Now that Disney is no longer the best name in animation, it seems to at least be interested in controlling those studios that are the best. It already has Pixar; now it wants Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture, 3D films, which are the next big cutting edge thing in animation -- and very popular, too. Zemeckis already moved his production company, ImageMovers, to the Disney lot last year, but that didn't necessarily mean the director's animated films would have to be distributed by the Mouse House (so far, though, there's this one). His last home was at Dreamworks, but The Polar Express was released by Warner Bros. and his upcoming Beowulf will be brought out in the States by Paramount (foreign distro carried by Warner Bros.). He also produced the Sony-released Monster House.

It was announced yesterday that Zemeckis, with partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey, will start a new production company at Disney, which will envelope ImageMovers. It isn't clear, though, whether or not this partnership means Disney will be distributing all of the trio's animated films similar to its former deal (turned acquisition) with Pixar. If so, then only Dreamworks, with its potentially never-ending Shrek franchise, will be significant competition. However, it will be a long time before Zemeckis will be able to finish a film at Disney, and there's a chance that the Mouse House could ruin its reputation as a brand for 3D toons before it has the chance to show off the goods. Disney already left a bad taste with Chicken Little, and its upcoming Meet the Robinsons could very well be just as rotten.