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Bob Iger Weighs A Broadway Show For ‘Frozen’: Fortune

Bob Iger spoke to the business magazine for a gushy feature posted today about how the animated musical film was, as he put it, “my proudest moment as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company.” frozenSenior Editor Jennifer Reingold says that Frozen — which could soon outgross The Lion King, not accounting for inflation — “appears to show that Disney Animation Studios is finally, finally back in the groove.” (The Wall Street Journal ran a similar piece yesterday saying that the film “caps a renaissance for Disney Animation Studios.”) Like our film editor Anita Busch posited last week, Iger tells Fortune that that Disney is talking about developing a show for Frozen although “We’re not demanding speed…We’re demanding excellence.” The company also is considering sequels. Sales of of licensed toys from the film were strong. Iger says the “exhilaration” from the studio’s success “was profound” following years of disappointments including 2009′s The Princess And The Frog. “It’s not about the bottom line. The bottom line is for the quarter. This is for something bigger and longer.” Disney Animation’s revival largely comes from a decision to sideline the number crunchers. “It was an executive-driven studio,” chief creative officer John Lasseter tells the magazine. “Now it’s a filmmaker-driven studio.” Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph beat expectations. But Frozen‘s success stands out, Iger says: “If you think long term about what Disney is and the success and the … Read More »

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Exclusive Book Excerpt: ‘The CG Story’: How Pixar Saved ‘Toy Story’ From Becoming A Disney Disaster

By | Sunday December 8, 2013 @ 7:00pm PST

The history of special effects and CG in film and their close relationship with today’s top-notch digital animation is the focus of author Christopher Finch’s new lavish 368-page book The CG Story: Computer Generated Animation and Special Effects, which peels the curtain back on CG pioneers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Pixar founders John Lasseter and Ed Catmull and their respective contributions to film. As part of Deadline’s weekend programming, read an exclusive excerpt from The CG Story, available now via The Monacelli Press (large format hardcover, $75), detailing the near-disaster that almost was when the upstarts at Pixar pacted with Disney to make their first feature: Toy Story.

The CG Story Book PixarGo motion may have been extinct overnight, as if by a meteor bombardment, but Phil Tippet reinvented himself as the head of a CG studio, and many of his go-motion animators were quick to retrain as CG animators, adapting their old skills with relative ease to the new way of working. During the early 1990s the shift to computer-generated animation was seen as a matter of urgency in many sections of the industry. Technologies such as motion control remained in use where they were cost effective, but this was the period when CGI began to take on the dominant role in visual effects. In the world of pure animation, it was about to make its mark with even greater decisiveness.

Ed Catmull explains that at Pixar there was a plan to progress from making commercials to producing a television special and then eventually a feature film. Having developed the CAPS system for Disney, Pixar had extensive contact with the feature-animation department there, but in fact they shopped their ideas around to everyone but Disney. One bone of contention was the fact that Disney had made efforts to hire John Lasseter away from the company. Jeffrey Katzenberg, then Disney studio head, had been impressed by the shorts he had seen and was convinced that Lasseter, by then Pixar’s creative director, was the secret to the company’s success. Lasseter, however, turned down the offers because of his belief in Pixar’s future, and because of his bitter memories of his previous tenure at Disney. Those memories were also why he had been adamant about not wanting to take ideas to Disney. “It wasn’t until [then],” Catmull remembers, “that I found out the real problem. For years he wouldn’t let anybody know he’d been fired… On the Queen Mary he had acknowledged that his project had been turned down, but not that he had been fired.”

The fact that Disney now saw Lasseter as a golden boy did nothing to alter his point of view, but finally, after no other studio had taken the bait, Pixar had no alternative but to consider working with Disney. Pixar execsThe initial approach, in fact, came from Disney. In 1991 Catmull received a call from Peter Schneider, president of Feature Animation, suggesting that Pixar make a CG feature that Disney would finance and distribute. It should be remembered that Disney’s animation renaissance was in full bloom at the time — Aladdin would shortly be released and The Lion King was in preproduction. Disney Feature Animation had always been a strictly in-house operation, and the idea of turning to an outside production studio, especially in those glory days, was shocking.

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Cars Land Revs Up For Friday Unveiling At New Disney California Adventure: Video

By | Thursday June 14, 2012 @ 12:53pm PDT

The public is about to get a first look at the revamp of Disney’s 11-year-old California Adventure — including the Pixar-engineered Cars Land and other upgrades. The face-lift, which took five years, aims to fix what Disney CEO Bob Iger once called a “brand eyesore.” The company also hopes to boost attendance at the underperforming venue, which is situated across from Disneyland in Anaheim. Disney reportedly spent $1 billion on renovations. Goofy’s Sky School replaced the Mulholland Madness roller coaster. An animatronic attraction, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure ride, replaced the Golden Dreams audio tour of California. And the Golden Gate Bridge was replaced by Buena Vista Street, which attempts to re-create the Los Angeles of the 1920s when Walt Disney first came to town and lived and worked in Los Feliz. 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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BAFTA Renames Award For Cubby Broccoli

By | Tuesday October 11, 2011 @ 10:57am PDT

Los Angeles, October 11, 2011 — The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles® (BAFTA Los Angeles) announced today that it will rename its Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment in honor of Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, pioneering producer of the James Bond franchise. The first Cubby Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment will be presented to Academy Award winner John Lasseter at the 2011 BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards on Wednesday, November 30 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. “Cubby Broccoli was the Britannia’s very first honoree when the awards were originated over 20 years ago,” says Nigel Lythgoe, Chairman of BAFTA Los Angeles. “By creating a global phenomenon with the longest-running film series in cinema history, Cubby’s legacy exemplifies what the Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution stands for. We are grateful to Michael G Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and the Broccoli Foundation for their generous support, and are delighted to present this award in Cubby’s honor.”

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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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OSCARS: Tom Sherak Wins Third Term As Academy President

Mike Fleming

Beverly Hills, CA – Tom Sherak was re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tonight (August 2) by the organization’s Board of Governors. This will be his third consecutive one-year term in the office. Sherak is beginning his ninth year as a governor representing the Executives Branch. He had previously also served as treasurer for the Academy. In addition, Producers Branch governor Hawk Koch was elected first vice president; Executives Branch governor Robert Rehme was elected to one vice president post and Writers Branch governor Phil Robinson was re-elected to the other vice president post; Short Films and Feature Animation Branch governor John Lasseter was elected treasurer; and Actors Branch governor Annette Bening was re-elected secretary.

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‘Toy Story 3′ Now Biggest Toon Of All Time

BURBANK, Calif. – August 13, 2010 – With record-breaking box office tallies around the world, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 has become the highest-grossing animated film of all time taking in more than $920 million at the global box office to date. This weekend, the critically acclaimed Toy Story 3 is expected to become Disney’s second film to cross the $400 million domestic threshold and currently ranks as the 4th highest grossing film in company history globally. “In 1995, the talented team at Pixar introduced a cowboy, a space ranger and their friends who have gone on to become some of the most beloved characters in the world. The success of Toy Story is due to the tremendously creative and innovative team at Pixar, led by John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, and our incredible marketing and distribution teams around the world,” said Rich Ross

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