Friday, July 06, 2007

Extra Crispy Links of Patriotic Toonisms

Another weekend of animation links, beginning with the heavy, technical side of Ratatouille: a five-star chef teaching the animation crew to cook:

"Ratatouille," Pixar's new film about one rat's dream of haute cuisine, came by its acting chops the old-fashioned way, turning to real-life chef Thomas Keller for the inside dish on kitchen kinetics.

Keller's stint as rat-a-tutor was part of an intensive prepping effort that included signing up the Pixar crew for cooking classes and sending filmmakers to dine in fine French restaurants.

The idea was to make sure the computer animation turned the gourmet goodness cooked up by Remy—the lead rat in "Ratatouille"—into a feast for the eyes.

As we noted yesterday, Rupert's Rangers are rolling out the publicity machine for Bart, Homer, et al. But as Hollywood Reporter notes, they are playing a sly, non-traditional game:

Just like the irreverent Bart and Homer Simpson, 20th Century Fox's promotional program for "The Simpsons Movie" seems to break all the rules.

The studio has lined up only four tie-in partners for what is considered to be one of the summer's tentpole films, and only one -- Burger King -- is a traditional major advertiser buying TV ads to support the film.

(And here's more and yet more on The Simpsons Movie.)

Roy Disney comes out of retirement to take the helm of....the good yacht Pyewacket:

Roy Disney, conqueror of Michael Eisner, nephew of Walt Disney, longtime Disney Studio fixture, famous yachtsman, is on the line from his home in Toluca Lake...

" of the reasons I'm back [participating in the TransPacific yacht race] is to regain the record," says Disney, who will be skippering a 21-man crew on the Pyewacket - he has rented it back from Orange Coast College and lengthened it from 86 feet to 94 - in the Transpac [race] that will commence on July 15. "With the modifications we've made on the boat, it should be a lot faster. And if the winds are right, there's no reason why we can't set a new record."

And just to prove you can't keep an old Roy D. nemesis (and former Mouse House CEO) down, we have this:

On the heels of making webisodic history, Michael Eisner's "Prom Queen" has been repurposed as a full-length feature and will be featured exclusively on's download service Unbox.

According to a report from Variety, "Prom Queen" will be made available for 30-day rentals or for sale, and the film version runs 130 minutes long.

Which has led to this:

Former Walt Disney Co. chairman Michael Eisner's new-media studio Vuguru said Tuesday it is producing its second original series.

Dubbed "The All-for-Nots," the Internet-based comedy series documents the travails of a fictional indie rock band as it travels the United States in search of success.

The old animation standby Transformers transforms into a live-action/animation hybrid and smashes box office records:

Hollywood's box office record books have been transformed. The sci-fi adventure "Transformers" had an unprecedented Tuesday haul of $27.4 million in its official debut, beating a record of $15.7 million set last year by "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

"It's the biggest Tuesday ever," said Mike Vollman, spokesman for Paramount, which released "Transformers" along with fellow Viacom Inc. unit DreamWorks. "It's playing very broadly. It's the kind of summer movie that's drawing families and we're very excited for its progress going into the rest of the weekend."

At the Disney Animation Studio, Musker, Clements and associates have found their villain for The Princess and the Frog.

Regarding Disney, stock analysts take another look at Disney's purchase of Pixar throug the prism of Ratatouille's opening:

CNN/Money predicted that the film will end up with about $189 million, "becoming the third consecutive Pixar release to under-perform its predecessor." Some analysts suggest that if there is worrying to do among investors it should come if the film fails to generate strong ticket sales over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

So, they must be breathing easier after the strong ticket sales, no? (Motley Fool weighs in on the subject here.)

Down in Glendale, DreamWorks Animation reduced its credit card limit:

The animation studio had been able to borrow up to $200 million under the 2004 agreement, but on June 29 decided to reduce its limit to $100 million, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The cash flow from Shrek the Third is no doubt helping with the above.

We'll end with something different: a link to Turner Classics Movies and their notes on 1940's Pinocchio:

...According to a New York Times article, Cliff Edwards, who provided the voice of Jiminy, was originally tested for the voice of Pinocchio, "but Disney had turned him down because there was a 'drop of adult' in his voice."

"Drop of adult." Nice. So why link to this? Because the TCM site ( is an entertaining and educational place to go. (And I just ran across it.)

Have a joyous weekend.


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