Monday, June 29, 2009

Pixarpedia: A Complete Guide to the World of Pixar ...And Beyond!


A bit late in reporting this, but...

Coming soon from publisher Dorling Kindersley (DK) is Pixarpedia, an authorized, 300+ page encyclopedia of all things Pixar.

As you'd expect, Pixarpedia will include hundreds of facts and trivia on the studio, filmmaking process, characters from each of the films, etc. Probably no big surprises for know-it-all fans, but guaranteed fun nonetheless.

The book ships from Amazon.com on August 17 in the U.S., and internationally thereafter (link to U.K. product page, with alternate cover).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ten Best Picture nominees at next Oscars

The 82nd Academy Awards will feature ten nominees for the top prize of Best Picture, rather than five, it was announced earlier today by Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

This change should finally open the way for Pixar's critically-acclaimed animated gems, as well as other commercially successful films, to be recognized in the awards' most prestigious category. It goes without saying that WALL-E would have gotten a nod last year had there been ten openings. Cinematical is already predicting that "Up is a definite contender".

Said Ganis: "Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize".

The practice of having more than five Best Picture nominees is actually not new for the Academy. As noted in the news release, there were ten nominees in the category for nearly a decade in the Oscars' 'early years'. 1934 and 1935 even saw twelve nominees.

The 82nd Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010. Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Luxo Jr. animatronic at Hollywood Studios

An audio-animatronic Luxo Jr. debuted today at the Pixar Place area of Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park, part of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

A video of everybody's favourite desk lamp in action can be seen on YouTube, and embedded above.

(via Upcoming Pixar)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pixar-themed wedding

A couple somewhere in America had a Pixar-themed wedding over the weekend.

As seen in a photo posted on Flickr, the groom wore a grape soda bottle cap pin like Mr. Fredricksen in Up. Guests enjoyed quizzes and such, and there were Pixar references throughout the officiant's speech, resulting in "the snappiest and funniest wedding I've ever been to", according to the user who uploaded the picture.

They should have gotten an Ultimate WALL-E to be the ringbearer. Could totally see that happening.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dying girl gets to see 'Up' at home [UPDATE]

By far the saddest, most moving, story this blogger has ever posted on:

Colby, a 10-year-old California girl dying of cancer, too sick to leave her home, got her wish of seeing Up last Wednesday in a rather extraordinary way.

After receiving "frantic" calls from determined family friends, Pixar flew an employee to the girl's home in Huntington Beach (about 415 miles from San Francisco/Emeryville) on a day's notice with a copy of the film on DVD (and a bag full of Up stuff) so she and her family could watch it. Afterwards, the disc was returned with the employee responsible for its safekeeping. Colby died about seven hours later.

Reportedly, "Pixar officials declined to comment on the story or name the employees involved". This could suggest that the Pixarian who visited the family —whose "eyes were just welled up"— might be more well-known than the studio wants to let on.

Read the full story at The Orange County Register.
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Update: This story is understandably receiving a lot of attention —worldwide, in fact.

At last count, at least 198 news/media outlets had picked up the OC Register story, according to Google News, foremost among them the Associated Press (AP). Specifically online, it made the homepage of major social news websites like Digg and Reddit, and has been emailed countless times by individuals.

Even the normally snide commenters at blogs like The Consumerist and Gizmodo have been moved by the tragedy and, like others, are giving Pixar kudos for its gracious, 'classy', 'human', handling of things.

(Updated June 19)

Monday, June 15, 2009

'Up' set for big box office accomplishment

Citing unnamed "box office observers", Variety predicts that Up will surpass The Incredibles' $261.4 million domestic gross to become the second-highest-grossing feature film in Pixar history at the domestic box office (that's U.S. and Canada), after Finding Nemo which made $339.7 million domestically.

Pixar's tenth film has so far made about $187.4 million during its North American engagement only, not having opened in any major international markets yet.

For all the latest numbers from Up's "boffo" box office run, domestically and internationally, go to Box Office Mojo.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

IMDb lists Monsters, Inc 2

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is listing Monsters, Inc. 2 as being in development at Pixar for release in 2012, supporting the heretofore unconfirmed claims (here, here, here, and my very favourite here) about the film's production.

The subscription-only IMDb Pro gives the project status as "Pitch" with Monsters, Inc. and Up director Pete Docter as director of the sequel. Docter and Andrew Stanton (currently working on John Carter of Mars, officially a Disney project) are listed as writers.

Despite considering 2013 as more likely, the 2012 target could certainly turn out to be correct if Pixar plans to make two films a year (first to be tried in 2011 with Cars 2 and The Bear and the Bow). This would mean that 'Monsters 2' would be released in the later part of the year, probably in November like the original.

Thanks to the anonymous commenter who pointed to this

Friday, June 12, 2009

'Up' dropped subplot revealed

Talking with MTV News/MTV Movies Blog, Pete Docter elaborated on an early plot element that was dropped from the final storyline of Up.

The film was to see an egg laid by Kevin being a fountain of youth. "Muntz wanted the egg because it was this youth potion that made you grow young," says Docter. Carl was supposed to be protecting the egg throughout the movie.

Docter admits that "it was really interesting", but it ended up being too "bizarre" and so didn't make the cut.

The fountain of youth subplot is mentioned briefly in The Art of Up. Expect to see a storyboard of the scene with director's commentary on the Up DVD/Blu-ray out in the fall.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

TPB in The Mississauga News

The Mississauga News, local newspaper for my base of operations Mississauga, Ontario, and sister publication to the nationally-read Toronto Star, did a story about The Pixar Blog and my expertise on Pixar.

I sat down with the reporter, Julie Slack, yesterday at the local Starbucks and chatted about the site and the studio for about an hour or so.

The story is online at Mississauga.com. Read it and wish you were as cool :)

Police dogs had part in 'Up'

The Contra Costa Times takes a look at the real dogs whose barks could be heard in Up, in the Alpha Pack sequences to be exact.

Solano County police dogs ("K-9s") King, Khan, Niko, and Basco (pictured) were recorded by Pixar two years ago after having been suggested by Keith Kops, who is both head of security at Pixar and a Sheriff's Reserve Deputy with the Solano County Sheriff's Office.

The Canine Unit was not told anything about the movie the dogs would be part of. Kops, like every other Pixar employee, would of course be bound by confidentiality agreements with the studio.

With good reason, the Unit is listed in the Special Thanks section of the Up end credits.

Pixar on Twitter

Pixar is now officially on Twitter, tweeting @DisneyPixar. At least for now, expect content similar to that found on @UP_dates, the official Twitter page for Up.

@DisneyPixar is confirmed legit by @MiramaxFilms, among others. Miramax, like Pixar, is part of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group owned by The Walt Disney Company.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of Twitter . It may be the hottest thing right now (Twitter made this week's cover of TIME) but I remain partial to traditional blogging. More expressive.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monsters, Inc. 2 previewed for licensees?

Adding further fuel to the rumours that Pixar is indeed working on a sequel to Monsters, Inc. (something I've been very confident about for a while), Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media reported today in a new post that potential licensees attending the 2009 Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas last week were told about Monsters, Inc. 2, after having been "sworn to secrecy" (read: made to sign a non-disclosure agreement).

Jim Hill has had issues with accuracy in the past, so caution is in order, but hopefully the story is true and we're getting closer to an actual public confirmation from Pixar, something which this story is certainly not. ¡cough! /Film, Upcoming Pixar, Cinema Blend headlines ¡cough!

An interesting tidbit: When I interviewed Peter Sohn last month I asked him about Monsters, Inc. 2 at the end of the call. He was about to say something —"I can't..."— but the Pixar publicist listening in made sure he didn't finish the sentence!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

'Up' stays at No.1 [UPDATE]

Up was No. 1 at the North American box office again this weekend, taking in a solid $44.2 million, according to estimates released this afternoon, and bringing the movie's total gross so far to $137.3 million.

This accomplishment makes Up the first film of the summer to stay at the No. 1 spot for two weekends in a row.

(Source: Associated Press)
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Update: Final numbers have been released and the news isn't good: Officially, Up was beat for the No.1 spot by crude comedy The Hangover by a small margin of under 1 million dollars. Up's confirmed earnings for the weekend amounted to $44,138,266 or $44.1 million, according to the AP —still an excellent result.

Surely embarrassing for Disney considering it's a rare occurrence in Hollywood for initial estimates to be incorrect, but not at all a big deal —financially or otherwise— in the long term.

(Updated June 8)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The "Married Life" montage in 'Up'

There's a short new article appearing in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times specifically about the poignant, critically-acclaimed four-minute-long montage that anchors Carl's story early on in Up (termed "Married Life" on the Up soundtrack).

Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera share their thoughts on the various aspects of the montage, such as the inclusion of the heartrending scene of Ellie crying at the doctors' office after having a miscarriage and the use of particular colours to assist in illustrating the various stages of Carl and Ellie's life together.

Understandably, Docter calls the montage "one of the things I am most proud of in the film".

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pixar at Annecy 2009

Pixar will be hosting a public "all-access discussion" on recruiting/hiring at the studio on Wednesday, June 10 at this year's 33rd annual Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market in Annecy, France.

As noted in the above banner (which has time and place info for the event), in attendence as speakers will be Partly Cloudy director Peter Sohn and producer Kevin Reher; Carlo Vogele, animator with Pixar since 2008; and Pamela Harbidge, senior recruiter.

Annecy 2009 runs from June 8 to 13.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bird wants Giacchino to score '1906'

Talking to the Los Angeles Times about "Hollywood's hottest composer" Pixar-regular Michael Giacchino, Brad Bird confirms that he will 'insist' that Giacchino score his next film, the live-action Warner Bros./Disney/Pixar co-production, 1906.

Bird, who worked with the Up composer on The Incredibles and Ratatouille, says that "the feeling with Michael is like being a kid and going over to your best friend's place to play. He can throw on a cape as well as cowboy boots, or whatever is required, to have fun."

Interestingly, The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) now lists Pixar's involvement with 1906, scheduled to premiere in 2012, as consisting of "financial support". No mention of any special effects creation as was rumored at one point, in line with what Ed Catmull said last August about Pixar not becoming a special effects company.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

'Up' printables

This is fun: There's a selection of free official Up 'printables' at Disney's Family.com. You can make 3-D papercraft models of Carl, Russell, and the house, a "My Adventure Book", bookmarks, and a door hanger.

Personally, I'd go for the house, but without the balloons which don't look realistic because of the white background.

Thanks to Mario for the tip

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

'Partly Cloudy' on iTunes Store

Briefly: Partly Cloudy arrived (requires iTunes) at the iTunes Store (U.S. only) this morning, on sale for $1.99.

The short film, Pixar's most recent in theatres with Up, runs 5 minutes and 45 seconds.

Monday, June 1, 2009

'Up' in iPhone commercial

Up is featured in a new television commericial for Apple's revolutionary iPhone, being selected onscreen using the Fandango app (must have iTunes installed), which provides users with tickets and showtime info. Watch the ad at Stitch Kingdom.

The commercial is only the latest example of cooperation and cross-promotion between the two Steve Jobs-co-founded companies. Reminds me of what analysts predicted would happen if Apple would have bought Pixar back in 2004 prior to the merger with Disney, only on a smaller scale.

In far more ironic news, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demoed the next generation of the software maker's lame Zune portable media player last week using a clip from Pixar's For The Birds.

'Up' solid at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes

Nearly all major reviews of Up by North American critics have now been published and Pixar's tenth feature remains at 98% Fresh on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes. 157 reviews have been taken into account, 154 Fresh to 3 Rotten.

This almost certainly ensures another Golden Tomato win —a sixth— for Pixar.

In-jokes in 'Up'

/Film put together a list of all the hidden in-jokes and such "easter eggs" found so far in Up, starting with the trademark A113 and Pizza Planet truck.

Read at your own risk as the post naturally gives away all the scenes and locations.

Docter and del Carmen talk real-life Paradise Falls

The Associated Press (AP) has published an interview done recently with Up director Pete Docter and story supervisor Ronnie del Carmen about the now famous research trip to the exotic tepui mountains in Venezuela (and Brazil) and the inspiration provided by the 'lost world' landscapes found there.

Docter and del Carmen talk about grandness of the locations visited and their influence on the movie; the effect of the Up on tourism to this pristine area of Earth; and a documentary to be included on the Up DVD and Blu-ray, among other subjects.

Read it at Yahoo! News.