Monday, September 21, 2009

Pixar at the Parks: D23 Panel Discussion

Below you'll find a panel discussion with John Lasseter and other Imagineering/Pixar executives and creative chiefs who do nothing but discuss Pixar at the Disney parks for over an hour. The panel was at the D23 Expo in Anaheim recently. A very interesting and worthwhile watch that I recommend for any Disney, Disneyland, or Pixar fan. Here are the links to all eight parts:

Part One.
Part Two.
Part Three.
Part Four.
Part Five.
Part Six.
Part Seven.
Part Eight.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Great New 'Toy Story' Double Feature TV Spot

Above you'll find a really great TV spot that has just been released to promote the upcoming double feature of Toy Story and its sequel. Very funny.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dick Cook no longer at Disney

Dick Cook was the head of Walt Disney Studios just a few days ago. He worked for Disney for 38 years, and has now been either fired or has stepped down from his post. Some names for his replacement have been floating around, and these are Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, and John Lasseter, head of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, as well as the creative part of Imagineering. I don't know anything about Kevin, but I don't know how I'd feel about Lasseter filling in for Cook. I think that Lasseter should stick to what he's good at, which is the creative stuff--not the stuff where you have to wear a suit. Anyways, Dick Cook, from what I've heard and seen, was a great guy with lots of connections. There was no apparent reason for him to leave. Here's his official statement:


I am stepping down from my role as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, effective immediately.

I have loved every minute of my 38 years that I have worked at Disney…from the beginning as a ride operator on Disneyland’s steam train and monorail to my position as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. To wrap up my Disney experience in a neatly bundled statement is close to impossible. But what I will say is, during my time at the Studio, we have achieved many industry and Company milestones. Our talent roster is simply the best in the business. I believe our slate of upcoming motion pictures is the best in our history. But most of all, I love the people, my colleagues, my teammates, who are the most talented, dedicated and loyal folks in the world. I know that I leave the Studio in their exceptional hands.

I have been contemplating this for some time now and feel it’s the right time for me to move on to new adventures…and in the words of one of my baseball heroes, Yogi Berra, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
And here's Bob Iger's (Disney's CEO) official statement:

Throughout his distinguished 38-year Disney career, Dick Cook’s outstanding creative instincts and incomparable showmanship have truly enriched this company and significantly impacted Disney’s great legacy,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger. “We thank Dick for his tremendous passion for Disney, and his many accomplishments and contributions to The Walt Disney Studios, including a very promising upcoming film slate. On behalf of everyone at Disney, we wish him the best with all the future has to offer."

Cook's leaving Disney has stirred up a lot of conversation in Hollywood. He was well-liked by everybody, and nobody is quite sure why he had to leave. One of his buddies, in particular, was Johnny Depp. Here's some excerpts from a recent phone interview with the LA Times:

"(I'm) shocked and very sad, it seems like the whole town is shocked, I didn't see this coming. There was no reason to see this coming."

"(He's) the sweetest man on the planet and such a gent."

"He is the utmost gentleman, so he made the call himself. He said, 'I'd like you to hear it from me before you hear it from someone else or read it,' He said today was my last day. He didn't give me a reason."

"He's instantly trustworthy. And you generally don't meet people at the studios you trust, he's a rare beast."

And Depp also commented that he is less enthused about the upcoming Pirates 4 film:

"There's a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment, it was all born in that office."

Also, Depp thinks he'll work with Cook in the future, just not at Disney:

"He will be somewhere and I will always look forward to working with him. I consider Dick a friend inside an insane system. He's someone I understand and I think he understands me."

But he's not the only one who's upset with Cook's leaving. Scott Rudin, whose production company has a deal with Disney, has said:

"I'm completely shocked - as is literally everybody I've spoken to,"

Spielberg is also devastated that Dick Cook's not with Disney anymore. Dick was one of the main reasons that Spielberg decided to go with Disney on the new DreamWorks distribution deal. "Steven worships Dick Cook," a DreamWorks insider has said.

Also, Lasseter has supposedly been on friendly terms with Cook since the Pixar deal. He must not be too happy about these recent developments, either.

As you can tell, Cook was a trusted guy. A true friend, and an honest man in an ocean of phonies. Iger certainly has some big shoes to fill if he wants to find someone as loved, hard-working, and loyal as Dick Cook.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Disney/Marvel Mash-ups

Worth1000 is a website centered around Photoshop. They have recently held a contest based on Disney's recent acquisition of superhero giant Marvel Entertainment. Here are the best of the incredibly creative and realistic Disney/Marvel mash-ups from Worth1000:


Star Tours 2.0 is Official

Briefly: The long-rumored Star Tours renovation has been announced today. The attraction, which debuted in 1987, will be re-created in 3D (blech), and will now take take guests through a high-speed pod race in Tatooine. The renovations will be done in Disneyland and Walt Disney World by 2011.

Source: LA Times


Friday, September 11, 2009

Day One of D23 and Other News

With the D23 Expo underway, as well as the Disney Studio always wheelin' and dealin', I've got a lot of news for you. Right here, right now:

  • This first piece of news is Disney-related, but not D23-related. Guillermo Del Toro, one of my favorite writer/directors of such films as Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth, has opened up an animation studio. This studio is known as "Disney's Double Dare You!". That's right: Disney's. One of Hollywood's best obscure/creepy filmmakers has opened an animation company within the walls of Disney Studios. The studio will be under the watch of Dick Cook and (hooray!) John Lasseter. Del Toro is very busy with his current slate of upcoming films, but will direct for DDDY (Disney's Double Dare You!) in the future. The current project at DDDY is Trollhunters, written (but not directed) by Guillermo who is also producing. So what should we expect from this new studio? Will the films be truly creepy, or just Coraline creepy? Will they appeal to kids, or to adults? I don't know...
  • The Associated Press is reporting that 'Pirates 4' is officially official. It has a real title: "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," and Johnny Depp is, of course, its star. The film will be released in 2011. I can't wait! Although I am not a huge fan of the 2nd and 3rd 'Pirate' films, I do love the character of Jack Sparrow.
  • The D23 Expo is going on right now! To see what happened on day one, I'd recommend you check out the following links:
  1. WDWNewsToday; Some stuff from the CarsLand room, and, mostly, the Disney Legends ceremony.
  2. Disney and More: The really great-looking Imagineering Legends session.
  3. Cinematical has an article about Tron at the D23 Expo, as well as a huge gallery of pictures from it.
  4. The LA Times documents both days of the expo thus far, but mainly the stars that showed up, which include John Travolta, Johnny Depp, and Tim Burton. (The OC Register has a similar article.)
  5. Jim Hill discusses an upcoming D23 presentation which will showcase what The Muppets ( I sure do love those little guys) will be up to in the next couple of years.

There is even more Disney news out there. Upcoming Pixar is reporting that Cars 2 is going to be a "Hitchcockian Spy Thriller." Their source is Mr. Lasseter who is quoted to have said:
Mater, who we know from the series of cartoon shorts Mater’s Tall Tales (more on that in our blog in a minute) is prone to exaggeration, gets involved in a "Hitchcockian" case of mistaken identity, saves the life of a British secret agent called Finn McMissile (who looks a heck of a lot like an Aston Martin) and becomes embroiled in a huge spy thriller. Only no-one believes him.
And, finally, here is the newest trailer for the upcoming Disney film, The Princess and the Frog. This movie keeps looking better and better:

That's all the news for now, but stay posted since we still have more Expo news headin' your way.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Marvel by Pixar?

Today, Bob Iger answered questions regarding Disney's recent acquisition of Marvel Entertainment via a conference call. During the call, Iger mentioned some things that would lead me to think that perhaps Pixar may be thinking about creating future Marvel films.

Currently, several studios other than Disney are set to create several more Marvel films. After those films are created, however, Disney has stated that they “want to be sole distributor of these films.”

When asked about Pixar's involvement in these future films, Iger replied that: “We’ve talked about this internally. Pixar boss John Lasseter talked to the Marvel guys about this and they all got excited about it. We think there’s ultimately some exciting product that come of that. Sparks will fly!” Lasseter sounds very excited about the prospect of a Pixar-created Marvel flick.

Disney has also announced that they to “exploit more lesser-known characters.”

Can you actually picture Pixar making a Marvel film? They've always used solely original material for their films, so should they really tinker with a so-far-flawless method of creating original films? Can the creative team of Emeryville work within the restrictions of an existing universe with its laws, characters, and limitations?

I think that they shouldn't mess with a perfected system of filmmaking which has brought us Toy Story, Up, Finding Nemo, and the many other fantastic animated classics.

We will see in the coming months what else Disney plans to do with their new collection of 5,000 characters.

Source: /Film


Pixar Team Awarded at Venice

The Venice Film Festival is underway, and the Pixar creative team just took center stage at the awards ceremony. John Lasseter and directors Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Brad Bird, and Lee Unkrich were given the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement prize earlier today.

Lasseter said, during the ceremony, that: "Our dream is always simple: to entertain our audiences around the world."

(Well, Mr. Lasseter, you have definitely succeeded there.)

The prize was awarded by George Lucas, who, of course, was once a huge part of Pixar. Later, Lasseter told reporters that he thought "anybody else when they sell a company and the company goes on to be very successful, they would feel like they missed out, [but] George Lucas is so proud of us and we are so thankful to him."

Congratulations, Team Pixar.

Source: Associated Press


Luxo Jr. Heads to Court

One of the first ever Pixar shorts of all time (and still one of the most popular) is Luxo Jr. I am sure you've seen it, and I love it. But, poor Luxo Jr. is now finding himself in a courtroom battling the Luxo company.

Why? Pixar has always had a Luxo lamp as its logo, right? Why should Luxo sue Disney now? Well, the reason is that Disney is releasing a new product, a limited edition replica of Luxo Jr. coupled with the Up Blu-ray, and the Luxo company doesn't like Disney making money off of its product.

Luxo and the animation company have had a long standing agreement, which, according to the Norway-based lamp company, does not include the manufacturing of actual goods with the Luxo name.

I think that Luxo doesn't care whatsoever about Disney making the lamps, and just found this as an opportunity to make some cash. What I'd do if I were Disney is just buy up the Luxo company. They just bought Marvel for $4 billion, and I'm sure Disney could afford a lamp company.

Source: Bloomberg