Mike and Sully will take their college shenanigans to the Far East this month. The Shanghai International Film Festival has picked Pixar’s sequel to open its 16th edition on June 15. Monsters University will be the first 3D or animated pic to christen the fest. Disney opens the film, which reunites lead voices Billy Crystal and John Goodman from the 2001 original, on June 21 stateside. Walt Disney Studios also will screen 16 Pixar shorts during the Shanghai fest, including Partly Cloudy, La Luna, Luxo Jr. and The Blue Umbrella, along with Frankenweenie and the 3D version of Pixar’s Finding Nemo.
Here’s a new UK trailer for Disney/Pixar‘s Monsters University. This one focuses on Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) as they study to become “scarers.” It also introduces Helen Mirren’s Dean Hardscrabble. Steve Buscemi, John Krasinski, Nathan Fillion and Alfred Molina also star. The film …
EXCLUSIVE: While Andrew Stanton‘s live-action feature directing debut John Carter led to a precedent-setting $200 million write-down for Disney earlier this summer, the filmmaker is officially out of director jail. I’ve been hearing for months that he would come aboard to direct the sequel to Disney-based Pixar‘s Finding Nemo, with the idea that Disney would give him another shot behind the camera on a live-action film.
I’m told he’s now officially come aboard the Finding Nemo sequel and has a concept the studio loves. Pixar continues to not be helpful on this, as they don’t comment on development. It’s understandable why Disney and Pixar would be excited by this. Stanton won two Oscars for his animation work on Wall-E and Finding Nemo. That original 2003′s fish tale’s $867.9 million worldwide gross makes it still Pixar’s second-highest-grossing film and the third-biggest Disney animated film release ever. And that comes before Finding Nemo is re-released in 3D in September.
Vue Eyes Germany, Denmark
UK exhibitor Vue Entertainment is moving deeper into Europe with the acquisition of Germany’s CinemaxX. The $172M takeover will push Vue into Germany and Denmark where CinemaxX – whose Potsdamer Platz outpost is a familiar spot for Berlin Film Fest attendees – has a combined 34 moviehouses and over 290 screens. Including its recent acquisition of the Apollo UK circuit, Vue now has 85 cinemas across the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Taiwan for nearly 800 screens. Vue is looking to close the transaction later this year pending clearance by the pertinent authorities.
Dubai Lines Up Speakers For Innovation Summit
The Dubai International Film Festival, the Center for New Cinema and event organizer Naseba will stage the first Cinematic Innovation Summit in Dubai on Dec 8 & 9. The confab will focus on the economic value of cinematic technology for various sectors including telecoms, video games and advertising and showcase innovations driven by artificial intelligence and cognitive science. Execs from the film, gaming, tech and finance worlds will convene to hear speeches given by producer Lauren Shuler Donner, Pixar
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?
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.”
A tipster pointed us to this entertaining video posted on wimp.com about a crisis at Pixar quite awhile back. It’s a simply drawn but eloquent (it is Pixar, after all) cautionary tale about the perils of digital movie-making and the importance of backups. No, it’s not new but we still …
Despite being forced to face theater owners in the wake of Rich Ross’ exit last week, Disney pulled out their usual showmanship and unveiled a slate of high-profile movies. The studio didn’t miss a beat during their 2 1/2-hour CinemaCon presentation Tuesday night. In fact, the whole thing was similar to what the studio did in August at D23 in Anaheim. The only thing missing was the host — Ross. On Tuesday, it was distribution EVP Dave Hollis who handled the duties, deftly promoting the Disney “brands” with equal enthusiasm for their association with Marvel, DreamWorks and Pixar in addtion to the studio’s home-grown product. In fact, I lost count over how many times the phrase “we’re excited” was used by all of Tuesday’s participants in describing the future films from the Mouse House. And even though Hollis took time to highlight Disney’s recent slate, there was no mention at all of John Carter (the film that prompted a $200 million writedown for the company) — and quite frankly the Caesars Palace Colisseum exhibitor crowd didn’t seem to care. They were hyped that, studio upheaval or not, things were business as usual.
In addition to making news with some formal film announcements — like the official “green” light given to The Muppets II via a funny appearance from Kermit (riding in on a plywood horse as The Lone Ranger) and Miss Piggy both jockeying to be cast in upcoming Disney tentpoles — each division got their turn to show off its stuff.
The show began with an extended 3D clip of blockbuster-in-waiting The Avengers, which Hollis said was opening in 10 markets today before hitting North America on May 4. Marvel’s Kevin Feige came out for a brief rundown of future Marvel/Disney projects including Thor 2, set for November 2013; Iron Man 3, with new director Shane Black, scheduled for May 2013; and Captain America hitting theaters on April 4, 2014.
UPDATE: The Walt Disney Studios made news during its presentation at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas tonight. Its upcoming slate includes new titles from its Pixar Animation Studios including two with Hispanic flavor, and confirmation of a sequel to 2011′s The Muppets:
The Muppets director James Bobin will return to helm with a script written by Bobin and Nicholas Stoller. A release date has not been announced.
The Good Dinosaur – The Pixar comedy is from director Bob Peterson, co-director Peter Sohn and producer John Walker. According to Pixar, it’s about what would happen “if the cataclysmic asteroid that forever changed life on Earth actually missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct?” It will be released in the U.S. on May 30, 2014.
Related: Hot Trailer: Disney/Pixar’s ‘Brave’