April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: Pixar

“Monsters University” and “Pacific Rim” take Hollywood Film Awards Honors

The 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards announced today that Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University,” directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, will be the recipient of the Hollywood Animation Award, and Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures “Pacific Rim” visual effects supervisor John Knoll will receive the “Hollywood Visual Effects Award” at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony.
The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, founder and executive producer of the Hollywood Film Awards. He said: “John Knoll’s groundbreaking work on Pacific Rim sets a new standard in visual effects. The robots and monsters in the film truly come to life through the best visual effects of the year. Once again, the animation and storytelling of “Monsters University” reflects Pixar’s creativity and greatness.”

The award will be bestowed at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony on Monday evening, October 21, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The Hollywood Film Awards honors cherished stars, filmmakers and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance.
“We are very proud to be the first stop of the awards season. In the last ten years, a total of 96 Oscar® nominations and 34 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film Awards,” said de Abreu.
Last year’s awards show received more than 41 million media impressions, in addition to more than 300 million online and print readers’ impressions.
About Dan Scalon
Dan Scanlon made his animated feature directorial debut with Disney/Pixar’s 14th feature film, “Monsters University,” which has grossed over $700 million dollars worldwide since its June 2013 release. He also co-wrote the film’s story and screenplay. As a youngster in Clawson, Michigan, Scanlon possessed a love for Warner Bros. cartoons, animated Disney films and, as fate would have it, Pixar short films. His passion inspired him to study film and animation in high school and in college where he focused on illustration at Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). Upon graduating from CCAD, Scanlon began working as an animator and story artist for Character Builders, a 2D animation company that produced feature and commercial work in Columbus, Ohio. Scanlon joined Pixar Animation Studios in September 2001 as a storyboard artist on Disney/Pixar’s award-winning features “Cars” and “Toy Story 3.” During the initial production stages for both films, he worked to translate the director’s story ideas into [...]

“Brave” Hits Bullseye With $66.7 Million

HollywoodNews.com: Another year, another $60-$70 million Pixar opening weekend. Brave (review) is their thirteenth release, as well as their thirteenth number-one debut and their eighth film to open between $60 and $70 million since 2001. Brave, which attracted headlines due to the fact that it was Pixar’s first film with a female lead (and a female director until Brenda Chapman was replaced by Mark Andrews), opened with an estimated $66.7 million this weekend, putting it (for now) just above Cars 2′s $66.1 million debut and a bit below Up’s $68.1 million opening as the fifth-best debut in Pixar history.
Brave pulled in $24.5 million on Friday, which gives the film a 2.71x weekend multiplier, which is actually pretty low by Pixar standards. Still, it’s close enough to the 2.73x multiplier for Wall-E ($23m/$63m), the 2.68x weekend multiplier for Toy Story 3 ($41m/$110m), and the 2.64x weekend multiplier for Cars 2 ($25m/$66m) to avoid any alarm. Movies, even most animated ones, are just a bit more front-loaded these days and Pixar films tend to play like sequels in a popular franchise than stand-alone entries. In terms of total box office, there is always the chance that Brave could play like Cars 2, which (comparatively) flamed out with just 2.8x weekend-to-total multiplier ($191 million domestic) and end up below $200 million.
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Brave is an artistically superior picture

HollywoodNews.com: Beset by production troubles and changing schedules, Brave enters theaters as a fable without an author. I don’t know what happened behind-the-scenes with original director Brenda Chapman nor do I know what replacement director Mark Andrews added to and removed from the final product. But Brave is an almost irrelevant entry in the Pixar cannon. While it is visually scrumptious (in 2D, natch) and boasts a terrific lead vocal performance by Kelly MacDonald, the overall story is both painfully slight and lacking any deeper meaning beyond surface-level morals. While it is technically a superior film to Cars 2, that film was arguably a ‘one for me’ project with Pixar founder John Lasseter indulging his love of the Cars universe and his love of old-school spy pictures.
Brave is an artistically superior picture that is still pales in comparison to both the better efforts from both Pixar itself and the various animation rivals (Blue Sky, Dreamworks, Illumination, etc.) nipping at its heels.
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Dreamworks Animation: Quality and Variety

HollywoodNews.com: As the initial reviews for Pixar’s Brave roll in (again, I’m waiting till opening day to take the kid), it’s clear that the film is both pretty solid and somewhat disappointing considering the uber-high standards that Pixar has set for itself. I personally think it’s almost dangerous to go into a Pixar film expecting each one to be as good as Up, but I digress. One of the running themes of said reviews is that the film is merely ‘Dreamworks good’.
If you think that’s supposed to be an insult, it is. The meme for the last decade or so is that Dreamworks is not just inferior to Pixar (probably true over all), but a genuinely mediocre producer of mass-market animated films that constantly engages in some of the worst practices of mainstream animation. But as we examine the last fourteen years of Dreamworks Animation, it becomes clear that their reputation is somewhat unfair, akin to judging Pixar based on Cars.
Dreamworks Animation may not have the sheer number of masterpieces as Pixar, but their 24 animated features (double Pixar’s output) show a remarkable range of both quality and variety. They truly are more than just the worst parts of Shrek the Third and the best parts of How to Train Your Dragon.
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Happy Father’s Day, from Disney/Pixar’s BRAVE

HollywoodNews.com: Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. From Disney and Pixar, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida(voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition and challenges destiny to change her fate.
“Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida, a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her skills and resources – including her clever and mischievous triplet brothers – to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late, discovering the meaning of true bravery.
Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor that audiences of all ages around the world have come to eagerly expect. The film takes aim at theaters on June 22, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.
A grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor, “Brave” uncovers a new tale in the mysterious Highlands of Scotland where the headstrong Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) defies an age-old custom and inadvertently unleashes chaos, forcing her to discover the meaning of true bravery before it’s too late. Opens June 22, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

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John Carter’s Director Andrew Stanton Talks

HollywoodNews.com: Newly released talk from JOHN CARTER Director Andrew Stanton discussing his life in story last week in Long Beach, CA.
Andrew Stanton is the writer behind the three hugely successful Pixar Toy Story movies as well as the writer and director of WALL-E, the opening sequence of which will go down in, well, my personal history as being one of the most beautiful animation pieces of all time. His new live action movie, John Carter, comes out in March. He takes to the TED2012 stage and starts with a bang: telling a long-winded, accent-strewn, expletive-filled joke that promptly sets the crowd on fire. Storytelling, you see, is joke-telling. And now he continues to challenge himself to see if he can accord his own greatest storytelling commandment–”make me care”–by telling us his own life story … backwards.
“And that’s what ultimately led me to talking about story here at TED.” Two big laughs in a row; Stanton really is a comedian, as well as everything else!
So the story, naturally, starts with John Carter, based on a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, of which Burroughs is the narrator. “The book is fundamentally making a promise; this story will lead somewhere worth time,” he says. “A well told promise is like a pebble being pulled back in a slingshot that propels you through the story to the end.”
2008
After showing us a clip from Wall-E, Stanton says he used everything he had, wanting to experiment with the idea that storytelling without dialogue was the purest form of cinematic storytelling. That led to another realization: “We all want to work for our meal when we watch a movie; we just don’t want to know that we’re doing it.”
2002
When Stanton worked with Bob Peterson on Finding Nemo, their unifying theory was 2+2. The twist; to make the audience put things together. “Don’t give them 4. Give them 2+2.” No, it’s not an exact science. Stories, he says, are not a widget. “Stories are inevitable if they’re good but they’re not predictable.”
2001
Stanton took an acting seminar with Judith Weston and learned that all well-drawn characters have a spine. ”They have a dominant unconcsious goal that they’re striving for, an itch they can never scratch.” This was a huge moment for Stanton, who took this on as a dominant theme for his own storytelling.
1998
Hooked on storytelling, he read everything he could, and found the phrase by William Archer: “Drama [...]

Pixar reveals more Merida in arrow-slinging “Brave” clip

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Bow and arrows are going to be big this year. I can just see all of the archery sets sitting under the Christmas trees in December after Jennifer Lawrence’s “Hunger Games” heroine and now Pixar’s “Brave” star unleash their talents in movies coming out this year.
“Brave” centers on Merida, a red-haired Scottish warrior who’s brimming with confidence and absolute talent. The studio has done a decent job teasing their upcoming feature, including this full clip posted online this morning. We have it for you here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BWfQoQSDbo
I’ve already forgotten “Cars 2.” And that’s a great thing. Granted, it’s very early, and there’s no telling if the rest of “Brave” will work. The film had some ups and down in pre-production, though that’s not abnormal.
Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman receive co-direction credits on “Brave,” which reaches theaters on June 22, which has become Pixar’s slot of choice over the last couple of years.
What do you think of this clip, and of “Brave,” as a whole?
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Oscars: Can “Rango” rustle up an Oscar nomination? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: There have been 10 winners in the Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars since the category was created in 2001. Seven of those were produced by Disney, usually through it’s partnership with Pixar Animation Studios.
In fact, Pixar is on a four-year streak that has included “Ratatouille,” “WALL-E,” “Up” and last year’s Oscar winner, “Toy Story 3.” Many expect that streak to be broken this year, as Pixar’s “Cars 2” wasn’t up to snuff with the company’s previous installments, and far too many creative animated films emerged from Disney and Pixar’s rivals.
“Rango,” for example, charmed critics and audiences from the minute it was released. Gore Verbinski’s attempt at turning the Western genre on its head by viewing it through the unique eye of a domesticated, delusional chameleon (Johnny Depp) collected $245M in worldwide grosses, and earned an impressive 88% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Rango’s not just a kiddie-flick (though it has enough silly slapstick to qualify as a pretty good one). It’s a real movie lover’s movie, conceived as a Blazing Saddles-like comic commentary on genre that’s as back-lot savvy as it is light in the saddle,” wrote NPR critic Bob Mondello.
Will Depp and his scaly creation have the chance to compete at the Oscars? It’s very possible, as “Rango” is up for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Annie Awards and likely could find itself in the animation category when nominees are announced on Jan. 24.
Verbinski started his awards journey this year at the Hollywood Film Awards, where “Rango” was honored with out Hollywood Animation Award. He was presented by longtime producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who calls Verbinski “fearless.” And the director lived up to that reputation with his speech. See for yourself, and then watch to see if “Rango” ends up with a well-deserved Oscar nomination on Jan. 24.

Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:
- Harvey Weinstein
- The cast of “The Artist.”
- Kenneth Branagh for “My Week With Marilyn.”
- Bennett Miller talks “Moneyball.”
- Sir Ben Kingsley and Chloe Grace Moretz for “Hugo.”
- Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
- David Fincher, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
- Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.”
- Tate Taylor for “The Help.”
- Gavin O’Connor for “Warrior.”
- Gary Oldman and Colin Firth for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
- Charlize Theron, [...]

Going broke chasing boys: Why Disney ditched princesses and spent $300 million on John Carter

By Scott Mendelson
Hollywoodnews.com: If you’ve seen the trailer for the upcoming John Carter, you know that not only does it not look like it cost $300 million, but it so painfully feels like a Mad Libs male-driven fantasy blockbuster that it borders on parody. It’s no secret that Disney thinks it has a boy problem. One of the reasons it bought Marvel two years ago was to build up a slate of boy-friendly franchises. And the last two years have seen an almost embarrassing attempt to fashion boy-friendly franchises (Prince of Persia, Tron: Legacy, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, I Am Number Four, Fright Night, and Real Steel), only half of which were even as successful as their alleged flop The Princess and the Frog (which obviously grossed ‘just’ $267 million on a $105 million budget because it starred a character with a vagina). We can only ponder the reasons why Disney decided to outright state that they were never going to make another fairy-tale princess cartoon again, even after Tangled became their most successful non-Pixar toon since The Lion King, but I’m pretty sure Disney won’t be making such statements about boy-centric fantasy franchises anytime soon.
Now we have John Carter, which allegedly cost $300 million (if not more). It’s being released in March, where only one film (to be fair, Disney’s Alice In Wonderland) has ever even grossed $300 million. Hell, in all of January-through April, there have been just five $200 million grossers (The Passion of the Christ, Alice In Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon, 300, and Fast Five). So you have yet another film that basically has to shatter all records regarding its release date in order to merely break even. But that’s okay, thinks Disney, because John Carter is a manly science fiction spectacle so it is surely worth risking the bank. Disney is so desperate to not only chase the young male demos that is willing to risk alienating the young female demos that has netted it billions of dollars over the many decades. What they fail to realize is that the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (especially the first three films) was rooted in telling a story that crossed gender lines. All-told, the original trilogy actually revolved around Keira Knightley’s character, and her journey from daughter of privilege to outlaw [...]

“John Carter” trailer promises epic, sci-fi thrills

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Much like “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” which marks the feature-film debut of animator Brad Bird, we’re predominantly interested in next year’s “John Carter” because it’s the first live-action effort from Andrew Stanton, the genius brain behind Pixar’s masterpieces “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E.” Basically, I’d follow Stanton anywhere.
Even to Mars.
That’s where Civil War hero John Carter (Taylor Kitsch, “Friday Night Lights”) finds himself when he’s beamed from our planet to theirs in order to help in an intergalactic war. The premise sounds fantastic, but the marketing materials, so far, are leaning a little to close to Disney’s “Prince of Persia.” And why can Carter leap tall buildings in a single bound?
A new trailer for the sci-fi epic, based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, has made its way online. It gives us a better idea of the challenges Carter will face on the red planet, as well as the spaceships and alien creatures Stanton’s team have devised for the potential blockbuster.
“John Carter” co-stars Willem Dafoe and Lynn Collins. It opens in theaters on March 9, 2012.
Here’s the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8I9eZGzNhM
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