Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bits Journal #54

Bits on caveman, fish, princesses, cars, and then some...

Information on the release strategy of Aardman's next film, a stop-motion caveman comedy Early Man from director Nick Park, can be found over at Rotoscopers...

Unsurprisingly, a US release date hasn't been inked. Aardman hasn't seen quite that much success here in the states outside of Chicken Run, which is very unfortunate given that their films are some of the best of modern animated features. DreamWorks mishandled the marketing for their second and third features, Sony didn't do any better with Arthur Christmas and The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Lionsgate completely dumped Shaun the Sheep Movie. Who will get a hold of this feature here in the states? My best guess for the time being is Focus.

Anyways, StudioCanal has it for the worldwide distribution. Early Man is slated to open 1/26/2018 in the UK, five days later in France, and 3/29/2018 in Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. This goes against the previous announcement that implied that the film would open in the summer of 2018, given the "a little before the World Cup" statement. The earlier, the merrier! The US will probably get it in the summer or late spring.

Here's hoping it gets a proper release here in the states.

Speaking of 2018 releases...

Sony Pictures now intends to release the CG/live-action hybrid Sonic the Hedgehog movie, which was announced two years ago, sometime that year as well.

Next up, more Frozen...

Disney mining the animation studio's 2013 juggernaut? You don't say!

Yesterday, Disney reported that Frozen's Broadway adaptation - which was announced as far back as early 2014 - will open sometime in 2018. It sounds about right, though interestingly enough, Disney got the lead out on earlier Broadway specials. The Lion King on Broadway was out three years after the film was released, same with Beauty and the Beast. The Hunchback of Notre Dame's stage musical also debuted three years after the film first came out.

Anyways, at least they took some time on it... But interestingly enough, a holiday TV special based on the film is set to air on ABC in 2017.

First a short, now a special. If you're sick of Frozen, be prepared for that cold to linger!

Actually, I'm more interested to know what this all means for Frozen 2's release date. For a while I figured it would either open in fall 2018 or fall 2019, but a recent French report on Disney Animation implied that Frozen 2 is indeed Disney Animation's 11/27/2019 release. Well, with the special coming in 2017, and the Broadway show opening in 2018... I'm going to assume that the film will definitely bow on that date.

If it does, I'll be glad. That's 6 years after Frozen's Thanksgiving 2013 theatrical debut, the filmmakers will have had a lot more time to get it all together. Frozen's production was rushed and the studio actually had little confidence in the film before it opened and set the box office on fire, Disney will not tell you that. I'm in the minority on the film, I feel it really shows that it raced through its 2-year ride from early development to finished feature. Before you say "It was in development for decades", Disney developed different adaptations of The Snow Queen over the decades. For instance, the one they were kicking around in the early 2000s? It's a completely different story, much like how Sweating Bullets is not Home on the Range, or how Joe Jump is not Wreck-It Ralph. They only share some similarities. Same project, different concepts/stories. The film that we got, Frozen, was started in 2008, dropped in 2009, restarted in 2011, and finished in mid-2013.

I'm currently not gung ho for Frozen 2, but hopefully the amount of time spent on it ensures that it's a higher quality film than its predecessor. I still haven't seen Frozen Fever even though I own it, I'm still a bit Frozen-ed out. It's probably a decent short, and the special should be decent too. The holiday theme is fitting, and hopefully they don't coast on it. Pixar gave us the goods with their Toy Story TV specials, so I expect Disney Animation to do the same with Frozen. I'm just wondering... Where the heck is my Wreck-It Ralph short? Or my Big Hero 6 short?

Lastly, yesterday, we got a batch of Finding Dory posters. Since it's almost mid-February, it's prime time for a full trailer for Pixar's next. Anyways, each poster is an exclusive.

Combined image via The Pixar Post.

Ellen DeGeneres herself revealed the anemone one, the ray poster will be a Cinemark exclusive (and I work at a Cinemark theater, so I'll get to see it a lot!), the kelp forest is for AMC multiplexes, and the jellyfish one will only be seen in Regal houses. They're very nice and colorful to look at, and hopefully that new full trailer that gives more information on the story pops up.

Speaking of Finding Dory, I was thinking...

What is the short film that will be attached to it? Looking back on the original Finding Nemo, Pixar didn't have a new short prepared for that film, instead they dug up their 1989 classic Knick Knack. It worked well because Knick Knack only involves... Knick knacks! No humans or anything, that way the 1989-era computer animation wasn't jarring in 2003, or today. If you had attached Tin Toy though...

Usually we know about upcoming Pixar shorts long before they debut, but we don't know if the film will have a short attached. It's odd that one hasn't been announced, and we're four months away from the picture's release. However, there is a Pixar short sitting around that was completed last year and was meant to be released last year... A Cars Toon called To Protect and Serve.

The title was announced at the 2013 D23 Expo, a first look showing the two cop characters surfaced in October 2014, and some toys made it to the shelves around this time a year ago. Was the short finished? Scrapped?

If it was made, why did it remain unreleased for so long? It was one of two 5-minute shorts that Pixar intended to release back-to-back, the first one being Radiator Spring 500 1/2. That short debuted on Disney Movies Anywhere in early 2014, but this one didn't show up afterwards. It didn't need to debut with anything, Pixar could've released it via The Disney Channel or Disney Movies Anywhere.

Anyways, why this short and not an original? Well, what Pixar movie is opening after Finding Dory? Cars 3, in the summer of 2017. The short could function as a semi-teaser for Cars 3, similar to how DreamWorks made the short Almost Home, their quasi-teaser for Home.

However, this might not happen because... Cars isn't exactly a hot property with many, and Pixar has arguably become aware of this. We know more about the Pixar films coming out after Cars 3 than we do for Cars 3, and they're not trumpeting it. At all. When it comes out, there's sure to be a big marketing push from Disney, but I'm sure we'll hear nada on it outside of Lasseter, whoever is directing/writing it, and a few others. Inside Out's teaser's opening montage shows clips from every Pixar movie except Cars 2, and only one scene from Cars. Maybe Pixar figures "Everyone will be in the theater for Finding Dory, so we won't make them suffer through five minutes of Cars." Or maybe that's just a stretch.

Anyways, it's a bit unusual that we don't know what short is attached to Finding Dory, or if one even is. By spring/summer, we should be hearing about the short that will be attached to Disney Animation's big holiday season splash (Inner Workings?), so I guess there's still time to unveil it. Even if it's a last-minute reveal, it would simply mark a change of pace in the way Pixar announces short films. On the Disney Animation end, Zootopia clearly doesn't have a short attached, but it's possible Moana does.

What say you on all of this?

1 comment:

  1. About Early Man, I could see Focus getting the rights considering how much money they make off of LAIKA, but after seeing Shaun the Sheep Movie do terrible, I'd rather them go to someone like Paramount or Warner Bros.