Tuesday, August 09, 2011

In the Hat Building

Now with Add On

I was there in the big building on Riverside Drive this afternoon, and the various jams and jellies we call animated features were percolating merrily in their various pots ...

Wreck-It Ralph is working its way through the production pipeline. There doesn't seem to be a lot of it in the lighting, texturing, final departments as yet, but a staffer who is working on Prep and Landing No. 2 says they'll start getting some of it soon. (Upstairs in the story department, there are still story revisions going on. There are always story tweaks.)

King of the Elves gets a look-see from Mr. Lasseter within weeks; the people I talked to didn't know (or weren't saying) if the project the next feature to roll to the end of the production runway, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is.

There's other things in the development that I haven't seen discussed much of anywhere, so I'm not going to mention them here. (Some smart monkey will probably run a list in comments, anyway.)

They're taking up old carpet and putting down new carpet. Lots of people have lots of stuff going in and out of boxes. (Isn't that exciting?) And today the Mouse released its report of profits and losses for the quarter just ended:

The Walt Disney Co. topped fiscal third-quarter earnings expectations by hauling in 77 cents per share, a 15 percent improvement over last year and 4 cents better than analysts had predicted ... Cars 2 and Thor had tough comparisons with last year's Toy Story 3 an Iron Man 2, but Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides offset much of the damage. ...

[Robert] Iger boasted of a 24 percent ratings surge at Disney XD, and praised the recently aired Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, a TV movie based on the hit animated show Phineas and Ferb, as a “phenomenal success.” The movie is the No. 1 scripted telecast so far this year among kids 6-11. ...

So things are hopeful, yes? The Mouse made money, animation still appears to be a part of its business plan, and nobody threw me off the property. So the tidings are good.

The L.A. Times had its story on Disney financials here.)

Add On: The Times reports:

Disney shares closed at $31.54, down 9% in trading Wednesday -- even though the entertainment conglomerate just reported third-quarter earnings Tuesday that beat consensus estimates among analysts.

Beneath the seemingly good quarter, analysts noted that the film studio and interactive media group missed projections and that advertising revenue from cable network advertising was up a modest 2%, lower than some had forecast. Theme park margins also declined because of a land sale in Europe and continued financial reverberations from Japan's earthquake. ...


Jenny said...

Thank you Steve for this post.
Could you tell me something about "Snow Queen" and the new movie directed by Ron Clements and John Musker? I read on the web that it could be a new musical based on a fairy tale movie... I read rumors about this and people on the web are talking about Turandot, Cupid and Psyche or DonkeySkin... is it true or not?

Thank you Steve.



Anonymous said...

Snow queen is dead as a cartoon--going to Vroadway instead. Noire musicals on the slate. End of story.

Anonymous said...

At Pacific Film Archive, on the UC Berkeley campus, John Musker gave a lecture recently called “The Animator’s Art: Lecture and Clips.”

He said that his upcoming film will be a combination of hand-drawn animation with CG elements and will be a musical. He doesn’t know who will compose the music yet though as the film is still going through the storyboard phase.

Anonymous said...

Hand drawn with CG elements, not new that's for sure. PATF was hand drawn and had many CG elements throughout. From what I have heard through the grapevine is that the studio wants Ron and John's film to be CG and they want it to be 2d. Hopefully Ron and John get their 2d film.

Anonymous said...

Hell, even Great Mouse Detective was hand drawn with CG elements. Not that that's a bad thing. But it could mean many, many different looks, and really gives no useful information.

Suzey Azerbaijani said...

What's that project that Don Hall is working on? I'm hearing some interesting rumors.

Haven't heard anything about Ron and John getting approval for their new film. Is it in storyboarding already? I don't think Lasseter would force them to do CG if they didn't want to.

Anonymous said...

I take it as a good sign that the fans are wondering what Disney will do again.

Buy a ticket for D23 like everyone else!

Tugboat Wallie said...

Trust me, they aren't going to reveal projects like the one Don Hall is working on at D23. It's too early in development, but it is far different from what Disney Animation has done in the past. Very promising for the future of the Hat Building.

erg said...

I also think at D23 Expo Disney will reveal anything... I think that probably people will see something about Ralph but not more.

Fozzie's Agent said...

Snow Queen is not dead. It's still in development for an animated film.

Anonymous said...

Still dont get why Snow Queen just doesnt become the next 2d film. It was suppose to be when I was there on PATF and then because supposedly princess movies are evil the canned it and now it is back as 3d. The design work on that film was amazing.

Anonymous said...

Free Ice Cream right now in the Hat Building. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Free massages with 'happy endings' in the Hat bldg....oh, wait...sorry...that's what the artists have to do to the execs to keep their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you have never worked at Disney because free massages with happy endings to the execs is absurd. People keep their jobs there if there are other projects to go on to. I know the layoffs suck, has happened to me more than I can remember but that is how it goes people.

Anonymous said...

"He said that his upcoming film will be a combination of hand-drawn animation with CG elements and will be a musical"

NOT exactly. He said films like this were in development at the studio, he didn't say his film, or his next film was.

Anonymous said...

Still dont get why Snow Queen just doesnt become the next 2d film.

Because PATF made less money than expected, as did Pooh, and Tangled made a ton of revenue. Plus, hate to say it, fairy tales look awesome in CG

Cintiq Jockey said...

"He said that his upcoming film will be a combination of hand-drawn animation with CG elements"

That's fine , just like ALL of John Musker's films since The Great Mouse Detective have had hand-drawn animation with CG elements , the most extensive being Treasure Planet, but certainly even the recent Princess and the Frog had a lot of CG elements mixed seamlessly with hand-drawn.

I hear Mark Dindal is also doing a combination Hand-drawn and CG film at Dreamworks. What could be better than a synthesis between the best of both worlds ? It's not an either/or , but a both/and choice between Hand-drawn and CG.

InsideTheHat said...

Maybe it's something new that no ones seen before...

Steve Hulett said...

Could you tell me something about "Snow Queen" and the new movie directed by Ron Clements and John Musker?

SQ is in development ... I saw R & J yesterday, didn't talk to them, have no idea what feature(s) they are developing.

Anonymous said...

**Plus, hate to say it, fairy tales look awesome in CG**

Hmmm....well, granted, Tangled was lovely, but it was nowhere near as beautiful as Sleeping Beauty or even Pinocchio.

Jenny said...

Thank you, Steve for your answer.



Suzie Azerbaijan, what do you hear about Don Hall movie?
Thanks by advance.


Anonymous said...

"but it was nowhere near as beautiful as [...] Pinocchio."

I don't understand why people keep saying these sort of things. 'Pinocchio' coming out today would be the biggest bomb in animated history, so it's irrelevant that you think it's more beautiful than Tangled.

Anonymous said...

Go watch pinocchio again. The animation in that is hit or miss, but mostly miss. It's rubbery and even and difficult to watch. There are other parts that are great though. But to hold it up as more beautiful than movies like Tangled is a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Actually Pinoke was a bomb when it first hi the theaters.

Anonymous said...

I hear Mark Dindal is also doing a combination Hand-drawn and CG film at Dreamworks.

The film is called "Me and My Shadow" and reportedly the shadow world will be hand-drawn.

Anonymous said...

DreamWorks Animation also has in development a film called "The Grimm Legacy" based on a novel by Polly Shulman. Producer Robin Schorr is attached to the project.

Anonymous said...

Pinocchio's animation is a miss? What! The animation during the song "Little wooden head" is incredible as are the EFX with the ocean. Yes "Tangled" is a beautiful movie but comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. I think you are mistaking animation with the technical ability of the day. The animation in both films is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Some of it is good, some of it is bad. For it's time it is a masterpiece, but now, most animators would call a lot of the character animation itself a little weightless and floaty or too rubbery.

Its a very specific and very narrow critique. Im not saying Pinocchio is bad by any means, its just that the craft of animation has really grown since then.

Anonymous said...

Some smart monkey will probably run a list in comments, anyway.

Ah, Steve. Thanks for mentionng me. Apparently my DreamWorks list was a crowd-pleaser. It even made it into an article on Cartoon Brew.
Well, WDAS and Pixar are far more secretive than any other animation studio so I don't have as much information on their upcoming films. But I'll give it my best shot:


In Production:

Wreck-It Ralph
Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice
Unititled 'Tangled' Short
John Kahrs' Untitled Short

In Development:

Chris Williams' King of the Elves
Chris Buck's Snow Queen
Dean Wellins' Untitled Film
Greno & Howard's Untitled Film
Don Hall's Untitled Film
Musker & Clements' Untitled Film (Hand-Drawn)
Burny Mattinson's Untitled 'Mickey Mouse & Friends' Film (Hand-Drawn)

Also, I heard that there is another 'princess' film in development but I was not able to confirm this so I don't include it in the list.


In Production:

Monsters University
Untitled 'Toy Story Toons' Short

In Development:

Untitled film set for release on November 27, 2013 (an original idea)
There has been speculation on whether this will be directed by Pete Docter and whether it will be the "dinosaur/little boy" idea of which some concept art was leaked.

Untitled film set for release on May 30, 2014.
There has been speculation on whether this will be "Toy Story 4".

There is also Lee Unkrich's untitled film which could be one of the above untitled films or another one.

Also, it has been confirmed that an upcoming Pixar film will be set in Florence, Italy.

Not much, I know but Pixar is a tough nut to crack.

Anonymous said...

It would be impossible to recreate the level of animation achieved in "Pinocchio" today. The pool of animation talent simply isn't skilled enough. To suggest that Pinocchio is less than a masterpiece of animation in all its forms-art direction, bg painting, layout, animation, cleanup, story-you name it-is ludicrous. The level of finish and beauty is surreal.

I saw this film as a small child in the 1970s, on the big screen where every mistake is blown up. I didn't know when it was made, nor did I care. I knew nothing about animation per se at the time. It was still entertaining and brilliantly done.
Seeing it repeatedly later did nothing to change that, and 20 years of working at feature studios has made its greatness all the more plain.

The craft of animation in which I toil has NOT "grown". It's just very different. Good films are still made and great artists are working on them, but it's apples and oranges. And no one, not Pixar, not Disney, not Dreamworks, has assembled a staff of the caliber of Disney in 1939. It won't happen again, for a lot of reasons.
That's okay, because it's not a contest between a singular, great studio of 70 years ago and those around today. But it's exactly because those films, Pinocchio among them, have stood the test of time for that long that they stand alone.

Anonymous said...

Pinocchio was a money loser in its initial release but a huge part of that was that it was released after war had been declared in Europe, as well as a lot of money being poured into its production to get the very best onscreen. It wasn't a bomb because it didn't make a huge profit. The Wizard of Oz "flopped" upon initial release too. What does that prove? Zilch.

Pinocchio more than made its money back many times over in the ensuing decades. And the songs became instant standards recognizable to millions, as did its characters, especially Jiminy.
It still makes money today.

Anonymous said...

It would be impossible to recreate the level of animation achieved in "Pinocchio" today

I guess that depends on what you mean by animation. Traditionally drawn, sure, it couldnt be recreated. But if it were re-done in CG, it would look far superior.

Anonymous said...

Aww... its the CG is better kid again. They are both fine mediums and call on different skill sets and technology. Its all good but Pinoke is hard to ever recreate. Doing something original is always a welcomed thing.

Anonymous said...

Im just stating an opinion, without snark or insult. Can you do the same please? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows that Oranges are way better than apples...

Anonymous said...

Hey :)

Can someone please tell me how the Tangled Short is coming along? I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE IT!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Pinocchio would look far superior if recreated in CG. And Casablanca would look better if they made a motion capture remake.

See how stupid that sounds?

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