Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Cars 2 clip: Japan Race

Disney/Pixar just released this new clip from Cars 2 on YouTube. The scene takes place during the Tokyo leg of World Grand Prix. Watch—

CONTEST: Win a copy of The Art of Cars 2 [WINNER]

The nice folks at Chronicle Books have sent me a second advance copy of The Art of Cars 2 (review).

What am I going to do with it? Give it away, of course!

The 500th person to email pixarblogunofficial@yahoo.com correctly answering the following two questions gets the book:
  1. Who is the production designer of Cars 2?
  2. Who is the director of photography-lighting?
Subject line should be "Art of Cars 2 giveaway". Please include your full name and mailing address. Contest is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada and closes when 500 eligible entries are received (see comments). The winner will be announced shortly thereafter. Multiple entries will not be considered.
And the winner is... Kaileen Kraemer of Plymouth, MN. The correct answers were 1. Harley Jessup; 2. Sharon Calahan. They could be found in this post. Kaileen's entry was my third blind click; the first two entries I drew had incorrect answers.

(Updated June 2)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lasseter coming to Toronto to promote Cars 2 [UPDATE]

Toronto has been getting a lot of love from Pixar lately.

Last month, animator Don Crum was in town to talk about his work at the studio and introduce the world premiere of the first ever Toy Story Toon, Hawaiian Vacation.

Now it's been announced that chief creative officer John Lasseter will be visiting on June 7 to promote Cars 2 and participate in the Toronto International Film Festival's In Conversation With… series.

Lasseter will join Jesse Wente, the Festival's Head of Film Programmes, on stage at the TIFF Bell Lightbox to discuss his career, show clips of his films, and answer audience questions.

Tickets are still available, but act fast if you're interested. The event takes place at 7:30 in the evening.

Earlier in the day, Lasseter and Cars 2 producer Denise Ream will be sitting for interviews with local media. You might hear a bit more about that next month!
Update: I've learned the sad news that Lasseter has had to cancel all his upcoming appearances for the next few weeks, including his trip to Toronto, due to unexpectedly losing a close family member over the weekend.

(Updated May 30)

The Art of Cars 2 is a Work of Art

My advance copy of The Art of Cars 2 arrived from Chronicle Books with Wednesday's mail. I've been flipping through it every time I get a chance. It's simply a gorgeous book.

Art, layout, and text work perfectly on each page. There isn't anything I would have done differently. As with all of Pixar's previous art books, there's so much to appreciate that its hard to pick favourites.

The Tokyo and Pacific Ocean spreads really stand out for me, as does the section "Roads Not Taken" (begins on page 112), which shows off rejected Cars 2 concepts.

Enter Zil, a Russian baddie based on an actual failed Soviet race car. Zil was originally the film's central evildoer but was ultimately dropped in favour of the current villain, Professor Z.

I would have loved to see this character on screen. His intimidating mug reminds me of Hopper in A Bug's Life. Cars 3 perhaps? Either way, this is the kind of thing you learn reading these books.

Though the 'Art of' series is more 'grown-up', this volume is sure to be popular with younger readers too. Young or old, anyone who's a fan of Cars will enjoy the beautifully presented artwork.

The Art of Cars 2 is written by Ben Queen and Karen Paik, with a foreword by John Lasseter. It goes on sale next month.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

First still from Brave

Dutch animation blog Animatie has discovered the very first film still from Brave, posted on a French Disney fan page on Facebook.

The shot may be from the upcoming teaser. (Will update with hi-res version as soon as it becomes available.)

It's our first look at Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly McDonald) as a fully-rendered character and matches this concept art revealed in March.

Cars 2 receives MPAA G rating

Like all but two of Pixar's feature films (The Incredibles and Up), Cars 2 has been rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Films receiving the G—General Audiences rating "[contain] nothing... that, in the view of the Rating Board, would offend parents whose younger children view the motion picture".

Even though all Pixar movies meet that standard, this G rating comes as a real surprise. With all the reported action in Cars 2, I was strongly expecting a PG rating.

(via The Pixar Times)

Monday, May 23, 2011

State Farm/Cars 2 commercial

State Farm Insurance, lead sponsor of the Cars 2 "Agents on a Mission" tour, is promoting a new TV ad starring Mater, Holley, and Finn.

The commercial will begin airing in the U.S. tomorrow night with the season finale of American Idol.

Oh, and it's truly awful. Nothing genuinely funny, no heart; even the voice work is awful.

(via Stitch Kingdom)

Brave clip screened for industry

World Screen reports that a clip from Brave was screened for foreign media buyers during last night's Disney International Upfronts.

Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross introduced the clip (and one from Disney's The Muppets).

Though described as a clip, it may have been the teaser trailer attached to Cars 2 next month.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Brad Garrett cast in 'Planes'

Comedian Brad Garrett will be bringing his distinctive voice to the Cars spin-off Planes, arriving direct-to-video in Spring 2013.

He tells the Sacramento Bee:
"My next is another Pixar movie called Planes, in the line of Cars. I told them their next movie should be Luggage."
Garrett is technically wrong in calling Planes a Pixar film. While it is an extension of Pixar's franchise, Planes is being made at DisneyToon Studios and will evidently not be branded as "Disney•Pixar".

It's a good sign that Disney is bringing in talented names for the spin-off, like Garrett who has worked with Disney and Pixar before. Expect further casting announcements as we get closer to release.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

How many Hawaiian shirts does John Lasseter own?

San Francisco Chronicle pop culture critic Peter Hartlaub recently spent a morning with Pixar creative chief John Lasseter and his wife Nancy at their Northern California home.

Not just any morning: April Fools' Day morning.

What's not a joke is Lasseter's collection of Hawaiian shirts. His penchant for the style is as strong as ever. He cops to owning over a thousand shirts, about 374 of which are in "active rotation" in his closet.

The video tour accompanies a story that will appear in tomorrow's print and paid electronic editions of the paper. It will made available for free online on Tuesday morning.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ontario animator lands job at Pixar

The Pixar gate in Emeryville, as seen from inside the studio grounds

The Waterloo Region Record reports on one of the latest additions to Pixar's roster of world-class artists and animators.

Jamie Metzger of Waterloo, ON (about an hour and a half from Toronto) will begin work at Pixar early next month. Metzger graduated in April from the animation program at Sheridan College.

"Eight years of school, about $53,000 in tuition, 56 teachers, and no social life, and it all equals Pixar," she says of her path to the studio. But she adds that it will be worth it.

"I'm on cloud nine. I think I'm still in shock. It won't hit me until I walk into the office and see my heroes and start thinking of them as peers."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cars 2 LEGO trailer & featurette

A couple of cool Cars 2 videos emerged today: a new featurette with never-before-seen footage from the film and the penultimate Cars 2 trailer remade using LEGO. Enjoy.

Confirmed: Brave teaser coming with Cars 2

The first theatrical trailer for Brave, a teaser, will be attached to Cars 2 on June 24, as previously rumored. Expect it to debut online sometime around then.

Brave, directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, opens on June 22, 2012.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pixar/London Tube map mash-up

I'm not in the habit of posting fan creations and I generally dislike mash-ups. But this anonymously created piece has made me rethink my stance on both.

London's famous Underground map is reimagined as a guide to Pixar's history and people. Film titles and Pixarians replace station names. The attention to detail is incredible (e.g. cancelled Newt takes the place of closed station).

For someone who loves London as much as I do, this rocks. And it comes at just the right time, with the city being a major part of Cars 2. (The inclusion of Monsters University and La Luna points to it having been made recently.)

Thanks Ekim for the tip

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cars 2 album track listing

Amazon has updated its product page for the Cars 2 soundtrack album with the track listing presented below.

Avert your eyes if you wish to avoid "spoilers".

Except where otherwise noted, all tracks are instrumental and composed by Michael Giacchino.

The Cars 2 soundtrack arrives on CD and digital download June 14.
  1. You Might Think—Performed by Weezer
  2. Collision Of Worlds—Performed by Brad Paisley and Robbie Williams
  3. Mon Caeur Fait Vroum (My Heart Goes Vroom)—Performed by Bénabar
  4. Nobody's Fool—Performed by Brad Paisley
  5. Polyrhythm—Performed by Perfume
  6. Turbo Transmission
  7. It's Finn McMissile!
  8. Mater The Waiter
  9. Radiator Reunion
  10. Cranking Up The Heat
  11. Towkyo Takeout
  12. Tarmac The Magnificent
  13. Whose Engine Is This?
  14. History's Biggest Loser Cars
  15. Mater Of Disguise
  16. Porto Corsa
  17. The Lemon Pledge
  18. Mater's Getaway
  19. Mater Warns McQueen
  20. Going To The Backup Plan
  21. Mater's The Bomb
  22. Blunder And Lightning
  23. The Other Shoot
  24. [Redacted]
  25. The Radiator Springs Gran Prix
  26. The Turbomater

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Deadliest Catch star cameo in Cars 2

As we've learned over the past months, Cars 2 will delight viewers with a bunch of celebrity character cameos, from John Lassetire to Prince Wheeliam.

The latest cameo to be announced is Crabby, pictured above in character and film stills released by Disney/Pixar.

Crabby is voiced by Sig Hansen of the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch. Hansen's crab fishing boat in the reality series is also named Northwestern.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Monsters University synopsis & hi-res logo

Pixar has made public an official title treatment/synopsis for Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters, Inc. set for release on June 21, 2013.
Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn't stand each other. Monsters University unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.
The studio also released a hi-res color version of the film’s logo, first revealed in a U.S. trademark registration in early April.

To recap, actors Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles in ‘Monsters U’. The film is directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae. Rae previously served as associate producer on Monsters, Inc. and The Incredibles.
Please note: This post, as well as the previous one, were delayed until today by the Blogger service disruption. The blackout also resulted in two earlier posts being deleted.

Disney responds to Cars 2 lawsuit

Attorneys for The Walt Disney Company responded yesterday to the lawsuit* filed in March by Jake Mandeville-Anthony, who claims that Pixar stole the idea for the Cars franchise from him.

On Wednesday the presiding judge in the case rejected Disney’s application for an extension of their time to respond, which would have given them until July 8 to answer the complaint.

In the response, Disney denies “each and every one of Plaintiff’s legal claims concerning purported copyright infringement and substantial similarity of the parties’ respective works.”

Many of the arguments by defense attorneys Sandy Litvack and David Singer expose the madcap nature of Mandeville-Anthony’s case.

Incredibly, the unknown screenwriter only registered his works with the U.S. Copyright Office in September 2010, about 18 years after he says he created them, and six months before he filed suit.

There is also no record that Disney or Pixar ever received copies of Mandeville-Anthony’s works beginning in 1992, as he alleges in his complaint.

A hearing on Mandeville-Anthony's motion to obtain a pre-release copy of Cars 2 remains scheduled for June 6. Disney has offered to screen the film immediately for him and his attorneys at its Burbank, CA studios, subject to non-disclosure agreements.

After Cars 2 is released, Disney intends to request that the lawsuit be dismissed “with prejudice”, which would prevent it from being refiled. Failing this and other legal avenues, the case will go to a California jury.

*Jake Mandeville-Anthony v. The Walt Disney Company, et al. CV 11-2137-VBF(JEMx).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cars 2 soundtrack artists announced

Disney announced this afternoon details on the music of Cars 2 and the artists who will bring their talents to its highly-anticipated soundtrack album.

In addition to Michael Giacchino's original score, Cars 2 will feature music by country star Brad Paisley, British solo artist Robbie Williams, alternative rockers Weezer, French singer/songwriter Bénabar, and Japanese girl pop group Perfume.

Paisley and Williams perform a duet called "Collision of Worlds". "It’s an international kind of song that’s inspired very much by the film," says Williams in the press release.

A second song, "Nobody’s Fool," is written and performed by Paisley, who drew inspiration from what he calls "the most heartbreaking scene in the movie," which is about Mater painfully realizing that others think he's an idiot.

Weezer perform a cover of The Cars' 1984 hit "You Might Think".

For more international flavour, Giacchino co-wrote a song in French titled "Mon coeur fait vroum" ("My Heart Goes Vroom") that introduces Paris in the film. The song is performed by Bénabar.

Perfume’s Japanese single "Polyrhythm" will be heard as Lightning McQueen and Mater attend the World Grand Prix opening night gala in Tokyo.

The Cars 2 soundtrack album will be available on CD and download from Walt Disney Records on June 14.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Final Cars 2 trailer coming Friday [UPDATE: Thursday]

A brand-new and presumably final theatrical trailer for Cars 2 will premiere online on Friday, May 13 Thursday, May 12 at 11 AM ET.

Apple's iTunes Movie Trailers site is promoting the trailer with the banner at right and a countdown clock on the Cars 2 page.

What do you want to see?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pixar Phase II building opens

Photo by Christine Free

After two years under construction, the Phase II expansion of Pixar's Emeryville, CA campus opened to employees on Friday without public fanfare.

Known internally as "Brooklyn", Phase II will house projects that are in the pre-production stage of development, roughly the first two years of a film's life. The shows will move to the main building as they get closer to release.

Pixar will accommodate hundreds of employees in the new building, which features a 110-seat theatre, recording equipment, game room, and full-service café.

Unfortunately the studio has said that there are no plans to release any pictures of the interior for the time being. Feel free to protest in comments.

Cars 2 research trip: Tokyo

In October 2009, following the research trip to Europe, Cars 2 production team members traveled to Tokyo, Japan to get a sense of the culture and environment there.

(Read this expansive interview with story supervisor Nate Stanton for more on the 15-city European tour, which included the stops in Italy and London.)

Below are selected photographs from the trip, courtesy of Disney/Pixar.

Director of photography-lighting Sharon Calahan and production designer Harley Jessup in the Tokyo subway

How do you say "Mind the Gap" in Japanese?

Jessup admiring the lights of Tokyo (Ginza district?)

Enjoying a traditional Japanese meal

Imperial Palace and resulting concept art

Friday, May 6, 2011

La Luna logo, producer, running time, plot hint

Pixar surprised fans yesterday by bringing to light an upcoming short, La Luna, complete with a still and intriguing synopsis. After a short is announced, further details always begin to trickle out. La Luna is no exception.

Pixar just revealed the artistic title card for the film shown above. A trusted source, who has seen La Luna, adds that the title "is VERY appropriate" (emphasis theirs). So it definitely has something to do with the moon—'la luna' in Italian and Spanish.

Kevin Reher, who produced shorts Day & Night and Partly Cloudy, has been named as producer. He hinted at the film's setup in an interview back in February:
"The new [short] we're finishing production on now... it's beautiful, it's lyrical, it's very different from all the other ones. It's amazing how easy it can be when you just have three characters and two sets."
Finally, La Luna's total running time is 6:53, making it Pixar's longest theatrical short film to date by nearly one minute.

Cars 2 lawsuit latest developments

Here are the latest developments in the Cars 2 lawsuit by unknown screenwriter Jake Mandeville-Anthony, sourced from recently-filed court documents obtained through the U.S. Courts' PACER service.
  • David R. Singer and Sanford "Sandy" M. Litvack of the firm Hogan Lovells are representing The Walt Disney Company and its co-defendents (wholly-owned subsidiaries Disney Enterprises, Inc., Walt Disney Pictures, and Pixar).
  • Litvack was general in-house counsel and vice chairman at Disney during the Michael Eisner years. He figures prominently in James B. Stewart's book DisneyWar.
  • Calling the lawsuit 'audacious', Disney has applied for an order to extend their "time to respond" to July 8, after Cars 2 opens, aiming to prevent a preliminary injunction to stop the film's release from being granted.
  • Mandeville-Anthony's attorney counters with a motion to obtain a copy of Cars 2 and its screenplay before the theatrical release. Disney objects on the grounds of commercial secrecy and piracy concerns. A hearing is currently scheduled for June 6.
  • Disney plans to seek dismissal of the entire lawsuit based on various arguments, including the lack of even 'remote' similarity between Cars and Mandeville-Anthony's works.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Future Pixar short 'La Luna' revealed

Indiewire/Thomson on Hollywood has revealed a still and synopsis from a previously secret Pixar short film, La Luna, likely attached to Brave in 2012.
"La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait," reads the synopsis.

"A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?"
Any guesses what it's about?

Directed by Enrico Casarosa, with music by Michael Giacchino, La Luna will premiere at the Annecy International Animation Festival this June. A source informs me that Pixar finished production on it a while back, possibly as early as 2008, except for music.

La Luna is Casarosa's directorial debut. He joined Pixar in 2002 and has since worked as a story artist on Cars, Ratatouille, and Up. He is currently head of story on an unnamed Pixar film.

TIME publishes my Letter to the Editor

When the 2011 TIME 100 list came out two weeks ago, I couldn't believe that Steve Jobs wasn't on it.

His work at Apple is without a doubt more noteworthy and important than that of many others on the list.

Hence I wrote a short, caustic email to the editor. Proving that journalistic standards are dropping, it got excerpted in the current issue (cover pictured; on newsstands until May 9).

TIME's Letters/Inbox feature isn't published online, so if want to take a look, you'll have to turn to page 5.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cars 2 character: Brent Mustangburger

Disney/Pixar unveiled minutes ago Brent Mustangburger, the latest in a long line of new Cars 2 characters. Mustangburger is based on, and voiced by, sportscaster Brent Musburger.

Cars 2 TV spot #2

A new minute-long TV spot for Cars 2 hit the web this afternoon. Watch it on YouTube or embedded above via ComingSoon.

The editing isn't really to my liking, but the spot has some unbelievable never-before-seen footage from the film.

Every new shot we get from Cars 2, not to mention the filmmakers' own comments, point to this being Pixar's most visually attractive movie ever.

Lasseter confirms Rio as reason for Newt cancellation [CORRECTION]

Speaking with IGN Movies recently, Pixar creative chief John Lasseter reportedly confirmed what has long been speculated: that Blue Sky Studios' Rio was the reason for the cancellation of Newt.
"It's story was very similar to a movie that's out in theaters right now with a blue parrot. Oh my! Wow, we were like… great minds think alike, I guess. It was really pretty similar."
But more interesting is what he prefaced his comment with:
"We've put movies into development and some get further than others and then we feel like things just aren't quite ready we put them to the side and that's just been put on a shelf and we'll see where that goes in the future."
Doesn't that sound like we might get to see Newt someday?
Correction: A source at Pixar tells me that Lasseter was 'simply commenting on the similarity of elements of the plot', not in any way confirming that as the cause of Newt being shelved.

First cover for 'Art of Pixar' book

Amazon just added cover art for The Art of Pixar: The Complete Color Scripts and Select Art from 25 Years of Animation, to be published in November by Chronicle Books.

Coming this early, the image is most likely temporary, as we've learned from previous Pixar 'art of' books and soundtrack albums. It should be replaced in the weeks before the volume is published.

The 320-page book will present the "full colour scripts" and a "selection of the best of the art" from Pixar's first twelve feature films—Toy Story to Cars 2. Text, written by Amid Amidi, with a foreword by John Lasseter, is described as being "minimal".

Monday, May 2, 2011

Seven international Cars 2 posters

Seven new international posters for Cars 2 have arrived online in English at Hollywood.com.

The set was first seen in Russian last month and posted by The Daily Blam (via Pixar Times).

I gotta say, these are much better than the domestic one-sheet. And they really drive home the international setting of the sequel.

Visit Hollywood.com to see the other six posters.

Cars 2 still: Mater & Holley

This new Cars 2 still was released on the Walt Disney Studio press website earlier today. Mater is clearly quite the charmer. But what I really like is the backdrop. You?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New cover for Cars 2 soundtrack

Last weekend, Amazon added a cover to its product page for the Cars 2 soundtrack album. As suspected, the much-derided image was only a placeholder.

Amazon replaced it today with new, presumably final, cover artwork, matching the final film poster and video game box art.

The soundtrack, featuring Michael Giacchino's original score, will be released by Walt Disney Records on June 14.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in