Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bits: Star Wars, Changing Disney Dates and Hand-Drawn Goodness

Not necessarily Animation Tidbits, but just bits of news: Animation, live action and what-not...

First off, check out this new advertisement for British department store John Lewis…

Did you get a strong Brother Bear vibe from that? Well if you did, you did for a good reason. Two Disney Feature Animation Florida veterans did the animation for this, Brother Bear director Aaron Blaise himself and Dominic Corola.

Blaise said...

"I designed all of the characters while Dom and I supervised all of the animation. I personally animated all of the Bear and the Hare while Dom and his crew animated the rest of the animals. It was taken all the way through final line at Premise in Orlando. It was so great to do 2D again! I was even working on paper at my old Disney animation desk! Something I hadn’t done since Brother Bear!"

What's truly cool about this ad is that the characters are set against a stop-motion background, which would be a neat style for an animated feature. Hopefully Blaise and Corola try to get something like this made with the help of Kickstarter or something.

Blaise's comment is also kind of sad if you think about it… C'mon Disney executives, enough with this "audiences don't like hand-drawn anymore" crap. You yourselves engineered the box office performances of The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh


It looks like Star Wars: Episode VII is not too far away… Disney has finally announced a release date for the film: December 18, 2015…

(For a while, I had predicted that!)

A questionable date, because the script is said to be in the works and there is no cast. That being said, late 2015 is still a ways off. We've heard of the recent screenwriter change (Michael Arndt departing from something like this is not really a good sign) and rumors of Disney CEO Bob Iger insisting that the film be released in 2015, while Kathleen Kennedy and the creative crew think summer 2016 will give them the time they need.

I sincerely hope that Arndt didn't leave because Iger pushed for this film to be a 2015 release, I hope that this was meant to be a 2015 release all along and that it's not being rushed. Oddly enough, they'll be breaking the Star Wars May release date tradition. Now it's time for other blockbusters and big budget December 2015 releases to get moving. *cough*Warcraft*cough*Inferno*cough**cough*

Also… Will Kung Fu Panda 3, which opens December 23, 2015, be affected by this film? I sure hope not, the last thing DreamWorks needs is another Kung Fu Panda 2-esque performance at the domestic box office. I have a feeling that there's going to be a little reshuffling with their schedule, not to mention the fact that Finding Dory and How To Train Your Dragon 3 still share the same release date.


The same day Star Wars: Episode VII's release date was announced, Disney pushed Brad Bird's Tomorrowland to May 22, 2015. The original sci-fi story starring George Clooney and Hugh Laurie was originally set to open on December 19, 2014… But let's be honest, that spot wasn't good to begin with: It had to go up against the last Hobbit, Disney's own Into The Woods, Night at the Museum 3 and several others.

But this new date isn't great, either. It opens a few weeks after The Avengers: Age of Ultron...

Here's hoping that Age of Ultron doesn't affect that film, because it's a Brad Bird film and it's an original tentpole film from Disney. We need more of those, and less… You know… Re-imaginings of stories they have already tackled!

Speaking of which, Jon Favreau will be the director of Disney's live action re-imagining (well, second actually) of The Jungle Book. While this gives me a little optimism, I still have no excitement for the project. I'd be totally fine with Disney scrapping it, the Cruella origin story, The Beast and even Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella… But that's already filming. Maleficent? Don't really care…

With him being attached, that means this will come to theaters in 2016 at the earliest. Blech, whatever…


  1. Didn't you say in one of your blogs that John Lasseter was the one who wanted to keep hand-drawn animation at Disney from the beginning? I thought I'd ask because I thought I remembered reading an article on here that mentioned this.

    1. Lasseter wants hand-drawn to stay alive, but I get the feeling that the execs like Iger and whatnot don't believe in it these days - hence the lack of hand-drawn films on the development slate.

      I still think that Disney is secretly working on something really special (i.e. an extension of Paperman's animation, etc.), something that will really bring hand-drawn back in a grand fashion and prove the higher ups wrong. It's rumored that "Zootopia" and "Giants" may show signs of this.

    2. I sure hope so. I like Bob Iger, he's a great CEO for Disney, but he shouldn't have to stop believing hand-drawn animation in terms of feature-length films is profitable for the company just because The Princess and the Frog & Winnie the Pooh didn't live up to stockholder expectations.