Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013's Animated Film Line-Up: What We Know So Far

Now that 2012 is almost over, let's take a look at next year's offerings. What do we know so far about the animated films opening in twenty thirteen? What do you think of the results so far?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Animation Box Office Stats

With the year coming to a close, let's take a look at how the animated batch did this year...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

PSone Nostalgia: The "Test Drive" Games

There's going to be a change of pace here, with the new year coming up and all. This post won't focus on animation, or film in particular (this place is "mostly" about animation, but it's nice to branch out and all), but video games. But... There is animation in video games, so it isn't too out of place. Anyways, I've been revisiting some PlayStation classics that I played growing up and will also discover others that I've never really played before. Part review, part reminiscing. Yes, there will lots of nostalgic tangents here... This won't be a consecutive series, but one that'll come around once in a blue moon.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"Planes" Flies To Theaters

Originally announced as a direct-to-video release, the DisneyToon-produced Cars spin-off Planes is now getting a theatrical release on August 9, 2013. I was initially alright with Disney doing this, without having Pixar's name on it, but why a theatrical release?

Do they really think that this spin-off (that's most likely directed at kids only, like any Disney direct-to-video sequel) will be a box office success? I remember when Disney gave two of their direct-to-video sequels a theatrical release in the domestic market: Return to Neverland in 2002 and The Jungle Book 2 in 2003. Both did poorly at the box office (yes they made their budget, but still didn't make much of a mark), because, who but kids wanted to see a direct-to-video quality sequel in theaters? I feel the same may happen with Planes.

Anyway, the only other possible problem is that people who aren't in the know might mistake this for a Pixar release. A lot of casual moviegoers still refer to most computer animated films as Pixar films, even if they've seen them and saw the logos before them. They may think Planes is Pixar as well. Pixar's name was already blemished by Cars 2 (or more appropriately, the criticism it got), so I'm hoping this doesn't add to that.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DreamWorks Goes "Turbo"

No, not that kind of Turbo... In case you did not know, DreamWorks Animation has a film called Turbo coming out next summer. The teaser for that said film is finally here! Yes, the very film that had a lot of us animation fans asking, "How the heck is this thing going to play out?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why Didn't "Guardians" Rise?

Before anything, it's too early to write Rise of the Guardians off entirely. It still has the Christmas weekend and subsequent weekends to give it a healthy boost plus there is no big family-friendly competition after the 3D re-release of Monsters, Inc. (which shouldn't even hurt it anyway). Word of mouth is certainly helping it too, as possibly getting $100 million off of a $23 million opening weekend is no small feat. Think of Bolt and The Princess and the Frog, two films that opened with a similar amount and got past $100 million despite all odds. While the final total may be a disappointment, one must consider the legs. I always thought they spoke greater words than the numbers.

Monday, December 17, 2012

What's Next? Predicting Disney Blu-ray's Future Again...

This year, Disney released a ton of their animated classics on Blu-ray alongside several live-action films from the Touchstone titles to films released under their name. Earlier this year, I had made predictions for what animated films would come out on the format next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Frozen" Concept Art and Details

Walt Disney Animation Studios' Frozen has been in the works for a long while, and it’s great to see this film actually getting off the ground. This recently revealed piece of concept artwork is a nice little taste of what’s in store, after months and months of brief reports on the film’s status. Just look at it...

Friday, December 14, 2012

3 Out Of The Gate (Make That 4)

Looks like Disney will be releasing more and more of their animated classics on Blu-ray next year! The week after Wreck-It Ralph comes to Blu-ray (March 5th), three Disney animated films will be released!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Interesting Words From Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews, the Pixar story man who was given the task to finish Brave in less than two years after its original director Brenda Chapman was removed from the project, has been making the rounds lately and has mentioned some interesting viewpoints in his latest interview.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Who Will It Be?: Oscar News and Revised Oscar Predictions

As Oscar season gets closer and closer, the more we find out. The critics' circles are currently picking the films they deemed the best of the year. Of course, they also have a slot for animated features. So far, the results have been... Interesting, to say the least.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Endless Possibilities

Disney wants it. Director Rich Moore is enthusiastic about it. Fans want it, too. What do they want?

A sequel to Wreck-It Ralph...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cleaning The Mess

Several Disney fans had high hopes for what new studio chairman Alan Horn would bring to the table, after nearly three years of misguided mismanagement under Rich Ross. To date, he has worked wonders and is quickly getting Walt Disney Pictures back up from the ground. Sure, under Ross, Disney did score some huge hits and broke a few records, but going against those triumphs (triumphs made possible by Dick Cook) were very bad blunders... Terrible mistakes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kinda Crood

I was one of the few that was actually very fond of the teaser for DreamWorks' The Croods. That said teaser was met with mixed reactions, some of which were very negative while others couldn't find much to praise either. I guess I'm going to be in the minority again, because I actually preferred that teaser to the trailer, which just debuted today on iTunes.

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Faces at the Hopping Lamp

I'm sure you've heard them, but Pixar announcements have been coming out left and right. Yes, aside from the nice new posters for Monsters University (opening June 21st), we've been getting more details on upcoming projects.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Wreck-It Ralph" Scribe Will Co-Direct "Frozen"

Walt Disney Animation Studio's Frozen is not due out until November 27, 2013, but it's probably in some form of production right now. However, Disney surprisingly added another director to the project today, Wreck-It Ralph screenwriter Jennifer Lee.

This raises a lot of questions. First off, why so late in the game? Was something not working with what director Chris Buck had? It's no secret that Disney's adaptation of The Snow Queen was on and off at the studio for many years, dating back to the 1990s even. Perhaps the problems from the earlier versions are still present?

Or did Disney feel the need to add her to the project due to Wreck-It Ralph's success? If so, that seems like a bizarre move. Sure, Lee and Phil Johnson's screenplay for Wreck-It Ralph was a winner, but wouldn't Disney bring her on board the project as a writer and not a director? It all seems strange...

What are your thoughts on this move?

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Ralph" Holds On, "Guardians" Disappoints

It looks as if one animated film was able to soar this past weekend, while another one didn't do the same...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Sequel Problem

Not too long ago, a trailer for the upcoming Blu-ray release of Disney's Mulan has made the waves. Notice anything... Different about it?

"Wreck-It Ralph" Blu-ray Cover Artwork Revealed!

Well... Not all of the covers, because we all know Disney's deal: There's the standard combo pack, the big loaded one and the DVD-only release. What's the release date? We don't know yet, but given the usual schedule, this Blu-ray will probably hit stores sometime around March.

It seems like Disney is picking up this "Ultimate Collector's Edition" packaging trend with their recent Blu-rays. Brave was the first to sport this label, and the forthcoming Blu-ray releases of Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. 3D will also be Ultimate Collector's Editions.

That being said, I love this cover and the nice gold border. The main image comes from the international poster, which I believe is one of the best posters alongside the original 8-bit teaser poster. What do you think of it?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Epic? Sort Of...

The new trailer for Blue Sky Studios' Epic (based on William Joyce's The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs) is currently available on Apple, and I must say, it is an impressive trailer much like the first one, but it isn't without some problems.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Record Ralph

Walt Disney Animation Studios' Wreck-It Ralph has taken in $49.0 million at the domestic box office over the weekend. This makes it the biggest opening for a Disney animated film, narrowly beating out Tangled, which took in $48.7 million nearly two years ago.

While it's great to see that this fantastic film has claimed the record, it only did so by a hair. A lot of this is most likely due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As such, $49 million is not bad at all. Not counting any Pixar films, this is the second biggest opening for an animated film in November behind Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa ($63 million). Now we'll have to see how word of mouth kicks in. Here's hoping it crosses $200 million in North America.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Animated Race

Yesterday, 21 titles have been confirmed for this year's animation Oscar race. Though I'll always be against the idea of "Best Animated Feature" (an animated feature is a motion picture, don't separate it from live action), this is actually the fun part: Predicting!

Some Quick "Wreck-It Ralph" Thoughts

... And here we are, Disney's 52nd animated feature... Wreck-It Ralph!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Will "Ralph" Wreck The Box Office?

Well, it's only a few days away. Wreck-It Ralph is opening nationwide this Friday. Yes, I am very much looking forward to this and have been pumped about it long before the first trailer was unveiled earlier this summer. As someone who tracks box office, I ask this: How much will it make? How much do you think it'll make?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Taste of Phase 2

Disney and Marvel have the teaser trailer for Iron Man 3 available to watch on iTunes at the moment. All in all, this is a fantastic trailer...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bringing The Magic Home

Walt Disney Home Video certainly got off to a rather slow start, but in the mid-1980s, the launching of the Classics line would start a new, successful era for the company and for their animation studio...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Scheduling Changes

Disney has revised their upcoming slate, this includes some interesting entries: Another untitled Pixar film, Marvel's Ant-Man and an untitled Walt Disney Animation Studios film.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Main Attraction

Perhaps a lot of home video consumers in the early 1980s wondered why they couldn’t own or rent the Disney animated classics. The very films that defined Disney, the first things you think of when someone brings up Disney. As said BEFORE, Walt Disney didn’t believe in showing the animated classics on the small screen. He believed that re-releasing them in theaters every seven to ten years was the way to go, because he wanted these films to be those rare events. Keeping them out of reach would only increase demand, and when they’d return to theaters, people would flock to see them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Animation News Roundup: "Toy Story", MU, Ralph and Peanuts

A lot has gone around this week...

For starters, Pixar has announced what the title of the upcoming half-hour Toy Story special will be...

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Early Days of Walt Disney Home Video

I had officially started collecting videocassette releases of Disney films in the summer of 2005, and I was mostly interested in getting the Classics titles along with releases from the 1980s. This is when I started to find out more about the early days of Disney's home entertainment division and how the history of it turned out to be something worth looking into.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Keeping Up With Disney

Yet again another rambling about Disney's home entertainment division and how the Diamond Edition collection is being handled... This will be moot by the time we get another schedule of sorts or announcements, but I figured I'd keep up with what's going on and share some more thoughts... Also, disregard the Diamond Edition babble in this article.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 2012 Disney VHS Update

The last place I would go to for collecting Disney VHS tapes would have to be a donation center be it Goodwill or Savers, it's something I never really looked into. Well over a week ago, I looked in both of my local venues and came across a very good batch of Disney VHS tapes. If I am to get more this month, then the next one will simply be titled "October Disney VHS Update #1". In the mean time, enjoy...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Wreck-It Ralph" International Trailer Review

Like most Disney animation releases, Wreck-It Ralph will open in other countries on different dates over the course of roughly five months. The UK, most notably, doesn't get the film until February 15th. It's also scheduled to come out in Japan a month later. In the mean time, they get this really nice international trailer that is superior to both of the US trailers.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cavemen and Rangers

I thought that DreamWorks wouldn't have a trailer for The Croods ready until the release of Rise of the Guardians next month, but they gave it to us now. Like the trailers for Rise of the Guardians, this shows that DreamWorks has really come a long way. Almost everything about this trailer works.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Predicting Future Disney Animation Blu-ray Releases (UPDATE)

In mere months, these predictions will probably be irrelevant, since Disney is announcing things left and right and surprising us with what they are putting on Blu-ray. I figured I'd do this for fun, since only two animated titles are slated for release on the format. I decided to go by their recent release schedule, announcements and release patterns of the past. So, here we go...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Missing In Action

Those who have gotten their hands on the Cinderella Diamond Edition Blu-ray have confirmed that Aladdin is in fact, not being released as a Diamond Edition Blu-ray in the first quarter of next year.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Two Diamonds?

This should be the cover
artwork for the Blu-ray release.

Last month, I discussed the future of Disney's home media output, and how they have dropped two titles (Pinocchio and One Hundred and One Dalmatians) from the Platinum/Diamond line. Not too long ago, and an insert that's probably going to be with the Cinderella Blu-ray confirms that Peter Pan will be the next Diamond Edition. It'll be released on February 5, 2013, just in time for the film's 60th anniversary, which the insert oddly doesn't even mention.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Best To Worst

With The Avengers coming out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, I thought I’d share my ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Phase One is over, and it was one hell of a ride. Phase Two begins next spring with the release of Iron Man 3 on May 3, and with Joss Whedon shaping this new slate of films and the choice of directors, Phase Two looks like it may just surpass Phase One. Phase One still delivered a very good assortment of films, comic book films that didn’t insult the audience’s intelligence and actually delivered lots of fun while also telling good stories with characters that you want to see more of.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nemo in the Third Dimension

Yes, that's right. Finding Nemo is worth re-experiencing on the big screen in 3D. The wizards at Pixar have delivered a good post-conversion 3D job, proving that animation is born for 3D more so than any CGI-sprinkled live action film. It also continues Disney's plans to re-release their classics and Pixar's films to theaters, just like Walt Disney himself, even though I could do without the 3D conversions.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Disney and Don Bluth: An Alternate History

Don Bluth’s departure from Disney in September of 1979 was certainly a devastating blow to the troubled animation studio. Upon arrival, he was instrumental in shaping The Rescuers, which went from potential disaster to Disney’s biggest hit and the highest grossing animated film on initial release at the time. Don Bluth wanted to bring back the classic storytelling to Disney animation, something that was not on display in The Aristocats and Robin Hood, which were cheap, often lazy films that kept the animation studio alive.

Bluth stormed out of the studio during production of The Fox and the Hound, which wouldn’t garner the praise that The Rescuers got but was a box office success. More animators were brought on board after Bluth left with fourteen other animators, and they were put to work on safer projects such as Mickey's Christmas Carol before moving onto the ambitious debacle that would be The Black Cauldron.

Now what if Don Bluth never left? What if he was able to fight the management and bring Disney animation back to the glory days? Perhaps the Second Golden Age would’ve started with The Rescuers and flourished from there...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"ParaNorman", A New Height for Stop Motion Animation

Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell
Written by Chris Butler
Produced by Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner
Distributor: Focus Features
Studio: Laika

Friday, September 14, 2012

Only Human...

With all the reports about a Finding Nemo sequel (from where I currently stand, it's still "half confirmed", I still want to see that "interview" that the LA Times mentioned) swimming around, more and more news outlets and writers are essentially getting more fodder for their "Pixar is dead" arguments, a disgusting trend that picked up steam when Cars 2 premiered last year. Just take a look at a passage from this recent article on Indie Wire:

Let's face it, the lamp was going through some tough times in the last two years. During production of Cars 2, a lot of talented folks have left the studio. That same year, Brave had a director change which garnered a lot of controversy within the animation community and the press. Though Brenda Chapman was fired from the project over creative differences, the press had a field day and soon you had people left and right calling Pixar a "sexist" studio, a boys' club that wasn't going to allow a woman to direct a film. A change of directors on a film isn't uncommon, especially in the animation industry. Still, it was a blemish on their reputation, because supposedly they were gods amongst men.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DreamWorks' Full Upcoming Slate

Today, The Hollywood Reporter revealed DreamWorks' full upcoming slate from now until the summer of 2016. This answers quite a few questions I've had over the years. Of course we know that The Croods and Turbo already had their release dates set for a good while, while Mr. Peabody & Sherman was moved up to November 1st. This way, it has a little room to breathe before competition.

Back to the Sea

It seems as if the sequel to Andrew Stanton's Pixar classic has been confirmed, just in time for the film's 3D theatrical re-release. Though I'm not really putting much credence in that article (where is that "interview" where Stanton confirmed a Finding Nemo sequel?), I'll still offer my thoughts on the subject.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Original "Black Cauldron": Can It Happen?

This has always been an unfortunate happening in Disney animation history, one that Kevin T. Rodriguez of Examiner brilliantly summed up as a "sore spot" for animation fans in his fantastic article, Top 10 Reasons Criterion Should Get Animated. Animation fans know the story: Jeffrey Katzenberg, new to the Disney company, viewed The Black Cauldron and told the crew to cut ten minutes of the film. He eventually edited out more footage when the crew didn't meet his demands ("I said ten minutes!"), resulting in the removal of 12 minutes in total.