BURBANK, Calif., May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Walt Disney Studios has
signed a multi-year deal with Ahmet Zappa, Harris Katleman and Christian
Beranek to oversee the newly christened Kingdom Comics, an innovative new
venture of developing graphic novels to create new film projects for the
Studio as well as re-imagining and rejuvenating motion pictures from the
Disney live-action Vault, it was announced today by Oren Aviv, president,
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production.
Kingdom Comics will soon announce some of the top graphic novelists and
artists in the genre who will collaborate on upcoming projects. Disney
Publishing Worldwide, the largest distributor of comic books in the world,
will have the first opportunity to distribute publications created by
Commenting on the announcement, Aviv said, "We're very excited to be
working with Harris, Ahmet and Christian in developing this new business
devoted to creating stories and properties for the graphic novel audience,
as well as for moviegoers. They are three of the top talents in their
respective fields and together they have the knowledge, expertise and
instincts to create great publications and film properties. Some of these
exciting publications will be inspired by films and characters in the vast
and storied Disney library, while other original graphic novels are sure to
spark great ideas for future Disney classics. Our vision for Kingdom Comics
is to bring a fresh, contemporary approach to Disney properties that
already have a strong connection with moviegoers and readers all over the
world, and to add to that storytelling legacy."
Zappa added, "The ability to create new publications based on
properties from the Disney vaults, and to develop original ideas for
graphic novels and possibly future Disney films, is a dream job filled with
enormous fun and potential. Being a storyteller myself, I can't wait to
work with some of today's top writers and artists in bringing a fresh
approach to graphic novels and the movies. We're also excited to discover
and develop promising new talents in this field."
Katleman said, "I have been involved with my share of exciting projects
and worked with lots of great talent over the years. Working with Ahmet and
Christian in creating Kingdom Comics for Disney is as exciting as anything
I've ever done. We're all looking forward to working with Oren and his team
in developing some fantastic new projects for the printed page and the
Beranek added, "Graphic novels continue to have an enormous following
all over the world and we're hoping to bring something new and different to
those devoted fans. There are a lot of great stories waiting to be told,
including some familiar properties residing in the Disney vaults. This is
the opportunity of a lifetime and we can't wait to get started."
Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa, the third of four children born to the late
rock musician/composer Frank Zappa and super-powered psychic witch
businesswoman Gail, started out as an actor on such shows as "Roseanne" and
"Growing Pains." This led to feature film work and a run as a host on many
popular reality shows. In 2006, he sold the rights to his first novel, The
Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless, to Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer
Films. He is currently writing the second installment in that series, and
executive producing "Fraggle Rock" with The Jim Henson Company.
Harris Katleman served as president and CEO of Twentieth Television
from 1980 to 1992, during which time the Studio developed such landmark
programs as "L.A. Law," "The Simpsons," "Anything But Love," "In Living
Color," "Doogie Howser, M.D." (in association with Steven Bochco
Productions), "Civil Wars," and "NYPD Blue." He also oversaw production on
the final four years of "M*A*S*H," and "Trapper John," and guided the
development of "The Tracey Ullman Show," and "Picket Fences," among others.
Following his tenure at Twentieth Television, he joined Mark Goodson
Productions as Chief Operating Officer (1993-95), followed by a stint as
Chief Operating Officer and Partner in Jonathan Goodson Productions.
Katleman continues to be in partnership with Jonathan Goodson Productions.
His recent credits include executive producing the syndicated shows
"Forgive or Forget," "House Calls" and "Dirty Rotten Cheater."
An accomplished writer and editor, Christian Beranek formed his own
publishing company, Silent Devil, in 1996, and turned it into an indie
powerhouse, producing such hits as Dracula vs. King Arthur and Super Frat.
He parlayed that success into consulting for companies such as Universal
Music Publishing, Harley Davidson, AOL, and Mazda on graphic novels and
their value as both intellectual properties and marketing devices. As a
writer, he penned the origin of John Doe for the New Line/Zenescope series
Se7en and scripted the creator-owned franchise Willow Creek. He recently
finished the latest draft of the "Dracula vs. King Arthur" screenplay.
The deal was negotiated by Steve Katleman of Greenberg Traurig.
About The Walt Disney Studios
The Walt Disney Studios is a unit of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:
DIS) and serves as a global producer and distributor of motion pictures
under the following banners: Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures,
Hollywood Pictures and Miramax Films. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International serve as the Studios'
distribution arm. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment distributes Disney
and other film titles to the rental and sell-through home entertainment
markets worldwide. Disney-ABC Domestic Television and Disney-ABC
International Television distribute Disney and other film titles to pay
television, basic cable, broadcast television, VOD, PPV, mobile and
broadband. Other areas of the Studio include Disney Theatrical Productions
and Disney Music Group.
About Disney Publishing Worldwide
Disney Publishing Worldwide is the world's largest publisher of
children's books and magazines, with over 400 children's magazines
published and 120 million children's books sold each year. Headquartered in
White Plains, NY and Milan, Italy, Disney Publishing Worldwide publishes
books and magazines in 85 languages in 75 countries, reaching more than 100
million readers each month.
SOURCE Walt Disney Studios