<p align=center>Walt Disney Pictures' Critically Acclaimed Motion Picture 'Lilo & Stitch' Inspires Video Sequel, Television Series
Walt Disney Television Animation, Disney Channel, and Buena Vista Home Entertainment Join Forces to Extend Film Franchise</p>
BURBANK, Calif., July 11 -- On the heels of surpassing 贄 million at the box office in its first three weekends, Walt Disney Pictures' critically acclaimed hit "Lilo & Stitch" is moving to the small screen in a big way, as a video sequel and a television series continues the franchise, it was announced today (7/11) by Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney Animation, and Anne Sweeney, President, ABC Cable Networks Group and Disney Channel Worldwide.
The video sequel, currently entitled "Stitch! -- The Movie," is slated for release in 2003 and will serve as a bridge between the feature film and the television series, currently under development with the working title of "Stitch! -- The TV Series."
Commenting on the announcement, Schumacher said, "The characters and themes in 'Lilo & Stitch' have strongly connected with audiences -- and that includes our own creative people at the Studio. Writer-directors Chris Sanders' and Dean DeBlois' creation has inspired everyone, and we're thrilled to pick up where the motion picture leaves off with these exciting, funny, and heartwarming extensions."
Sweeney, who oversees possible broadcast outlets for the series including Disney Channel, Toon Disney, ABC Family, and ABC Television's Saturday morning children's programming, added, "We welcome Stitch to join a strong Disney Channel family of programs, where the 'Lilo & Stitch' franchise will continue to build upon its popularity in the more than 80 million households we reach. We're excited to be bringing these characters to television."
"Stitch! -- the TV Series" will become a global television franchise following its anticipated launch on Disney Channel in Fall 2003 when it rolls out on Disney Channels and Disney-branded TV programs throughout the world. There are currently 15 international Disney Channels and nearly 100 Disney-branded blocks of programming in 51 countries reaching 600 million television viewers worldwide.
In the video premiere, Stitch -- formerly known as Dr. Jumba Jookiba's "Experiment 626" -- is now living on Earth with Lilo and Nani, aided by their friend, David, and the social worker Cobra Bubbles, as well as fellow aliens Jumba and Pleakley. In a series of unfortunate accidents, Jumba's other 625 experiments land on Hawaii and, one by one, are activated.
Following the video premiere, the television series finds Lilo and Stitch searching for these experiments and helping to turn their nature from bad to good, finding places where each can belong and contribute to the community.
Tony Craig and Roberts Gannaway, the team that brought Mickey Mouse back to television in "Disney's Mickey MouseWorks" and "Disney's House of Mouse," are the directors of "Stitch! - The Movie." Gannaway, Craig, and Jess Winfield ("Disney's Teacher's Pet," "Disney/Pixar's Buzz Lightyear of Star Command") are executive producers, and the script is written by Winfield and Gannaway.
"Stitch! -- The TV Series" will premiere on Disney Channel following the release of "Stitch! -- The Movie." Gannaway, Craig, and Winfield are executive producers of the series. The initial 39 episodes will be directed by Vic Cook ("Disney's The Legend of Tarzan," "101 Dalmatians, the Series") and Don MacKinnon ("Disney's Teacher's Pet," "Disney/Pixar's Buzz Lightyear of Star Command").
Virtually the entire core cast from the film returns for the video premiere and the television series, including Daveigh Chase (Lilo), Chris Sanders (Stitch), Tia Carrere (Nani), David Ogden Stiers (Jumba), Ving Rhames (Cobra Bubbles), Kevin McDonald (Pleakley), Kevin Michael Richardson (Captain Gantu), and Zoe Caldwell (Grand Councilwoman).
In its opening weekend, "Lilo & Stitch" collected more than ำ.2 million at the box office, representing the second-highest debut ever for a traditionally animated feature film, after Disney's 1994 smash, "The Lion King" (ุ.9 million). Through its first 17 days of release, "Lilo & Stitch" has grossed 贇 million at the box office.
Combining unforgettable characters, an imaginative and offbeat story, and colorful artistry, Walt Disney Pictures' delightful new animated comedy, "Lilo & Stitch," tells a captivating tale of a young girl's close encounter with the galaxy's most mischievous extraterrestrial. Lilo is a lonely Hawaiian girl who adopts a small ugly 'dog,' whom she names Stitch. Stitch would be the perfect pet if he weren't in reality a genetic experiment who has escaped from an alien planet and crash-landed on Earth. Through her love, faith and unwavering belief in 'ohana (the Hawaiian concept of family), Lilo helps unlock Stitch's heart and gives him the one thing he was never designed to have -- the ability to care for someone else. With its lush tropical setting, unique sense of humor, and classic songs by Elvis Presley, "Lilo & Stitch" promises to capture imaginations everywhere.
Walt Disney Television Animation is an industry leader in the creation of network, cable, and syndicated television series and specials, video premieres, and theatrical releases.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., a recognized industry leader, is the marketing, sales, and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, and Hollywood Pictures, Miramax, Dimension, and Buena Vista videocassettes and DVDs.
Disney Channel, combining original series and movies with timeless classics, is the first full-time general entertainment television network designed for kids and families. Available in over 80 million homes, Disney Channel is a division of ABC Cable Networks Group, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.
Source: Walt Disney Studios
RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator