DisneyToon Studios, originally Disney MovieToons and was also Disney Video Premieres, is an American animation studio which creates direct-to-video and occasional theatrical animated feature films. The studio is a division of Walt Disney Animation Studios, with both being part of The Walt Disney Studios. The studio has produced 50 feature films, beginning with DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990), and its latest being Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls (2020).
Disney MovieToons' first feature production was in 1990 with DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp with animation from Walt Disney Animation France. Disney Television Animation hired a director of specials, Sharon Morrill, in 1993.
Disney began producing direct-to-video sequels of Walt Disney Feature Animation films: the first of which was the Aladdin (1992) sequel The Return of Jafar (1994). When Aladdin was selected as a possible candidate as an animated TV series (before the film's release), as with many animated series, the first three episodes were one multi-part story which Disney used as a potential 'family movie special' for the Friday night before the series' premiere. With work handed out to both the Australian and Japanese animation units, the opening story was instead green lit for a direct-to-video release. Thus with The Return of Jafar and its success, the direct-to-video unit started. Then a second sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), assign work to both the Australian and Japanese animation units.
Morrill was in charge of the above first Aladdin DTV film launching Disney Video Premiere. Morrill expanded the DTV market, making it more important for Disney, thus the overseas Disney studios were increasing assigned to these features. Morrill was promoted to vice president of Direct to Video by November 1997.
The unit released a short in 1997, Redux Riding Hood, under the WDTA name that was nominated for an 1998 Academy Award. More direct-to-video sequels followed, among them Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997), Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998), The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), and Cinderella II: Dreams Come True (2002). By April 1998, MovieToons was folded in with Disney Video Premiere films and network TV specials of Disney TV Animation as Morrill was promoted to executive vice president over her existing unit of Disney Video Premiere films, network TV specials and Movietoons.
In 2003, Disney reorganization, Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premieres unit was transferred from Walt Disney Television Animation to Walt Disney Feature Animation and renamed DisneyToon Studios (DTS) in June. Morrill continued to lead the division as executive vice president. With the split, both DisneyToons and Disney Television Animation were issuing direct to video features.
Disney closed Disney Animation Japan, one of the two remaining internal overseas studios DisneyToons worked with, in early June 2004 with Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2004) to be its final DTS work. By 2005, Morrill was promoted to president of DisneyToon. On July 25, 2005, Disney announced that it was closing DisneyToon Studios Australia in October 2006, after 17 years of existence, with its final feature being Cinderella III: A Twist in Time.
In the early 2000s, DisneyToon joined Disney Consumer Products (DCP) as their internal Disney conglomerate video partner in developing the new Disney franchises then only consisting of Disney Princess and Disney Fairies. While DCP eyed other potential franchises, DTS looked to the Seven Dwarfs for a male centric franchise to counterbalance the female centric Fairies by 2005.
John Lasseter joining Disney with the purchase of Pixar made it clear that he disliked DisneyToon's undercutting the value of the feature animated films with the sequel and prequel. Following complications relating to the production of Tinker Bell (2008), the debut film of DCP's Fairies franchise, lead to discussion over the focus of the division. Thus, Sharon Morill, president of the studio, moved to a new position in the company. On June 22, 2007, management of DisneyToon Studios was turned over to the control of Alan Bergman, president of Disney Studios, with input from Ed Catmull and Lasseter.
As chief creative officer, Lasseter called for the cancellation of all future films in production or development at DisneyToon Studios. As a result, planned or in-progress sequels to Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons and The Aristocats were all cancelled, among other projects. Tinker Bell's animation was scrapped and was restarted while two project DCP formed franchised projects were canceled, "Disney's Dwarfs" and the Disney Princess Enchanted Tales line after the first DVD. The release of The Little Mermaid 3 was put on hold. Disney Studios President Alan Bergman took oversee of day-to-day operation of DTS. Thus DTS was out of sequel and prequel production with it originally indicated that the division would support various Playhouse Disney franchises with direct to home videos.
Meredith Roberts transferred over from Disney TV Animation to head the division as senior vice president and general manager. At the April 2008 unveiling of Disney's animated feature line up, it was announced that DisneyToon Studios would no longer produce future sequels to Disney animated films, but will instead focus on spin-offs and original films. Also, the division was under the banner of renamed Feature Animation studio, now called Walt Disney Animation Studios, led by Catmull and Lasseter.
|#||Title||Release type||Release date||Franchise|
|1||DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp||Theatrical||August 3, 1990||DuckTales|
|2||The Return of Jafar||Direct-to-video||May 20, 1994||Aladdin|
|3||A Goofy Movie||Theatrical||April 7, 1995||Goofy|
|4||Aladdin and the King of Thieves||Direct-to-video||August 13, 1996||Aladdin|
|5||Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin||Direct-to-video||August 5, 1997||Winnie the Pooh|
|6||Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas||Direct-to-video||November 11, 1997||Beauty and the Beast|
|7||Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World||Direct-to-video||February 17, 1998||Beauty and the Beast|
|8||Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World||Direct-to-video||August 25, 1998||Pocahontas|
|9||The Lion King II: Simba's Pride||Direct-to-video||October 27, 1998||The Lion King|
|10||Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas||Direct-to-video||November 9, 1999||Mickey Mouse|
|11||Seasons of Giving||Direct-to-video||November 9, 1999||Winnie the Pooh|
|12||The Tigger Movie||Theatrical||February 11, 2000||Winnie the Pooh|
|13||An Extremely Goofy Movie||Direct-to-video||February 29, 2000||Goofy|
|14||The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea||Direct-to-video||September 19, 2000||The Little Mermaid|
|15||Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure||Direct-to-video||February 27, 2001||Lady and the Tramp|
|16||Return to Neverland||Theatrical||February 15, 2002||Peter Pan|
|17||Cinderella II: Dreams Come True||Direct-to-video||February 26, 2002||Cinderella|
|18||The Hunchback of Notre Dame II||Direct-to-video||March 19, 2002||The Hunchback of Notre Dame|
|19||A Very Merry Pooh Year||Direct-to-video||November 12, 2002||Winnie the Pooh|
|20||101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure||Direct-to-video||January 21, 2003||101 Dalmatians|
|21||The Jungle Book 2||Theatrical||February 14, 2003||The Jungle Book|
|22||Piglet's Big Movie||Theatrical||March 21, 2003||Winnie the Pooh|
|23||Atlantis: Milo's Return||Direct-to-video||May 20, 2003||Atlantis: The Lost Empire|
|24||The Lion King 1½||Direct-to-video||February 10, 2004||The Lion King|
|25||Springtime with Roo||Direct-to-video||March 9, 2004||Winnie the Pooh|
|26||Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers||Direct-to-video||August 17, 2004||Mickey Mouse|
|27||Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas||Direct-to-video||November 9, 2004||Mickey Mouse|
|28||Mulan II||Direct-to-video||February 1, 2005||Mulan|
|29||Pooh's Heffalump Movie||Theatrical||February 11, 2005||Winnie the Pooh|
|30||Tarzan II||Direct-to-video||June 14, 2005||Tarzan|
|31||Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch||Direct-to-video||August 30, 2005||Lilo & Stitch|
|32||Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie||Direct-to-video||September 13, 2005||Winnie the Pooh|
|33||Kronk's New Groove||Direct-to-video||December 13, 2005||The Emperor's New Groove|
|34||Bambi II||Direct-to-video||February 7, 2006||Bambi|
|35||Brother Bear 2||Direct-to-video||August 29, 2006||Brother Bear|
|36||The Fox and the Hound 2||Direct-to-video||December 12, 2006||The Fox and the Hound|
|37||Cinderella III: A Twist in Time||Direct-to-video||February 6, 2007||Cinderella|
|38||Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams||Direct-to-video||September 4, 2007||Disney Pincess|
|39||The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning||Direct-to-video||August 26, 2008||The Little Mermaid|
|40||Tinker Bell||Direct-to-video||October 28, 2008||Disney Fairies|
|41||Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure||Direct-to-video||October 27, 2009||Disney Fairies|
|42||Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue||Direct-to-video||September 21, 2010||Disney Fairies|
|43||Secret of Wings||Theatrical (limited release)||October 23, 2012||Disney Fairies|
|44||Planes||Theatrical||August 9, 2013||Cars|
|45||The Pirate Fairy||Theatrical (limited release)||April 1, 2014||Disney Fairies|
|46||Planes: Fire & Rescue||Theatrical||July 18, 2014||Cars|
|47||Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast||Theatrical (limited release)||March 3, 2015||Disney Fairies|
|48||TBA||Theatrical||April 12, 2019||The Rescuers|
|50||Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls||Theatrical||July 4, 2020||Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls|