Monday, June 08, 2009

Pixarian Linkage

Lately there have been no festivals of links, so let us do one now ... focused on the Disney Co.'s Emeryville studio.

NPR/Fresh Air's Terry Gross interviews Peter Docter:

Docter, ... tells Fresh Air ... that the tale's influences included everything from Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo to the animated work of Hayao Miyazaki.

Docter also confesses to doing a bit of undercover research to help flesh out the central character in Up: He and several instrumentalist colleagues — Docter plays bass, the others ukuleles — visited a retirement home as volunteer entertainers but took the opportunity to observe the tics and habits of the elderly men in residence.

"And so we were playing for these guys and secretly kind of taking little notes for ourselves ..."

Pixar goes the DreamWorks Animation route, propogating sequels:

... [I]nformation regarding a sequel to Monsters Inc has been leaked. This information was purportedly told to the buyers at the Licensing International Expo 2009 ...

And Sim Brew at Den of Geeks worries about it.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. For the past few years, Pixar has come up with a collection of interesting and distinctive films, that stand apart in the market. ... [Y]ou generally get something far more daring and risk-taking.

However, for the next few years, it's seems that the focus at Pixar is going to be on sequels. This is understandable from a business perspective, certainly, given the fact that box office revenues for Pixar movies haven't ever since reached Finding Nemo-esque levels. But it still puts an iota of worry in the back of my mind.

Uh, Simon? They call it show business for a reason ...

The L.A. Times ruminates on the literary ancestors of Up:

... [T]he theme of Lightness appears in children's literature. From Mary Poppins to Peter Pan, from Tarzan swinging on vines to Harry Potter scooting on his broomstick, children's stories seem to feature the quick, the lithe and the aerial. Maybe that's not surprising. While adults seem earthbound, youngsters zoom by on skateboards or jump from heights as caped incarnations of Superman ...

Little Wild Bouquet listens to criticisms about the lack of female protaganists in Pixar movies, and wonders:

... Saying that none of Pixar’s ten movies so far feature a female heroine just because they happen to keep coming up with great stories about boys strikes me as about as exculpatory as saying your friends – or your country club, or your Senate – are all White because you’re just waiting for a great worthy person of color to come along and join the group. If the “whimsy” of Pixar’s boys guides them exclusively to stories about other boys, and critics get together to challenge that, why should we root for the boys’ club to win out? Does whimsy trump equality?

I think the explanation is simpler than that: 1) Pixar is run and staffed by mostly males, 2) Hollywood leans toward male-centric entertainment for commercial reasons (Batman did far better at the box office than Cat Woman; of course, the Cat Woman movie sucked.), 3) It probably doesn't cross a lot of people's minds.

Ray Appen explains why Steve Jobs rules the world:

... In 2004 Mr. Jobs sold Pixar to The Disney Company for $7.4 billion – mostly in Disney Stock. Not a bad return on $5,000,000. Jobs is now the largest individual stock holder of Disney stock with 7.4% followed by Roy Disney at 1.4% and Michael Eisner around 1%.

... Jobs dumbs down technology better than any human being alive. It is easy to operate anything that Apple manufacturers. You would have thought that some of those 800 lb competitors would have figured that out buy now, but they haven't.

... Jobs did in fact save the music business with his iPods and his iTunes. Sometime in the next month or two Apple will have downloaded its billionth song. That's with a "B". And one other nifty little factor about Mr. Jobs and this music download business. In 2004 Apple had about a 74% share of all paid worldwide music downloads. Guess what Apple's share is today – almost six years later: try 75% ...

When all the fur finished flying, The Hangover (apparently) claimed Numero Uno over Up for the weekend gone by:

Final figures will show that "Hangover" grossed $45 million from 3,269 runs. "Up" should finish at $44.3 million to $44.4 million from 3,818 theaters ...

Have yourself a fine work week.


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