Friday, October 30, 2009
All that speculation about a sequel to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" looks to finally be gathering some traction...
Robert Zemeckis has admitted in an interview with MTV Movie News that a screenplay is actually in development. Not only that, but the original screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman are working on it.
There wasn't a great deal of information besides this, but you can expect some MoCap to be in the film, although according to what Zemeckis has said earlier, 2D will still be 2D. The question that remains to be answered is will it have live action in it as well as animation or will it just be 2D/3D?
The director seems to be opening up and letting bits and pieces out ever so often. The fact that he's revealed work on the script has commenced could mean his next project after remaking "Yellow Submarine" could be working with the Rabbit again. After all these years will we finally get to see, Roger, Jessica and gumshoe Eddie Valiant?
And when would it take place? The 50's, 60's or the modern day? Being as Roger is from the 40's I don't think he'd be such a spring chicken around today. I mean, have you seen what an original print looks like after so much time has worn it down? He'd be tattered and torn, spliced together, but maybe that's what Zemeckis' intention. Personally, I think the 50's would be best, right there at the dawn of television. That was the end of shorts and would have meant the end of Roger's career. It'd be an interesting place to start the story, but that's just me.
Here's to hoping it's a great script and hoping it's on the fast track...
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It appears that Columbia Pictures is going forward with "Men in Black 3" by announcing that they've hired Etan Cohen to deliver the screenplay...
Could this mean that Will Smith will be too busy to portray Captain Nemo? I can only hope. It's really going to depend on how soon the Mouse is planning on shooting the 20K prequel, as well as when Sony will actually greenlight the script that Cohen turns in.
Maybe we'll get two wishes in one and McG will drop out and then we can get someone that more trustworthy to steer this project as the major blockbuster that it's intended to be. Disney wants to turn this into the next franchise and if it's going to be one then this first film has to be great in not only script, producer and director but also casting. So having to get another actor other than the star of Men in Black won't make me blue.
Crossing fingers on this one...
Yet another great American actor joins the adaptation of Marvel Comics' "Thor" film...
Anthony Hopkins is in final negotiations to join the Kenneth Branagh production as Odin, the father of the God of Thunder. This coming after the false news that was circulating a week ago about Robert De Niro and Jude Law joining the film.
A decade or two ago and no one would have believed that rumor. With the power and prestige that has come to these pop-culture creations even those rumors had enough believability to be taken seriously. It shows that the caliber of actors in this film will be amazingly high.
Comic book adaptations have come a long way since the 1930's and 40's when they were relegated to appearing in low budget serials. Studios of the day thought they were beneath appearing in major motion pictures and put them in the back of the cinematic bus. Now they are becoming tent pole films with top stars and huge budgets.
Well now, the new/second trailer for James Cameron's "Avatar" has finally been freed from theaters and unleashed across the Internet...
In HD no less, but not yet on Apple's trailer website, dang it. I know a lot of people have/had problems with the first trailer. So did I. This new one will not quell all the naysayers, but it does give us more elaboration and a deeper view into the world that is Pandora. I like it. I'm cautiously optimistic to see the world that Cameron has created. And Fox is banking on him as the main selling point as you watch the crawl: "From the director of..."
Take a look for yourself and form your own opinion of the trailer. But wait until you actually see the film before you judge it. I mean, this film cost between 250 to 300 million dollars and even the new trailer only showed about ten to fifteen million of it. That leaves a lot of screen time to look at and a lot more money to still show.
Come December we'll get to be the judge to if it was worth the cost in dollars and hype...
Well tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. the details will emerge regarding Disney's third cruise ship...
But if you check out the Disney Cruise Line website there's a great deal of information you can already glean, along with many great concept pictures of the giant toy boat the Mouse will be using come mid 2011. I know this will take the place of the Disney Wonder in Florida as it moves out here to the west coast. Come 2012 the Disney Fantasy will come into service and the Disney Magic will be placed elsewhere. There are no definite plans for a home port or destinations, but my speculation is on Europe. I don't think they'd have it come out to the Pacific Ocean for cruises to Tokyo because that would expose a lot of Disney Fans/Geeks to the Tokyo Disney Resort/DisneySEA. That would be like letting a man eating a cracker to see a steak. Well, there's always hope for Asia to get a fifth ship if bookings are beyond the Mouse's expectations.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
With the announcement that a new "Avatar" trailer coming this weekend I figured it was time to address a few things that are going to be happening over the next few years...
First of all, 3D is here. Duh. Yeah, I know, but by the end of this year it'll have kicked into high gear with the release of Cameron's new film. Presuming that the film is not a total bust and sucks all the money it cost to make down a black hole, you can expect to see many more films like this over the next few years.
One of those film will be "John Carter of Mars" in 2012. Remember that one of the reasons James Cameron did Avatar was that he wanted to film his own John Carter of Mars type of story. He apparently didn't want to literally adapt the Edgar Rice Burroughs version; choosing instead to go his own route with a story that is merely inspired by those kinds of novels. But think about what's going to happen this Christmas season. We're going to watch a big budget Hollywood film about a man from Earth transported to another planet that interacts with the indigenous species and goes on to fight a war on their side. In 2012 we're going to watch a big budget Hollywood film about a man from Earth transported to another planet that interacts with the indigenous species and goes on to fight a war on their side. Sound familiar? Hopefully Andrew Stanton and his crew are working to make a film that is as ambitious as the King of the World's film, but uniquely different so as to not look like it's trying to rip off Avatar. I know it's based on a series of novels from eighty years ago, but the general public doesn't. And remember, perception counts. It always has/does.
But there are similarities to the characters and settings. But the main difference I think is Carmeron's film is more science fiction and Stanton's film is more science fantasy. The narrative he's going to be going with is more romantic than Avatar despite the love story in that film. It'll be easier for audiences to relate to Carter being human and his Mars Princess being almost human (she'll be orangish/coppery). Both films will have large budgets, although I don't think Carter will come in as much as Avatar, though I could be wrong.
But by the time this movie comes out two years from now it should be commonplace, almost an afterthought that it's 3D. The movie going public will not take much note since practically every blockbuster will be released in this format. So it's going to be even more critical that the Walt Disney Picture stands out from the rest. Being in third dimension won't be as much of a selling point as it is today. It'll have to rely on something that Pixar has earned its bread and butter doing: story. This film is going to have to rise above the markers set by today's films. It's going to have to set it's own. I'm curious to see what will happen. I've had friends tell me that if they get hold of the script that they'll send me a copy. I don't know if I'd read it because I've already read the novels and I want to be surprised by the film. I want to enjoy the virginity of seeing it and don't want to spoil the film by knowing every scene that is coming up. I experienced that with "Batman Begins" and chose not to do the same with "The Dark Knight." Now this isn't the case with that "Doc Savage" film coming out. I've been trying to get my hands on David Leslie Johnson's script for a few years. If I could get hold of that script I'd read it in a heartbeat. I've read a few reviews/descriptions of it and would love to turn every page of that one (hint to anyone that wants to send me a copy).
So while I realize there are challenges ahead for this film, just like Cameron's film had problems to overcome, I await seeing the stills, posters and trailers that will follow over the next year or two. Even though I'll be swept away to an alien world this holiday season, I'm excited to know I'll get to experience something similarly wonderful just around the bend in 2012.
There goes that year again...
Oh come on. You really didn't think I'd pass up that opportunity, did you?
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
No, that headline isn't implying that Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney are severing their relationship...
Quite the opposite actually. The Bruck has been responsible for a good chunk of Disney's money over the past few years and there are all kinds of indications that that will continue for sometime into the future.
Bruckheimer has brought in J. Michael Straczynski to adapt a video game titled: "Shattered Union" for a theatrical film. The story is about the repercussions of what America looks like after a nuclear explosion destroys part of the east coast and the surviving states secede and form independent governments that battle for power and control over the continent. It sounds rather like Mad Max in America, to use a bit of high-concept speak.
We'll follow this to see how it progresses beyond a script, since directors and actors are going to help us determine where this project winds up. Will it be the silver screen or development hell? Only the line producer knows for sure.
John Lasseter is a man in extremely interesting position at the Mouse; both for what he can and can't do and the perception that has been built around him...
As much as I love him and respect his work, there's only so much he can do. Remember that his title is Chief Creative Officer, Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering. He's an advisor, he doesn't run WDI; that's left to Bruce Vaughn and Co. as well as the decisions that Jay Rasulo makes. Not to say that he doesn't have power with the credibility he has from the Pixar films. Success opens many doors and his ability to create blockbuster after blockbuster keeps an open ear to the Imagineer leadership. Having Iger's ear doesn't hurt either. But with the firing, yes firing of Tim Delaney and Valerie Edwards it's clear that there are limits to his power. He's worked with Delaney quite a bit and would more than likely not have fired him. But he's not in that position and he's a pretty busy man with that animation thing he's got going.
It doesn't mean he won't/can't acquire more power, but that's something that's going to take time and more success at the box office. His ability to influence where the company goes right now has been a direct correlation to the power and perception of the track record of the Lamp. If "The Princess and the Frog" comes out and does great, it's not only going to raise moral and spirits at the Hat Building; it's going to create job stability there. As they continue to make more and more stable product there's going to be less releasing people as projects wind down. And in a few years the southern California branch of Disney feature animation will start doing what the northern California branch does. Hire more animators. It won't happen overnight, naturally, but with success comes growth. Should the next couple of years address the story problems Disney films have had for most of the last decade, we should start to see a much brighter outlook for fans of Disney Animation.
And with that comes more power for John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. The more they're able to take Disney and make it smart, quality animation with clever storytelling, the more say Lasseter will have over other parts of the Disney empire that don't have much to do with feature animation. From the running of Disney Toons to Disney Publishing to an affect on Walt Disney Television Animation. Having Lasseter's influence over the quality of other products and entertainment in the Walt Disney Company is a good thing. A company is lead from the top down. If the leader is corrupt it bleeds down into the rest of the company. The reverse would happen if a company was led by someone of great character and values... like Walt Disney, for instance? Disney has already benefited from the three years that John has been there. It'll benefit much greater from the coming decade if John Lasseter is in charge of a good portion of the company. And that brings me to Jay Rasulo... once again.
As I mentioned earlier, Lasseter is an advisor... an executive in WDI that has little power in written form. His influence comes from the respect he's garnered over the last decade. What he says will carry weight, but it won't alter the inner workings of day to day life in the halls of WDI's headquarters in Glendale. When Rasulo resigns or is fired, and someone else is put in that is more in line with Lasseter, we'll start to see faster improvement. John doesn't deal in the day to day running of Imagineering and doesn't have the influence to overturn some Suits wrongheaded plan to fire or reassign someone from a project. That's going to take more time and changes that have yet to occur. As the movies continue to do better, the DVD sales continue to generate cash and the current projects that Lasseter is working on for DCA premiere and more importantly, bring more people through the gates, you'll start to see his influence increase inside WDI. It doesn't mean that there aren't problems inside the company, but it also doesn't mean there's not a great deal of opportunity lying ahead.
You just have see the positive and watch out for the potholes along the way...
Sunday, October 25, 2009
And as a continuing example of courtesy to those of you that, like me, missed ABC's "Flash Forward" broadcast the fifth episode, Hulu is once again here to save you...
Episode Five - Gimme Some Truth.
This show has quickly became my favorite new show. I've actually talked to some people that say the sixth episode is where it hits its stride. And then there are some that say the new remake of "V" is ABC's best new show. I don't know.
It'd have to be really great to beat this one...
Saturday, October 24, 2009
According to Ain't It Cool News, Shane Black is writing a screenplay for Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman that involves my favorite pulp literature figure...
If you are a regular reader of Blue Sky you know that I love old serials and pulp magazines. Heck, if you go to my Twitter page you can pretty much understand that. But I've always enjoyed reading these dime store novels and listening to the 30's radio programs or Saturday morning serials. I've got endless stories of The Spider, The Shadow or The Avenger. Even Conan or Solomon Kane, which I just finisher reading are great pulp figures. But they're not my favorite.
Doc Savage is.
Clark Savage Jr. is a character I've known about since I was a teen, but didn't get around to reading till a decade later. I've seen the cheesy 70's movie that was made about him and shudder when remembering it. That was kind of like watching that Captain America television movie made in that decade as well. Taking a classic archetype character and throwing away all that is good and creating a campy version of what you think people will want. He's always been a figure of missed opportunity. Handled right, this could be something along the lines of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Handled wrongly, it could come off like "The Mummy 3" film, or worse, the Russell Mulcahy version of "The Shadow," which got the look right, but the tone and feel exactly the opposite.
About a decade ago, there were plans to make a big budget film version of it that sounded spot on, for the most part. Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell were producing it with a script by David Leslie Johnson for Arnold Schwarzenegger to star as the Man of Bronze. Although Arnold was about ten years older than what he should be to play this (if it'd been made around the time he did "Predator" he would have looked spot on), he was still a good fit for the roll, although not exactly what Lester Dent had in mind when he created the adventurer. Alas, that was not to be. The script came in and was apparently budgeted at a level of something James Cameron would create. Understandable, since the world Doc Savage's in involves action on an epic scope most of the time. So the studio got cold feet and it languished in that wonderful place called Development Hell.
Shane Black is writing the new adaption of the character. And it sounds like he's being faithful to the character with no modernizing him, no updating him, no messing with the mythology of his existence. Sounds great to me. But when it's done, I have no idea who to cast for him. Doc Savage, like Indiana Jones, is a character that belongs where his story is cast: the 30's. Thankfully it sounds like Black is going to keep true to the times and feel. I look forward to hearing more about this. Especially who they wind up having direct it. That will be a critical decision just as choosing Black as writer. The project has many obstacles to overcome even after these, but should this come together It'll be on my radar for the next couple of years. Hopefully it won't fade away like the last, aborted attempt.
And I keep wondering who's going to fill the Doc's shoes since Arnold is too old and too busy to play the part...
The rebirth of Disney's second Anaheim gate is a great thing, but much pain has and will be felt before summer 2012...
Anyone who has been in the park lately will obviously have noticed you have to direct yourself through a maze of cavernous walls and alleyways. This is something that visitors to DCA have gotten used to over the past year. It's about to get worse.
Come January, a great deal more construction starts to spread through the areas of the park and anyone coming in will feel as if they're walking through Disneyland while it was being created brick by brick. Growing pains, learning curves. That's what we're having to deal with. The new DCA will be a much more positive experience, but the process getting there is going to be an uncomfortable experience. Like childbirth all over again... with the same kid. Only this time he won't come out so ugly.
Some of the problems you can expect, come the new year are right as you enter the park. Right before you actually. The front entrance starting next year is going to create major problems for those wanting to come and see the new "World of Color" show. This show will be the first example of what DCA will be like over the next decade and it's going to cause a lot of difficulty redirecting guest around it. Not mention when they get past the front entrance.
In January, the entire street in Hollywood Studio Backlot gets torn up and that's going to mean walls that cover almost the entire area from beginning to end. There will only be a sliver to walk through to get to the attractions. If you think going in between all those walls down by the pier, you ain't seen nothing yet. These walls are going up so that construction workers can tear up the concrete street and start laying down tracks for the new red cars. And construction won't end until around the time WOC starts to debut. Once they've built it they're going to have to do testing and evaluation before any of those walls come down. This doesn't even include the walls that go up around Mulholland Madness and the old eatery next door. All of these walls are going to prove a major strain on the bodies that get redirected through them. Comparing it to having a baby is actually very accurate; painful but worth it in the end.
As I mentioned earlier about WOC, it's going to be an amazing show, but a monster for the park to deal with. We're talking around a hundred cast members to control everything and show itself is going to finally create a permanent problem for DCA... crowds. Not that it hasn't had them periodically, but it's never had them on a consistent basis. Come next year, it will be a common site during the week when World of Color is playing to see guest all throughout the park. If you've been to the park recently you've noticed that the water has finally started flowing into the pier again. It won't be completely covered until early November because the crews working on the area want to make sure all the hoses, electronics and such are fine before being submerged.
After technical issues are settled it will go beneath the water never/rarely to be seen by guests again. In late January to early February is when they'll start to have several test for the show. These will be primarily for cast members so that they can gauge how it's working in front of an audience. In late March there will be soft openings for the general public and then come late April it's supposed to premiere for all the Disney world to see. That, my friends, is when we finally see a glimpse of this new park and the beginning of a new Disney Resort. Thankfully. It took about a decade, but we're finally going to get it.
I just wish we didn't have to go through all this discomfort...
Friday, October 23, 2009
This would have been up yesterday except Blogger decided to go bat-crazy and refused to let me log in...
John Lasseter is a man of many awards and now, he can apparently add another one to his growing collection.
The Producers Guild of America will award the head of Disney Animation their David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. This will be the first time someone in animation has won this award. When I heard that I was trying to remember if Walt had won this, but I believe it was the Thalberg award I was thinking of. The award will be given at the PGA Awards on January 24.
Congrats to El Mousetro...
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
El Guapo over at Latino Review has an interview with the directors of Walt Disney Animation Studios latest film...
Really nice interview and if you love animation, particularly Disney Animation then this interview is a must read. Not only for what it tells you about "The Princess and the Frog," but future Disney films. You can see how Lasseter has guided the animators and how his influence has turned the direction of the studio toward a more positive destination.
With all the things happening in the world, it's nice to see Disney Animation going somewhere for the better...
It appears that Steven Spielberg has renegotiated his deal with Universal. While his relationship with Universal had changed now that he has a new home for the next six years at the Mouse instead of the Globe; it was known that his contract with Disney didn't include anything related to building theme park attractions. It's long been known that Spielberg had a deal with Uni where could buy him out. That deal comes dues soon, or would have. So many, myself included, speculated that he might possibly work with Disney being as they have the most famous theme park division in the world. Won't happen. Not for eight years at least.
According to Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood, the famous producer/director signed a deal that expires in 2017. Is it me or is it ironic that that date comes a couple years after his deal with the Walt Disney Studios expires (2014-15)? So, unless some further tiff comes up over the next few years you can expect not to see any collaboration between the two on Shanghai Disneyland or anything else with Disney's name on it. Of course, should Steven and Bob get along well and the deal gets an extension after the current deal expires, something could happen.
Just not in this deals lifetime...
If you've noticed the pier in DCA isn't exactly full...
In fact it looks pretty dry, doesn't it? It was supposed to start being refilled last week, but a combination of minor technical errors and a little seen thing known as rain put a damper on the wetness happenings.
Fear not, should everything go according to plan, it shouldn't be too long before you see a steady stream of water trickling into the giant concrete swimming pool. But remember, it'll take close to three weeks to fill, so the rising will come slowly. Very slowly. But late November will come round and the sight of that mass of wire, pipe and beams should be a fading memory.
Weather permitting and the creak don't rise; only the pier...
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
If you haven't read it, this article on James Cameron over at the New Yorker Magazine about the director and his incredibly expensive and ambitious new film is a must read...
It's twelve pages long, very detailed, engrossing and well written by Dana Goodyear. Great piece. Give it a glance, actually, read the whole thing.
It's a bird, no, it's Airman?
Disney and ImageMovers are planning on making an adaptation of Eoin Colfer's "Airman" novel...
Those that don't know, Colfer is most famous/infamous for Artemis Fowl, a series of books about a boy genius who finds out that the world of fairies is real. This is a series of books I suggested in another post that Disney should adapt into a film. It appears they've at least purchased the rights to the author's other works. Who knows if this will lead to other adventures in Eoin (pronounced Owen) Colfer's world.
The story of Airman involves a young boy named Connor, a boy who lives on an island off the coast of Ireland, where his father is the king's bodyguard. The king is murdered and Conor is framed for the crime, thrown into prison where he builds a flying machine to escape and rescue his family. It has a very Steampunk flavor to the story and hopefully Ann Peacock will write an amazing adaption for Gil Kenan to direct. Zemeckis will produce with Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey through their company for the Mouse.
Here's hoping the look is stylized and not photo-realistic like earlier and current ImageMovers films, oh, and a good story too...
Apple introduced new iMac models today...
They're very nice, but I'll stick with using my 32" HDTV as my screen and my tower till next year, I think. That Magic Mouse looks really swell though.
I may have to drop some coin on that...
Monday, October 19, 2009
The College Humor site has a very funny parody of Pixar's opening logo featuring Luxo Jr. that you really should see...
Very creative, whoever came up with this.
The Lamp had it coming...
Hat Tip to Cartoon Brew.
For those of you that, like me, had to be somewhere on Thursday when ABC's "Flash Forward" broadcast the fourth episode, Hulu is here to save you...
Episode Four - Black Swan.
Nothing can stop the future from happening, but nothing should prevent you from watching it either...
Sunday, October 18, 2009
When the DVD for Pixar's "Up" comes out there will be more than to film to make you want to own it...
One of the many bonus features will be the all new short "Dug's Special Mission" featuring my favorite character from the film. Over at Moviefone they've got a one minute preview of the short. Naturally it's hilarious and totally Pixar. Go over and take a look at what you didn't see in the film. I love how we're getting to see other parts of the film's story that didn't wind up being seen on the screen.
That Lamp is one amazing place...
Hat Tip to Upcoming Pixar.
Well now, this is turning into one interesting super hero film...
The casting of two more stars has quietly leaked out and it's another surprising pair. Not exactly who you'd expect to see with someone wearing their underwear on the outside of their clothes.
Robert De Niro and Jude Law have joined the cast of Kenneth Branagh's upcoming Marvel feature. The German edition of Gentlemen's Quarterly seems to be giving us the scoop.
I'm trying to imagine what parts these guys are playing. This certainly ain't the script I read a couple years ago. I just hope with all that talent this interpretation is as good as the one I read. I look forward to the interesting events that unfold around this film.
It looks like this slowly becoming the "it" comic book adaptation...
Hat Tip to Ain't It Cool News.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
It appears that a couple of talented Imagineers are no longer at WDI...
Tim Delaney, one of their top Show Designers and Valerie Edwards, a Master Sculptor have left their vaulted positions in Imagineering. It's not known yet if they left on their own or were forced out.
I wish them luck in whatever new endeavors they encounter or pursue...
If you'd like to know more, here is an interview that Alain over at Disney and More did with Tim here.
Here is a Laughing Place interview with him here.
This is a piece on Valerie Edwards and her lovely talent as a sculptor here.
And lastly, an interview she did with D23 just last month here.
Enjoy and respect...
Friday, October 16, 2009
When summer 2012 rolls around, Disney's California Adventure will enter a phase it should have been experiencing a decade earlier...
A year more than that actually. Eleven years it will have taken. But you know what? Not only will DCA be different, but the entire resort will have grown into something much closer to being legitimately called a "resort." If all those extravagant plans for WestCot or even the original plans for Disney's California Adventure had been done then the realization of a true Disney Resort would have been realized by now. But budget cuts and clueless leadership stunted what could've been a great expansion. The resort we were promised never materialized. The one that we see in 2012 won't be exactly like the one proposed, but it'll be extremely closer to that actual realization. Think about it...
By that time DCA will be larger in size (20% bigger, actually), re themed in appearance to reflect the detail one expects from a Disney theme park. Most of the under themed or not really themed at all areas will be look totally different. A Victorian seaside pier, an idealized representation of Walt's California; the one he first saw stepping off the train, a more authentic 30's Hollywood section, an entirely new land that immerses you in the wild west and transforms you inside a young boys racing dream. If you think about it, the areas that were the best themed will now be some of the least desirable. The Golden State which was affected by the budget cuts the least has always been the most lavish area of the park. This was because it sits next to the expensive and lavishly themed Grand Californian and Eisner, Pressler and the Suits were so stupid as to put an eyesore near it. Their stupidity lied in not realizing that once they left that area they would notice the decline in quality.
Of course the area originally had AA's of wild animals that got cut. The Extreme Makeover originally was going to remedy this and also take away the modern elements in favor of a turn of the century Yosemite themed national park. But it will have to wait... should those crowds materialize the words "Phase Two" comes to mind. Once this almost billion dollars is spent the park will look drastically different, but will still have work to be done. But it'll be at a point it should have been on opening day. Thankfully that opening day will finally be here and we can enjoy the Second Gate like a true Disney park. We can also plan on seeing some amazing additions over the next decade as guest pour through those turnstiles and buy all that merchandise with new logos and designs on it.
But also in 2012 there will be other things not seen in February 2001. Like a vastly expanded Grand Californian with DVC units for the first time. A Disneyland Hotel that is much more worthy of the name. Much more extravagant and plussed with the bells and whistles Disney Fans/Geeks have come to expect. And right next to those three towers could be a fourth structure rising if all goes well.
At least one of the two new hotels that Disney planned on operating in the Garden Walk could be close to opening. So there will be added value there as well. And hopefully we'll hear next year about an expansion of the Downtown Disney retail area. Of course, this all depends on how spending goes and if the economy takes another nosedive or starts to head into recovery.
And remember, DCA is the Second Gate. The Original Gate will have a Tomorrowland that has a few new shiny things; more if the guest keep coming in. And if they do, that big piece of wasted space taken up by Innoventions could be sporting a swanky new E-Ticket that is going to make those three hour lines for Space Mountain's Ghost Galaxy seem short. Trust me, it'll be worth it. If things work out the entire area will be remarkably better than the worn out feel much of the TL 98 theme conveys to guest.
Like everything in life, there will be challenges, but finally the Disneyland Resort will be in a place where it can truly be called an actual resort. Not a mini-resort like it's been the past decade. The Oriental Land Company realized this when they built their new park into a resort back in 1999-2001. We got to see as each piece the OLC opened up, just how wonderfully elaborate and detailed their plan and the construction of it was. Back in America on the west coast, we got to see Eisner's stopgap measure that we were told was a resort. Now, come the early part of the next decade and we'll actually have those words turned into a reality. A new Disney resort and a new Disney theme park right here in Anaheim known as the Disneyland Resort.
Not just a nice hotel, new signage and a carnival in the parking lot...
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
A new poster for "The Princess and the Frog" is up...
The closer we get to this, the harder it is to wait for it. It looks great and if it's the hit I believe it is then we're in for a new Golden Age of Disney Animation.
If that happens we all benefit in oh, so many ways (hint: not just Disney films)...
Hat Tip to Latino Review.
Well, it didn't take long for Rich Ross to greenlight his first project...
It's called "What's He Got" and the answer to that should be "We Don't Know," because not a lot of information about the story hasn't been released.
Ross took over the reigns last week and chose to purchase a comedy from Kevin Bisch which has Josh Duhamel attached to it. Andrew Panay, Brian Sher and Walt Becker are producing. Becker is being eyed to direct the project, but it's not a done deal yet.
The story details are very thin, but it's rumored to be a buddy comedy under the Walt Disney Pictures banner. The Mouse paid a mid to high-six figure for the rights to the script.
The pitch for the script was bought by Kristin Burr and Oren Aviv... you know, he's the genius that was supposed to bring in a whole new slate of films a couple years ago. Those were supposed to do gangbuster business and put the studio at the top of the Hollywood food chain. Uh hum.
Don't know what to think. I'll wait before I form too much of an opinion until we have a slate of projects that are under Ross' belt.
At least it wasn't Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron in a remake of "Sleeping Beauty" set in the wild west...
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I was told about this a few weeks ago but wasn't sure if it was a rumor or just speculation and so I sat on it...
Oh well, nobody bats a thousand. But it appears that the powers that be in the Oriental Land Company have opted to use a version of Disneyland's "Fantasmic!" instead of DCA's new "World of Color" show. The logistics involved in restructuring the harbor and the expense issues involving the complex water show made the original show at Disneyland far more attractive. Who would have thought that the original Disneyland Resort would finally get something too elaborate for Tokyo? It appears that all that work done to enhance the new version of the nighttime show is going to be subsidized by Asia.
I was curious as to what was happening with the WOC talks since I hadn't heard from my Bothans on the subject for a good while now. Another source provided me with the news last month and I sent out some questions to a couple Bothans. They've been very quite lately, since jobs aren't as secure. Well, it appears that the official news hasn't yet been announced, but we may not have to wait too long. I have a feeling that something will appear before you know it. It is strange that the original Tokyo Disneyland isn't getting this show, but instead TDS is. Just another reason to visit the Tokyo Disney Resort's Second Gate.
As if there was any new reason needed in the first place...
The new show "Flash Forward" has been given a full season order by the Suits at the Alphabet Network...
Now we can look forward to 22 episodes that peer into the mysterious cause of the worldwide blackout/flash of everyone's future. If you haven't seen the show yet, you can see it over at Hulu. I've watched the first two episodes when they aired and missed the third episode, so I streamed it from my computer the other night. It's really cool, clever and if you like shows like "Lost," "Heroes" or "24" give it a look.
Here's the Flash Forward Hulu Links:
Episode One - No More Good Days.
Episode Two - White To Play.
Episode Three - 137 Sekunden.
After that ending to EP 3 I think you're going to be hooked...
Finally, we can say goodbye to looking at all that construction in Paradise Pier...
That's right. This week (today, actually) you're going to see a steady stream of liquid that used to be known as water inside that big concrete pit that we've all come to loath, err, I mean love. Yeah, I meant love.
Seriously though, it'll take a little less than three weeks, but come early November most people that come into the park will see an actual bay where all those nozzles, bars and tubes now lay. Of course, it'll really be nice when we're able to finally walk along that swanky new play area around it.
But it'll be the end of the year (Dec/Jan) before you'll get that chance...
Monday, October 12, 2009
Brooks Barnes has a great article about the transformation of The Disney Store that is about to take place...
From the article you can tell the steady influence of Steve Jobs on the plans for this ambitious overhall of the retail chain. I can't wait to see what it'll look like; those that have seen it are very, very impressed.
I'm trying to picture what Disney's version of the Genius Bar is going to be...
Finally, the official teaser trailer for "Toy Story 3" has been released...
You no longer have to look at broken links and bad copies, but instead can bask upon the glory of Pixar in wondrously clear QuickTime. Ain't I got the vernacular for purty words?
Next summer, no toy gets left behind...
They've announced who will be taking over from Ed Grier...
George Kalogridis will be the new president of the Disneyland Resort. Let's all wish him the best and see how things work out.
We're watching you George, we're watching you...
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I said, reach for the sky!!!
Check out the character posters for the stars of "Toy Story 3" that have been released by the Mouse to various websites...
Just for the record, if you want to see these in all their bigness and glory here are the links: Woody is at Moviefone, Jesse is at Coming Soon, Hamm is at /Film, Buzz is at Yahoo! Movies, Rex is at Trailer Park and Slinky Dog is at Ain't It Cool News. Go have a look.
And tomorrow, the wait is over...
Hat Tip to Upcoming Pixar.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Fifty-two years ago on this day on the ABC Network, Walt Disney premiered his "Zorro" series for kids young and young at heart...
I remember watching this adventure show fondly in reruns when I was a wee little one with its memorable opening. It comes out on DVD this November and I can't wait to watch Guy Williams do his swordplay.
He was Johnny Depp before Johnny was...
Friday, October 9, 2009
With all the talk about the Extreme Expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland, a few things that are glaringly obvious have been missing from the discussion...
We know that over the next four years there will the addition of three attractions in HKDL, but is that going to be all of the expansion?
No, it's most likely not, but the Mouse has been relatively quite about anything beyond this. Because there are some things that are missing from the puzzle. By the time Mystic Manor opens up in 2013 there should be something else open as well. Something not mentioned in any press release.
A third Hong Kong Disney Hotel.
Unless the economy continues to sputter along, or the global marketplace suffers a worse downturn you can expect that piece of property in between the two current hotels to be open for business. Imagineers for a while now have been quietly toiling away designing another lavishly themed hotel to expand the offerings for guest who enter Disney's Fifth Magic Kingdom Gate. I've talked to a couple Bothans lately that are very pleased with the designs and although they would give away much for fear of joining Dick Cook, did tell me that the thematic layout of this luxurious hotel will definitely please Disney Fans/Geeks.
Most people know that the Hong Kong park hasn't met expectations with attendance, but not many realize that the two current hotels have had very high occupancy rates. And with the expected increase in attendance for the new two E-Tickets and C-Ticket, there is going to be an added desire to keep the guest on the resort. You don't want them coming for the day and then going home or heaven forbid, going over to Ocean Park. You'll need a new hotel to entice them to stay and spend more money. In essence, you have to create a way to keep them on that plot of land spending only on Disney. Kind of the way Walt Disney World creates all those hotels and shopping experiences that make you have little desire to venture outside it's very beautiful incarceration area. Hong Kong's plan is to do so, but obviously with less land. It'll be smaller but with the detail that Disney is widely known for. An intimate prison, so to speak... but one you'll willingly stay at.
So with an expanded area (with a whole lot of room for expansion) with three new attractions (and a possible surprise or two by 2013) and three hotels this area will still be missing something, won't it?
A Downtown Disney type retail area.
And yes, there is one in the plans, but it hasn't officially been greenlit yet, or at least it hadn't moved into that area when the Bothans last got word of it. It's still planned within the next five or so years, but it may not be open before the rest of this expansion. That doesn't mean things couldn't change, but it hasn't been the primary focus. But make no mistake about it, by the middle of the next decade there will be a shopping district lined along the walkway from the pier to the main entrance. After all, you have to give those guest a reason to not leave the resort/park/hotel. That was always the plan you know. It's just taken a while to get going, but as the next year or so rolls out you'll see more and more of it.
Over the next year or so you're going to hear more about this from the Mouse and myself and others, but remember that there is another park about to be born in the area. That may take the shine off of this park for a while, but remember that that Hong Kong will be a very important market over the next decade and the Mouse has every intention of turning this resort into a world class destination. That other park won't take away from that no matter how different and unique it will be.
But that's a story for another and later day...
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
With Rich Ross taking the spot Dick Cook has held for the better part of this decade, I thought we might take a look at the films that have been greenlit during his time at the top...
Now remember that this is clearly from the standpoint of Blue Sky Disney and I'm sure others will/can/should disagree. In coming up with this list I'm not necessarily mentioning films I like, but talking about films that were hits and made money. Remember, money is god in show business and there are no atheist in this town. Some will be a mixture of both, this isn't a science... it's opinion. Mine and only mine.
Dick Cook took the reigns of Walt Disney Studios in 2002, replacing Peter Schneider who had replaced Joe Roth in 1999. He's lasted longer than most studio suits, but unlike most executives in Hollywood, Cook was genuinely liked by almost everyone. A very, very rare thing in the film industry.
This will take in an account of many/most films that were greenlit during his tenure; I'm sure some will be missed but most will be mentioned. I'm not focusing on any that came out in 2002 because he just got there and nothing he approved would be out the pipeline until 2003 at the earliest. And these include all three labels of Walt Disney Studios: Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures. Miramax is a rebellious sibling that answered very little to the Chairman.
So without more excessive blathering let's focus on his good and bad choices...
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (and its sequels)
National Treasure (and its sequels)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (not so much its sequel)
A Christmas Carol
Alice in Wonderland
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
John Carter of Mars
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo (I'm crossing my fingers on this one)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (just pure speculation here based on the director)
When in Rome
The Haunted Mansion
Home on the Range
Around the World in 80 Days
Herbie Fully Loaded
The Greatest Game Ever Played
The Shaggy Dog
The Game Plan
College Road Trip
Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Race to Witch Mountain
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Miracle at St. Anna
If you notice, there are several on the list that haven't yet come out and their slot on this list is a result of my own opinion mixed with the buzz I've heard as well as market speculation about how it appears the film will do.
Also not taken in to account are certain films from ImageMovers, Disneynature, DreamWorks and Disney's Double Dare You which were deals that Cook was intimately involved in putting together. As well, the Marvel deal is in the very early stages and since the ownership won't be finalized till the end of the year there really won't be much that would have the influence or involvement of Dick Cook.
So now that I've listed my take on the matter, I'm sure you'll give yours...
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Remember a while back we talked about the Disney Interactive/Junction Point's new game "Disney Epic Mickey" that had been rumored...
Well, Gameinformer magazine's November issue is going to be filled with all the secrets about it. Check out the cool cover online and keep an eye out on the website as new information is put up throughout the month. It's going to be interesting to see what they've come up with after reading some of the details spilled at Eurogamer.
It seems I'm not the only one who loves those "Beatles Rockband Cinematics," I guess...
Over at The Monkey Puzzle, they've lamented about why they don't make an animated film in the style of the opening and closing cinematics done by Pete Candeland of Passion Pictures.
In case Robert Zemeckis is reading this (don't worry, I know he isn't), if you want to see how to make an entirely cool and amazingly unique Yellow Submarine, watch this. Please. It'll save many of us having to waste two hours of our lives with your nostalgia. I hope that someone or somehow suits and creatives get you to see it, because if I have to sit through some photo-realistic MoCap representation of the Fab Four from the 60's, I may just have to break all my old LPs. Wait, I don't have any LPs. Well, you get the idea.
I just hope Zemeckis does...
Hat Tip to Cartoon Brew.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Walt Disney Pictures has released the first five minutes of "The Princess and the Frog" for all to see...
Take a look at the first of what lies ahead next for animated features from WDAS. And if you really like it, I'd suggest getting your tickets now. You might not want to wait to get them on opening weekend in December.
They could be pretty hard to find...
And another one gone...
It was just announced that Ed Grier, the President of the Disneyland Resort is retiring from the Disney company. I only make this statement because most of you have never seen/heard of Ed because he's rarely been seen in the parks. If he was there you'd know it because oddly enough a camera would be stalking him.
Good luck to Ed wherever he winds up and hopefully Lasseter will be able to pull some sway as far as getting someone to replace him. It'd be nice to have someone that the Mousetro happened to feel he was comfortable working with. Oh, and someone that didn't appear only when someone was taking his picture.
Details to follow/film at eleven...
Well, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Rich Ross has been named head of Walt Disney Studios...
It appears Cook wasn't the only studio suit to be replaced. It'll be interesting to see what pictures Ross lines up to turn around the live-action film division of the Mouse. As much as I love Dick Cook, the last few films that have come out under the Disney name were underwhelming at best. That said, I really cringe at the thought of seeing something along the lines of Hannah Montana or High School Musical material define the theatrical brand. I want to be wrong and would like to be surprised by his choices in a good way. Bob Iger was so right in his business decisions on Lasseter and Pixar; he'd better be right on this one as well.
Interesting that the LA Times took down their article, but others are still reporting the news...
UPDATE: Brooks Barnes over at the New York Times is confirming the story as well.
Here's a press release:
Rich Ross Named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios
Rich Ross, President of Disney Channels Worldwide, has been named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios (NYSE: DIS), it was announced today by Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger.
Ross will oversee worldwide production, distribution and marketing for the company’s range of live-action and feature animated film labels, including Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax and Disney/Pixar. In his new role, which he assumes immediately, he will also head Disney’s theatrical and music groups.
In his thirteen years at Disney, Ross has consistently created hit original programming, effectively expanded a worldwide creative and distribution organization, skillfully built the Disney brand with global franchises that work across borders and technology platforms and put in place a strong management team.
"Rich has an outstanding record of creating high-quality family entertainment that delights audiences around the world,” said Iger. "With his success in building the Disney brand across many of our businesses, his astute marketing sensibility, his proven ability in working effectively with talent and his skill at navigating complex global markets, I’m confident he’s the perfect leader for our studio group.”
"I am very excited to play a key role in continuing the storytelling legacy of The Walt Disney Studios. There has never been a better time to entertain our global audiences with high-quality and compelling content and introduce new characters that will become family favorites. I look forward to working with Bob, the team at the studios and all of our Disney family towards that goal,” said Ross.
Under Ross’s leadership, the performance of Disney Channels Worldwide has been consistently strong in both creative and competitive terms, in the U.S. and globally. The group now includes a total of 94 channels and channel feeds available in 163 countries in 32 languages and features such brands as the flagship Disney Channel, the boy-focused Disney XD and Playhouse Disney for younger kids.
Ross has also overseen the growth of Radio Disney and of the group’s multiplatform offerings, which includes subscription video-on-demand and content-rich broadband websites DisneyXD.com and DisneyChannel.com, the number one kid’s entertainment website among Kids 6-14.
In the U.S., Disney Channel has been the #1 TV network among Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14 for the last seven and nine years respectively, buoyed by such breakout series as Lizzie McGuire, That’s So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place and Sonny With A Chance. Stars of Disney Channel programs, including Raven-Symone, Selena Gomez, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus, have become household names.
Disney Channel’s record with original movies is equally impressive. With recent blockbusters like High School Musical 2, Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie and Camp Rock, Disney Channel can claim cable’s top two movies of all time and three of the top five.
Disney Channel programming has also helped build other Disney businesses, including the quadruple-Platinum-selling Hannah Montana soundtrack and the number one US album in 2006, High School Musical soundtrack. Books, stage shows, feature films, video games and merchandise featuring original Disney Channel characters have become a critical part of The Walt Disney Company’s success in recent years.
Ross joined Disney in 1996 as Disney Channel’s Senior Vice President, Programming and Production and was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility before being named Disney Channel president in April 2004. Prior to his tenure at Disney, he was a member of the executive team that launched FX Networks. Ross also held several senior positions at Nickelodeon from 1986 to 1993 where he oversaw talent booking, casting and program development and was involved in the launch of the channel’s first successful syndicated show and its first international network.
Ross is a member of the Board of Directors for Hollywood Radio Television Society and Cable in the Classroom – an organization that represents the cable telecommunication industry’s commitment to education. A native of New York and a 1983 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International and English, Ross received his J.D. degree from New York’s Fordham University in 1986.