Say what you will about some of the studio’s recent output, but Pixar’s operating process has remained steadfastly left-of-center since it broke out big with Toy Story in 1995. Many expected the studio to move to Los Angeles or take on a more traditional method of production following its immense success, but Pixar maintains its central headquarters in Emeryville, California and sticks to its central, creativity-inspiring work philosophies. One of the most curious aspects of the studio is the Pixar Braintrust, a group of Pixar creatives that weighs in on all of the studio’s features on a regular basis with a brutal honesty.
In an excerpt from his upcoming book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Pixar President Ed Catmull offers a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the Braintrust process, offering extensive examples from Toy Story 3 and director Pete Docter’s new film Inside Out. Read some of Catmull’s insights after the jump.
Did you know Bill Hader did a voice in J.J. Abrams‘ Star Trek Into Darkness? And did you know he recorded it just a short time before the film was released? While I’d heard about it through a friend of mine, I’d never heard the real story from Hader himself. So when I got to speak to him backstage at D23 earlier today, I made sure to ask him about it. In addition, he talked about how taking a personal tour of Pixar led to him landing roles in some of their upcoming films, the upcoming season of South Park, SNL, plus future film projects, and more. Hit the jump to watch.
Pixar recently sent out a holiday card, and the card contains the concept art for the studios 2013 – 2016 slate of pictures. The card includes previously released concept art for Monsters University as well as a first look at The Good Dinosaur, the Untitled Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind (now titled Inside Out), and the Untitled Dia de los Muertos movie. There’s nothing too revealing about any of this concept art, but it’s still nice to have a glimpse at three Pixar films that aren’t sequels or prequels.
Hit the jump to check out the concept art along with loglines for the films. The Good Dinosaur opens May 30, 2014. The Untitled Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind opens June 19, 2015. The Untitled Dia de los Muertos movie opens in 2016.
The first trailer for Monsters Inc. 3D has been released. Since the smashing success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, Disney has committed to bringing a number of the studio’s classics back to theaters in the 3D format. Pixar’s bounty of films is a natural fit, and in addition to Finding Nemo 3D later this month we’ll see the return of the loveable duo of Mike and Sully from Monsters. Inc this December. The Pete Docter-directed comedy ranks high on my personal list of Pixar favorites so I’m jazzed to see it on the big screen once again. Moreover, the engagement will act as a nice refresher before the release of Pixar’s prequel, Monsters University, next summer.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. Monsters Inc. 3D opens on December 19th.
At CinemaCon today, Disney/Pixar chief creative officer, John Lasseter, announced a few of the animated projects in the studio’s pipeline. Here they are at a glance:
- An animated project based on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (as of yet untitled) is slated for a 2015 release. Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich is reportedly attached to direct with Darla Anderson producing. If Pixar decides to keep the decidedly dark-sounding title, perhaps it will be the studio’s first foray into something a bit more sinister. (And if Unkrich is involved, there are sure to be some references to The Shining.)
- The upcoming project directed by Bob Peterson is now called The Good Dinosaur; the picture is scheduled for a May 30th, 2014 release.
- The untitled feature directed by Pete Docter that will take a trip into the human mind has been pushed back until June 19th, 2015.
Hit the jump for more from Pixar.
Back in August, we reported that Up and Monsters, Inc. director Pete Docter had Pixar’s strangest and possibly most ambitious movie lined-up. The film’s logline claims Docter “will take you to a place that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind.” In an interview with Charlie Rose last night [via The Pixar Times], Pixar head John Lasseter revealed that the human mind belongs to a girl. Said Lasseter, the “new film that takes place inside of a girl’s mind and it is about her emotions as characters, and that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.” Lasseter didn’t comment on whether the girl was a child or an adolescent. Either way, it will be the second Pixar movie featuring a female protagonist (next summer’s Brave will be the first).
I’m even more excited for Docter’s film than I was before, but it’s still a ways off. The untitled picture isn’t due out until May 14, 2014. In the interim, we’ll see the Monsters, Inc. prequel Monsters University on June 21, 2013 and an untitled film about dinosaurs from Up co-director/writer Bob Peterson on November 27, 2013.
Earlier today, we reported that Pixar had announced the release dates and directors of their upcoming films through 2014. This featured the triumphant return of Up and Monsters Inc. director Pete Docter and Up co-director Bob Peterson’s first feature flying solo. We now have more information on the original two flicks thanks to the Pixar presentation at Disney’s D23 Expo this afternoon.
Peterson’s film will be a contemporary-set pic featuring dinosaurs. The premise assumes that the storied asteroid missed Earth all those millions of years ago, and dinosaurs are now a part of everyday life. Docter’s film is a bit more cerebral, as it takes place “within the mind.” Hit the jump for more information, including the official loglines of each and the possibility of Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt working on Docter’s pic.
Disney has spent the summer staking out release dates in the distant future, though details are scare on what they’re planning. Today, we know more than we did yesterday. Steve is at D23 right now, and saw a sheet with the men in charge of four upcoming Pixar movies. Up co-director Bob Peterson and The Incredibles producer John Walker are listed for 2013 projects. Up director Pete Docter and Up producer Jonas Rivera get their shot in 2014.
Still not much to go on, but the pieces are coming together. Monsters University is scheduled for June 23, 2013, directed by Dan Scanlon. Pixar has a claim on November 27, 2013 as well, which will presumably either go to Peterson or Walker. Is it possible Pixar will release three movies in 2013? Either Docter or Rivera will premiere his movie on May 30, 2014—a Thanksgiving 2014 release for the other project seems likely. We will update when the news is official (and clearer). Hopefully, we can also update with names of the untitled Marvel films, if Disney is feeling generous.
File this one in the rumor pile for now, but the upcoming sequel to Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. might actually be a prequel. Disney Central Plaza [via Stitch Kingdom] is reporting that a Disney film catalog has a brief plot synopsis for the film. According to the catalog, Monsters, Inc. 2,
“will take us back to before a time when Mike Wazowski was top comedian, before James P. Sullivan was top scarer, even before the buddies joined the MI workforce. In fact it takes us all the way back to school — the University of Fear to be precise. Although the two start out as frenemies, Monsters, Inc. 2 will weave the tale of how the dynamic duo transition from rivals to BFFs.”
That’s an interesting premise, although it should be noted that the plots of Pixar’s films have a tendency to change and evolve over the course of development. Monsters, Inc. 2 (tentative title) is set for release on November 2, 2012. Pete Docter will return to direct.
I have never actually written a fan letter — I instead live vicariously through the correspondence of filmmakers I admire and their anonymous enthusiasts. In October 2008, Pete Docter was best known as the director of Pixar’s 2001 effort Monsters Inc. and was hard at work on the soon-to-be Oscar-winner Up, but made time to scrawl a handwritten note in response to a fan.
Letters from animators are always the best, because they include little cartoons in the margins. Docter’s note is no exception, in which he doodles himself alongside Monsters Inc. characters Mike, Sully, and Boo. Check out the letter, including scans of the original, after the jump.
It was less than fifteen years ago that Toy Story debuted for the Holiday season of 1995. At the time Disney was taking a chance with an entirely computer animated film, especially after their amazing resurgence and recent run of cel animated films – they were only a year off of The Lion King. Now, Pixar essentially runs Disney animation and cel animation is the experiment – completely out of fashion in part due to Disney ruining the brand name (and to some extent DreamWorks making equally mediocre films). But you can’t blame Pixar for being good, and it was the wild success of the Toy Story films that helped cement their legacy. They tell the story of Woody (Tom Hanks), a cowboy doll who is ousted from his position as the sole favorite toy by Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and how the two go on an adventure in the real world. The sequel has the duo facing a toy kidnapper (Wayne Knight), who wants to send Woody to Japan with the toy line he originally came from while Woody confronts his own mortality. My review of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray after the jump.
I opined when it came to Up that it’s hard to judge the Pixar canon because there are so few missteps, but when it comes to favorites, everyone’s got to have one. You have to at some point think of which one you love the most. It’s not like they’re your children. Though a case can be made for almost every single one of their films, the one that gets me the hardest, and the one that always works me over like a sap is Monsters Inc. My review of it after the jump.
We want to bring you more news every day, but unfortunately our robot army of writers who never need to sleep, to eat, or to love, is still under development (currently all they do is sleep, eat, and love). In the meantime, we’re going to be making “A Fistful of News” a regular feature you’ll see every other day where we bring you some additional news stories we found but didn’t have time to write. Until the Robot Army is ready to proceed (which is unlikely as we cut corners and ordered them from Belize, a country not known for quality robotics).
After the jump you’ll find ten quick news items including what’s next for Up director Peter Docter even though it’s not Monsters, Inc. 2, Guillermo del Toro’s monster cameo in The Hobbit, and Jeff Bridges’ behind-the-scenes photography on the set of Iron Man.
As I said last week, with the holiday’s approaching and everyone trying to save money, we’re keeping our eyes open for “geek gifts”. And thanks to Amazon, if you haven’t already pre-ordered Up on Blu-ray, they have a great deal that ends tomorrow. If you buy Up for $19.99, you can get a second Disney Blu-ray for an additional $10 dollars. Since the retail price for the four disc Blu-ray of Up is over $40 dollars, this is a great deal as you get two Blu-ray movies for $30 dollars with free shipping and no sales tax (depending where you live). While the list of choices is limited, they do have the Blu-ray’s of Bolt, Snow White, and Cars. Click here to check it out.
However, the best part of the deal for the Pixar fanatics out there is getting Up and Monsters, Inc. (both directed by Pete Docter) together for $32.98. That’s basically getting the 4-Disc Blu-ray of Up AND the 4-Disc Blu-ray of Monsters, Inc. for $16.49 each. You’re not going to beat that deal. Either way, this is one of the must-own movies of the year so head over to buy Up with whichever deal you prefer. Remember, Up will be available to own starting tomorrow so pre-order today because these deals ain’t gonna last.
Pete Docter and the folks at Pixar have turned in one of the year’s best films with “Up” and while the originality of Pixar is never in doubt, it looks like Docter will going back to Monstropolis for a sequel to 2001′s “Monsters Inc.” According to Jim Hill Media, potential buyers who attended this year’s Licensing International Expo 2009 learned that Docter will follow up “Up” with “Monsters Inc. 2″. There’s currently no word about plot or whether John Goodman and Billy Crystal would reprise their roles as monsters Sully and Mike Wazowski, but as for when we would see the film, it probably wouldn’t be until 2013. Currently, Pixar has “Toy Story 3″ set for 2010, “Cars 2″ (the only Pixar film no one is looking forward to) and “The Bear and the Bow” for 2011, and “Newt” for 2012.
But with perhaps the exception of “The Incredibles”, there’s no Pixar film where I’d go out of my mind for a sequel because I thought the original demanded a franchise. I don’t think a second “Monsters Inc.” film will be bad; I just never saw Pixar as a sequel studio (unlike DreamWorks Animation which in mandating at least two sequels per year). But as long as they’re continuing with original films, and, more importantly, putting emphasis on story first, then I have no concerns about a “Monsters Inc. 2″ and look forward to seeing if Docter can top his work on “Up”.