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Power Rangers Disney Era logo

The Disney Era Power Rangers

Disney is a media company first founded by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in Hollywood on October 13th, 1923.

In 2001, Disney acquired the rights to Power Rangers as part of a package deal with the rest of the Saban Entertainment library (which included Digimon) when Disney purchased Fox Family (renamed ABC Family). After finding out that they had the series, Disney had planned to cancel the show after its first season under their ownership, Power Rangers Wild Force, with plans to run the 10 seasons in syndication on ABC Kids and ABC Family. However, they were persuaded by Douglas Sloan and Ann Austen that the show could be produced with a fraction of the cost if filming moved to New Zealand. Disney agreed, and the entire voice-over cast and crew (some of whom had been with the show from the start) were fired, with only the stunt team relocating with the show.

There was a brief attempt to restart the franchise from scratch instead of tie in to the Saban shows, but this was later dropped.[1]

According to Greg Aronowitz, Disney attempted to legitimately cancel the series after Power Rangers Dino Thunder. However, the series was still an astounding success in Europe. So much so, that Jetix UK made Disney sign a contract to keep producing Power Rangers until 2008. [Citation needed]

Disney wanted to make the show on a low budget (Bruce Kalish and Jackie Marchand have said there wasn't even furniture in the writers room, though John Tellegen says this is a joke he started) and demanded stock footage heavy episodes to help with that. [2][3]

Despite an initial marketing push, Disney grew tired of the franchise - according to Power Rangers RPM producer Eddie Guzelian, Disney was embarrassed to even be airing the show, let alone producing it. At one point, one executive suggested that they shouldn't create new footage and just dub Super Sentai. They once again attempted to cancel it after Power Rangers Jungle Fury as their contract with Jetix UK was up, but were persuaded by them and Bandai, who were going to keep making toys whether the show was ongoing or not, to make another when they agreed to help fund it.

After Power Rangers RPM, Disney finally cancelled the TV series franchise in 2009 and then repeated edited versions of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Haim Saban later reacquired the rights to the franchise and revived it with Power Rangers Samurai.

On March 20, 2019, Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, which had previously produced Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. With the acquisition of the studio's library including both movies, Disney once again owns pieces of franchise history.

Disney Era Ranger Series

Animated series plans

Disney pitch

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Animated Rangers concept (designed by Brandon Ragnar Johnson)

Disney originally had plans to create an animated version of Power Rangers. A pilot script was written[4] and initial designs made. [5] These plans later fell through for unknown reasons.

Nerd Corps pitch

Animation studio Nerd Corps Entertainment (now known as DHX Studios Vancouver) pitched a Power Rangers animated series to Disney in the mid-late 2000s. To help sell the idea, a crew of three hastily produced a promotional short over the course of a weekend.[6] Disney ultimately turned down the offer.

Library

  • While Disney held the film elements of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie following Saban's sale of the franchise (as Saban held the copyright to that movie), all theatrical, television and home entertainment rights remained completely and exclusively controlled by 20th Century Fox, who wholly owned the copyright and elements to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. This remains the case even after Saban Brands (and later Hasbro) bought the franchise from Disney. With 20th Century Fox's acquisition by Disney, Disney now owns the rights to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie while retaining distribution rights to Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie on behalf of Hasbro, both still being branded through Fox. Shout! Factory has since released both titles on Blu-ray as part of its pre-existing deal with Fox, co-branding them with Saban due to Shout! also releasing the franchise on home video.

Sources

  1. Toku Rants interview with Jackie Marchand: 38:15 to 38:49
  2. Toku Rants interview with Jackie Marchand: 09:55 to 13:14
  3. Marchand, 24:15 to 25:00
  4. John Tellegen post on Rangercrew: "I was told very little (basically nothing) about the animated PR. but I did read the animated pilot. I didn't love it for PR. Rangers thrives in the live-action space. "
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20160413183225/http://brandonragnar.deviantart.com/art/Power-Rangers-368518079
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNN1RQ4MDk0
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