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 Change.org 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 »
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 »
Wreck-It Ralph heads toward this year’s Academy Awards with 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.
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:
Animated 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.
General 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”.
I know that may sound strange to say about a company that has won the Animated Feature Academy 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 »
With $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 »
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 … Read More »
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 … Read More »
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 … Read More »
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 … Read More »
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 … Read More »
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.
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 »
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 … Read More »
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.