The Walt Disney Studios Forms Kingdom Comics to Create Graphic Novels & Film Projects;

Ahmet Zappa, Harris Katleman and Christian Beranek on Board With Multi-Year

Overall Deal

May 28, 2008, 01:00 ET from Walt Disney Studios

    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
 Kingdom Comics.
     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
 silver screen."
     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