Monday, November 23, 2009

Disneyana

Today was my hat building day, and up on the third floor, a story artist remarked how Princess and the Frog knick knacks are selling really, really well.

"I was told that Target released its P and F stuff early, and that it sold out! And Target has now reordered!

"And the picture isn't even out yet..."

I wasn't sure how accurate this anecdotal evidence was, so when I returned to the office I consulted The Google, who told me ...

The Princess and the Frog Products in High Demand

Pre-film awareness boosts products in the U.S. ...

Since its launch just a few weeks ago, retailers have reported that the range has already begun out-selling other Disney Princess items by double digit percentages.

More than 45,000 dolls have sold in less than a month with 17,000 selling last week alone. At one major retailer, The Princess and the Frog bedding has sold nearly triple the amount of regular Disney Princess bedding ...

So whattayaknow? Apparently the dolls and comforters and wind-up action figures are flying off the shelves.

I said to a couple of other Disney story guys I felt this bodes well for the picture. I told them I thought that the Froggie and Princess would have a solid opening and go on to make money for Diz Co.

(Go ahead, call me a starry-eyed Pollyanna. I'll hate you for it, but you'll be posting anonymously, so what do you care?)

Elsewhere in the animation division, more people informed me that Joe Jump is back on the front burner development-wise, and King of the Elves is being "retooled."

Have a joyous Thanksgiving ... and if you're already on vacation, please know that I'm jealous. (And in case you haven't seen it, the LA Times big piece on Disney Pictures restructuring is here.)

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Im starry-eyed as well. I want PATF to do gangbusters.

But thats only because I want to keep my job. But hey.

Anonymous said...

...or for some of us others, get a job back.

Anonymous said...

King of the Elves is being "retooled."

I think its more like, "Going back into development on the back burner."

They already let one of the directors go, I'm sure there will be more shifting of people around.

It'll be interesting what happens next. This is not a good sign.

Michael said...

Sigh. "Retooled". This sounded like such an interesting project, that I hate for it to get delayed. I know I'm just an outsider, but it never ceases to amaze me that films can be in development for many, many years and then go into cold storage. I've seen it happen dozens of times, but it's never not confounding.

Hopefully it'll make a comeback. Things seem to have a more promising thawout rate recently. 2012 is a ways off, I suppose - heck, it seems like just yesterday that they did the big shuffle on Rapunzel and that's coming out next year.

On the positive side, it's incredibly heartening to see the legitimate pre-release excitement for PATF. To see merchandise for a non-sequel fly off the shelves like that has to bode well. And the combination of great film + big reaction + lots and lots of young, merch-buying fans makes me very happy for all those animators past, present and future.

Anonymous said...

Was that one-of-two directors really "let go" i.e. laid off, or was he simply removed from the project-and is still at the studio?

It's a shame; the core team had been putting their hearts into elves for some time. This is never a happy thing to have happen.

Anonymous said...

Then... who is directing "King of the Elves" now?

Anonymous said...

The other guy.

Anonymous said...

...or for some of us others, get a job back.

Me too. Ive been there and back and there and back and there and back again.

I really hate to hear Elves is on the back burner. So does that mean it ISNT going to be the next CG film from Disney, and Joe Jump is?

Tim said...

Aaron Blaise (Brother Bear) is still directing "King of the Elves. I have heard they have named a new co-director, but am not sure if it's been announced yet.

Rodger Perry said...

Us few east coasters are also hoping it does well. If the indie producers are convinced they can turn profit on hand drawn again, they'll be more likely to back some of the projects we have been working on in our garages/basements for the past 10 years.

Healthy competition puts us all back to work and forces studios to be more creative.

Here's to hoping TPTF makes people feel young again amidst the depression an sparks an intense longing for the golden days of all American 2D.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tim.
My best wishes for Robert.

Anonymous said...

I'd be looking forward to this film more if it didn't look so formulaic and generic. And didn't have such a dopey title. And had more interesting-looking characters. I mean, I've seen that alligator before in a Disney film (he was wearing a bear suit), the frogs look sooooo bland, the farting firefly is less than charming, it's all so swooshy and sparkly and damn, where's the heart? The "wow" moments of incredible character animation (like when Pinocchio does his dance in Stromboli's theater, or when the dwarves dance for Snow White, or when Tramp fights the rat?) - where are they?

I dunno...it all looks too "Pocahontas" for me.

ANONYMOUS said...

starry-eyed Pollyanna!

Steve Hulett said...

I'd be looking forward to this film more if it didn't look so formulaic and generic ...

Maybe ... I donno ... it might be a good idea to actually see the feature before you rush to judgment.

Michael said...

I haven't been too crazy about the character design all along - especially the designs you mention, as well as the villain - but having seen the first act I have to say that I was really, really impressed at how well the story works and moves. It set up the situation of the main character without being maudlin or heavy-handed, and just moved along at a great clip.

During some songs there was some great use of stylized visuals, so that was nice. Backgrounds and general production design was good too. I do wish the visual style in the character animation was a little more old-school, but that's a matter of taste.

Anyway, I was hopeful before I saw the first act, and now I'm just downright excited.

Anonymous said...

it's all so swooshy and sparkly and damn, where's the heart?

You're expecting heart from a trailer? You admitted you haven't seen the film, so you're basing that the film has no heart from....the trailer??!

Why don't you watch the movie first, before sounding like a douche.

Anonymous said...

it's all so swooshy and sparkly and damn, where's the heart?

You're expecting "heart" from...the trailer??

You've admitted you haven't seen the movie, but you've already pronounced it doesn't have heart?

Wow, that's dumb. Everyone I know who has actually seen it has said the opposite. Maybe you should treat this as a learning moment.

Anonymous said...

Let's just say the trailers don't um "enchant" me. And having no young daughters, I don't feel duty-bound to see it. It looks like direct-to-DVD-Disney that's inexplicably being released to theaters, like "Return to Neverland" and "Jungle Book 2". Now both of those had some nice animation in them, but they weren't exactly worth my 10 bucks. Maybe I'll catch "Frog" on DVD, since it seems like a far more appropriate venue for it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should shove the DVD up your ass. Seems like a more appropriate venue for it.

Polly Hutchens said...

"It looks like direct-to-DVD-Disney that's inexplicably being released to theaters, like "Return to Neverland" and "Jungle Book 2"."

A big difference is that those films weren't made under Lasseter.

He's got a good enough track record that it might be worth putting down $10 for a theatrical viewing.

Anonymous said...

Princess and the Frog looks fantastic and a real return to disney doing what it does best. can't wait to see it in theaters.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should shove the DVD up your ass. Seems like a more appropriate venue for it.

That sounds like a terrible waste of his ass, which sounds like it's gleefully sumptuous and firm.

Hugh Hogwarts said...

Just read that Rich Moore is directing Joe Jump and Chris Buck is directing an unnamed hand drawn film for WDAS over at Blue Sky Disney!

Good news in light of King of the Elves getting retooled.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a few Disney animators are fearful for their jobs, and can't bear any kind of actual criticism for what looks to be a bit of bland formulaic spam from the Disney factory. So they resort to frat-boy-level retaliation. No doubt they're the PERFECT audience for this movie.

Michael said...

Well, I don't work for Disney and probably never will, so I can say completely objectively that you're a dumbass.

Anonymous said...

And I take it you HAVE seen the film? And can make an unqualified comment that it's good? No? Didn't think so. Now run along home and play with your dolls, uh, action figures.

Anonymous said...

Michael did say that he saw the first act, and that it greatly exceeded his expectations. That's obviously a lot more than you can say, since you haven't seen any of it outside of a few promotional images.

But none of this is a surprise. With Finding Nemo, Incredibles, Up, etc. there were douches who proclaimed that each film would be bad, based on nothing but the trailer. We even had a douche here earlier saying this movie doesn't have "heart"--even though he's seen nothing but the trailer!

All of this speaks to the general stupidity of the human race, and reveals the people who just don't understand the film-making process, or the marketing process that proceeds the release.

Michael said...

Reading is fundamental...

And they're not action figures. They're collectible figurines.

Anonymous said...

The reviews for "Princess" are starting to roll in. Very positive so far. 90% currently on Rotten Tomatoes, but it's very early with only 10 reviews so far.

Los Angeles Times review:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-princess25-2009nov25,0,6472123.story

Anonymous said...

So I get dumped on by saying the trailers make the movie look like generic Mickey Mouse mush, while Michael is allowed to say that the film is great after seeing only the first act? Hell, Wall*E was great during the first act. The rest, however, was pure cinematic Sominex. Preachy too.

Variety's movie critic hates this film, BTW. So there! Nyah! (When in Rome...)

Anonymous said...

Gee, I guess you sure showed us!

g said...

If this movie was being made by anyone BUT Disney, it would be hailed as a masterpiece of traditional animation, a Disney-killer, and "what Disney shoulda-been."

But Disney is too big of a target to be kind to it.

Dont forget that politics and history aside, at the core, Disney Animation is just a group of people, diligently and sometimes desperately trying to make good movies.

Anonymous said...

**Gee, I guess you sure showed us!**

It helps to speak the native tongue. Or stick it out, as the case may be.

I think Alvin's gonna kick major frog butt. Don't think Disney's not worried about it. Thanks to the warm reception I've received here, I'm rooting for the rodent, and I'm not referring to Mickey.

Michael said...

That makes perfect sense. The logic is blindingly irrefutable.

Anonymous said...

What gets me is that Disney is hyper-ventilating (emphasis on "hype") over their first black princess - yet for most of the movie, she's GREEN!

g said...

And that makes the decision to have a black princess any less significant because...?

Every poster you will see, every doll that will be made, every little girl's bedspread will be of the beautiful, black princess Tiana.

Take your poo-pooing elsewhere.

I suspect people are going to flock to this movie in droves and embrace it.

rufus said...

hopefully, you're right.

I'm not sure if PATF being a mega hit would mean that 2d will be resurected. I just don't think so, but I could be wrong.

Disney needs to make a great movie, with a good story and engaging characters, regardless of the box office results. They need to prove they still got it.

r

Anonymous said...

I'm rooting for [Alvin & the Chipmunks 2]

And this proves that you're not a complete idiot with no taste....how, exactly?

Hong Kong Fool-E said...

Rich Moore is directing Joe Jump? When did this happen?

Is it the same film that Sam was working on or will this be like what happened to American Dog with Bolt?

Anonymous said...

It is like what has happened on every Disney Feature movie in recent memory, with the exception of P&F.

Director firings seem to be a rite a passage these days over there.

Hannah Barbontana said...

Who is Rich Moore and why should I care that he's directing Joe Jump?

Anonymous said...

Who is Rich Moore and why should I care that he's directing Joe Jump?

Who are YOU and why are you on an animation UNION members board?

So, so tired of this fanboy shite.

Anonymous said...

Rich Moore was a sequence director on The Simpsons Movie and has had an extensive career, including being supervising director of The Critic. Apparently, Disney wants Joe Jump to be intelligent, hip and funny.

Whether or not you care is up to you.

Anonymous said...

"Who are YOU and why are you on an animation UNION members board?

So, so tired of this fanboy shite."


Perhaps he's a fan of your work?

Nice attitude toward him since he asked such a horrendous question. He after all, should know EVERYTHING about animation just like you..

r said...

Never heard of Rich Moore either. And I'm in the biz.

Anonymous said...

Rich Moore was hired because he is a friend of Lasseter and others from the the time they went to Cal Arts, that's all.

Anonymous said...

"Rich Moore was hired because he is a friend of Lasseter and others from the the time they went to Cal Arts, that's all."

How obnoxious is that? Bulletin: There is an animation world outside of the hat building and Flower St.

Consider the possibility that Moore is actually qualified despite the fact that he's Lasseter's friend or you never heard of him.

Meeeeoooww!

Anonymous said...

Rich Moore graduated from Calarts in 1987. Lasseter had left Calarts about 10-13 years earlier, so, UH, NO, don't think they were buds.
LMAO.

And as for my supposed nastiness towards "fanboys"-well, I'm not too impressed when they word a question with "and why should I care?". Why indeed.

Fans like that our business doesn't need. Please go back to following Glen Keane and ONLY Glen Keane.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? THIS IS going to be HUGE.
(officially the first country in the European Union)

LUKE 21:11

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/bulgaria/6650677/Aliens-already-exist-on-earth-Bulgarian-scientists-claim.html

Anonymous said...

Are they legal aliens or illegal aliens?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they'll do the jobs we don't want to ---like inbetweens...?

g said...

That was the best comment de-railer EVER! Kudos

Known Bandit said...

Wow, I wonder what show this jaded animator works on?

Bitter, party of one? Your table is ready..

Site Meter