Thursday, August 25, 2011

Docter put in good word for Up house builders

Remember the replica Fredricksen house near Salt Lake City? It turns out Disney went along with the concept after a talk with the Docter.

Up director Pete Docter "personally intervened on behalf of the project", The New York Times reports.

"Somehow [homebuilder Blair] Bangerter's detailed architectural drawings made their way to Mr. Docter’s desk at Pixar. Touched that his film had inspired such an elaborate reaction, he asked the company to make it happen."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arndt likely writing Pixar's 'mind movie'

Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt is all but confirmed to be writing the Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind.

IndieWIRE's The Playlist blog reported whispers of this when the film, set to open May 30, 2014, was announced this past Saturday.

After a fair bit of searching, I was able to find a post at Ain't It Cool News from April 2010 where Arndt casually mentioned: "I'm working on Pete Docter's next project at Pixar".

Pixar declined to comment "for now", but it's safe to assume things haven't changed and Arndt is still hard at work hammering out the script.

(Photo: Arndt in 2007 after winning his Original Screenplay Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine. Matt Petit/©A.M.P.A.S.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"John of the Jungle" contest

Did you visit Disneyland circa 1977? Did you take pictures? If so, you may have a 'golden ticket' of sorts hidden in one of your old albums.

Disney launched a Facebook contest last night to find a picture of Pixar's Lasseter skippering the park's famous Jungle Cruise attraction.

Between late 1977 and spring 1978, years before he would become head honcho at Disney and Pixar animation, and principal creative advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering, Lasseter worked as a run-of-the-mill Disneyland cast member.

But a recent search by Disney for a photo of Lasseter on the Jungle Cruise—one of his main jobs at the park—came up empty.

The first person to submit a "verifiable" photo of Lasseter at the time will win a trip for four to the grand opening of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure in next summer. Also included: a ride on the Jungle Cruise—skippered by John Lasseter!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First look at Monsters University concepts

At yesterday's "Characters of Monsters University" panel at D23, director Dan Scanlon and production designer Ricky Nierva showed off the first concepts from Pixar's Summer 2013 flick.

The Pixar Times and /Film have posted pictures from the event and details of what was discussed.

Notably, Nierva and Scanlon explained the work that went into giving Mike and Sulley a subtly youthful appearance for the prequel.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Guess who else is voicing characters in 'Monsters U'

That would be comedian Dave Foley and Partly Cloudy director Peter Sohn, according to press materials just released by Disney/Pixar.

Foley's last feature role for Pixar was as Flik in A Bug's Life. Sohn, currently co-directing the Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs, previously voiced Emile in Ratatouille.

Neither was a part of the cast of Monsters, Inc. so its fairly certain that their characters in the forthcoming prequel are original.

Steve Buscemi is set to return as a younger Randall Boggs.

BREAKING NEWS: Pixar announces two new movies

This hour at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Pixar announced details on the two as-yet-untitled feature films slated for release on November 27, 2013 and May 30, 2014.

First up is Pixar's long-awaited dinosaur project, directed by Bob Peterson (co-director/writer, Up), co-directed by Peter Sohn (director, Partly Cloudy), and produced by John Walker (producer, The Incredibles).

The studio's blurb for the film reads:
What if that life-changing asteroid missed Earth? Director Bob Peterson’s hilarious tale depicts a world where dinosaurs never went extinct.
That explains the boy and pet dinosaur in the concept art we first saw two years ago next week.

The second film is directed by Monsters, Inc. and Up director Pete Docter; Ronnie del Carmen (director, Dug's Special Mission) co-directs and Jonas Rivera (producer, Up) teams up with Docter again as producer.
From director Pete Docter comes an inventive new film that explores a world that everyone knows, but no one has seen: inside the human mind.
IndieWIRE's The Playlist blog heard through the grapevine that the script is being written by Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt and is "specifically about the formation of ideas"?

The human mind? This has potential to be the studio's most inventive and original film yet. Indeed, it's being described as "wildly ambitious" even for Pixar.

Which of these movies are you looking forward to the most? Please share your thoughts in comments.

Jon Cryer cast in 'Planes'

Actor Jon Cryer was just announced at D23 as the voice of main character Dusty in DisneyToon Studios' Cars spinoff, Planes.

(Though drawn from Pixar's franchise and produced under the direction of creative chief John Lasseter, Planes is not a Pixar film and will not be branded as Disney•Pixar.)

Cryer, best known for his role on CBS' Two and a Half Men, joins Everybody Loves Raymond alum Brad Garrett in lending his voice to the film.

Planes takes off on Blu-ray and DVD Spring 2013.

Next Toy Story Toon entitled 'Small Fry' [UPDATE]

Friday afternoon at the D23 Expo, Pixar revealed Small Fry, the previously-untitled Toy Story Toon coming to theatres November 23 with Disney's The Muppets.

Attendees were shown a bit of footage from the short, directed by BURN-E helmer Angus MacLane (also known for his LEGO creations).

The Pixar Times was there and describes Small Fry as being "Buzz-centric" and hints that "we will definitely be seeing some new toys" in the film.

In related Pixar shorts news, the studio at last confirmed what we've known for months: La Luna will be attached to Brave next year.
Update: The Pixar Times adds the following about the plot of Small Fry:
"Looks like Buzz Lightyear is left behind at a fast-food restaurant and must find his way back home. In doing so he encounters some less popular, happy meal-like toys. One of those toys, a Mermaid of sorts, will be voiced by Glee's Jane Lynch."
(Updated 11:24 AM)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Toy Story Trilogy on Blu-ray 3D Nov. 1 has listed for pre-order the Toy Story trilogy on Blu-ray 3D with a ship date of November 1, the same day as the Cars 2 Blu-ray/DVD.

Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3 will be sold individually, as well as in a complete set that includes all three films in the high definition 3-D home video format.

Stay tuned as an official announcement might come later today at D23.

(via Stitch Kingdom)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Disney/Pixar ends Annie Awards boycott

TheWrap is reporting that Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios have ended their year-long boycott of the Annie Awards.

As you may recall, Disney/Pixar withdrew support from the Annies and ASIFA-Hollywood, the group which oversees them, in protest at the award's twisted voting rules.

This resulted in Toy Story 3 being shut out from winning any awards at the 38th Annie Awards in February.

The boycott led to some important changes at ASIFA-Hollywood, including the ousting of organization president Antran Manoogian, who had held the position for more than two decades.

Pixar stamps on sale tomorrow

Announced last December, the highly anticipated Pixar character stamps will be issued tomorrow by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter will join Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman to officially unveil the "Disney•Pixar Send a Hello Forever" collection at a first day of issue ceremony tomorrow afternoon at the D23 Expo.

The Washington Post reports that the USPS is printing 200 million of the stamps to meet the expected demand.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cars 2 Blu-ray/DVD coming Nov. 1; new short Air Mater

Cars 2 will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on November 1 with previously unreported bonus: a brand new Cars Toon entitled Air Mater.

Entertainment Tonight just posted a first look at a clip from the short, which you can watch above. (Replaced with HD version via YouTube.)

In addition, the five-disc combo pack will feature a 'sneak peek' at the massive Cars Land attraction under construction at Disneyland in California.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New cover, release date for Steve Jobs bio

A final cover and new publication date have been revealed for Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Apple CEO and Pixar co-founder Steve Jobs.

Originally set to hit bookshelves on March 6, 2012, the book will now be released in just over three months, "on or around November 21" according to publishers Simon & Schuster.

The new cover is miles ahead of the hideous temporary one that appeared with the pre-order back in June.

Previously known as iSteve: The Book of Jobs (a horrible choice), the title was recently changed to the more elegant Steve Jobs.

Cult of Mac (where yours truly is a contributor) has a longer version of the official blurb, which specifically mentions "animated movies" as one of the industries Jobs helped transform.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Billy Crystal talks 'Monsters U'

The Los Angeles Times caught up with Billy Crystal on Friday night and Monsters University naturally came up in the conversation.
“It’s really a great script, it’s really funny. That’s why I’m a little hoarse. I spent five-and-a-half hours today for our fourth session,” says the actor/comedian, who reprises his role as Mike Wazowski in the Monsters, Inc. prequel.
"This movie ends where the other one starts. It’s college pranks with monsters. And I wear a retainer. Mike has a retainer.”
Read Crystal's complete comments over at the Times' Hero Complex blog.

Monsters University opens in theatres on June 21, 2013.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Details on Pixar panels at D23

The Walt Disney Studios revealed this afternoon details on its panels at the D23 Expo, which runs from August 19-21 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.

Of special interest to Pixar fans are the five panels featuring some of the biggest names from the studio. They're described in the announcement as follows:
  • A Conversation with the Pixar Creative Team – Enjoy a rare opportunity to spend some time with the key figures responsible for Pixar’s unprecedented success, including John Lasseter, Jim Morris, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews, and Dan Scanlon.
  • The Characters of Monsters University – Director Dan Scanlon and Production Designer Ricky Nierva discuss how they combine hair, horns and a lot of heart to bring the wonderful Monsters University characters to life.
  • Michael Giacchino’s Music of Pixar – In this musical presentation, award-winning composer Michael Giacchino explores his early influences through the creation of modern-day classic scores from Ratatouille, Up and Cars 2.
  • The Art of Brave – Production Designer Steve Pilcher and Shading Art Director Tia Kratter show how they and their team put paint to canvas and fingers to computer keys to create the stunning visuals of Scotland for Disney•Pixar’s upcoming film Brave.
  • Pixar Shorts – This retrospective screening of the animation studio’s legendary short films will be followed by a panel discussion with several of the filmmakers, including Ralph Eggleston, Andy Jimenez, Angus MacLane, Pete Sohn, Teddy Newton, and Enrico Casarosa.
All of the events sound fabulous, but I'd be most interested to attend "A Conversation with the Pixar Creative Team". With almost the entire "Brain Trust" participating, this is almost certainly where Pixar's future slate of films will be announced.

If you're planning to attend, check the official website for times and locations. Tickets are still available; one-day admission is $47 for adults and $37 for children ages 3-12. Three-day passes are $136 for adults, $106 for children.

RenderMan at SIGGRAPH 2011

SIGGRAPH 2011 is going on in Vancouver until Thursday and Pixar's RenderMan division is one of the biggest names at the computer graphics conference.

Pixar announced a handful of new offerings, including RenderMan for Maya 5.0, scheduled for release this fall, and a new package for students.

With each year's SIGGRAPH comes a new RenderMan Walking Teapot. Scores of these are handed out to attendees who stop by the Pixar booth at predetermined times.

Following last year's Mr. Potato Head-inspired design, this year's theme is classic racing, a subtle nod to Cars 2. The backdrop for the official picture is "The Road to Point Reyes", a 1983 CG image from Pixar, which at the time was considered state of the art for its "realistic" rendering.

(Hat tip to RenderMan team member Peter Moxom (@damoxy) on Twitter. He also tweeted a rendering of this year's Cars 2-themed booth.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Contrary to popular belief, Henry Selick NOT working at Pixar

Along with the untitled 05/30/14 feature from Pixar and a couple of Marvel titles, Disney also slated a new untitled film from Henry Selick today, the first in their new deal with the stop motion animator.

In April 2010, Variety reported that Selick would be directing features "for Disney/Pixar". This, it turns out, is not correct. Contrary to popular belief, Selick isn't working at Pixar.

A trusted source at the studio tells me that "he's working within the Disney family, but he's not a Pixar employee."

Disney and Pixar have, of course, been tight-lipped about how Selick's films will be branded, but it seems safe to say that it will not be as "Disney·Pixar".

Untitled Pixar film coming May 30, 2014

THR and Box Office Mojo are reporting that The Walt Disney Studios has slated another unannounced Pixar feature for release on May 30, 2014.

This feature and the secret November 27, 2013 film will give shape to Pixar's post-Brave slate, which is likely to be announced at the D23 Expo in Anaheim next week.

It's been confirmed that the 11/27/13 project will have an original (i.e. non-sequel) story, but the same hasn't been said about 05/30/14.

Could it be Toy Story 4? Please share your theories in comments.

Real life Up house open for tours

Last month, The Salt Lake Tribune shared the story of the life-size replica Up house built in Herriman, Utah by Bangerter Homes. I missed posting the story at the time, but now the house is open for tours as part of a local parade of homes event.

The Tribune followed up yesterday with a video of the interior and exterior of the four-bedroom, 2,800 sq. ft. home, which is listed for sale at $399,900.

The Washington Post's Celebritology 2.0 blog reports that the homebuilders have already received numerous offers, including some from as far away as France and Pakistan.

If I had a spare 400k lying around—or any reason for moving to Utah—I'd be making some phone calls right now.

(Photo by Paul Fraughton/The Salt Lake Tribune)