Monday, September 29, 2008

Toy Story re-releases being re-rendered; won't feature any new scenes

The folks over at Collider.com have learned more about Pixar's plans are for the upcoming theatrical re-releases (in stereoscopic Disney Digital 3-D) of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, on October 2nd, 2009 and February 12th, 2010 respectively.

Talking at a press event at Emeryville for the WALL-E DVD/Blu-ray (coming Nov. 18), Pixar general manager Jim Morris revealed that Pixar is re-rendering the films using current rendering and shading technology, resulting in them looking "much better" than when originally released in 1995 and 1999, bringing them closer to the level of detail that will be seen in Toy Story 3 in 2010.

At the same time, the films won't feature any new shots, etc. "It’s exactly the same movie you saw before," says Morris. (Be sure to read his complete comments in the post.)

Collider went on to ask about the possibility of future Pixar films getting an IMAX release. Morris explained what has been known for a while that Pixar had looked at the process but that nothing ever came "to fruition". Thus Pixar is "not specifically talking about an IMAX release at this point in time".

(To insert some opinion here, Pixar should really take another look at IMAX, considering the immense success of The Dark Knight. IMAX presentation would sure have brought a lot to a movie like WALL-E. The same goes for Up, with all the flying and, I assume, wonderful panoramic views. And no, I'm not being partial to IMAX 'cause I'm Canadian!')

Finally, WALL-E co-producer Lindsey Collins clarifies that 'TS' and 'TS2' will be released exclusively in 3-D, while 'TS3' will be released in standard presentation and 3-D.

(via /Film)

Friday, September 26, 2008

New John Carter of Mars details

Sci Fi Wire via the Animation World Network (AWN) brings to light some comments made by Andrew Stanton and Pixar general manager Jim Morris to a group of reporters assembled at Pixar HQ in Emeryville this morning regarding Pixar's adaptation of the John Carter of Mars series of books. (Stanton is co-writing the script along with Mark Andrews, story guy on Ratatouille and The Incredibles.)

Says Stanton about how he envisions the look of the film, which will likely be a live-action/visual effects hybrid: "I'm going to do what I remember more than [exactly what's in the books]. To that Morris adds that the film will not look like previous adaptations of the series. "Where Stanton is going –from what we've seen so far– is very different than that. And I think that the people who really love the essence of the books will really dig it, but so will audiences in general," he says.

A couple more tidbits are in the story, such as Morris' hope that the film won't be presented in 3-D.

Read it here.

(Please note that the above "logo" is only a mock-up.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

'Cars 2' to be released in 2011 [UPDATE]

Major development here: Cars 2 will be released to theatres in the summer of 2011, one year earlier than its previously planned release date of Summer 2012, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter announced at the Walt Disney Studios Showcase media presentation held today at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Lasseter is quoted as saying that Pixar's animators are working 'around the clock' to bring the movie to the big screen sooner than originally planned.

At today's presentation, Lasseter revealed a little bit more of the story, saying that it will involve Mater "getting his passport" as he and Lightning McQueen travel around the world. Also, it was announced that a series of animated shorts featuring the characters of Cars, "Cars Toons", are being produced by Pixar . The shorts are to air online, on the Disney Channel, and possibly theatrically in front of Disney movies.

Most amazing in all of this is that 2011 was already planned to be the first year ever to feature two Pixar releases: Newt and The Bear and the Bow, in the summer and winter respectively. So does this mean we'll be seeing three (!) movies from Pixar in one year, two in the summer? Or will Newt or 'Bow' be bumped to 2012, the boring and predictable option? If it's the former, holy smokes! Be sure to comment below...

(Sources: MTV Movies Blog; The Hollywood Reporter)
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Update: /Film reports that indeed the plan is for Newt to be bumped to Summer 2012, thereby filling up the slot left open
after the move of Cars 2
to Summer 2011. Oh well... :(

For the purpose of refreshing memories, Newt will tell the story of the last male and female blue-footed newts on Earth –Newt and Brooke– who must mate or else the species will be wiped out. The problem? They happen to hate each other's guts.

(Updated Sept. 26)

Friday, September 19, 2008

'Presto' producer: Pixar is 'crazy'

In a piece recounting Pixar's unique creative method, Variety draws attention to some interesting comments made by Presto producer Richard Hollander at last month's SIGGRAPH conference.

"I had no idea of the magnitude of the craziness of the story process", says Hollander, who joined Pixar just in time to produce the short, after years at visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues. Halfway through production, he says, things were still "normal", that is to say "completely in turmoil".

His conclusion about how it all works? He still 'doesn't know'.

Read the story here, and here's to the crazy ones!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quick links...

Some minor items from the last few days:
  • Pixar is looking for an Associate Producer and a Management Assistant. "NOTE: Work is strictly highly confidential in nature."

  • WALL-E and director Andrew Stanton will be "honored" with a "Hollywood Animation of the Year Award" from the Hollywood Film Festival/The Hollywood Awards during a ceremony next month. Never heard of this before. [PR Web]
  • Two 'behind the scenes' looks at the production of Disney's Bolt. Not Pixar, but you get a real sense of the changes being made by Lasseter and Ed Catmull at the studio. [ComingSoon.net & CHUD.com]
  • The 2-disc Platinum Blu-ray release of Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty will include commentary by John Lasseter. [High-Def Digest]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

IMDb poll: Pixar or DreamWorks?

A bit late in reporting this: The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) asks in its Daily Poll question today, Do you prefer the animated movies made by Pixar, or by DreamWorks Animation?

Currently, the results are 66.2% for Pixar (8662 votes), 5.4% for DreamWorks (705!), with 20.1% enjoying movies from both studios (2631), and the rest voting for one of the "other" options.

So, anyways, go over to IMDb right now and cast your votes and sink ShrekWorks right to the bottom of the results, before the day is out (you need to be registered to vote).
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In related news: WALL-E remains high in the IMDb Top 250, coming in at #28 on the list with a User Rating of 8.7 out of 10. That's higher than many classic films.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Forty-five (45)

What is: Times I've listened to "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" since getting the WALL-E soundtrack back in June.

Excuse me, now, as I have to go wear a paper bag over my head.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jim Morris named Pixar General Manager

WALL-E producer Jim Morris has been named general manager of Pixar (a newly created position), The Walt Disney Studios announced via a press release this morning.

As part of his new role, Morris will continue to help 'guide' the studio's "overall operations", and "will continue to oversee all aspects of production related to animated features, short films, and special animated projects." He will report directly to Pixar president Ed Catmull.

Morris brings a lot of experience to the job; prior to joining Pixar in 2005 he was president of Lucas Digital (part of Lucasfilm Ltd.), where he oversaw both the Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound divisions. He had previously held other top posts within the Lucasfilm organization.

Over at Walt Disney Animation Studios, executive Andrew Millstein (11 years at The Walt Disney Company) will serve as general manger, again reporting to Ed Catmull, who also serves president of WDAS.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Latest on the Docter treehouse project

The Contra Costa Times (a local San Francisco Bay Area newspaper) reports the latest on Pete Docter's wonderfully whimsical plan for the property he co-owns with his wife in the city of Lafayette, California.

As scheduled, the City of Lafayette Planning Commission met yesterday to vote on the architectural proposal. The commissioners voted to approve the granting of a zoning exemption to the project, bringing it "one step closer to reality". (The most spectacular part of the plan, the 60-foot tall artificial tree, exceeded the City's zoning height limit of 30 feet.)

After formally approving the resolution voted on yesterday, the project must still go to the City's Design Review Commission for additional examination and then back to the Planning Commission for one more review before construction can get under way.

Till then, enjoy these pictures of the scale models built of the project.

Is this for real? [2 UPDATES]

Came across this intriguing entry on a blog published by a team member at Indianapolis, Indiana ABC affiliate television station WRTV (Channel 6).

The entry claims that Pixar is responsible for the creation of the animated opening titles of the new talk show (premiering Monday) to be hosted by actress Bonnie Hunt, The Bonnie Hunt Show. The following is mentioned:
"Bonnie [used] her connections with her pals from Pixar. Pixar has created the open for Bonnie’s new show. (She’s a favorite voice for them, having performed in a few of their films.)"
Hunt, of course, voiced Sally in Cars (and got a special writing credit for helping with dialogue on the film). She also lent her voice to Flint in Monsters, Inc. and Rosie in A Bug's Life, and will be reprising her role as Sally for Cars 2.

Despite the connection, this seems pretty far fetched. ¡Cough! woefully misinformed commentary ¡Cough!. The show is not even being produced or distributed for syndication by ABC (like Pixar, a Walt Disney Company subsidiary).

I would be all for it if it were true. At this point, Pixar can, and should, do pretty much anything it wants. Hey, the title card is quite reminiscent of the credits to 'Monsters'. Could it be? Nah! Looks like Pixar is becoming a genericized trademark for animation. (A real shame. Read somewhere a couple of days ago some meathead calling Shrek 'a Pixar movie'.)
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Update: Effectively debunked. "Nobody on our team is aware of this," a solid contact at Pixar publicity tells me.

(Updated at 4:43 PM)
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Update: Hunt, in today's premiere episode, stated that her 'incredibly talented friends at Pixar brought the opening titles to life'. So I guess this means it was a group of Pixar artists who did the animation, possibly independent of the studio, as suggested by commenter Mkpmedia.

(Updated September 8)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pixarians make Vanity Fair 100 list

The 2008 edition of the annual Vanity Fair 100: The New Establishment list –basically a catalogue of the world's most important people in the areas of governance, business, and entertainment– came out today and Pixar is very well represented.

To start off, we have co-founder Steve Jobs; he's listed at #4. After discussing his achievements at Apple, Vanity Fair, under the heading "Can Be Proud Of", cites Pixar and the huge success of WALL-E.

(The word on the street is that Jobs continues to be meaningfully involved with Pixar, attending Walt Disney Company board meetings and the like.)

Here's where things get really interesting, though: Pixar's John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Brad Bird are tied for #28 on the list –that's higher than Arnold Schwarzenegger (ranked at #33), Tom Hanks (#34), Disney CEO Bob Iger (#35), Bono (#36), Oprah (#43), George Clooney (#55), last year's Best Picture/Best Director Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen (#85), and Hollywood heavyweights Bob and Harvey Weinstein (#87).

Surprising, but extraordinarily well deserved, don't you think?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pre-order WALL-E DVD/Blu-ray

WALL-E can now be pre-ordered on DVD and Blu-ray (Region 1) from Amazon.com, this in advance of its November 18 home video release.

Four different configurations are available. Basic details* see are as follows, with Amazon's pricing:
The regular 1-disc DVD (cover pictured) is currently #21 on the list of bestselling DVD's on Amazon; the super extremely cool 3-disc Special Edition DVD and the two Blu-ray releases are at #50, #147, and #122 respectively.

*See here for complete details regarding each edition.