Friday, March 01, 2013

Pixar Lite?

DisneyToons Studio continues the drum-beating for its new franchise.

Yesterday, a new trailer for Disney's animated Cars spin-off Planes arrived, and it looked like a weak imitation of Pixar.

Now the straight-to-DVD foundation of this film has been solidified as the House of Mouse has just sent over a press release saying that comedian and part-time actor Dane Cook (Dan in Real Life, Mr. Brooks) is providing the voice for Dusty, a small town crop dusting plane who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race despite his fear of heights. Originally Jon Cryer was supposed to take the role, but fell away from the project, and we weren't sure whose voice was in the trailer. ...

Actually, it's not "Pixar lite." It's Disney Blue, Disney Red, or Disney Yellow.

Disney Blue would be the Pixar Emeryville studio.

Disney Red would be the Riverside Drive facility in Burbank a.k.a. Walt Disney Animation Studios (Why plural? There's only one).

And Disney Yellow would be DisneyToon Studios on Sonora Avenue in Glendale, the interior of which is decked out to mimic its Pixar sibling. (This Diz Col division is plural, I guess, because of the overseas contractors.)

Blue and Red make movies for the big screen; Yellow handles the direct-to-video operation. But when Mouse Central sniffs more dollars in a theatrical release, well then hey! DisneyToon gets itself a theatrical movie to chew on. (There is a long, honored practice in this regard.)

Planes has been in the pipeline for a while now. I was looking at design work years ago when I trudged through the studio. Elevating a direct-to-video title to the AMC circuit and the big screen isn't new for Disney. Jungle Book 2 went the multiplex route, a decade ago, as did Return to Neverland before it.

Most of Planes was animated overseas, but a small crew of animators were in Glendale, executing many of the money shots. Disney is being pretty smart with its Toon franchises: As Tinkerbelle has catered to little girls, so will Planes go after the young male demographic. (Think merchandise, merchandise, and MORE merchadndise ... in the form of small metal planes.)

The name of the game is moolah.


Anonymous said...

What color is Pixar Canada in Vancouver?

Anonymous said...

Now that DisneyToon Studios has Cars-related projects to work on, what will happen with the Tinker Bell film series?

We already know that there will be a 5th and a 6th Tinker Bell movie but will there be more after that? Is there a 7th movie planned?

Will they stop producing fairies movies to focus on Planes and other vehicle-related projects?

Dan Siciliano said...

Three words: Heaven... help us.

Steve Hulett said...

What color is Pixar Canada in Vancouver?

Pine green.

Anonymous said...

In the hypothetical situation where Planes, despite being intended to be DTV with lower production values and outsourcing, is a massive financial success, what do you think it would bode for Pixar and WDAS? Would management force them to downsize and adopt similar practices , going by the logic that they could still achieve comparable financial success?

Grant said...

Of COURSE tif this is successful more Pixar and Disney work will go overseas. Even if it's not successful more work will go overseas. President of Pixar and Disney Animation Ed Catmull has practically said so with his several visits to Indian studios doing research.

Typical of most technology companies, they'll insist on an over-reliance of technology rather than creativity to solve their financial issues. And it typically fails when it is relied on too much or mis-used.

The planes cartoon is just not very good. The direction, in particular, is amateurish and shoddy. And the whole product is juvenile. More to come.

Kenneth Elliott said...

How come the Tinkerbell movies were not privileged enough to receive theatrical releases... and these films will?

Steve Hulett said...

^ That's a question for Disney management. But making an educated guess, I would say the merchandising opportunity was a driver.

Steven Gordon said...

The last 2 Tink films did get theatrical releases so that they could be included as nominees for the Oscars

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