Our movie was 85% FX, which in CG animation is quite a lot. There’s water, there’s lava, and none of the sets are static, they’re on a boat and always travelling. There were quite a few things that were invented for the film. There were a lot of smart people writing incredible programs. They wrote three different programs for the sea, one for distant water, one for midway water, and one for water very close up, and then a fourth program to stitch all those together.
Then, with the idea of water actually being a character in the film, we suddenly needed a huge collaboration between FX and character animation.
So aside from the programs written specifically to figure out water, they also had this incredible breakthrough where they created these buoyancy tests, to figure out the physics of when a boat is moving on the water and it leaves a wake. ...
[Songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda] is very fast in how he works but he also is a deep thinker, so we would always figure out the amount of time he needs for some thinking, so that we could collaborate back and forth.
We also had different people in different time zones all over the world, so some of the scheduling was challenging, and he was busy, but he was always available to us. This is first love. When we first interviewed him he came into the room and said to John, ‘I’m in this industry because of ‘The Little Mermaid’’...
The last couple of animated releases, one from Europe and one from Warner Animation Group, have under-performed at the world box office.
Disney is going to trundle out all its heavy guns for this picture, and it will likely have a profitable run from its November release to the middle of next year. Bank on it.