Disney Television Animation has launched production on a new series about a pair of unlikely buddies: an emotional pickle and a freewheeling peanut. Jon Heder and Johnny Pemberton provide the respective voices for Pickle & Peanut, which is slated for a fall 2015 premiere on Disney-branded channel and platforms around the world. Created by Noah Z. Jones (Fish Hooks), the series mixes 2D animation and live-action in telling the story of small-town underdogs trying to be anything but ordinary. Joel Trussell (Yo Gabba Gabba!) developed Pickle & Peanut and serves as executive producer with Jones. Mark Rivers is the story editor. “We see very few pitches that are as funny and original as Pickle & Peanut,” said Eric Coleman, SVP Original Series at Disney TV Animation. “We instantly fell in love with these characters, and Noah and Joel have built a world with a visual style and sensibility unlike anything on TV.” The toon unit also said today that it has ordered a third season of its Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts and Season 2 of Craig McCracken’s comedy Wander Over Yonder.
Just as my colleague Nancy Tartaglione reported it did in Venice, Warner Bros and director Alfonso Cuaron have triumphed again in Telluride with the dazzling North American premiere of Gravity this weekend in multiple screenings. So why is everyone talking about Mickey Mouse?
Preceding every showing of Gravity Disney is giving festgoers a real treat, debuting it’s own dazzling new film Get A Horse!, a 3D CGI hybrid of a 1928 black and white Mickey Mouse cartoon that simply has to be seen to be believed. Disney will be pairing it with their new animated feature Frozen in theaters November 27. If Gravity is a technical marvel sure to score big at the Oscars, so is this 7-minute short that precedes it here. I can’t imagine Get A Horse! not scaring away the competition for Best Animated Short this year. And the many Academy members here who have been seeing it with Gravity are already talking it up.
Conceived and directed by Lauren MacMullan, the first woman to direct a Disney animated film solo, the plot revolves around Mickey and Minnie Mouse and friends Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow on a musical wagon ride which is suddenly disrupted by Peg Leg Pete, who tries to run them off the road. It’s all done in the style of a very early B&W Mickey Mouse cartoon, …
Disney‘s Mickey Mouse started his screen journey in 1928 with a series of shorts, including Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie. Now the classic cartoon character is coming back with a new short-form series of 2D comedy cartoons, Mickey Mouse. After a preview today at noon PT on Disney.com, the series of 19 toon shorts will begin rolling out July 28 on Disney Channel, Disney.com and Watch Disney Channel, among other platforms. The announcement is among several being made today by Disney Channel, which is holding its upfront presentation in New York. While the direction and pacing of the new Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts are contemporary, they also are an homage to the art direction and storytelling of Walt Disney and his animators in the 1920s and ’30s. Each short finds Mickey in a different contemporary setting including Santa Monica, New York, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Venice and the Alps, facing a silly situation, a quick complication and an escalation of physical and visual gags.
The studio’s education arm, Disney English, plans to open in Brazil next. Disney English already runs 11 English-language schools in China, and plans to expand to 148 within five years. Several are based in Shanghai, where Disney is building its next theme park. It recently opened its first school in Beijing. Disney English plans to teach English to 150,000 children a year by 2105, according to the Financial Times.
English is taught using Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and The Little Mermaid. Oh, and those in charge are called “cast members” not teachers.
First, Disney worked to extend copyright law so that Mickey Mouse doesn’t fall into the public domain. Then it tried to trademark the Princess Aurora character from a common fairy-tale, Sleeping Beauty. Am I alone in finding the Mouse House inculcating its next generation of overseas consumers in this way vaguely disquieting? It means Disney is changing the way our children think even in school. It reminds me of that moment in Super Size Me when more kids recognise the flash card of Ronald McDonald than George Washington.
News reports say attendance at the Hong Kong Disneyland has dropped a whopping 23% percent during its 2nd year of operation. And one local lawmaker wants to cut public financing for “the big failure” even though Disney has also asked the Hong Kong government, the majority owner, to help finance an expansion of the theme park. Bloomberg reports that Disney is responding to these, uh, challenges, by trying to make the park more Chinese — “Miqi” instead of Mickey when his name is put into Chinese characters — and promoting the Chinese Year of the Rat as the “Year of the Mouse”. Also, during Lunar New Year celebrations in February, Mickey wore a Mao jacket. In addition, Chinese music and Chinese menus helped turnaround attendance which went up for the 3 months through December.