Company is an American movie studio and entertainment company, dealing in everything from feature films and television, to various theme parks located around the world. The company acquired the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House franchises in 2004, forming The Muppets Studio (formerly Muppets Holding Company, LLC).

The Walt Disney Company is the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world, known mainly for its family-friendly products. Founded in 1923, by brothers Walt Disney and Roy Disney as an animation studio, it has become one of the biggest Hollywood studios, and owner and licensor of eleven theme parks and several television networks, including ABC and ESPN. Mickey Mouse serves as the official mascot of The Walt Disney Company.

Early Disney/Henson attempts (1980s-1990)

Eisner.henson

In the early 1980s, Jim Henson considered purchasing the company which was then under the management team of Ron Miller and Roy Disney. The idea never went as far as negotiations, but a few years later when Michael Eisner, Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg took over, the idea was revived. Due to lack of activity with the Muppets after The Muppet Show’s run, Disney decided to pass on a merger.[1]

Another aspect unattractive to the deal was that the Sesame Street franchise was untouchable. Joan Ganz Cooney recalled that "In the end... at the end of his life, when he was being pursued by Disney, and very close to being bought by Disney... they had tried to get control of the Sesame Street product as well as the Muppet franchise, and Jim said 'that's a deal breaker'... they should remain entirely separate... He said to me 'I intend to leave with you... in my will.' He wanted it to go on in perpetuity." [2]

Jim Henson again had a desire to sell the company to Disney in 1989, and this time Michael Eisner was more willing to buy the company without getting the rights to the Sesame Street cast (though Eisner did still want to have the rights to the Sesame Street Muppets).[3]

In 1990, Jim Henson died during the week that he was to sign the contract, and his family decided to keep the company private.

After Henson's death (1990-2004)

Many projects were planned; however due to Henson's untimely death, very few came to fruition. Among the Disney/Henson collaborations that have been seen are the 1989 special The Muppets at Walt Disney World (one of the few colaborations to be released before Henson's passing), the stage show Here Come the Muppets, and the theme park attraction/film Muppet*Vision 3D. Among the projects that were made but never shown to the public are the proposed TV series The Little Mermaid's Island, and a segment for The Mickey Mouse Club about puppeteering (this sequence was filmed while Jim Henson was making Muppet*Vision 3D). Also in development were several theme park attractions, including The Great Muppet Movie Ride and The Great Gonzo's Pandemonium Pizza Parlor, which were abandoned once the Disney/Henson deal disolved. The Jim Henson Company also produced Mother Goose Stories, an original series for the Disney Channel, which did not air until after Henson's death. Jim Henson had also pitched the series Dinosaurs, which Disney developed and released after Henson died.

Throughout the 1990s the Jim Henson Company partnered with Disney. The Walt Disney Company produced and released The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island, the first two Muppet movies made after Jim Henson died, and for a time in the early 90s, controlled the video release rights to The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, episodes of Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies, and other properties, released through their Buena Vista Home Entertainment label (under a label titled Jim Henson Video). Muppets Tonight was also produced for the Disney-owned ABC network and Disney Channel. Disney also produced Bear in the Big Blue House with The Jim Henson Company for the Disney Channel.

Disney aquires the Muppets (2004)

Disney2004report
The Walt Disney Company welcomes the Muppets into the Disney family in the 2004 Annual Report.

The company acquired the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House franchises in 2004, forming Muppets Holding Company, LLC (later retitled The Muppets Studio).

The Walt Disney Company and The Jim Henson Company announced on February 17, 2004 that they had entered into an agreement under which Disney would acquire the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House properties from Henson. The parties signed a binding purchase agreement, with the transaction closing in April 2004 after receiving the necessary regulatory clearances.

The transaction included all Muppet assets, including the Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and Animal characters, the Muppet film and television library, and all associated copyrights and trademarks, as well as all the Bear in the Big Blue House characters, television library, copyrights and trademarks. The transaction did not include the Sesame Street characters which are separately owned by Sesame Workshop. The deal also included non-exclusive production and consulting agreements under which Henson would develop potential new programming featuring the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House for Disney.

The Muppets Studio (2004-present)

TheMuppetsStudio
The Muppets Studio

The Muppets Studio (formerly Muppets Holding Company) is a limited liability company that is wholly owned by the Walt Disney Company. The subsidiary was formed in 2004 after acquiring the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House characters from the Jim Henson Company. The company manages the use of the Muppet characters and serves as the production house for many Muppet projects.

The division has been managed by Chris Curtin (2004-2005), Russell Hampton (2005-2006) and Lylle Breier (2006-present).

The first major production of The Muppets Studio was The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, a tele-film that was already in development with ABC prior to Disney's purchase of the Muppets.

The Muppets Studios logo became the signature on productions of the company, such as the Web series From the Balcony, Studio DC: Almost Live and A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. The logo was also added to home video releases by Buena Vista Home Entertainment (including The Muppet Show season box sets, Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition DVDs, and other Muppet titles). In 2009 the Muppets Studio launched a YouTube channel, a promotional Twitter feed, and an official Facebook page.

Disney properties

Before The Walt Disney Company bought the Muppets, there have been a number of references to the company and Disney's various productions and characters in various Henson productions and appearances. More recently, such references have occurred as cross-promotion in merchandise. The Muppets have also been referenced and have made appearances in Disney projects as well.

See the individual Disney properties, characters, and productions for information on the specific references, appearances, mentions, and connections:

Sources

WaltDizzy
Sesame Street's Disney parody
  1. Bernie Brillstein, Where Did I Go Right?, p.327
  2. Interview: "Time Travel with Dan Hollis & Jeff O'Boyle"
  3. Davis, Michael Street Gang, page 6.

See also

External links

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