Monday, August 31, 2009

Maleficent Revealed...

The Disneyland Resort has released photos and a video of the new audio-animatronic Maleficent Dragon...

I have only one thing to say about it: "Frickin' Awesome!"

Hat Tip to the Orange County Register's Blog.


Bob Iger has been making the rounds...

To listen to the entire 43 min. 30 sec. audio presentation click here. It's also divided into sections if you wish to listen to just parts.

Here he is talking to Fox Business Channel about the acquisition here.

Actual video of Iger's video announcement can be found over at Stich Kingdom here.

And if you'd like to see what Stan Lee thinks of this deal, click here.

Brady McDonald at the LA Times Blog has more insight as to how the Universal deal affects the Mouse here.


Mouse/Marvel Merger Commentary (Part Three)...

A few quotes from the Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer of the Walt Disney Company and Chief Executive of Marvel earlier today for a little clarity...

For those worried about the Mouse "Disneyfying" the Marvel Characters:
"We'll take a look and see, but the bottom line is we like what they've been doing so far," - Tom Staggs, Disney CFO
And about the meeting that John Lasseter had with Marvel Suits earlier last week:
"The group got pretty excited pretty fast," Iger said, adding he expects exciting collaboration opportunities. "Sparks will fly," - Bob Iger, Disney CEO
And Staggs offering why the deal was good for Marvel:
"Disney stock is attractively priced and that's why it's important to Marvel," - Tom Staggs, Disney CFO
And if you want to see that Disney wants to be in charge of the characters:
"it clearly would be in our best interest if we ended up as the sole distributor," he said. "When you distribute your own films, the opportunity is even better." - Disney CEO, Bob Iger
Or on the future of handling the properties:
"We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," - Bob Iger, Disney CEO
And when asked about meddling in on projects:
“If it ain’t broke…” - Bob Iger, Disney CEO
Marvel's CEO got in on the acquisition as well:
“Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” - Ike Perlmutter, Marvel CEO
Iger expressed his confindence in Marvel's current management as well:
“Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney.” - Bob Iger, Disney CEO
One of the problems Disney has is that it appeals to girls more than boys, hence the Disney XD launch to try and bring in this important demographic:
“We’d like love to attract more boys, and we think Marvel’s skew is more in boys’ direction. Although there’s a universal appeal, we think, to a lot of their characters and a lot of their story. Just look at Spider-Man and Iron Man films. This is a great fit. But we obviously know Disney has a lot of products that are more girl-skewed than boy. And we’d like the opportunity to go after boys more aggressively.” - Bob Iger, Disney CEO
More to follow...

Mouse/Marvel Merger Commentary (Part Two)...

More thoughts on all things Mouse and Marvel...

Just more opinion and speculation based on what's been happening throughout the day. First off, I know many of you, from e-mails, comments and post all over the web have been bemoaning the death of Marvel now that Disney owns them, or will by the end of the year. Please, no more Deadpool/Mickey Mouse team ups comments. Those that aren't very familiar with Disney, I'll cut you some slack. Those that are familiar with them, you deserve no quarter in regards to this line of thought. Remember how people thought a few years ago that Pixar was over now that the Mouse was fully in control? It turns out to not be the case. I'd say that the Mouse influenced no and total control over the making of such masterpieces as "Up." Why did I put it that way? Because they did have total control over the projects since they've owned them, but also because Lasseter, who is in charge of all Disney Animation (except WDTA), was in charge of the project. Iger put Lasseter in charge of those divisions and he has in no way interfered with him. He's taken a hands off approach that looks at each division as it's own kingdom. As long as that kingdom does right, he doesn't interfere with it. Marvel is doing pretty well right now, and I have a belief that Iger will take a hands off approach to Mighty Marvel as well. In fact, I think with the backing of Disney, comic book fans will see a growth in quality properties, not a decrease.

Some people have joked about a Pixar produced Hulk or many of the characters going CG. There may be projects that work for the studio, but I don't think that any Marvel characters will show up in the Lamp's pictures since it develops its slate internally. The same for Walt Disney Animation Studios as they do the same. Almost all pictures will most likely appear under a Disney banner (Walt Disney Pictures/Touchstone Pictures). That doesn't mean that there won't be cross polynation of projects. You can be sure that the Big Cheese, John Lasseter will have some influence on Marvel as he has had a growing influence over several divisions of the entire company. And that is a good thing. And don't think I'm meaning something like "kiddified" or "Disneyfied." I mean simply creative. Lasseter believes in letting creatives take charge and not be ruled by the bean counters. Nothing against bean counters now, but they're not the best to judge what to do with where a story goes. That's the problem Disney animation had during the past decade. It's not a problem they have now, and I think it'll show very much so come this holiday season with "The Princess and the Frog."

I believe Iger is looking at this as a very long term strategy and it's going to take a while, perhaps a decade or two, before all of the companies properties are brought under the umbrella of protection of the company. And he's prepared for that. But he's got plans in the meantime and you should start seeing fruitful results within the next couple years. As for seeing a Spider-Man film that starts off with the Walt Disney Pictures logo?

That may be part of the longer strategy...

Mouse/Marvel Merger Commentary (Part One)...

Wow, I didn't know I was this powerful...

Who would have thought a little column by me, called "Without Tights" would cause a light to go on in Bob Iger's head? Just kidding guys. But I did make observations in that article that suggested the Mouse was indeed a little short in the Super-Hero department. A little later, I made a comment about an article over at the Motley Fool comparing the two companies, which are ironically, now one.

First off, my initial response when I woke up this morning before heading out was... well, I can't say what it was. The expletives, I don't use on this website. But I was quite surprised and taken aback by the news, just like everyone else in Hollywood.

Secondly, this does take care of the Disney's huge vacuum of underwear wearing characters. I have a feeling that any of my suggestions from that original article or the half-finished sequel to it will never ever happen. After all, they now have 5000 new characters to exploit in film, television, video games, books, internet, ect. and so on.

As for how this affects the deals with the other studios, that remains to be seen. I can state that the deal with Paramount is practically a given. They've got a five picture deal that includes "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "Avengers," "Captain America," and one more to be determined. After that, it's almost a forgone conclusion that any other sequels or properties developed after 2011/2012 will have either a Walt Disney Pictures logo or Touchstone Pictures logo attached to it.

As for "Spider-Man" over at Sony? It'll most likely stay there for quite a while. "Daredevil," "Fantastic Four" and all the "X-Men" properties? They'll remain at Fox until they get a clue as to how to take advantage of these properties or simply have run them into the ground. At that point, Disney could step in and take the license back, albeit for a price, I'm sure. The Friendly Neighborhood Guy is the Holy Grail that will be outside of their grasp for the time being... for the time being.

As for the theme parks? That is a more complicated set of circumstances there. With all the deals struck with Universal and the plans for a park in Dubai, I'd guess it'll be at least a decade before you see any form of major appearance in the parks. It's just going to take time for these agreements to expire or be bought out. But make no bones about it, Disney plans on using these properties for their own interest and I don't blame them. They paid four billion dollars for them! They have every right to do so.

Now, if they'll just focus on buying Lucasfilm and prying those beloved characters from George's hands, I'll be a very, very happy guy...

The Statement...

The official statement from the Mouse:

"Walt Disney Company said Monday it has agreed to buy Marvel Entertainment, the storied comic book company that owns the rights to such popular characters as Spider-Man and and the Fantastic Four, in a cash and stock deal it valued at $4 billion. The deal comes more than 10 years after Marvel was at the center of a bruising and highly public takeover battle between two feisty financiers.

Shareholders at Marvel will need to approve the transaction, which boards of directors at both companies have already approved.

"We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," Robert Iger, Disney's chief executive, said in a statement announcing the deal.

"Disney is the perfect home for Marvel's fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses," said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel's chief executive officer. "This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world."

Mouse Buy$ Marvel...


Commentary to follow...

Bruckheimer Buys Shake...

The Hollywood Reporter is uhm, reporting that Jerry Bruckheimer has bought the noir-fiction story "Shake" from screenwriter Derek Haas for a future film through his deal with Disney (Touchstone, most likely).

Haas will write the screenplay, expanding it from the short story on Popcorn Fiction to a feature film. Bruckheimer, obviously will produce through his production shingle on the lot. The tale involves an FBI agent hunting down a killer as he slowly begins to lose the motor functions of his own body to a debilitating disease.

In related news, Bruckheimer has hired a writer to pen the script for an eventual "Bad Boys 3," which would reunite "The Bruck" with Michael Bay, Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and crew. What a minute! Did they actually had writers on those first two films? Now that's a revelation to me. My opinion was that Bay would yell: "Action" and everything goes "BOOM!" and then he'd yell: "Cut!" at which point the credits would roll. Story? We don't need no stinkin' story!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Matinee...

I can't wait to see the D23 Expo in a couple weeks...

First though, since this is a Saturday Matinee, how about a preview? That's a nice little marketing campaign the Mouse has started just a few days ago. Expect more as we get closer to the events.

Like I said; I'm really looking forward to this show. If anything, it'll be a nice consolation prize for missing out on Comic-Con this year. I'll be at the Expo Saturday and Sunday. Although I'd like to be there on Thursday and Friday (especially Friday), I've made other plans and won't be able to make it. Possibly Friday evening, but I would want to see Dick Cook's keynote and a few other things.

But I will be there the last two days. Any Disney fan will love it, I believe, especially Saturday. Particularly Disneyland fans. Specifically Star Tour(s) fans. And who knows, maybe even a few Star Wars fans, perhaps? What's that? I have know idea what you're talking about. You didn't hear what you thought you heard. These aren't the droids you're looking for. They're for sale if you'd like to buy them? Hehe...

Plus, Sunday I get to see Lasseter's keynote and his talk about the direction of Walt Disney Animation Studios, a few things I can't mention and then a fun filled evening with friends over at Disneyland.

It'll be fun to see how this D23 Expo develops as time goes by...

Friday, August 28, 2009

When Will The Light Go Out?

Nothing last forever and you have to wonder how long before the Lamp flickers...

They produce only one film a year, but have a remarkably consistent strategy of success. Pixar Animation Studios is a studio that would be the envy of all in Hollywood. They're ten for ten with no disappointments and no bombs since their first film came on the scene in 1995. Many thought that as they ramped up production, from a picture every two/three years to one a year, that the quality would slip and so would their record. No so, at least not yet.

So it got me wondering... always a dangerous thing for me, but I thought, what could/would be the first failure for John Lasseter's little Emeryville Kingdom? So I decided to look at their film schedule and try to analyze which one could possibly be a failure, or at the very least, a disappointment.

Over the next four years we can expect four films, should they keep to their current plans:

2010 - Toy Story 3

2011 - Cars 2

2011 - The Bear and the Bow

2012 - Newt

Will "Toy Story 3" be the first to fail? To quote the late John Wayne: "Not hardly." The only way this film will be a failure is if there is a power outage all across the nation the weekend it opens. I'm sure attention to detail has produced a very well done script, but even if it hadn't, can you imagine the crowds going to see this? From those that have been fans since the original to the young kids that have grown up with Woody and Buzz on video and in parks; it's bullet proof. No way will this one be a failure.

Well, then we go to 2011, which for the first time will have two Pixar films in one year. The first will be the summer release of "Cars 2" and the later will be a holiday release of Pixar's first fairy tale: "The Bear and the Bow." One of the reasons the new "Winnie the Pooh" film is coming out in spring is because Bear already has the traditional Disney holding place. But let's start with Lightning McQueen's return first.

I will state confidently that "Cars 2" will not be a bomb, in fact, it's going to make far more money that the original. The first one passed the 400 million dollar mark, which is nice, but not what most were expecting from the Lamp. But what many people don't realize is that the merchandising from the film generates over 2 billion a year and has so far made the Mouse 5 billion plus. There are a lot of kids out there with shoes and backpacks and a ton of other licensed products that have indoctrinated a whole lot of young boys. This film will make bank. And the merchandise associated with it will probably get the Disney company through the current recession.

So then we come to Pixar's other release, its first fairy tale. Uncharted territory for the company. But again, almost every film for them has been uncharted territory. This is the first film that has a chance of failure for Pixar. So the first time we'll see a test of their success will be around Christmas 2011. That's a long ways away and being as how the film will go through several revisions before we see it, I'd gamble that it's going to be a success too. Disney does have some success at selling Princesses after all, don't they? But if there is to be a first failure this will be it.

But if it's not, then "Newt" will appear less than a half year from Bear so it will provide a test as well. This one could really be the first one, since the material it's dealing with isn't something that Disney is used to selling, like a princess. But I've seen Gary Rydstrom's "Lifted" and it's very good, very clever. And like the rest, there's a long time between now and our first introduction to the little salamander/newt/amphibian(?) creature. If the pundits got worried with an old man in "Up," imagine how they'll feel about this character.

So the nearest we'll come to seeing a failure is over two years from now. But if "Newt" or "The Bear and the Bow" aren't going to be a mistake or stumble, what about 2013? That's the next time we'll see the next Pixar film. Will it be a disappointment? Will it crash and burn at the box office? I can't say for sure, but the last time I saw Sully and Mike they did pretty well, didn't they?

Quality is a great business plan...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Deppless Pirate Film For Disney...

Since all the new films that the newly reborn DreamWorks develops will be distributed by Disney this is ironic...

According to a USAToday article, Steven Spielberg is developing a Pirate film based on perhaps the last novel Michael Crichton did before his death entitled, "Pirate Latitudes." David Koepp is writing the adaption and Spielberg is producing with the possibility of directing it. The plot essentially is a "men on a mission" story wrapped in a pirate narrative about a group that tries to get into Port Royal and steal a Spanish galleon's treasure. It sounds a whole lot more exciting than Spielberg's remake of "Harvey."

Let's just hope the director isn't going through another "Hook Phase." He had a series of mostly forgettable pap before he finally did the trilogy of "Jurassic Park," "Schindler's List" and "Amistad" back to back. Although the last one was the weakest of the three, it clearly put Spielberg back on track after several years wandering around looking for creativity. Perhaps he may have found it with some pirate gold?

He certainly didn't find it looking for a Crystal Skull...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cameron's Empire...

For those that are interested in James Cameron's "Avatar" film...

This coming week, Empire Magazine has a new issue out that has an article with a lot of photos that haven't been seen yet of 20th Century Fox's Christmas/Holiday release. I know there's been a lot of criticism of the teaser trailer that premiered last week. But the majority of those that went to the Avatar Day screenings left impressed. Myself included. It may not be a revelation/game changer, but it will be an event film with images and scenes like you've never seen before. Many bet against Cameron when he made "Titanic" over a decade ago. No one felt it would make the 200 million dollar budget back. They were all wrong. Badly wrong. Could they be again?

In December we'll find out what 300 million can buy...

Admit One...

I've been hearing all this chatter about the D23 Expo...

You know, the talk about tickets not selling and the Mouse is worried that it's going to be a failure. Blah, blah, blah. Sometimes people really need to relax and not listen to all the nattering nabobs of negativity. But fear not, everything is just fine and reality isn't quite as bad as some would have you believe.

Here's a little secret between me and you... ticket sales are actually ABOVE projections. Hard to believe, huh? Ticket vendors tend to sell 40 to 50% of the tickets for an event at the door. Right now, D23 Expo tickets are approaching that number. The high forties, actually. And there is still two weeks to go so that's not bad at all.

The Suits up in Burbank, though, they want it all sold out so they've bought a specific number of tickets to give to the employees to make sure it's full. They want it to look like something out of Comic-Con, which in the first year is not really a realistic thing, but hey, they're Suits. Originally the plan was to have employees get one day for $5 dollars, but when Cast Member tickets were a little slow at first they changed their minds and let them get all four days at $5 dollar a piece. Not a bad deal if you work for the Mouse.

But those tickets are in addition to the sales to the general public and the D23 community. So since sales are going briskly there, that means the crowds are going to be pretty good. This won't be like Comic-Con, but then again, Comic-Con wasn't like it is today on its first year. It took time to grow and gather word of mouth. And the D23 Expo will need the same. It's not like a theme park like Tokyo DisneySEA that can be built great on opening day. Of course, it's not like DCA either, which was the exact opposite.

Fear not...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

American Boy...

Go, go gadget poster!

First the Japanese poster, now the domestic (read: North American) poster...

Hat Tip to Cinematical.

He's A Bad Mutha...

One of the few remaining films that I want to see before the holidays is this...

A little independent film made on a shoestring budget (reportedly 3 million dollars) that was bought by Sony after making waves at the festivals. "Black Dynamite" is a take on the Blaxploitation films from the 70's and it looks hysterical. If you're a fan of cinema like myself, you'll recognize the inspiration of such films as Coffy," "Black Caesar," "Superfly" and many others. This film generated a lot of buzz when shown around and looks like it could do for those films what "In Like Flint" did for "Austin Powers."

Take a look at some of these amazingly realistic looking 70's style posters...

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto...

Secret, secret, I got a secret! Secret, secret, I got a secret! Secret, secret, I got a secret! Secret, secret, I got a secret! Secret, secret, I got a secret! Secret, secret, I got a secret! Secret, secret, I got a secret!

New Japanese poster for Astro Boy is out...

New Pooh..

When I mentioned at the beginning of the month that there were things about Disney Animation's 2011's release I was being honest...

I had several people e-mail me that I was lying and just was trying to tease them and yada, yada, yada. You get the picture. Well, I did and still do have things I can't mention, but now there is something I was referring to that I can now talk about. It's been mentioned on a couple sites, like the Animation Guild and a couple others, so I feel it's safe to open up about it.

You remember how we originally said that this new film would be a mixture of new stories and at least one old tale from the original shorts? Kind of like Fantasia 2000 used the Sorcerer's Apprentice with several new segments was the thinking originally going in. Things tend to evolve and it appears now the Higher-Ups tend to like the way the story is going so much that there's not going to be a bridge short/chapter from the original film. This one will stand on it's own and include all original material. Much of it will be based on A.A. Milne's work in the classic novels that wasn't all covered by the three Disney produced shorts: "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree," "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day," and "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too." So now we've got something new and old to look forward to. As for the other stuff about this release, I just have to hold off on anything else at this time.

We've got over two years and I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it as the new journey to the 100 Acre Woods gets closer...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Iger On Expo...

The Los Angeles Times has an article that has an interview with Bob Iger about the upcoming D23 Expo...

Go over at take a look at what the Times and the Mouse's Big Cheese thinks about the upcoming event.

Casting Mars...

Casting continues on Walt Disney Pictures adaption of the Edgar Rice Burroughs classic...

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that actor Dominic West and actresses Samantha Morton and Polly Walker have joined Andrew Stanton's adaption of John Carter of Mars. Click over to the site for more details about who they're playing.

Production is scheduled to begin in three months (November), for a release date of summer 2011. I've seen how many times this was supposed going to be filmed since I was a teen and now it actual is coming to fruition.

Get ready Utah, here comes the Mouse...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Making The Past Contemporary...

Tomorrow The Disneyland Hotel finally gets started on the renovation that it's needed for over a decade...

It's not the Mictorian/Victorian hotel concept that I love or even the fantasy theme that was proposed a few years ago, but it's going to much better, well themed experience once it's done in 2012. I think looking at it as a comparison to the Disneyland Hotels in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong or even Grand Floridian would be misdirected. The hotel theming it'll have, will be more in relation to The Contemporary at Walt Disney World. It's that kind of styling and thinking you need to approach it with if you want to objectively examine it.

The Dream Tower will be the first one to get this beautification and it should be done by summer, 2010, just in time for another tower to go under the knife, so to speak. It'll be a little under a year for each one to go through this process. Once the Extreme Makeover is done, so will be the makeover of the Disneyland Hotel. That would only leave the badly out of place and badly themed (in relation to the new Victorian themed pier) Paradise Pier Hotel. But for anything to be done to that hotel, the economy is going to have to pick up a bit. Now as for those other Disney hotels in the planning?

As always, time will tell...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pandora's Box Office...

I've now seen the trailer and the sixteen minutes of footage in 3D...

I didn't say anything about the trailer of "Avatar" that was released the other day. I've heard a lot of talk about the teaser and it seems that most people are split between loving it or downright hating it. I didn't want to say anything until after I had seen it with 3D glasses in the environment that James Cameron wanted you to experience it.

Well, now I've seen it. First off, about the trailer. When I saw it at first I was somewhat unimpressed. First impressions of it were that it appeared to be a very big budget remake of "Aliens" combined with "Dances with Wolves" set in space. I bought all the human scenes of Sam Worthington, but when those big blue aliens came on I had some difficulty believing in them. It still seemed a bit like video game footage. I didn't hate it and I was in no way going to condemn it as some seem to be doing. I've bet against James Cameron before when he did a little film called "Titanic." I can still hear my roommates and I saying that he'll never recoup that 200 million dollars he spend on it. Fox will never let him do another film for them, we crowed. By the time it was over, I was the one eating crow. So, I never will place my money against the King of the World. He risked a lot making that film and he earned the right to make this film. 20th Century Fox owes him that much.

Having now seen the trailer I can tell my first impressions of the trailer were right... and were not so write. Confused? Well, I was right about it being Aliens/Dances in Space. But it also feels to have a bit of Michael Mann's "Last of the Mohicans" as well. And although I saw some scenes from the trailer, they play out far better on a giant IMAX screen than a 32 inch computer screen. Does it look totally real? No, not really, but I bought into it after a little bit and you became lost in the story and this uniquely beautiful and strange world. And the world of Pandora is unlike any world I've seen on screen before. I mean, there are shades of Felucia, that glowing world seen briefly in "Revenge of the Sith," but Pandora appears much more organic and believable. Star Wars seemed like Lucas gave the artist a one or two sentence line about a world and let them create it. All he had to do was sign off on the designs. This place feels like something that Cameron designed from the bottom up. I felt that if I was to ask him how this world evolved or how the ecology worked that he could go through a very detailed explanation that he's worked out. It felt very big, epic and intriguing and I can see many people going to see this just because of the event movie it is going to turn out to be. And it's probably going to make a who lot of money at the box office for the Suits at the Fox Studio.

CG is just a tool. It can't tell a story, it can only present that story. In the right hands it can expand their opportunities, but in the wrong hands it can be an excuse to not have a fully developed script or even idea. That's the difference between James Cameron and Michael Bay. I have a feeling that Cameron has an endgame for this story. If Bay had done a film like this I can only imagine the plot holes that we would be seeing these characters falling into. So after this first viewing I'm looking forward to it. It's got me interested enough to give it a chance.

And Cameron at the very least deserves that from me...

Villainous Frog...

Jerry Beck's wonderful animation website, Cartoon Brew has got exclusive look at another featurette on Walt Disney Animation Studios latest effort...

This one entitled "Conjuring the Villain" focuses on the new Disney Villain, Dr. Facilier and the men behind animating and voicing him in this film, Bruce Smith and Keith David respectively. Yet another chapter of these little shorts that give us more beautiful clips of the evil Nemesis in this latest Mouse film.

Anticipating the holiday magic...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Innocence Lost, 1956...

Sometimes your life can hold treasures untold...

Take for example, Jeff Altman, who found a 16 mm film that his Grandfather took of Disneyland when it was a wee, one year old. Great stuff, and in color too.

Hat Tip to The Disney Blog.

A Yellow Submarine On Disney's Radar...

Or on Robert Zemeckis' Radar...

News comes that the director's MoCap production shingle, ImageMovers is trying to acquire the film rights to the Beatles film, "Yellow Submarine" along with sixteen songs for use in the film.

I really am suspect to this. I am unimpressed with anything Zemeckis has done since he abandoned live-action at the beginning of this decade. I hated "The Polar Express," where the characters were just down right creepy. I liked the story and designs of "Beowulf," but saw no reason to use CG characters when they could have had the actors in it. This new version of "A Christmas Carol" looks no more exciting to me than watching an in-game cut footage to a PS3 title.

I will hold my powder dry until I see more... but if it looks like the current CGI characters or they try and do photo-realism then it will fail badly. If they attempt to do semi-cartoony in the new video game it will be just as atrocious. The only way I can find any redeeming hope is if it turns out like the Cinematic for The Beatles Rock Star game. That is brilliant animation, but the actual game play animation leaves a great deal to be desired.

This is an idea that whose time should not come. Could you just make a sequel to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and torpedo this latest idea, Robert?

Some motions should not be captured...

The Academy's New Secretary...

The Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences has elected a new secretary...

John Lasseter. I guess he has time between 8:57 pm and 8:59 pm.

Congrats to the Mousetro...

Hat Tip to Upcoming Pixar.

Disney Buys New Hotel...

Unfortunately, it's not a new Victorian styled one for the Disneyland Resort...

The Alphabet Network has won a bidding war with the Fox Broadcasting Company for the pilot of a series known as “Clive Barker’s Hotel,” according to this article in the Hollywood Reporter.

The series will be produced by, obviously Clive Barker and McG, through the director's Wonderland Sound and Vision. There is a chance that the pilot will be directed by the "Terminator Salvation" helmer, pending he likes the script. Scripting duties fall to Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (“Feast,” “Saw IV,” “Saw V,” “Saw VI”).

The story is described as taking place in a haunted hotel where dark and grisly events have been occurring... wonder how that'll fit into a theme park attraction?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Expo Grows...

The full schedule has expanded for D23 Expo. For the most part it's solidified, although you may see a few minor changes/additions:

Burbank, California – August 19, 2009 -- The Walt Disney Studios is jumping on the D23 Expo bandwagon with four days (September 10-13) of exciting programming that includes major overviews of upcoming films by Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook and Disney-Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, plus a full schedule of events spotlighting new releases and newly restored digital versions of classic favorites.

Cook will present exclusive sneak peeks at such highly anticipated Disney features as “Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” “Old Dogs” (with Robin Williams and John Travolta), “Prince of Persia” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (both from producer Jerry Bruckheimer), “Tron: Legacy,” plus updates on many more exciting projects. Lasseter will discuss and show materials from such upcoming Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios’ motion pictures as “The Princess and the Frog,” “Rapunzel,” “Toy Story 3,” etc. Both presentations will be held at The Anaheim Convention Center in a 4000-seat arena.

All other film screenings and programs will take place in The Walt Disney Studios Theater (at the Anaheim Convention Center), a custom-built state-of-the-art venue with 3D capability, located within the Convention Center. All Disney Digital 3D™ presentations will be shown in RealD 3D, the world's most widely used 3D cinema technology. Among the U.S. premieres at the D23 Expo will be new Disney Digital 3D™ versions of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” the digital conversion of the original “Tron,” and a newly restored digital version of the Walt Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Expo guests will get an exclusive look at all things Muppets, as well as meet the filmmakers and see exclusive presentations for such highly anticipated new Disney features as “The Princess and the Frog,” “Toy Story 3” (from Disney-Pixar), “Tron: Legacy,” “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure” (from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment), and the new ABC-TV holiday animated special, “Prep and Landing.”

The Expo will also debut selected scenes from the upcoming Disney Digital 3D™ version of the Studio’s 1991 modern classic, “Beauty and the Beast.” Other highlights of the four-day event include a program devoted to the music from “The Lion King,” a panel discussion and screening of “Sleeping Beauty,” and the first U.S. screening of “Trail of the Panda” (Disney’s second co-production with China). There will also be presentations on two recent documentaries – “the boys: the sherman brothers’ story” and “Walt & El Grupo.”

A special screening series, “Fifty and Fabulous,” will unspool at 10:00 pm in the Studio Theater on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights spotlighting films that are celebrating their 50th anniversary – “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” “The Shaggy Dog,” and “Sleeping Beauty.”




10:00 a.m.
Bob Iger Address
Disney President and CEO Bob Iger kicks off the D23 Expo speaker program with what promises to be a fascinating look at Disney that no fan will want to miss.

11:00 a.m.
Disney Legends Ceremony
Be on hand as The Walt Disney Company honors the 2009 Disney Legends — who will join a prestigious circle of luminaries who embody the Company's unique creative spirit, as best personified by its founder. This is only the third time this hallmark event on the Disney yearly calendar has been open to the public — and the first time the ceremony has not been held on Disney property.

1:00 p.m.
Beauty and the Beast Panel Discussion
The D23 Expo debuts selected scenes from the upcoming Disney Digital 3D™ version of the Studio's 1991 animation classic.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

3:00 p.m.
"The ABCs of Disney"
Hosted by Emmy®-nominated Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars, America's Funniest Home Videos), "The ABCs of Disney" presentation features Steve McPherson, President of the ABC Entertainment Group, unveiling sneak peeks of many of the fall TV season's most anticipated new series.

4:00 p.m.
The Lion King Music Program
A fun and insightful panel discussion about the role its unforgettable music score played in making The Lion King one of the most heart-warming animated classics of all time.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

7:00 p.m.
The Boys: the sherman brothers' story Panel Discussion/Screening
A discussion of the making of this deeply felt documentary about the timeless songwriters and Disney Legends Richard and Robert Sherman.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

10:00 p.m.
Darby O'Gill and the Little People Screening
Fall in love again with Darby O'Gill and the Little People, which features a young and dashing Sean Connery. It's part of the D23 Expo's "50 and Fabulous" screening series, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of some of Disney's most beloved films.
Walt Disney Studios Theater


11:00 a.m.
Dick Cook Address
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook oversees all aspects of the development, production, distribution and marketing for all live-action and animated films released under the Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax banners worldwide.

1:00 p.m.
Screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disney Digital 3D™
A spook-tacular screening in 3D of Tim Burton's stop-motion animation classic. Includes two of Burton's beloved shorts, Frankenweenie and Vincent.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

4:00 p.m.
Tron/Tron: Legacy Presentation
See the digital debut screening of Tron and go behind the scenes of the making of Tron: Legacy.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

7:30 p.m.
Walt & El Grupo Presentation
Learn more about the making of this soon-to-be-released documentary, and then enjoy all over again Saludos Amigos, Walt's film about Latin America released in America in 1943.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

10:00 p.m.
The Shaggy Dog Screening
Wilby Daniels becomes a Bratislavian sheep dog in this hilarious film starring Disney Legends Fred MacMurray and Tommy Kirk. It's part of the D23 Expo's "50 and Fabulous" screening series, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of some of Disney's most beloved films.
Walt Disney Studios Theater


10:00 a.m.
Disneynature Presentation
The latest news from Disney's newest film label, Disneynature, a production company that goes to the ends of the earth to produce nature documentaries for the big screen.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

11:00 a.m.
Disney Store: The Magic is Back!
Jim Fielding, president, Disney Stores Worldwide, provides an exciting look into Disney's retail efforts around the globe.

12:00 p.m.
Snow White Panel Discussion Followed by a Special Screening of Restored Print
A special panel discussion of the first animated feature film followed by a screening of a just-restored print of this beloved cinematic masterpiece.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

2:00 p.m.
Jay Rasulo Address
Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts share how Parks and Resorts dream up the magic that our guests enjoy every day at our magical destinations around the world.

3:00 p.m.
The Princess and the Frog Presentation
A special panel discussion of The Princess and the Frog, Disney's beautiful upcoming 2-D animated film.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

5:30 p.m.
Prep and Landing Presentation
Join the filmmakers behind Walt Disney Animation Studios' Prep and Landing for an insightful discussion about the upcoming holiday movie for ABC.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

6:30 p.m.
D23 Expo Live Auction
Join us for an ultimate Disney Fan experience as we unveil the magic of Disney during our D23 Live Auction. Disney enthusiasts will have the opportunity to bid on our unique Walt Disney Studio and Theme Park experiences, tours, artwork, props and more.

7:30 p.m.
Trail of the Panda Screening
View Disney's second co-production with China shines a cinematic light on these reclusive animals.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

10:00 p.m.
Sleeping Beauty Screening
Revel again in the enduring classic Sleeping Beauty, part of the D23 Expo's "50 and Fabulous" screening series, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of some of Disney's most beloved films.
Walt Disney Studios Theater


11:00 a.m.
Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Presentation Featuring John Lasseter
Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter takes you behind the scenes of the upcoming films The Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel, Toy Story 3 and more.

1:00 p.m.
Muppets Presentation
An exclusive look at all things Muppets!
Walt Disney Studios Theater

2:00 p.m.
A Magical Afternoon With the Cast of Wizards of Waverly Place
Disney Channel will present "A Magical Afternoon With the Cast of Wizards of Waverly Place", a fun-filled, must-see event for kids, tweens and families. On hand will be Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals-Barrera and David DeLuise, along with executive producer Peter Murietta.

4:00 p.m.
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Screening
Enjoy this enchanting latest adventure about our tempestuous Tink!
Walt Disney Studios Theater

6:30 p.m.
Toy Story 3 Presentation
Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Chief Creative OfficerJohn Lasseter tells us what you can expect from the eagerly awaited third installment about Buzz and the gang.
Walt Disney Studios Theater

7:00 p.m.
Premieres of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in Disney Digital 3D™
Be the first to see these beloved films in 3D!
Walt Disney Studios Theater

Tickets to the D23 EXPO are available at Admission includes access to all experiences and entertainment at the D23 EXPO and can be purchased for single days or for the full four days of festivities. Admission is $37 for a one-day adult ticket and $27 for children 3-12. Four-day passes are $111 for adults and $81 for children. Members of D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans will receive a discount on up to four admissions, as well as early entry to each day of the D23 EXPO for themselves and their guests.

Special vacation packages including Disneyland Resort hotel accommodations, D23 EXPO tickets and theme park admission are available at the D23 EXPO website. Packages are available from both the Walt Disney Travel Company and the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, which is offering a limited number of area hotel rooms at special rates to those attending the D23 EXPO.

Many more details about D23 EXPO entertainment, events and special guests will be announced in the coming weeks. Fans can keep up with all the news by visiting, as well as by following “Disney D23” at Twitter and on Facebook.

PS3 2...

So now Sony is releasing a new slim version of the PS3 that cost 25% less with 50% more memory...

Check it out HERE.

Great, now I've got to replace my current system, buy more games, movies and other things to make my life better. Sony, you are sooooo sneaky doing this. Brilliant move, you capitalist pig...

Cloning Available Soon...

And now we go from Surrogates to Clones...

Now I have to do this post or else Decadent Dave, THX-1138 and Mola Ram will have nothing to write about. Far be it from me to leave them bored.

Lucasfilm will release on November 3rd, the first season (volume 2) of the Star Wars "Clone Wars" that Cartoon Network airs. This time, you can give George Lucas coinage for a DVD or Blu-Ray of the series.

If you read the blog you know I've been very, very sceptical of this series. I hated the Clone Wars movie that was released and expected the series to be just as bad. I was pleasantly surprised and found the series was quite fun by the season end. My biggest complaint of course, is the Hannah Montana Padawan that tags along with young Darth Vader-to-be. Otherwise, it's fun and I look forward to the next season.

Take it way, DD...

Making A Surrogate...

I've always liked stories that examine how we define what is real and what is illusion...

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference and other times you really don't want to know. IGN has posted a short, behind the scenes video that gives you a peek into the new Touchstone Pictures' "Surrogates" film and interviews with the actual surrogates themselves.

Take a look and see if there's a surrogate in your future...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Time Machine...

Sometimes brevity is the best way to explain something...

If you didn't get a chance to see it over the weekend, I highly recommend taking a look at this Disney and More article. Alain takes a list of all that he, I and several other bloggers have talked about over the past year or so and puts it into a nice, concise time-line. This is the list of attractions we can expect under the current leadership of Jay Rasulo. Should Jay retire/get fired in the next year or so the schedule could change for better or worse. That would depend on who would take his place (Matt Oiumet please!).

In the article you can see the progression of projects that are planned over the next half decade. And he even gives a nice little surprise if you read through his article all the way to the end. Now, I can't vouch for everything, but most of what he mentions I can confirm is spot on or real close. There are a couple things he mentions that I'm not sure of, but sound reasonably believable. So go over and imagine what will/could be by 2012.

There goes that year again...

D23 Exposition...

With the D23 Expo just around the corner more details have started to leak out...

For those of you that never really like it when I include Star Wars news in my post, you won't like this one, or the Expo for that matter. Since characters from George Lucas' universe will have a place at the event as well. Over at the official website they mentioned this:

"In response to inquiries from Star Wars fan sites about Storm Troopers at the D23 Expo, D23 issues the following statement: "We were contacted by the Galactic Empire and have been advised that Imperial dignitaries will be attending Disney's D23 Expo," said Steven Clark, head of D23. "As a result, a legion of Storm Troopers from the 501st Battalion will be patrolling the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday, September 12."

There's an official promo reel that they've put up on you YouTube you might want to take a look at.

And they've started some viral teases with videos like this one here.

And don't forget to check out D23's Twitter page for continued updates.

Expect more to come before the fun of September begins...

Fun(ding) Times...

I meant to post this yesterday, but it was another case of life getting in the way...

Steven Spielberg's reincarnated DreamWorks and the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group announced that they've completed the first phase of funding for films for the new company. Which basically means they now have the money to move forward with a slate of films.

I've always assumed that the company will still be known as DreamWorks since the name is owned by Spielberg through Jeffrey Katzenberg, of course. He could essentially call it anything he wants but everyone believes it'll still be that name and they're probably right. I wish they'd call it something else simply because the name will be associated with the animation division and many people will assume that their animated films are by default Disney... which they're not. Here's a name for Spielberg to use free of charge: "Amblin." My two cents.

For those of you scratching your head as to how this is in any relation to Disney, hang on. The distribution deal for DreamWorks that expired/expires this year will now be handled by the Mouse. The deal with Paramount after it bought the company became a point of contention and the relationship became very stressful for all the movie moguls involved. A Hollywood divorce on a corporate scale was what happened and Spielberg's team went looking for a new partner. Universal was widely expected to be the suitor given Spielberg's longtime association with the company, when that didn't happen Disney found themselves in the position of new lover, so to speak. Lovers are temporary and disposable in Tinseltown so it's an appropriate name I believe. But basically that's the short and skinny of it. The first films as part of the agreement will appear sometime next year.

Of course, the theme park attractions will have to be negotiated at a later date...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Homage/Copy = Desperate/Envy...

Blue Screen of Death! Oh nooooooooooooooooo!

I'm stuck! I'm stuck! Someone get me out.
They say imitation is the best form of flattery...

What you see above it the logo for the new Microsoft Stores that are going to be popping up all across America. Coincidentally, they're going to be very near Apple Stores. I wonder... when the power goes out or their security system goes Kablouy! does the room trap you in a living example of the "Blue Screen of Death?"

It's funny that Number One is chasing Number Two, isn't it? Why is it Bill Gates company feels the need to copy what Steve Jobs company is always doing? Oh well, I guess we can look forward to the stores reflecting the Apple experience somewhat since they've hired many executive who helped start the Little Fruit Company's stores. But will they have a Genius Bar? I mean, really... these are Windows computers after all. Hehe... sorry, but you guys know I'm a Mac Guy/Apple Dude.

It's all about the product, it's all about design, baby...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Disney's Original Alice...

Walt Disney's first star has finally faded out...

Virginia Davis, who stared in Disney's first foray into animation in Kansas City with the "Alice Comedies" has passed away. Walt really began his career with these comedies that were a hybrid of live-action/animation. When he moved to Hollywood, Davis followed him out to make twelve more shorts and then went on to act in several other films of the day, "Three on a Match" and "The Harvey Girls" among others. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

Another piece of what made the magic is gone...

Wedding Bells...

The new trailer for Touchstone Pictures' "When In Rome" starring my future ex-wife, Kristen Bell is out...

Hey, don't blame me because she wanted the divorce when she caught me with my future ex, ex-wife, Audrey Tautou. I just can't help it since I'm a sucker for foreign girls, but do you think she'll ever take me back?

Falling in love all over and over again...

Hat Tip to Latino Review.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Foreign Surrogates...

I wonder what this film is about? I don't care, man! It stars Bruuuuuce!

Here are three new foreign posters for Touchstone Pictures "Surrogates" film...

Look, it's Bruce Willis!

Sigh, how I long for the days of Drew Struzan, when posters helped tell the story and not pitch the actor starring in it.

September is just a month away...