Thursday, August 27, 2009

Art hints at Pixar dinosaur film [UPDATE]

A sharp-eyed reader at Upcoming Pixar recently spotted some very intriguing artwork in the background of the Up B-roll #1, seen at minute 4:07 directly behind Pixar production artist and character sculptor Greg Dykstra (screenshot above).

The top image, as you can see, is of a herbivorous dinosaur with a person standing next to it. Below that are two images of a small, inquisitive-looking boy. All three images look like they're photos of clay sculptures (compare with the colour and texture of the Carl Fredricksen sculpture in the foreground). Not clearly visible is a fourth image, a drawing, that seem to show another view of the dinosaur.

Everything about these indicate they are concepts for a Pixar film ―announced or unannounced, short or feature― in production. Asked about it on Twitter, Up story supervisor Ronnie del Carmen responded that he, of course, does know what the artwork is for but he's "not telling".

Please tell us.
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Update: Pixar Touch author David A. Price just sent me an email pointing me to some interesting postings made by Pixar animator and paleontology buff Austin Madison on his personal blog earlier this month.

Madison recounts a trip taken by a group of dino enthusiasts to the badlands of South Dakota last month, many (most?) of whom were Pixarians. These included a production assistant, Brandon Hyman; a technical artist, Chuck Waite; and an assistant editor, Zack Keller.

Now get this: Greg Dykstra, in who's workspace the 'boy and dinosaur' concept art was spotted in the Up B-roll filmed months earlier, was also on the outing, keenly interested in the topic, as seen in the photographs posted on the site. He is apparently quite a paleontology buff himself.

These facts point to this having been a research trip for an unannounced upcoming film, almost certainly being directed by Dykstra. This would undoubtedly be a short since Dykstra hasn't directed before at the studio.

(Updated at 9:30 PM)

Lasseter talks Toy Story Collection



The first video of a seven-part series starring John Lasseter promoting the new Toy Story Collection line of Toy Story toys can now be seen at the DisneyLiving YouTube channel, the official channel of Disney Consumer Products.

In the videos, Lasseter will explain to fans what exactly makes these the "definitive" copies of the toys from the films. (I personally want Woody and RC.)

Read more on the Toy Story Collection here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cars 2 to be subtitled World Grand Prix?

Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media reports that over the weekend Disney registered the domain name cars2-worldgrandprix.com and alternates such as worldgrandprix-movie.com, suggesting that Pixar's sequel to Cars (poster pictured) will be titled Cars 2: World Grand Prix.

It must be noted that a WHOIS search on the domains (example) shows that they were registered privately and does not list Disney as the owner, a probable attempt by Disney/Pixar to have this stay off-the-radar until closer to the film's Summer 2011 release date. Hill's report is therefore currently unsubstantiated.

The subtitle World Grand Prix, however, certainly fits well with what we know about the film's plot so far, that it will follow the adventures of Lightning McQueen and Mater as they travel across the globe.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New edition of Toy Story art and 'making of' book coming

Yesterday, as part of an update to Disney.com/ToyStory that added a bunch of new material on topics related to the films, featured was a new edition of Toy Story: The Art and Making of the Animated Film to be published on September 1 by Disney Editions.

Written by John Lasseter and Entertainment Weekly writer Steve Daly and originally published in November 1995 prior to Toy Story's debut in theatres, the 128-page book is a "richly illustrated" account of the making of Pixar's first animated feature.

With its excess of concept art, storyboards, and rendered images from the film, Toy Story: The Art and Making of the Animated Film is the forerunner to Pixar's very popular 'art of' series published by Chronicle Books.

The book can now be pre-ordered from Amazon.com and other online retailers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lucas to present Venice award to Lasseter, directors

George Lucas, with his very special connection to Pixar, has been selected to present John Lasseter and fellow directors Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement award on September 6 at this year's Venice Film Festival.

Lasseter and company will also be holding an Animation Master Class and panel the following day dedicated to Pixar's filmmaking process.

The 66th annual Venice Film Festival or Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia takes place Sept. 2-12, 2009

(via Variety)

New post at the Disney Blog

It case you haven't seen it, I've written a 300+ word post at The Disney Blog about the thrilling report yesterday in Variety that Disney and director Robert Zemeckis are working on a 3-D remake of The Beatles' psychedelic animated film Yellow Submarine.

Beatles + Disney = Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pixar at D23 Expo

The Walt Disney Studios announced today their complete programing line-up for the first D23 Expo, the official gathering for Disney fans, happening September 10-13 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

Pixar will be well represented on the fourth and final day of the event. John Lasseter will host the Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios presentation at 11:00 AM local time in the center's arena. He will there "discuss and show materials from" the studios' upcoming slate of animated films, including Toy Story 3.

A presentation focused solely on Toy Story 3 will take place at 6:30 PM, to be followed by the North American/U.S. premiere of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in digital 3-D, the much anticipated double feature.

Expect at least one or two (possibly major) announcements to come out of these presentations. It's the first such expo and it'd be surprising if every effort wasn't made to make as much news as possible.

Further details on the convention, from ticketing information to a full list of the other exciting programming and exhibits to be enjoyed at the event, are available on the d23expo.com website.

And here's hoping Disney will hold next year's expo on the East Coast (i.e. New York) rather than keeping it in Southern California.

New AMPAS president; Lasseter elected secretary

Yesterday night marked the election of a new president of the Acadamy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.). Industry executive Tom Sherak, who recently served as the Academy's treasurer, was selected by the Board of Governors, replacing former president Sid Ganis who served for four consecutive one-year terms in the office, the maximum allowed.

Concurrently, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter was elected secretary of the organisation. Lasseter has been a member of the Academy for many years now, serving as governor of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch.

Also of note, actor and friend of Pixar Tom Hanks was elected first vice president, a post he has held previously.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Toy Story Mania! for iPhone/iPod touch

Under the rader for over a week, Disney released a brand new Toy Story Mania! video game for iPhone and iPod touch (2nd generation) devices on Apple's App Store.

The gameplay is, of course, inspired by the popular Toy Story Mania! attractions at Disney's California Adventure and Hollywood Studios theme parks.

Link [requires iTunes]

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Toy Story/Toy Story 2 in 3-D poster (good quality)

Quickly: The folks at Cinema Blend got their hands on this high quality version of the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 3-D double feature poster we first saw last month. So far it appears to be the only poster for the re-release of the films.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unkrich celebrates 5000 Twitter followers, smashes face into cake

In a new YouTube video, Toy Story 3 director and prolific 'tweeter' Lee Unkrich made good on his earlier promise to smash his face into a cake upon reaching 5000 followers on social networking/micro blogging service Twitter.

I must say @leeunkrich is becoming a must-read for me personally.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray & Luxo Jr. set [UPDATE]

After learning about the upcoming debut of Up on DVD and Blu-ray yesterday, we're finding out more about Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment's plans for the long-delayed Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray, as well as an exciting new collectable set.

'Monsters' will be arriving on Blu-ray the same day as Up, November 10, now as a 3-Disc edition, rather than the previous 2-Disc, thus including three copies of the film; on Blu-ray, DVD, and DisneyFile for iPod, etc. The title can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

For a limited time, a special collectors set featuring the Up 4-Disc Blu-ray/DVD will also be sold. The "Luxo Jr. Premium Combo Pack" will include Up plus a working collectable replica Luxo, Jr. desklamp, with a stand that doubles as storage for all your Pixar Blu-ray discs.
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Update: The Luxo Jr. collectible lamp pack is now up for pre-order at Amazon.com for $139.99, $60 less than the suggested retail price of $199.99.

(Updated Aug. 16)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pre-order 'Up' on DVD and Blu-ray [UPDATE: 2-Disc DVD]

Up on DVD and Blu-ray (Region 1/A) became available for pre-order at Amazon.com and other online retailers today, accompanied by cover art, in advance of its newly-set release date: November 10, 2009 (according to DisneyStore.com).

Pixar's tenth feature will be released on 1-Disc DVD and in a 4-Disc Blu-Ray/ DVD set, which will include the film on hi-def Blu-ray Disc, standard definition DVD, and in the portable media player-friendly DisneyFile Digital Copy format. The suggested list prices are $29.99 and $45.99 USD, respectively, but the discs will of course sell for much less at many retailers.

Currently, DisneyStore.com lists the feature-based short Dug's Special Mission (details here) and theatrical short Partly Cloudy as being the only extras on the 1-Disc DVD. The 4-Disc Blu-ray/DVD pack, on the other hand, will include much bonus material, ranging from featurettes and a documentary to alternate scenes, and games on the Blu-ray discs. Click Extended Description on the Disney Store page for a basic list.

Thanks Alex for the tip
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Update: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has officially announced that there will be an Up 2-Disc deluxe DVD with a good selection of bonus features. This should prove popular with those not inclined to purchase the 4-Disc Blu-ray combo pack.

Now available for pre-order, the suggested retail price for the 2-Disc DVD is $39.99.

(Updated August 11)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bonnie Hunt cameo in Toy Story 3?

I just got a hint, the specifics of which I won't be discussing, that actress and daytime talk show host Bonnie Hunt, who's worked with Pixar on A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc. and Cars, may be playing a part of some sort (currently unannounced) in Toy Story 3.

Whether this is true or not remains to be seen. Pixar publicity could not be reached for comment. Pixar publicity declined to comment.

Toy Story Collection toys

With the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 3-D double feature less than two months away from release, a plethora of new Toy Story-themed 'children's playthings' will be arriving in stores, leading up to the debut of Toy Story 3 in theatres on June 18, 2010.

While I won't be attempting to cover each of the dozens of items that will go on sale between now and next summer, I do intend to report periodically on the ones that really stand out and are most appealing to fans.

As of now, most exciting is the Toy Story Collection, a line of super deluxe toys manufactured by Thinkway, Pixar's toymaker of choice. These are the most 'definitive, highly detailed, and accurate' replicas produced to date of the toys from the movies.


The collection is comprised of Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Rex action figures, RC remote-control car, Space Alien (aka Little Green Men) squeeze toys, and Bucket O Soldiers plastic figures.

Each features a variety of special features, as described on the respective product pages. The Woody, Buzz, Rex, and RC toys are the most advanced, having several high-tech capabilities.

Worth mentioning are the included Certificates of Authenticity with John Lasseter's printed signature and the fact that the toys boasts "film accurate paint details", the original data files from Pixar being used.

If you're wondering, there's no new Jessie doll available, surprising indeed considering the character's appeal to girls (and male über über-nerds).

Toys from the Toy Story Collection can be pre-ordered separately from the Disney Store online (except for Buzz, available for pre-order soon) and will ship late this month, or you keep an eye out for them at your local toy store in the Fall.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Woody's last name

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich revealed a few hours ago on Twitter (@leeunkrich) the last name of Sheriff Woody from the Toy Story films, previously known only internally at Pixar (excepting a single odd mention in a review of the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 DVDs from the year 2000):
"Woody's actual full name, never before mentioned, is... "Woody Pride", and has been since the earliest days of developing the original Toy Story."
So does this mean we'll be hearing Woody's last name used in Toy Story 3, unlike in the first two movies? No, says Unkrich. "Woody's last name is not mentioned in 'TS3'".

(via Cinema Blend)