Reel News

Tim Ryan

Isle still gets
'Stitch' benefit

It was about this time last year that Walt Disney Pictures' animated film "Lilo & Stitch" became both a box office hit and garnered loads of publicity for Hawaii in a partnership with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The film, which cost about $80 million, was nominated for an Academy Award and grossed more than $246 million worldwide, $145 million just in the United States.

The film was so successful that Disney put the film's cartoon characters into a home video sequel and a television series.

The Disney-Hawaii partnership was a two-year deal in which the state would continue to receive publicity on a variety of Disney products.

But the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which oversees HVCB, severed the partnership after one year, opting out of paying the second year's $1-million-plus fee to Disney, saying the state had gotten its money's worth already and future visitor promotions would be less focused on family travelers.

The deal may be dead, but the "Lilo & Stitch" Hawaii connection continues.

The Hawaii-based home video sequel, "Stitch!-The Movie," will be released Aug. 26, followed by the weekly, 39-episode series on the Disney Channel starting Sept. 23.

The home video is a bridge between the original film and TV series. The series will become a global television franchise, thanks to 15 international Disney Channels and nearly 100 Disney-branded blocks of programming in 51 countries that reach 600 million television viewers worldwide. Hawaii, as a location, will at least get that exposure.

"Stitch!-The Movie" follows the antics of Stitch, Experiment 626, all over Hawaii. Stitch, Pleakley, and Dr. Jumba are all part of the household now. But what Lilo and Stitch don't know is that Dr. Jumba brought his first 625 experiments to Hawaii. It's up to Lilo and Stitch to save his out-of-this-world ohana from the evil Captain Gantu and put each experiment's unique powers to good use.

The islands are overrun with 625 outrageous new "cousins," including Experiment 221, who causes island-wide power surges.

The original DVD version of the movie had several special chapters promoting Hawaii. The new one has just one, the "Aloha, E Komo Mai" music video performed by the young pop group Jump 5.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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