Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Animated Road...


Later this month the future of Walt Disney Animation Studios really kicks into high gear and it's time we reflect on where it's going afterwards...

On November , WDAS' "Princess and the Frog" shows the world what Disney can do. And hopefully the public will show the Mouse some love by seeing this Frog and giving Disney some major green. That will go a long way toward job stability and a return to the high throne for Disney Animation. It'll take time. We won't start to see if Lasseter's plan for the animation division as a whole has worked until 2011 or 2012. By then enough films will have been released under his belt to give the public an idea of how successful his magic is at turning the Mouse around. Not that we won't get an idea with Frog or the upcoming "Rapunzel," but we won't be rushing to any judgements until we get our first glimpse of Disney's take on Phillip K. Dick's novella in the early part of the next decade.

Now, we've seen the list of films before, but some things have changed since Disney announced its lineup a little more than a year ago. Remember at that time there was no Disney film coming out in 2011. That looked to be an off year according to the schedule, until we found out earlier this year that Lasseter had decided to release a new hand-drawn picture based on untold stories of a silly ole' bear. That meant that we'd get a 2D film in 2009, a 3D film in 2010, another hand drawn in 2011, and finally another CG film in 2012. But since then a few projects have moved quietly along in development at the Hat Building. Right now it appears that somewhere after "King of the Elves" we'll get another Computer generated film. Somewhere between 2013-2014 there is the possibility that a project that died when Lasseter came to WDAS will be showing up in theaters. And it's something that will go perfectly in CG.

When John Lasseter first arrived at Walt Disney Feature Animation (former name of WDAS), he looked through all the projects and had to whittle down what was to be worked on. He had to make it lean. There would be only so much resources to go around and anything that wasn't needed, wasn't "Disney" or wasn't working was tossed. One of those projects was a film in development for several years called "Joe Jump."

Joe Jump was a project headed by Sam Levine, who is a very talented story artist working at the Hat Building. JJ was the story of an outdated video game character whom time had passed by. A fish out of water tale about a Pac-Man era game trying to make it in a Halo era world. When Lasseter looked at it he realized that, although the concept itself was quite good, the story wasn't coming together. So it got tossed. Or it got put back on the shelf; to use a better term. Nothing ever dies in animation, really. I guess Imagineering also since so many projects that got cancelled have wound up in other lands or parks.

But as of now, "Joe Jump" is back in active development. It appears that since the next slot available is going to be around 2013, the Story Trust think that there is enough time to fix the story problems and have it ready to go in four or five years. Interestingly, the Pixar film it may be paired with that year features a big, furry blue monster and his green, one eyed friend, just in case you were wondering. But as of right now, that's the plan. Sort of. Nothing is really put in stone. Remember how Pixar was going to release "Cars 2" in 2012 and then it got moved up a year? Well, things could shift like that, but as of now that's how it'll stand.

After that CG film there is talk of another classic hand-drawn film that is in very early stages. I don't have the name for it, but I have an idea as to what it is. It's had a name in the past but I don't know if they're going to be using it on the final project so right now I'll just refer to it as "untitled." Let's just say that it will be another sweet, hauntingly beautiful 2D animated film that will fit the current direction of the studio. I hope to have more about this project later if all goes well.

And then there is Chris Williams' film that he's working on. This project should be just about to come out by this time as well. Now, not many are privy to his ideas, but he's the wunderkind that Lasseter has singled out and his work is going to be put on the front burner when he finally moves forward with it. And from what I've heard it'll also be computer animated, but Chris has been rather hush-hush about it. So we'll have to wait to hear more about this one sometime next year. Hopefully. But don't expect it to surface before 2012-2013.

Both of these projects will bring us up to 2015, which will almost be an entire decade of Ed Catmull and John Lasseter being in charge of the animated division of the Mouse. And I'm sure they're going to have something special planned. As to what it is? I don't have a clue. There are many projects in various states of readiness there right now and it could wind up being any one of them.

So for those of you that need to see a time line of everything after the Frog:

Rapunzel 2010
Winnie the Pooh 2011
King of the Elves 2012
Joe Jump 2013-14
Untitled hand-drawn film 2012-2013
Untitled CG film by Chris Williams 2012-13

By the time this last movie is out the Mouse House should be putting out about one film a year. Just like it did in the early nineties, only this time the story won't be sacrificed by the Suits desire to just see dollars. There will be a new CG animated film approximately every 18 months and a hand-drawn film approximately every 24 months. Within the time line that should work out to an animated film between every 12 to 14 months. Not too bad. And that's just from the Southern California Branch of Disney Animation. The Northern Branch, aka: Pixar will have it's own films released yearly too. But that's a story for another time on another day in another post.

And you'll have to wait a while for that post...

35 comments:

perfectly flawed said...

On paper, the next decade seems quite exciting. It seems like there's going to be a variety of genres in Disney Feature Animation.

"Joe Jump" sounds pretty interesting. Glad to see another Chris Williams project as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious to know, what ever happened to the Glendale Studio that John Lasseter plans to develop? When they finally found the voice of Mickey Do You know if John Lasseter will make more Mickey Mouse Theatrical shorts?

Honor Hunter said...

Don't read all my post, do you?

Hehe...

Iger didn't want WDAS that far from the Lot, so they planned on building it on the lot. Plans fell through when they realized how much it would cost for the underground garage. So they held off on building it for the time being. This was as of the new year, I haven't heard much lately and don't know if they've started plans again.

New shorts are in the works. At least a couple more, but I haven't gotten much lately about when they'll be out. Probably late 2010 if I had to guess, but that is a guess.

If Frog does well, it's going to reverberate through the company and the new animation building as well as hirings/firings/job stability are going to embolden the management.

Maybe then Iger will let loose the noose and let them build on the Lot or even in Glendale...

Anonymous said...

Sow queen, I gots to know about Snow Queen! Honor, help a brotha' out!

But in all seriousness, I have heard that Glen Keane may be planning to retire or leave WDAS after Rapunzel. Is this true?

Anonymous said...

I'm not liking this concept...

Lets look at this new age of Disney animation shall we?

Princess and the Frog
Rapunzel
King of the Elves
Joe Jump

One of these things is not like the other... and it worries me...

How long will this renaissance last?.......

Anonymous said...

Hey, they don't want everything they do to be Princesses.

I think they want to be more like Pixar where they have a variety of projects. From what I've read, Joe Jump could be really cool.

Kaiser Kevin said...

Was "hauntingly" a clue to the film genre??

Joe Jump has some potential, and is a boy movie, which would please the sexist male viewers who don't want princesses cause its girly.

Me want's shorts and me want's them now!! Get your ass into gear Disney!!

Ps. good post today.

Blue Guy Dizzy said...

Wow, sounds great. I was getting worried all we would get were going to be fairy tales. Disney can do more and better than that. When will we see artwork for it?

Anonymous said...

Hey Honor,

You a little scared that someone might steal your thunder?

You seriously deleted that post from that other person that's giving a stripped down version of your site.

You going to start trolling them soon? ;)

Anonymous said...

http://blueskydisney.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/re-animated-road/

Tuckenie said...

Honor I can't believe you're not catering to the whims of some a-hole trying to openly insult your site and writing style. How dare you?!

Pay no heed to that simpleton folks. He knows nothing of love and simply wants to destroy the joy in others. Don't give him the hits or the credit. If it was worth your time he wouldn't be posting like a three year having a tantrum and he wouldn't be acting like a coward.

Excellent post Honor.

Nathan Birnbaum said...

Better not say anything nice about Honor or this butthole will start to rant and whine and cry.

Anonymous said...

@Nathan Birnbaum

I don't think anyone has actually seen this "butthole" rant and cry yet.

Also, I think that this "Blue Sky 2" person is stating the obvious -- Honor can give good info but be bogged down by his writing style.

Is it really bad that someone is breaking it down into his actual main points?

Additionally, BS2 is giving full credit to Honor on his site. What more can you ask?

Clarity said...

@Tuckenie

Why would you call someone a "simpleton" and say that they know nothing of love.

My God. What does that have to do with anything.

Is no one on this board allowed to have a contrary opinion?

King Louie said...

Anonymous said: "Additionally, BS2 is giving full credit to Honor on his site. What more can you ask?"

Um, how about he get a life?

Don't get so spastic over a friggin' blog. There are more important things in life. Whoever started this site apparently has too much time on his hands.

Anonymous said...

@King Louie

It appears that they have less time on their hands than Honor, who tends to prattle on and on and on...

PixarFanatic said...

Yech, Disney needs to make movies that aren't so fairy-tale like. And I'm not a "Winnie the Pooh" fellow. Let's hope "Joe Jump" and the untitled films to follow will be more good--like Dinosaur, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt...

Tuckenie said...

Nothing says "prattling" like trolling a blog and posting Anonymous attacks on the writer just because he happens to have a style you dislike. I don't recall paying Honor for his blog and I don't recall asking him to do it. If you don't like Honor's blog then don't read it, simple as that. You don't need to create another blog to openly attack him. That's the act of a coward.

If you had any guts you'd go get your own sources and put the time and effort into creating a blog that people would read instead of insulting someone doing something nice because he enjoys it.

And this isn't a matter of having a contrary opinion either. Creating a site that openly insults someone and expecting them to allow you to post links in their comments goes WAY beyond an opinion.

Honor could set his blog so he screens comments and yet he hasn't so far. Sure he may have deleted the FIFTEEN comments I saw posting the anti-bluesky address because he didn't want people consumed by your hate, but who could blame him?

Go crawl back to the hole you came out of and let the people who want to share their joys and passions get back to their lives. Plus go get a life on the way.

Clarity said...

@Tuckenie

It looks like your comment was approved on that "hateful" blog.

I think you might be blowing this out of proportion. Perhaps you should read what the proprieter of that blog had to write.

Maybe Honor could, too?

Blue Sky Disney 2 said...

I invite everyone to please participte in my blog.

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, or want to correct my spelling, grammar, or syntax, feel free.

Additionally, I will gladly accept criticism and try to respond to it promptly :)

Detective Denise said...

Maybe those that keep complaining about the trolls should also shut up as they are too causing no end of troubles on this blog.

And I want a bloody conversation about the actual content of the blog post, not whether its right or not to post a link to another blog or censor someones posts.

Just get on with it.

So lets do that...

Was "hauntingly" a clue to the film genre??

Joe Jump has some potential, and is a boy movie, which would please the sexist male viewers who don't want princesses cause its girly.

Me want's shorts and me want's them now!! Get your ass into gear Disney!!

Ps. good post today.

Anonymous said...

Any word on when we will see the first Disney Double Dare You film?

Blue Sky 2 Sucks said...

Seriously some douchebag is spoofing Bluesky? What a dickless piece of shit. Get a life you loser!

Anonymous said...

Haha. I looked up what "spoof" means and none of the definitions apply:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/spoof

This Blue Sky 2 seems to really be getting under everyone's skin ;)

Disney Dingbat said...

Great post as always. Can't wait for all these movies!

Honor Hunter said...

All right guys...

I don't mind people posting their thoughts. For the longest time I've allowed silly and sometimes totally off the topic/post banter to go on, but enough is enough...

From now on... On topic or comments will not be in the comments section. Sorry, but this place is not for this kind of ranting. No spam. And so it's clear, I determine what is span.

Since some of you can't play nice and spoil it for others, then I'll have to treat you like the children you seem to be acting like.

I feel that these comments seem to be detracting from those that wish to enjoy or talk about the post or news.

Feel free to start your own blog (like some seem to have done) if you don't like following guidelines...

Neal said...

I'm thoroughly convinced that "Snow Queen" fits in there and Mike Gabriel is playing a big role in it!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's one of those untitled projects he mentions? He did say one of them had a name that they were thinking of changing.

Anonymous said...

Please... SNOW QUEEN for the next 2D animated film directed by Dean Wellins, or Mike Gabriel, or Trousdales and Wise (xD).

Snow Queen and maybe Aida, or Quixote are the best fables of all time, specially SNOW QUEEN.

Also i hope MY PEOPLES, please... GOOSE CHASE, RUMPLESTLITSKIN, all for the next decade xD

PixarFanatic said...

THANK YOU HONOR HUNTER!!! NO MORE TROLLS!!!

PixarFanatic said...

You should delete one or two of these posts.

Moderate! said...

HONOR -- PROTECT YOUR FUCKING COMMENTS! THIS SUCKS! MAKE EVERYONE REGISTER AND PROPERLY MODERATE!

PixarFanatic said...

Dude, I think people are trying to get the comments disabled..

Anonymous said...

Joe Jump sounds like it could have Toy Story type appeal.
Just what came to mind.

David Jr. said...

If you're going to wield the delete-ax Honor, could you clean up some of that hate speech? Jesus, the internet breeds idiocy.

More on topic, I completely agree that Snow Queen, Aida and Don Quixote would be perfect for WDFA.

I would especially love if they could do a version of Aida using Elton John and Tim Rice's musical score and songs, although it might be a bit off from WDFA's usual target demographic.