A whole new world...
It's amazing what a couple of years and a blockbuster can do to a studio...
The Hat Building is flying on all cylinders and things are a buzzing. But not everything is going well in the Happiest Studio in Burbank.
Later this year, "Wreck-It Ralph" will debut and show audiences that "Tangled" wasn't a fluke. From the stories I've gotten, it sounds like they really have a heart filled tale that will have everyone seeing this film over and over again. What "Toy Story" did for toys, this does for video games. And the nostalgia for those that grew up on 8-bit games as well as those that love the 90's games are going to be in love with this film. And boys, will eat this up. Get that? "Boys," the marketing demo that the Suits seem to be worried about.
After that, next year we go back to classic fairy tales. Minus the names that tell you they're royalty, of course. But one tale that won't be happening anytime soon is about Elves. That's right, "King of the Elves" was racing with "Frozen" to be the 2013 release and it still has too many story structure problems to make it across the finish line. So many in fact, that Chris Williams is now off the project and going back to work on other projects (not as a director, but story boarder). It seems the script for Snow Queen aka: "Frozen" is in much better shape and it got the release date for next year, while KOTE got put on the shelve. Again.
Ron & John's new project is going through story development and could wind up being the 2014/15 slot, but it's still deep in the early stage so time will tell what happens. A lot of people have commented that this will be the duo's first computer animated film. As of now, there are development test going on for traditional, hybrid and computer examples, and no decision has been made. This decision won't be made for quite a while. Just like Pixar, the focus is on story, story, story. Not, the medium it's presented in.
The projects competing for 2014/2015 are the uber-secret film from Don Hall, which will be a marvelously unexpected project if it ever gets the green light, and Nathan Greno and Byron Howard's films which are deep in development. These are projects that are busy working out the story elements so that the films live up to John Lasseter's high Pixar standards. The one that gets the release slot will be the one whose story is deemed ready to actually animate. Not a bad concept, right?
There are a couple other projects in concept form and many more animators are lining up for pitch sessions with John for a chance to develop their ideas. Slowly the culture has changed over the past half-decade to the point where many animators and artist actually are having fun again. And many are hoping that they will be part of the Third Golden Age of Disney Animation. That is a very good thing.
Those of you that are fans of "Prep & Landing" will be interested in knowing that the ratings for last Christmas' "Naughty Versus Nice" special weren't where ABC/Disney wanted them to go, and any plans for a third special have been put into a holding pattern as the Suits figure out what/where or even when/if it should go forward. It's possible that the advertising schedule didn't exactly set the mark for giving people the information for when it would be broadcast. So Burbank is factoring in merchandise, ratings and other elements to see if there is any viability in creating another special. I certainly hope so, because there was talk of taking all of them and combining the into a film with original footage along the lines of "Winnie the Pooh."
And when talking about animation, if you follow WDAS then you know there was talk of moving down toward Glendale a while ago to be next to WDI. Those plans were canned and plans moved to trying to find a place on the lot to build a new animation building. Well, now the goal is to take the existing animation building and rework it, kind of the way Disney California Adventure had an extreme makeover done to it. And just like DCA was kept open as guests went about their way, so would be the same for artists in the Hat Building. It's nice to know that in addition to screwing up Disneyland's Second Gate, Eisner was capable of screwing up the animation building as well. But thankfully, it's all getting fixed.
But it's great to see the majority of news coming out of the Hat Building to be positive...