Happy Earth Day! And Disney’s got some news

I imagine a team of crack marketers at Disney who mostly sit around a large table and talk about what’s hot at any given time, and how Disney can capitalize upon each of those trends. “We need more mo-cap!” insists one, while another rolls his eyes and said “CGI, people. CEE GEE EYE.” Still a third is shaking his head in disdain: “Live action is where it’s at.”

And Disney—being Disney, the industry giant—keeps churning out hits in every genre.

So yesterday’s news was not entirely unexpected; it seems that Disney’s latest brainchild is a film label dedicated to environmental documentaries:

The entertainment giant on Monday announced the launch of a new film label, Disneynature, dedicated to producing wildlife and environmental documentaries for the big screen, starting with a 2009 U.S. release titled “Earth.”

The new venture marks one of the most conspicuous moves by a major Hollywood studio to capitalize on growing public fondness for all things green since the 2006 success of Al Gore’s global warming documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

My family loves animation as much as anyone else, but guess what we’re watching right now? (Well, not this very second, but what we’ve been viewing together as a family.) We’ve been putting aside some time every week to watch Planet Earth, and I think the kids are enjoying it just as much as the adults. Are we tree-hugging hippies who’ve “gone green?” Not really. We’re regular folks. And today’s “average people” are probably a little more aware of the earth’s fragility than the last few generations, I guess.

And lo and behold, it seems that Disney is set to leverage that awareness and Earth Day as much as possible:

The first U.S. release from the new venture, slated to debut on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, is titled “Earth,” adapted from popular BBC television series “Planet Earth.”

Narrated by actor James Earl Jones, it will explore animal migration patterns, focusing on the journeys of polar bears, elephants and humpback whales over the course of a single year.

We should be through our DVD set by then, so I sure hope their debut can stand up to the extremely high bar that the BBC series has set. Either way, it’s a fitting bit of news for Earth Day.

Now, go hug a tree. Go on, I won’t tell anyone.

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