We may have seen the last days of hand-drawn animation. It’s not going to come from DreamWorks Animation (all of their 2D endeavors flopped), BlueSky, or Sony Pictures Animation. The last refuge was Disney, who had released the hand-drawn Winnie the Pooh in 2011. But that looks like the end of Disney’s 2D animation for the foreseeable future. According to /Film, at “Walt Disney Company shareholder’s meeting, CEO Bob Iger revealed none of Disney’s animation companies, which includes Disney Animation, Pixar and Disney Toons, are currently developing, or have plans to develop, any 2D, hand drawn animation for the big screen. He’s not ruling it out, but the current slate—which probably stretches 3-4 years—has none of it.”
Hit the jump for my thoughts on this sad state of affairs.
New posters for Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen have been released, and they show off our first look at the protagonist, Anna (Kristen Bell) and her wicked sister Elsa (Idina Menzel). You can see that the filmmakers have kept the evolution of the Disney female character with the large pupils, thin irises, high cheekbones, and thin chin. We tend to ignore these similarities as long as the plot is good, and hopefully Disney will have another animated hit on their hands with their upcoming feature.
Hit the jump to check out the posters. The film also features the voice of Jonathan Groff and music by Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit). Frozen opens in 3D on November 27th. [Update: Disney has informed us that these are fan-made posters created from some unapproved character art, so we've been asked to take them down.]
The best animated film I saw this year wasn’t feature length. It was John Kahrs‘ short film, Paperman. The short follows the story of a lonely young man in New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office, and sets out to get her attention. Using a revolutionary technique of blending 2D and 3D, Paperman isn’t only gorgeous, but it’s also hopelessly romantic. I felt bad for Wreck-It Ralph since it had to follow this short. Disney has now posted Paperman online, and while it’s only 2D, you need to take the 6 minutes and 34 seconds to watch it right now. It will make your day.
Hit the jump to watch Paperman, which is nominated for Best Animated Short Film.
Disney has just sent out a press release announcing release dates and changes for their upcoming slate of films. The most notable announcement is that Edgar Wright‘s Ant-Man finally has a release date. The little-big-superhero is due to hit theaters on November 6, 2015. Since this will be the first Marvel movie to follow The Avengers 2 (which opens May 1, 2015), I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Hank Pym pop up in Joss Whedon‘s film.
Here’s the rest of the list:
- Iron Man 3 will now be available in 3D – previously announced 5/3/13 wide playdate is unchanged (Marvel)
- Phineas and Ferb moves to “2014 Undated Wide” (from 7/28/13 wide)
- Thor: The Dark World is final title of previous “Thor 2” and will now be available in 3D – previously announced 11/8/13 wide playdate is unchanged (Marvel)
- Bears is now dated on 4/18/14 wide (Disneynature)
- Guardians of the Galaxy is final title of previous “Marvel Untitled” – previously announced 8/1/14 is unchanged (Marvel)
- DISNEY ANIMATION UNTITLED is now dated on 11/7/14 wide
- PIXAR ANIMATION UNTITLED is now dated on Wed 11/25/15 wide
New concept art for Disney’s upcoming princess movie, Frozen, has leaked online. For those unfamiliar with the film, Kristen Bell voices a young dreamer named Anna who teams up with “a daring mountain man” to find the Snow Queen (Idina Menzel) and put an end to a spell that has trapped their kingdom in eternal winter. Broadway vets Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Winnie the Pooh) tapped to pen original songs for the feature. Chris Buck (Tarzan) is onboard as director. I’m glad Disney has another animated musical up their sleeve, but it will be computer-animated, so it looks like the studio has gotten skittish when it comes to 2D because The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh underperformed at the box office.
Hit the jump to check out the images. Frozen opens November 2013.
It’s refreshing to see a family film that is completely without cynicism or even awareness of pop culture. Winnie the Pooh opens with a live-action shot of the bedroom of stuffed animals and the narrator (John Cleese) tells us, without the slightest hint of irony, that the bedroom could belong to any young boy. The room has no video games, posters, or other mass-produced merchandise. It’s a bedroom for a young boy in 1920s England which is when and where Winnie the Pooh was created. The new Disney film based on A.A. Milne’s popular characters firmly holds to that time period and that innocence and comes away with an absolutely charming and lovable movie that is clever, funny, and adorable.
Disney will forego panels and presentations at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con now that the company has established its own convention with the D23 Expo. This year’s D23 runs from August 19 – 21st and will include presentations, screenings, celebrity panels, autograph signings, and other fan-friendly activities. The major ramification for Comic-Con isn’t the loss of films from Walt Disney Studios and Pixar (although that certainly stings), but from the loss of Marvel Studios. While Marvel will certainly have a presence at Comic-Con, its panels will be reserved for D23.
The schedule for D23 has been released and on Saturday, August 20th from 11am to 12:30 pm, the presentation for Walt Disney Studios will be hosted by Disney chairman Rich Ross, President of Production Sean Bailey, Chief Creative Officer of Disney and Pixar John Lasseter, and Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige. Hit the jump for the full schedule.
Schedule D23 Expo’s official website.
Disney has sent out a press release announcing that their upcoming animated film, Reboot Ralph, has been re-titled to Wreck-It Ralph and will feature the voice talents of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch. Rich Moore (The Simpsons, Futurama) will direct the story of a video game bad guy who sets out to prove he can be the hero. Sure, it’s a little Megamind, but there’s plenty of room to make inside jokes about video games and the comical devotion bad-guy bosses have to destroying the player.
Hit the jump for the full synopsis and what Moore had to say about the film. Wreck-It Ralph opens in 3D on November 2, 2012.
The second part (part one is here) of my visit to Walt Disney Animation Studios continues, which focuses on the talented people that made Tangled and the process that it takes. During my press day at the studio we had a flurry of round-table interviews and John Lasseter, head of Disney’s animation wing, stopped by to speak for over 20 minutes. So join me after the break for highlights of what we discussed and a ton of behind-the-scenes information on Tangled.
What do you do when Disney invites you to spend a day in the Sorcerer’s Hat building of Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California? You clear off your schedule and jump with both feet, which is exactly what I did last week. Tangled, Disney’s 50th animated feature film, is heading towards the home stretch and it is apparent how much work and dedication has gone into this passion project for the many talented folks involved. We were treated to a work in progress screening, games, a plethora of interviews, and much more, so join me after the break for the full details and my initial impression of the film.
Disney Animation Studios’ Facebook page has release new concept art from their upcoming film Tangled. Starring the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, Tangled is based off the Rapunzel fairy tale, but crosses the long-haired girl (Moore) with charming bandit Flynn Rider (Levi). The teaser looks cute, and this concept art is spectacular.
Hit the jump to check out the art. Tangled opens on November 24th.
Director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Oscar-nominated Coraline) has signed an exclusive long-term deal with Disney to create stop-motion animated films for the studio. Variety reports that Selick plans to move to the Bay Area and plans to write and direct films based on original ideas and literary properties.
The signing of Selick is yet another example of how Pixar and Disney Animation Studios head John Lasseter is bringing back all animation to the studio. Last year, The Princess and the Frog marked the first 2D animated musical for Disney since 2004′s Home on the Range. Selick made his directing debut for Disney back in 1993 with Nightmare and Coraline grossed $75 million. That film, plus Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mary & Max, and A Town Called Panic, shows there’s definitely interest for stop-motion animation. I personally love the medium and Selick is one of its kings.
It’s wonderful news that Lasseter (who developed a friendship with Selick back in their days at the California Institute for the Arts) has given Selick the creative freedom to bring us more great movies.
Disney Animation Studios is getting a bit clever with the title for the next film as Producer Roy Conli has announced [via Facebook] that their 2010 film will no longer be called Rapunzel and will now be known as Tangled. Here’s what Conli had to say:
“Hey everyone, I’m Roy Conli, producer of Disney’s next animated film. I have some exciting news to share, and it was important to me that YOU guys – the Disney fans – hear it first. I want to tell you about Walt Disney Animation Studio’s 2010 release, Tangled. It’s a really fresh, smart take on the Rapunzel story. In our film, the infamous bandit Flynn Rider meets his match in the girl with the 70 feet of magical golden hair. We’re having a lot of fun pairing Flynn, who’s seen it all, with Rapunzel, who’s been locked away in a tower for 18 years. I’m so proud of the crew working on this film – they’re doing a fantastic job creating an awesome story with great characters and a stunning world – and it’s all going to look amazing in 3D. All of us here at the studio are incredibly excited for you to see Tangled when it comes out in theaters this November.”
Hit the jump for more details on the film including the style of animation they’re using. Tangled is slated to hit theaters on November 24th.