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Get Ready for an Extreme Makeover: Mickey Mouse style

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Get Ready for an Extreme Makeover: Mickey Mouse style
« on: November 19, 2009, 04:06:52 AM »
From comcast.net:

It has been 81 years since Mickey Mouse was first unveiled to the public in "Steamboat Willie" at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has undergone only slight cosmetic changes -- a more pear-shaped body and added pupils in the 1930's, three-dimensional ears in the 1940's, to name a few. But most of these changes were short-lived, as the Mickey Mouse of today appears very much as he did on his first hello.

But now, in late 2009, the idea of a Mickey makeover is actually being entertained. The Walt Disney Co., after years of keeping Mickey in a timeless, changeless capsule, is re-imagining him for the future, according to Brooks Barnes' New York Times article.

What this means? A cartoon that's more appealing to future generations, has more of an edge, perhaps even more temperamental, a bit less predictable… in short, less Mr. Nice Guy.

Naturally, the edgier Mickey Mouse of the 21st century will debut not behind velvet ropes or Broadway curtains but in a video game on the television screen. In fact, his first introduction will be next year in a Nintendo Wii game called Epic Mickey, in which he will act cantankerous, cunning and heroic, according to Barnes.

On a larger scale, Disney will also embark on a journey to tweak and fine-tune Mickey's personality and image across the board, from the way he appears in Disney theme parks and on the Disney Channel to how he interacts with kids on the Web. News of his development was made public shortly after Disney won approval from the Chinese government of its bid to open a new park in Shanghai. However, there has been no confirmed correlation between the two announcements.

In other news, Disney's more forward-looking approach also involves the Apple-ifying of its retail stores. It has been rumored that the company tapped none other than Steve Jobs himself for consulting advice on how to improve the shopping experience of Disney stores.

What to expect in the near future: A magical, theme park-like transformation. Think employees carrying kiosks for mobile checkout, karaoke and touchscreen stations featuring recent films and "live chats" with Disney stars.

Over the next five years, analysts estimate that Disney will spend about US $1 million per store to redecorate, reorganize and install interactive technology, according to another New York Times article by Brooks Barnes. These changes are expected to play a role in many of the company's 340 stores in the U.S. and Europe, as well as 125 new U.S. locations slated to open at midnight on Black Friday.
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