Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Features of Disney

I spent half the day at Disney Animation Studios, where the finishing touches are going onto The Princess and the Frog and work for Rapunzel continues to ramp up ...

Plus a staffer told me about Disney's next hand-drawn feature project:

"We're doing a new Winnie the Pooh feature at high speed, boarding it like mad. We've taken some of the gems out of the Milne books and strung them together. Marketing says that the the featurette compilation from the sixties (The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh) sells steadily every time it has a new video release, but the television stuff of "Winnie the Pooh" doesn't much sell at all."

"This project is going to be an all-new feature. There was talk of having one of the original featurettes up at the front, but now it's going to be original stuff from front to back. I think the studio has figured out that going with feature quality animation will be more profitable in the long run, since the original featurettes are still selling well ..."

I talked to another artist, and we fell into a discussion about all the features DreamWorks has in development ("a lot .... especially compared to here ..."). On the other hand, Disney might have fewer things cooking at each of its different divisions, but it has a lot of divisions.

There's Pixar.

There's Disney Animation Studio (with DisneyToons producing direct-to-video features).

And there's Image Movers Digital, Robert Z.'s animation shop in Novato, California. that has various projects in the development hopper.

Disney and director Robert Zemeckis are negotiating to remake “Yellow Submarine,” the 1968 psychedelic animated film based on the music of The Beatles.

The studio has been quietly brokering a complicated rights deal that would give Zemeckis access to 16 original Beatles songs for a movie he will direct in the performance-capture 3-D digital production format he employed for “A Christmas Carol.” ...

Not long ago I did some rough addition in my head and decided that Disney, if you add up all their different divisions and subsidiaries, has a wide and deep development slate, probably a few more than DreamWorks, when all the different features are put onto the tote board.

24 comments:

Neal said...

Glad to hear Pooh will be all new now, but sad that Lumpy probably won't be a part of it.

As for adding up their divisions and subsidiaries, here's what I've got:

Walt Disney Animation Studos

Theatrical Feature Films:
2009 – "The Princess and the Frog"
2010 – "Rapunzel"
2011 – 'Winnie the Pooh'
2012 – "King of the Elves"
2013 - "The Snow Queen"

Theatrical Re-Releases:
2010 - "Beauty and the Beast" in 3D

Direct-to-Video Feature Films:
2009 – "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure"
2010 – "Tinker Bell: A Midsummer Storm"
2011 – "Tinker Bell: A Winter Story"
2012 – "Tinker Bell: Race Through the Seasons"

Theatrical Shorts:
2009 – "Tic Tock Tale"
2010 – "The Ballad of Nessie"

Direct-to-Video Shorts:
One will likely be made for the DVD/Blu-ray release of "The Princess and the Frog"

Featurettes:
2009 – "Prep and Landing"

Pixar Animation Studos

Theatrical Feature Films:
2010 – "Toy Story 3"
2011 – "Cars 2"
2011 – "The Bear and the Bow"
2012 – "Newt"
2013 - Monster's Inc. 2

Theatrical Re-Releases:
2009 – "Toy Story" in 3D
2010 – "Toy Story 2" in 3D

Direct-to-Video Feature Films:
None in production.

Direct-to-Video Shorts:
2009 - "Dug's Special Mission"

Theatrical Shorts:
As is tradition, a new Pixar short film is extremely likely to appear before each of the new feature films featuring new characters.

Also, more 'Cars Toons' are planned to premiere on the Disney Channel.

Featurettes:
None in production.

ImageMovers Digital

Theatrical Feature Films:
2009 – "A Christmas Carol"
2010 - "Mars Needs Moms"
2011 - "Airman" (supposedly)
2011 - "Measle and the Wrathmonk" (supposedly)
2011 - "Reel Steel" (supposedly)
2012 - "Yellow Submarine"

Direct-to-Video Feature Films:
None in production.

Theatrical Shorts:
None in production.

Direct-to-Video Shorts:
None in production.

Featurettes:
None in production.

Rocket Pictures:

2010 - "Gnomeo and Juliet"

Anonymous said...

My god, they're remaking "Yellow Submarine"? Are the Beatles' likenesses going to be in it? Holy crap...don't know how I feel about this...

Steve Hulett said...

There's also a new c.g.i series of features at Diz Toons -- apart from the Tinkerbells -- in early development.

Stories being scripted, characters being developed. (New characters, but cousins of other creations in the Disney empire ...)

Anonymous said...

Any new 2D shorts with Mickey and co. on the horizon? Or has that already been shelved?

Walker said...

I heard Eric Goldberg was directing a new Mickey/Donald/Goofy short a while ago, don't know what happened to it.

Maybe now that PatF is almost finished, they'll have time to work on it.

Anonymous said...

I heard Eric Goldberg was directing a new Mickey/Donald/Goofy short a while ago.

Not happening.

Sammy's Got Shades said...

Is this DizToon project something like Talespin where they take extablished type characters and put them in another environment? Or something like Mickey's Brother, Goofy's Sister, Pluto's Son kinda thing? Set in the world of Pirates? I dunno.

when approximately is this planned on release? Next year?

Neal said...

Oh, and I forgot Frankenweenie. That's coming out in 2011.

Any others you were thinking of, Steve?

And I've heard the Eric Goldberg Mickey short is dead.

Disney's new plan for Mickey is to modernize him even more. A few months ago Disney announced plans to mix Mickey with contemporary projects, which sounds like placing Mickey alongside Hannah Montana or Wizards of Waverly Place. Even possibly updating Mickey's outfit.

We haven't heard more since then (it was announced at the licensing expo in Las Vegas) - but that's the plan for now.

Anonymous said...

Theatrical Feature Films:
2009 – "The Princess and the Frog"
2010 – "Rapunzel"
2011 – 'Winnie the Pooh'
2012 – "King of the Elves"
2013 - "The Snow Queen"


Is Rapunzel the only CG film? I thought I heard Snow Queen might be CG but maybe that was wrong..

Just curious what this might mean for their CG unit..

Anonymous said...

King of the Elves is CG

Neal said...

Well, Snow Queen isn't confirmed but a Disney artist told me "Disney doesn't want us talking about that project *yet*", as opposed to "that project doesn't exist."

For me, a hopeless optimist, that's confirmation.

Princess and the Frog = 2D
Rapunzel = CGI
Pooh = 2D
Elves = CGI

so, Snow Queen, would most likely = 2D

Anonymous said...

"The Snow Queen" has not been announced as a greenlit project .

I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. It's been in and out of development for years . It doesn't mean that it won't be resurrected (yet again) at some point, but as of now I don't think there are any definite plans for it . (maybe someone is doing some further development on it , but it's not on the films-in-production list yet and shouldn't be spoken of as though it is. Wishful thinking and rumors are not helpful. )

And what's up with listing "Gnomeo & Juliet" as a Disney picture ? Is Elton John's Rocket Pictures a subsidiary of Disney ? I don't think so. "Gnomeo" started off as a Disney project many years ago , but was fortunately shelved (what a mess that was) . Elton John wants to resurrect it apparently , but I don't think Disney is involved in any way ... Maybe they have a "first look" sort of deal with Rocket ?

Anonymous said...

"Gnomeo" is being distributed by Diz. Directed by Kelly Asbury, former Disney artist/dw director. Makes perfect sense, 'cause it was started at Disney.

Neal said...

Yeah, Walt Disney Pictures is distributing the film and possibly has some creative say.

As for Snow Queen, that's the only film on my list not yet confirmed. Even Monster's Inc. 2 was 'confirmed' at the licensing expo because toymakers were told it's in production.

As I said, a Disney director/artist told me they don't want to talk about it *yet*.

Yet to me means it's back.

Again, not a single other film/project on that list is speculative. The rest ARE in production under Disney.

Steve Hulett said...

Is this DizToon project something like Talespin where they take extablished type characters and put them in another environment? Or something like Mickey's Brother, Goofy's Sister, Pluto's Son kinda thing? Set in the world of Pirates?

No.

You really want to get me in trouble, don't you?

Neal said...

Heck, if you tell us, just dispute it as "early advertising." ;)

Hannah Barbontana said...

Hey, you've already revealed it was pirates, why not go the whole route and spill the beans.

I mean, just between you and me.

Union Thug said...

So is it realistic cartoon characters or talking animals?

Anonymous said...

Who cares? The important question is, are they hiring?

Hong Kong Fool-E said...

Who cares? If the stories are good and people buy or watch them THEN they'll have a reason to hire more people.

Success = more projects, more animators and more leverage for money. Demand is good, so you should care about projects.

My 2 Cents said...

"Who cares? If the stories are good and people buy or watch them THEN they'll have a reason to hire more people."

That's adorable, Hong Kong, how naive! If the show is successful, all that means is that they will hire the same itsy-bitsy crew over and over again. Besides, what do the details about the story and characters have to do with its success, anyway? How many good shows fail? How many stupid shows go on and on?

I want volume. I want work. So do a great many of my colleagues reading this blog. Enough with the cutesy fan boy crap, already.

Polly Hutchens said...

Bitter, party of one?

Your table is ready...

My 2 Cents said...

Dear Polly (or whatever your name is),

This is not a fan blog like Blue Sky Disney, it's a labor blog. The labor situation in animation is critical for many of our members. We are not out of work because we are "bitter", we are bitter because we are out of work, or exploited (e.g.unpaid overtime), or whatever. Your flip, smug response tells me you are probably not one of those dependent on animation for a living.

Yes, we are all animation fans, on some level or another or we wouldn't put up with the abuse or the enervating unpredictable ups and downs of the profession. And yes. it is somewhat more gratifying to work on good stuff than bad stuff, but, on the whole, we are far more concerned about our working conditions than the quality of the creative content of what we are working on.

Steve Hulett is not holding out on you. He is only concerned that betraying a producer's confidence with regard to the details of upcoming productions, (whatever mysterious, unfathomable justifications are behind that sort of thing), may undermine his access to the studios where the union members are employed.

So, who cares what the show is about? If it's about opening up and green-lighting more shows, we care.

Polly Hutchens said...

Well 2 cents, just so you know, I'm in the animation business, but not as an animator.

My comment was simply an opinion, one based on your statement about "who cares about quality" really. I know times are tough but I happen to love animation and know many animators that do as well. You comment was perceived by me, wrongly or rightly, to sound like someone that didn't really have their heart in animation. That is something I feel is crucial, especially if it's something you grew up with as a child and dreamed of doing as a career. If I misjudged you, then I apologize.

Good luck in finding work, quality work.

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