Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interview with Thinkway Toys chief

A nice break from the expected year-end Pixar news drought we've been experiencing, The Los Angeles Times Hero Complex blog has published an interview with Albert Chan, president and CEO of Thinkway Toys, Pixar favoured toymaker.

Chan discusses his company's enduring and storied relationship and collaboration with the studio, that started fifteen years ago and continues till today. (The company's website homepage is nearly all Toy Story these days.)

Read the Q&A here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Exclusive: Toy Story 3 color script art [UPDATE]

Check out these two beautiful never-before-seen pieces of artwork from the Toy Story 3 color script, created by art director Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi. They were sent exclusively to me by Pixar this evening, for me to share with readers.

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Update: Pixar Talk and Upcoming Pixar also got two exclusive pieces of color script art each. Check those out here and here.

(Updated at 11:59 PM)

Friday, December 18, 2009

TPB is now on Twitter

I'm finally jumping on the Twitter bandwagon! The Pixar Blog is now officially on Twitter, @The_Pixar_Blog.

Some updates will be links to blog posts, but I also plan to tweet original content, even on off-topic subjects from time to time.

ABC Family to air 'TS3' extended clip [UPDATE]

Briefly: The ABC Family cable network in the U.S. will be airing a special "first look" extended clip from Toy Story 3 during a presentation of Pixar's The Incredibles this Sunday, December 20 at 8:30 ET/7:30 CT. The segment will be hosted by director Lee Unkrich.
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Update: The exciting clip is already online and embedded below for your enjoyment via WorstPreviews.com.



(Updated at 6:15 PM)
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Update: The clip has now been officially posted, in superior quality, to
Disney.com/ToyStory. A perfect excuse to watch it again!

(Updated Dec. 21)

Toy Story 3 to be released in IMAX 3D

Toy Story 3 will be released in IMAX 3D in addition to its regular and Disney Digital 3-D releases, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and IMAX Corporation announced in a press release this morning.

Toy Story 3 will be the first Pixar film to be released in the IMAX format, which features "unparalleled image and sound". The film will be digitally re-mastered for the enormous IMAX screens using the proprietary IMAX DMR technology.

I'm incredibly excited about this. I've always thought that Pixar should release films in IMAX. Really, I thought they were crazy not to, because if any studio's films deserve to be seen this way, it's Pixar's. Seeing a film in IMAX is an extraordinary entertainment experience. Definitely the way I'll be wanting to enjoy Toy Story 3.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Third 'Up' Oscar ad

This third beautiful Up "For Your Consideration" advertisement has been brought online at Awards Daily. It ran this past Sunday in Variety. (See earlier print ads here and here.)

As you can see, it promotes the film specifically not just in the Best Picture and Best Animated Feature categories but also Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Death of Roy E. Disney

The world received the sad news earlier today that Roy E. Disney, son of Roy O. Disney and nephew of Walt Disney, has died at the age of 79. The cause of death is reported to be stomach cancer, which he had been fighting over the past year.

Roy, a Disney Legend and Director Emeritus at The Walt Disney Company, will be remembered for, among many other things, his fierce determination in guarding the company co-founded by his uncle and father. His two "Save Disney" wars were instrumental in keeping Disney true to its roots and viable as a giant in the field of animation.

As many fans know, he was a true friend to Pixar. He embraced the studio's success and did everything in his power to protect its relationship to Disney, paving the way for the companies to finally merge in 2006.

In a statement released by the Walt Disney Co., Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter said:
"[Roy] was a great man who believed deeply in the art of animation. He put his heart and soul into preserving Disney's legendary past, while helping to move the art of animation into the modern age by embracing new technology".
The Los Angeles Times has a well-written obituary with many facts about his life and career at Disney. Read further at Wikipedia.

(Photo: Roy E. Disney in 1990. Credit: Towpilot/Wikimedia Commons)

I'm getting a signed Toy Story 3 poster!

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich emailed me personally today to let me know he's sending me a signed movie poster!

He's a fan of the blog and wants to show his appreciation for my work on it and my cooperation with Pixar. Isn't that incredibly nice of him?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New 'TS3' still: Sunnyside box

Empire magazine online got a special first look at this beautiful never-before-seen still from Toy Story 3. This is the second still from the movie that's debuted online in the last week (see the first).

As you can see, the toys have been put in a box labled "Sunnyside", as in the Sunnyside Daycare centre where they're dropped off early on in the film.

Two Golden Globe nominations for 'Up'

Up was recognized with only two nominations for the 67th Golden Globe Awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) today, in the categories of Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score -Motion Picture.

The awards presentation, telecast live on NBC in the United States, will take place on Sunday, January 17 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.

Monday, December 14, 2009

'Up' nominated for 4 Critics' Choice Awards; on AFI awards list

Up received four nominations (press release) for the 15th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards, presented by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA).

The categories are:
  • Best Picture

  • Best Original Screenplay (Bob Peterson & Pete Docter)

  • Best Animated Feature

  • Best Score (Michael Giacchino)

The awards will be presented one month from tomorrow, on January 15. The ceremony will air live on the VH1 Television Network at 9:00 PM ET.

Thanks "R Ginepri Rocks" for the tip

Also in Up awards news, the American Film Institute (AFI) chose Up as one of its Movies of the Year Official Selections, part of the 2009 AFI Awards.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

'Art of Toy Story 3' cover and details

The cover for The Art of Toy Story 3 can now be viewed at Amazon.com and other online retailers where the book is available for pre-order.

In line with Pixar's previous 'art of' volumes, the 176-page 'Art of Toy Story 3', written by animation historian Charles Solomon and published by Chronicle Books, will include over 250 pieces of concept art from the making of Toy Story 3. Also included will be a "special gatefold" of color scripts and an "extended introduction showcasing the art and story development" of the original Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

From the cover we learn that the foreward to the book will actually be written by director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson with a preface by John Lasseter.

The book's release date is now listed as May 26 on Amazon.com. Chronicle says "after Wednesday, May 12" on its website.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

1.85:1 aspect ratio for Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 will be presented in a theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1; so says director Lee Unkrich who answered my question about this around an hour ago on Twitter, @leeunkrich!

IMDb has been saying 1.85:1 for a while but the site can be unreliable on technical specs during production. Makes sense considering the first two films in the series were in the same aspect ratio.

Of Pixar's first ten masterpieces five (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and Up) were 'shot' in 1.85:1 while the rest (A Bug's Life, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, and WALL-E) were framed in the wider 2.35:1.

As I tweeted: "Only a true nerd would want to know this". Yeah.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pre-order Toy Story and 'TS2' on Blu-ray [UPDATE]

Confirming the High-Def Digest report from a few hours ago, the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 Blu-rays have been listed for pre-order at the Disney Store online with a shipping date of March 23, 2010, and for the very reasonable price of $29.99 USD each. Amazon.com and other online retails should follow shortly.

As is customary for Disney Blu-ray releases, each title will come in a 2-Disc combo pack that includes an additional copy of the film on standard definition DVD. Further information, such as technical specifications and detailed descriptions of disc extras, is still not available.

Stay tuned to The Pixar Blog for all the latest on the release of these two Pixar classics on Blu-ray.
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Update: There are also new 1-Disc Special Edition DVDs of Toy Story (cover pictured) and Toy Story 2 available for pre-order at DisneyStore.com, but these won't go on sale till May 18, well after the Blu-ray/DVD combo packs. Each disc will include the extras found on the Blu-ray releases.

The DVDs have a suggested retail price of $21.99 making the Blu-ray combo pack the definite best deal, considering it's only eight dollars more and gives you the option of having the film on the next-generation format even if you don't currently have the player.

Confusingly, there will also be a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack of each film (as opposed to Blu-ray/DVD) with the DVD as the main item but still including a copy of the film on Blu-ray. While I applaud Disney's technique of delaying the release of certain DVDs until after the Blu-ray combo pack debut to encourage adoption of the format, this is just too much and may confuse consumers.

So, what will you be getting? Nobody say 1-Disc DVD!

(Updated Dec. 12)

March 23 release for Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Blu-rays

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 will be released on high definition Blu-ray Disc on March 23, according to a High-Def Digest report based on an 'early announcement' made to retailers.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has not yet made a public announcement regarding the release of the titles so technical specs and suggested list prices are currently unknown. High-Def Digest, however, lists several reported bonus features to be included in the discs, such as two different sneak peeks at Toy Story 3.

The Toy Story disc will include an extra titled "Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw". Black Friday here refers to November 19, 1993, the day Pixar presented the disastrous first draft of the Toy Story script to Disney that resulted in production on the film being temporarily shutdown as the script was rewritten.

In that early draft, as you may know, Woody was far less friendly than in the final screenplay —he was a jerk, actually, oozing with sarcasm. This Blu-ray-exclusive extra will probably present portions of the script and storyboards with commentary by John Lasseter and crew.

Going slightly off-topic here but prices on Blu-ray players and HDTVs have really gone down in recent weeks. If you haven't already, but can reasonably afford to, make the move to HD —it's the future.

Thanks Matthew S. for pointing me to the High-Def Digest article
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Update: Both titles have indeed been listed for pre-order at the Disney Store online, with a March 23, 2010 release date. See here.

(Updated 6:47 PM)

'Up' in TIME 'Top 10' movie list

Up is number two on TIME magazine's list of Top 10 Movies of 2009, part of their Top 10 Everything of 2009 feature.

Critic Richard Corliss writes that "there's no sweeter, more poignant 4½ minutes in movie history" than Up's touching "Married Life" montage, which has resonated with audiences around the world.

Exciting Toy Story 3 still debuts online

This new image from Toy Story 3 debuted on Moviefone yesterday. I believe it's the first actual still from the film itself we've seen so far.

From the watercolor paintings, etc. in the background, it appears that this is a shot of the characters having arrived at the (horrific) daycare they're donated to as Andy leaves for college.

By the way, we're only about one week away from being only 6 months away from the film's release in theatres.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

'Up' Oscar ad: The Hollywood Reporter

Up's Oscar campaign continued this past weekend with a full-page advertisment on the cover of trade journal The Hollywood Reporter (International Weekend Edition).

Like the Daily Variety cover, this one also advertises Up as "the best reviewed film of the year", which of course it is, but doesn't focus on the well-known "Married Life" montage.

Unkrich shares 'TS3' production photos on Twitter

Checked out @leeunkrich lately? If you haven't, you've been missing a lot.

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich's 8,722 followers (and counting) on Twitter have been treated to a bunch of production photos from scoring sessions that took place today and yesterday with composer Randy Newman, and a recording session with Tom Hanks this afternoon (pictured above).

Follow @leeunkrich for Unkrich's latest insider tidbits on 'TS3' production.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pete Docter on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!

Pete Docter was the special guest on today's episode of the NPR news quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! He talked a little bit about Pixar and animation, but the real reason he was there was to answer three "Not My Job" questions about, of all things, the Emirate of Dubai.

Take a listen online here. The segment with Docter runs 11:29.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

CNN visits Pixar

CNN visited Pixar's Emeryville headquarters recently and their video report (apparently made only for the web) is making the rounds online this evening.

Nothing groundbreaking, especially if you've seen the Up DVD/Blu-ray extras, but there are some nice shots of the Renderfarm and John Lasseter's childlike office. Watch it below.

It's cool to see a major journalism outfit like CNN covering Pixar. It should happen more often.

Three Grammy nominations for 'Up'

The music of Up has been recognized by The Recording Academy with three Grammy Award nominations for composer and arranger Michael Giacchino. The academy announced the nominees for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards earlier today. The winners will be announced at the awards presentation on Sunday, January 31.

The nominations are as follows:
  • Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media
  • Best Instrumental Composition —For "Married Life"
  • Best Instrumental Arrangement —For "Up With End Credits"

Fans of Giacchino should be quite happy that he's nominated twice in the Best Score Soundtrack Album category, the other nomination being for his excellent work on Star Trek.

Visit the official Grammy website for the complete list of nominees.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Up' receives nine Annie Award nominations

Up received nine nominations from the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood today as the nominees for the 37th Annual Annie Awards (2009) were announced.

Pixar's tenth feature film is nominated in the following categories (includes individual achievement categories):
  • Best Animated Feature

  • Directing in a Feature Production (Pete Docter)

  • Writing in a Feature Production (Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy)

  • Music in a Feature Production (Michael Giacchino)

  • Animated Effects (Eric Froemling)

  • Character Design in a Feature Production (Daniel Lopez Munoz)

  • Character Animation in a Feature Production (Daniel Nguyen)

  • Storyboarding in a Feature Production (Ronnie Del Carmen)

  • Storyboarding in a Feature Production (Peter Sohn)

It's worth noting that theatrical short Partly Cloudy was unfortunately not selected as a contender for the Best Animated Short Subject prize. Also, computer graphics pioneer William Reeves, one of Pixar's founding employees, will be receiving the honorary Ub Iwerks Award at this year's awards.

The complete list of nominees can be found at annieawards.org. The 37th Annual Annie Awards are scheduled to be handed out on Saturday, February 6, 2010.