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UPDATE: Disney Denies ‘Brave’ Princess Makeover Pulled In Wake Of Protests

By | Wednesday May 15, 2013 @ 2:30pm PDT

UPDATE, 2:30 PM: Disney is officially staying mum on the controversy that erupted this week over the makeover it gave Pixar‘s Brave heroine Merida to induct her into the Disney Princess fold. But contrary to media reports, a studio source says Disney never placed the slimmed down, more mature 2D Princess Merida design on its websites in the first place. Their actual Merida redesign is also tamer than one making the rounds on blogs (see left), they say, and was created as stylized artwork promoting the character’s Disney “coronation” in an event invite and a Target promotion. They’ll stick to their guns on their new Disneyfied Merida design, which will appear on a limited run of products such as backpacks and sleepwear this summer and fall as planned.

PREVIOUS: Shortly after Disney introduced Brave heroine Merida as a Disney Princess, fans and critics decried a controversial new look for the character that circulated online. A petition addressed to Disney CEO Bob Iger garnered over 200K signatures. Even director Brenda Chapman, who was replaced by Disney on Brave but won an Academy Award for her contributions to the girl empowerment pic, piled on with her own public denouncement calling the redesign as “a blatantly sexist marketing move based on money.” Read More »

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WME Has Kilt It: Signs Oscar-Winning ‘Brave’ Helmer Mark Andrews

By | Wednesday February 27, 2013 @ 5:05pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Mark Andrews. Sure you know him; he was the only Academy Award winner on Sunday who took the stage in a kilt, when he accepted the Best Animated Film prize for Brave with Brenda Chapman. He wrote and replaced Chapman as director on the Disney film.

Before that, Andrews co-wrote the script for John Carter. His first Oscar nomination came in 2006 for his work on the short film One Man Band. WME will help Andrews work on both live-action and animation projects in the future and explore opportunities in television as well. Read More »

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OSCARS: Hot ‘Brave’ Featurette Shows Behind-The Scenes Magic Of Pixar Nominee

By | Wednesday February 13, 2013 @ 8:29am PST
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: Disney/Pixar’s Oscar-nominated Animated Feature Brave has been on an awards roll. It picked up the top Animated Feature prize at the Golden Globes in January and last weekend at the BAFTAs in London. It also won two Annie Awards (but not the big prize, which went to Wreck-It Ralph) and nailed 4 for 4 at the Visual Effects Society’s VES Awards last week. In this exclusive featurette created for the non-televised VES Awards show at the Beverly Hilton, director Mark Andrews describes how it was all done:

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Annie Awards: ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ Wins 5 Including Feature, Robot Chicken ‘DC Comics Special’ TV, ‘Paperman’ Best Short

By | Saturday February 2, 2013 @ 9:58pm PST

Wreck-It Ralph heads toward this year’s Academy Awards withRich Moore and Clark Spencer newly added momentum. The videogame-themed Walt Disney Animation Studios pic was the bigger winner tonight at the 40th Annual Annie Awards. Ralph took Best Animated Feature plus Best Directing, Music, Voice Acting and Best Writing in an Animated Feature. Last year’s Annies Animated Feature winner Rango went on to win the Oscar for the same category in 2012.

Related: Annie Award Nominations Unveiled

Hosted by film critic Leonard Maltin and voice actors Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulsen, the ceremony from UCLA’s Royce Hall saw DreamWorks’ Rise Of The Guardians, LAIKA/Focus Features’ ParaNorman, and Pixar’s Brave pick up several awards as well. Robot Chicken’s DC Comic Special won the Best General Audience Animated Television Production award. Marvel’s blockbuster The Avengers took the nod for Best Animated Effects in a Live Action Production and Rhythm & Hues Studio won best Character Animation in a Live Action Production for their work on Life Of Pi. Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Paperman won the Best Animated Short Subject award. South Park’s Trey Parker scooped a best Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production for the long running satire’s South Park: Jewpacabra. Check out the full list below:

Wreck-It RalphAnimated Feature
Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Director Rich Moore only thanked Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios CCO John Lasseter, as many people did tonight, but said he was so honored and thankful to be part of the Disney Legacy.

Annie AwardsGeneral Audience Television Production
Robot Chicken DC Comics Special – Stoopid Buddy Studios

“Let’s just keep making awesome stuff”, says Seth Green to the crowd on Robot Chicken’s win and the animation industry in general.

Directing in a Feature Production
Rich Moore, Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

The Annies exploded with a roar when Ralph’s Moore name was read aloud for best Feature Directing. The director joked that he’s in trouble because he gave his speech to “the teleprompter guy” (they’ve had issues tonight). Moore then gave a seamless speech thanking a wide variety of people involved “in this fantastic film”.

Read More »

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‘Brave’ Or ‘Braver’? Disney Warns UK Production Company Over Copycat DVDs

By | Tuesday September 11, 2012 @ 10:07pm PDT

Everybody knows that Disney goes to great lengths to protect its brands. Now it’s moving into the United Kingdom, threatening a British indie production company with legal action over the packaging of its budget family DVDs – one of which is titled Braver. Look how similar the packaging looks to Disney/Pixar’s Brave set for release on Blu-ray and DVD on November 13th. Disney says they appear to be copycat versions of its own animated films. So Disney has sent a cease and desist letter to Brightspark Production Ltd, asking it to immediately withdraw the DVDs or face litigation, The Guardian reports.

“People place great trust in the quality and creativity of Disney, and when it appears that another company is causing confusion among Disney consumers we will act to protect ourselves and the consumer”, Disney said in a statement. Disney also says other Brightspark DVDs infringe its copyright, including Tangled Up, (Disney’s film is titled Tangled);  The Frog Princess, (Disney’s The Princess And The Frog), and Little Cars, (Disney’s Cars). Brightspark says it is in discussions with Disney to find a “mutually acceptable” resolution.

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‘Brave’ And ‘ParaNorman’ Make Big Animated Splash With Weekend Concerts and Premieres From Pixar And Focus

By | Monday August 6, 2012 @ 12:38am PDT
Pete Hammond

It may only be August but already there is some subtle jockeying going on around the Oscar race for Best Animated Feature.

Not taking anything for granted after their Cars 2 failed to make the final cut of five nominees last year, Pixar pulled out all the stops this weekend with a sensational concert event at the Hollywood Bowl, a three-night engagement that may also inadvertently help Disney/Pixar’s orchestrated (in this case, literally) attempt to keep their big 2012 toon entry Brave front-of-mind  in the awards hunt. With the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra led by conductor Thomas Wilkins, Pixar In Concert (which will also be playing in other venues around the country)  featured several parts of scores from past Pixar Oscar winners and nominees like the  Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, A Bug’s Life, WALL-E, Up, The Incredibles, Cars 1 & 2, Monsters Inc and in the prized penultimate spot in the program, a beautiful suite from Patrick Doyle’s score of Brave. Extremely well-edited segments from each of the films accompanied the musical performances and seemed to dazzle the packed Bowl crowd on Saturday, the night I caught the action. Pixar’s Oscar winning composers Randy Newman (Toy Story) and Michael Giacchino (Up) were in the audience and also at a pre-concert reception and dinner Disney/Pixar threw for a large press crowd that included several awards-watchers and bloggers, plus a big chunk of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association among others. If anything, the smartly produced concert reminded people of the remarkable legacy … Read More »

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Will The Success Of ‘Brave’ Put Pixar Back In The Oscar Game?

By | Monday June 25, 2012 @ 1:55pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Can Brave help Pixar make a comeback at the Oscars this year?

I know that may sound strange to say about a company that has won the Animated Feature AcademyPixar Brave Oscars Award an unprecedented six times — including four times in a row between 2007-2010 — and been nominated eight of the nine times it has been eligible since the category was established in 2001. (Of Pixar’s previous 12 films, Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and A Bug’s Life came before.) It even managed two Best Picture noms along the way. Who else can boast of that kind of track record? But last year, the Oscar nomination streak in the Ani category came to screeching halt with Cars 2, a movie that also bottomed out with the critics, managing only a 38% fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes, where the company had been accustomed to rating in the high 90s — at or near the top of the pack of all the year’s releases. In fact, out of all Pixar films released before Brave, the only movie to score below a 92 on RT was the original Cars, which garnered a still-respectable 74% fresh score. Brave stands right now at 75% fresh, good by most standards but still the smallest number for a Pixar movie outside the two Cars movies.

Will it matter? Its smash $66 million haul in opening-weekend boxoffice certainly was heartening, if underwhelming, to some analysts, as Deadline reported today. They seem to unrealistically expect the moon where Pixar is involved, even though Brave marked the studio’s remarkable 13th No. 1 opening out of 13. Its ‘A’ Cinemascore audience-satisfaction rating is also a big plus in carrying momentum forward. But is the bloom off the Oscar rose as far as the animation committee that chooses nominees? Read More »

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Analysts Say ‘Brave’s’ Big Open Still Missed The Bull’s Eye

By | Monday June 25, 2012 @ 7:38am PDT

Brave Box OfficeWith $66.7M in domestic ticket sales, the weekend was “good, but not Pixar great,” Cowen and Co analyst Doug Creutz says this morning. Even though the film will be profitable, “we remain concerned that the creative direction of Pixar may be wobbling as Brave is now the second consecutive film to receive less-than-rave reviews,” he adds. Brave‘s 74% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes makes it one of just three Pixar releases to fall below 90%. “While it may have been easy to write-off Cars 2 as a toy marketing campaign gone wrong, the fact that Pixar has released a creatively ‘average’ original film is of incrementally more concern,” Creutz says. He estimates that theaters here sold about 8M tickets for Brave, which is comparable to other recent Pixar films but is “well below” the levels for films released between 1999-2006. “Given the price Disney paid for Pixar, and the importance of Pixar as an engine of creative content for the company, we take the risk of erosion of Pixar’s creative greatness very seriously.” Read More »

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Pixar Does It Again! ‘Brave’ Opens Big #1 With $66.7M Domestic and $80.2M Global; ‘Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ Gets Lost

June 22-24 Weekend Actuals

1. Brave (Pixar/Disney) 3D NEW [4,164 Theaters] PG
Friday $24.6M, Saturday $23.7M, Sunday $18.0 Weekend $66.3M

2. Madagascar 3 3D (DreamWorks Anim/Paramount) Week 3 [3,920 Theaters] PG
Friday $6.2M, Saturday $7.8M, Sunday $5.8M, Weekend $19.7M (-42%), Cume $157.1M

3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 3D (Fox) NEW [3,108 Theater] R
Friday $6.3M, Saturday $5.7M, Sunday $4.4M Weekend $16.3M

4. Prometheus 3D (Fox) Week 3 [2,862 Theaters] R
Friday $2.9M, Saturday $3.9M, Sunday $3M, Weekend $9.9M (-52%), Cume $108.5M

5. Snow White & The Huntsman (Universal) Week 4 [2,919 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $3.3M, Sunday $2.3M, Weekend $8.1M (-39%), Cume $137.1M

6. Rock of Ages (New Line/Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,470 Theaters] PG13
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $3.1M, Sunday $2M, Weekend $7.7 (-47%), Cume $28.4M

7. That’s My Boy (Columbia/Sony) Week 2 [3,030 Theaters] R
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $2.9M, Sunday $2.3M, Weekend $7.6M (-43%), Cume $27.9M

8. Marvel’s The Avengers 3D (Disney) Week 8 [2,230 Theaters] PG13
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $3.0M, Sunday $1.9M, Weekend $7.1M (-19%), Cume $598.4M

9. Men In Black 3 3D (Columbia/Sony) Week 5 [2,462 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.3M, Sunday #1.6M, Weekend $5.7M (-43%), Cume $163.5M

10. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (Focus) NEW [1,625 Theaters] R
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1,5M, Sunday $1M, Weekend $3.8M

SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: My sources tell me that Pixar’s heroine-in-the-highlands Brave will open to around $66.7M this weekend with $24.5M for Friday and $23.5M for Saturday. So it’ll be an easy #1 this weekend – incredibly, Pixar’s 13th straight first place … Read More »

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‘Brave’ Premiere At Dolby Theatre Gets Sound OK

By | Thursday June 14, 2012 @ 5:03pm PDT

Disney/Pixar’s Brave will bow at the newly named Dolby Theater in Dolby’s new Atmos sound system after all. The company announced today that the 3D animated film will have its June 18 world premiere screening at the Hollywood & Highland venue formerly known as the Kodak Theatre in the new immersive sound system as well as at 14 other select locations nationwide when the film opens in the U.S. on June 22. There had been questions about whether it all would come together: first that Dolby could have its revamp of the theater done in time for the premiere and then whether the new sound mix could be completed and signed off on by the deadline. Brave is the first feature to utilize the Atmos technology; during a walkthrough of the Dolby Theatre on Monday, execs played an impressive demo of the system using clips from Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles and Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.

‘Brave’ Premiere Continues To Face Sound Issues At New Dolby Theatre
Dolby Says New Technology Will Make Movies Sound More Realistic: CinemaCon

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New Marquee Unveiled At Oscar Home Dolby Theatre

By | Monday June 11, 2012 @ 6:21pm PDT

The audio company unveiled the marquee at a ceremony at Hollywood & Highland this evening. Dolby took over sponsorship of the former Kodak Theatre on May 1. At that time, a 20-year deal was announced between the company and property owners CIM. The deal is contingent on the Academy Awards remaining at the venue; the Academy signed a 20-year deal with CIM the same day. Dolby announced soon after that it will give the theater a full tech upgrade. Earlier today, Dolby execs, including CEO Kevin Yeaman, showed off the new 180,000-square-foot space and the technology they’ve been installing for the past month. Disney/Pixar’s Brave is scheduled to be the first premiere at the Dolby Theatre on June 18. The Dolby Theatre’s debut as the official Oscars venue comes at the 85th Academy Awards on February 24, 2013.

First Photos: The New Dolby Theatre
Oscar Right Where It Belongs: Hammond

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‘Brave’ Premiere Continues To Face Sound Issues At New Dolby Theatre

By | Monday June 11, 2012 @ 12:33pm PDT

There is still no guarantee that the June 18 world premiere of Disney/Pixar’s Brave at the newly named Dolby Theatre will feature Dolby’s new Atmos sound. The “life-like sensory experience” is among the tech upgrades the company is undertaking at the venue since taking over sponsorship of the Oscars’ home on May 1, but questions arose last month about whether the sound system would be ready in time. The Brave screening will be the first under the theater’s new moniker and was to be the first test-mixed in Atmos, a plan announced at CinemaCon. Deadline has learned that the mix of the animated feature is complete, but necessary approvals to go ahead with the premiere are still not sealed. It is not clear whether it is Disney or another interested party that has not signed off.  If approvals are not given, the movie will screen in Dolby 3D and Dolby Surround 7.1. Brave, featuring the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson and Craig Ferguson, opens domestically June 22. (UPDATE: The newly installed Dolby Atmos, with its pan-through array speaker system, revealed a whole new level of the movie experience today during a walk-through of the venue — it’s like 3D for the ears. Dolby played Atmos remixes of Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles and Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. It’s no exaggeration to say it truly felt like the blades of the flying machines and sandstorms on screen were hovering overhead.)

First Photos: Read More »

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Pixar’s John Lasseter Touts Traditional Animation at AMPAS Event

By | Monday May 21, 2012 @ 10:21pm PDT

Pixar is “not really interested in motion capture,” Pixar boss and Walt Disney Feature Animation CCO John Lasseter said tonight at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Development Of The Digital Animator” panel in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. “We still use keyframe animation.” What Lasseter says Pixar is interested in is bringing in new blood so “this Golden Age of animation can live beyond the founders of the company.”

The event was put on by the Academy to examine and celebrate the development of computer-generated animation from its humble and simple stick-figure beginnings to Vertigo to today’s Toy Story and Brave. Taking center stage with Pixar’s boss were filmmakers and animators Rebecca Allen, Philippe Bergeron, Digital Effects NY co-founder Jeff Kleiser, animation director Bill Kroyer, David Em, Diana Walczak, How To Train Your Dragon executive producer Tim Johnson, and Star Wars and Twilight Saga visual animation director Phil Tippett,

At CinemaCon in late April, the Pixar boss had introduced several upcoming films from the studio and Disney. There’s the fantasy adventure of Brave, with Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly Macdonald voicing the lead, which is out June 22. The classic video game-based Wreck It Ralph is set to be released November 2. Monster’s University, the prequel to 2001’s Monsters Inc. with the voices of Steve Buscemi and John Goodman and more, is scheduled to come out June 21, 2013. A 3D rerelease of … Read More »

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‘Brave’ Premiere To Open Dolby Theatre But Will Dolby Mix Be Ready?

By | Friday May 18, 2012 @ 11:27am PDT

Brave Premiere Dolby TheaterDisney/Pixar’s Brave is set to mark the grand opening of the newly named Dolby Theatre on June 18 when it has its world premiere at the Oscars‘ Hollywood & Highland home. But Dolby’s new sound technology to enhance the 3D animated film might not make it in time. The company said at CinemaCon this year that Brave would be the first feature film test-mixed in its newly announced “life-like sensory experience” Dolby Atmos technology. Now it is racing to make sure they can make the premiere deadline. “The team is in the studio working hard to get this done now. We have every intent to have the mix complete in Dolby Atmos and Dolby 3D for the Brave premiere on the 18th of June. If it isn’t, the world premiere will be in Dolby 3D and Dolby® Surround 7.1,” a Dolby spokesperson told Deadline. (Update: An insider tells Deadline that Disney/Pixar has to sign off on the Brave Dolby Atmos mix once it’s done) Brave would be the first feature film to utilize Dolby Atmos technology.

Related: Oscar Right Where It Belongs: Hammond

The announcement that Brave would open the Dolby comes less than three weeks after, as Deadline told you first, Dolby took over the former Kodak Theatre. Kodak relinquished its sponsorship lease after filing for bankruptcy in January. Dolby said on May 1 that it would begin upgrading the 180,000-square-foot theatre with their … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Disney/Pixar’s ‘Brave’

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 1:25pm PDT

Disney/Pixar’s 3D Brave is starting to ramp up awareness for its June 22 bow, as evidenced by this new trailer released today. It’s also getting play via extended clips being shown inside Disney’s mall-based stores (this parent knows this fact firsthand). Kelly Macdonald voices the rebellious Scottish princess and Emma Thompson and Billy Connolly are her royal parents.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Brave’ From Pixar

By | Wednesday November 16, 2011 @ 10:36am PST
Mike Fleming

Disney has issued a trailer for Brave, the Pixar film that opens June 22, 2012 with voice talent that includes Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane.

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Who Needs Comic-Con? Disney Reveals All At D23 Expo

Pete Hammond

Disney Announces Two New Pixar Films
Who needs Comic-Con when you can do it yourself?

That must be exactly what Disney is thinking as it continues its massive second annual Disney D23/ Expo, the “ultimate fan event” taking place all weekend long at the Anaheim Convention Center right next to Disneyland (the name refers to 1923, the year Walt Disney started his studio).  It’s an offshoot of the official Disney Fan Club and includes a ginormous exhibition center with every imaginable opportunity to buy Disneyana, numerous fan events and celebrity-sighting opps, and then there was today’s centerpiece: a near-three-hour preview of movies in the pipeline from Disney, Pixar and Marvel (which announced a partnership with the company in 2009 that is just now gearing up).

Call it “Mickey Con”. It’s all a bit overwhelming, so no wonder it takes three days just to get through it all. The event continues through the end of Sunday.

After his major presentation of the new Disney slate in the gargantuan arena in front of 4200 seemingly rabid fans (and a few more restrained press members), I caught up with Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross in the Green Room for an exclusive interview in which he talked about the possibilities of a fifth Pirate.s of the Caribbean film as well as his first comments on the demise of  Pirates team Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer’s about-to-shoot Western The Lone Ranger, which Deadline’s Mike Fleming first reported had been dropped by Disney due to budgetary concerns on the pricey pic. When I asked Ross if there was anything new to report  he said, ”Nothing definitive. There is nothing new. I’m hoping to do it, I’m certainly hoping. I think it’s a compelling story and no one wants to work with Jerry and Johnny more than me, so we’ll see how it works.” And about the possibility of a fifth Pirates? The situation is obviously clouded with the Lone Ranger situation, but again he used the word “hopeful.” Read More »

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Hot Teaser Trailer: Disney-Pixar’s ‘Brave’

By | Monday June 27, 2011 @ 9:10pm PDT

The toon is set for release on June 22, 2012. Unlike Disney animation, Pixar in its first 12 films has never had a strong female heroine on her own. This latest is the tale of a warrior princess from Scotland who eschews royalty to become an archer. Her choice puts her family and kingdom in peril:

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Disney Shifts Release Date For Pixar’s ‘Brave’

By | Wednesday March 16, 2011 @ 6:14pm PDT

Pixar’s 3D animated film — featuring the voices of Reese Witherspoon and Kevin McKidd – was scheduled for wide release June 15, 2012, but the studio said today that date has been pushed a week to June 22, 2012.

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