‘African Cats’ in Theaters Earth Day
Friday, April 22nd marks the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, a yearly tribute to the preservation of Earth’s natural environment and celebrated by more than 500 million people in 175 countries worldwide.
Since 2009, Disneynature, an independent division of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, has released a nature documentary on Earth Day in U.S. theaters, beginning with Earth in 2009, a film which chronicles the migrational journeys of polar bears, African bush elephants and humpback whales, and followed by 2010’s Oceans, an exploration of the mysteries and dangers of the deep.
Every year, Disney pledges environmental contributions that are contingent on the success of the films. Past pledges were to protect 35,000 acres of coral reef in the Bahamas based on Ocean‘s opening week ticket sales and to plant 2.7 million trees after 2.7 million people saw Earth in its opening week.
This year’s film, African Cats, which opens today, tells the true story of a family of cheetahs and a family of lions as they struggle to survive in the wild African savanna, with narration by Samuel L. Jackson.
A portion of the tickets sales ($0.20 per ticket, for a minimum donation of $100,000) from the film’s opening week (April 22nd – 28th) will be donated through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to protect the Amboseli Wildlife Corridor, a passage between the Amboseli, Tsavo West, and Chyulu Hills National Parks that is frequented by animals in the African savanna. Disneynature has been promoting the initiative through their social media campaign, “See African Cats, Save the Savanna”, which helped advanced ticket sales skyrocket to $1.7 million on April 11th, which translates to more than 9,500 acres of land in the Amboseli Wildlife Corridor.
In addition, Walt Disney Records has pledged 20% of net proceeds received from the sale of the film’s theme song, “The World I Knew” performed by Jordin Sparks, to the African Wildlife Foundation (with a maximum contribution of $50,000) for each single sold between April 12, 2011 and April 12, 2012.
At the Parks
If you can’t catch the African Cats premiere but you happen to be at the Disney World Resort on Earth Day, be sure to visit the Animal Kingdom’s Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch for the “Be a Big Cat Researcher” activities. Park guests will learn how scientists study big cats in the wild and will have the opportunity to:
- Record lion and cheetah behaviors on an ethogram
- Help find solutions to conservation issues that affect lions and cheetahs
- Learn about GPS collars, camera traps and the other animals of the savanna
- Hear cheetah and lion vocalizations as they communicate to other cats across the savanna
- Discover where the few remaining lions and cheetahs are found on the continent of Africa
Meanwhile, Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort in California is also celebrating. In addition to premiering African Cats at the AMC 12 Theaters, there will be numerous other family-friendly activities, including face painting, building Soy Bears at the Build-a-Bear Workshop, and watching the artists of Splash! Animals paint endangered wildlife using only their hands and eco-friendly paints.
Visit the official African Cats website to buy tickets, watch the Jordin Sparks music video, and for more information about the film including behind-the-scenes videos, educational activity guides, and a lesson plan for teachers. Disneynature’s next film, Penguins, is set to debut on April 22, 2012.
For more on the Walt Disney Company’s commitment to the environment and conservation, visit the Corporate Citizenship website.