Director Bob Peterson exited The Good Dinosaur in August and now up to 60 employees at Pixar were let go because of the delay of the pic. Occurring earlier this week, the layoffs account for approximately 5% of Pixar’s 1,200 work force. This is just the latest twist in The Good Dinosaur tale. No replacement has been announced yet for Peterson and in September, the Disney-owned animated powerhouse moved back Dinosaur from a May 30, 2014 release to November 24, 2015 – leaving Pixar without a single movie coming out next year. Now, the fallout continues. “At Pixar, we are constantly re-evaluating the creative and business needs of our studio. With the release date change of The Good Dinosaur, we have realigned our production and support priorities, which includes a small reduction in our staffing levels,” said a Disney spokesperson in a statement Friday. Last month Disney shuttered Pixar Canada with nearly 100 jobs lost at the Vancouver animation studio.
The 3-year-old Vancouver animation studio is shuttering as its operations are rerouted to Pixar HQ in Emeryville, CA. The studio had employed nearly 100 staffers, and the closure is effective immediately. “The team at Pixar Canada is …
D23: Disney Announces New Movies And Big Voice Castings, Offers Details On ‘Finding Nemo’ & ‘Planes’ Sequels
Diane Haithman is a Deadline contributor.
A new Disney Animation movie, big-name voice castings, a new Mickey Mouse short, details on the Finding Nemo and Planes sequels, two new Tinkerbell pics – there was no shortage of news during day 1 of Disney’s annual D23 expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. John Lasseter revealed Zootopia, due in 2016. It’s described as being in the tradition of Mr. Toad, where animals wear human clothes. “I loved those movies,” Lasseter said. Director Byron Howard and writer Jared Bush described Zootopia as “a buddy action film” in which the animal characters inhabit in a world where “humans never existed.”
Lasseter and company unveiled some boldfaced voice talent for a handful of upcoming projects. Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur will feature Raising Hope‘s Lucas Neff as star dino Arlo, John Lithgow as Poppa and Frances McDormand as Momma. Arlo’s siblings will be voiced by Hader, Judy Greer and Neil Patrick Harris. Lasseter said a new Monsters University short film, Party Central, will premiere ahead of Good Dinosaur when it’s released next summer. Fans at today’s panel got a sneak peak at the short, about what happens when the monsters try to throw a frat party.
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.”