April 19, 2014

Tag Archives: Toy Story

“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.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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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 [...]

“Contraband” scores surprisingly large debut, “Beauty & the Beast” opens well.

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: I’ve talked a lot about how the under-reported story of 2011 box office was the return to fiscal sanity in regards to production budgets and this weekend is a prime example. We have three big openers, all of which cost under $30 million, which means all of them are well on their way to profitability merely by posting a solid if-not-spectacular opening. Shocking all of Mendelson’s Memos box office analysts (IE – me), Mark Wahlberg powered the low-budget ($25 million) and R-rated Contraband to a $24 million Fri-Sun/$28 million Fri-Mon debut all by himself to win the weekend. Wahlberg has had his share of big weekends (Planet of the Apes, The Perfect Storm, The Happening, etc), but they all arguably had larger factors at play other than just Walhberg’s relatively limited star-power. The closest comparison is the 2005 debut of Four Brothers, but I’d argue that at least some of the credit for that $21 million debut goes to director John Singleton, along with the fact that it was hard-R action picture in a PG-13 time. Comparability, Shooter debuted in early 2007 with $15 million, albeit against the $24 million opening weekend of TMNT and the $19 million third-weekend of 300. Chalk it up to lack of demo competition, a growing appetite for R-rated genre fare, a token boost from Kate Beckinsale’s token fanbase, or something in the marketing that I frankly didn’t see, but Walhberg just scored his biggest ‘all by myself!’ debut of his career.
The picture is a shining example of the most positive trend over the last 1.5 years or so. While Shooter (which had a boatload of character actors in small roles and an apparently larger scale) cost $60 million in 2007, Contraband cost just $25 million to produce, so it will be quite profitable without even factoring in international dollars and the long life that action pictures exhibit post-theatrical (it will play on TNT in the afternoon for decades to come). While the last decade or so has seen a huge decline in R-rated genre fare, owing partially to the 2001 FCC crackdown on marketing such fare to younger audiences, there is a real marketplace for action films that actually show bloodshed, allow characters to use real profanity, and don’t cut away or tone down the sound effects. It is arguably this [...]

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, [...]

Pixar’s “Brave” shares two exclusive images

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: As a Pixar fan (and who isn’t, right?), I’m anxiously awaiting next summer’s “Brave” for two key reasons.
First, I need the animation studio to wash the wretched taste of “Cars 2” out of my mouth. As the father of two boys – who, admittedly, don’t mind the sequel – I’ve had to endure the misguided effort on multiple occasions since the Blu-ray release, and it breaks my heart a little more every time I sit through what honestly feels like a slapped-together sequel.
Secondly, I’m excited for the studio to return to the realm of original storytelling. We’ve endured “Toy Story” and “Cars” sequels since Pixar produced “Up.” We have a “Monsters Inc.” prequel on the horizon. “Brave” appears to be a fresh story from the studio that used to crank out memorable fare, and I hope it puts them right back on the pedestal of family entertainment.
Empire has posted two exclusive images from “Brave.” One is above. The other is below. What is that blue light? Makes me wonder.
The film tells the story of Scottish archer Merida, whose parents – King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) – want her to settle down. But Merida, seeking to march to her own drum, makes a decision that goes against her family’s culture, with significant ramifications.
“Brave” features the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Thompson, Connolly, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane. It will be in theaters on June 22, 2012.

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“Toy Story” short “Small Fry” coming with “The Muppets”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: When “The Muppets” secret screened at the Savannah Film Festival last weekend, I left the theater on such a nostalgic high that I’d completely forgotten about the original “Toy Story” short that preceded the movie. That’s not a dig on the clever short, but more another compliment lobbed in the direction of James Bobin’s winning “Muppets” feature.
Anyway, this morning, we’re getting an early peek at the Pixar short, titled “Small Fry,” via USA Today. Here’s the scoop.
This one see Buzz Lightyear left behind at a fast food joint after a Happy Meal version of the space ranger decides he’d like to go home with Bonnie instead. Of course, Woody and the rest of the “Toy Story” toys aren’t fooled. Meanwhile, back at the eatery, Buzz interacts with a therapy group of discarded fast-food toys (the most inventive part of the new short) as he tries to figure out how to get back to Bonnie’s house.
It’s sweet. It has the emotional threads of a “Toy Story” film, and goes in a totally different direction from “Hawaiian Vacation” (which preceded “Cars 2”).
You’ll be able to see “Small Fry” ahead of “The Muppets” when it opens in theaters on Nov. 23.
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Nicole Richie makes a Halloween plea to all the girls

HollywoodNews.com: Nicole Richie wants girls to handle Halloween a little differently this year as she made a plea to them on her Facebook page.
Richie posted a message to all the girls out there asking them to change things up for Halloween, states UsMagazine.com. “Girls, can we all pledge that we will not dress slutty for this Halloween? The jig is up!” Richie commented.
While Richie has been a victim of the slutty Halloween costume in the past, she has changed in the last few years as she has dressed as characters from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Toy Story.’
Do you like her plea?
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Weekend Box Office: Moneyball comes in second to Lion King 3D

HollywoodNews.com: Defying even the most optimistic of predictions, The Lion King 3D (HERE for the film’s big not-so-fatal flaw) repeated at the top of the box office this weekend. The shockingly popular 3D-converted re-release dropped just 26% in its second weekend, grossing $22.1 million in what was allegedly the last weekend of its ‘limited engagement’.
I cannot imagine Disney not keeping this one in theaters until it plays out naturally, as we could easily be looking at a $100 million domestic total for the refurbished 17-year old cartoon. The Lion King 3D now has $61.6 million, giving the film a $389 million domestic total. Once it gets past $67 million, it will surpass the 1997 re-release of The Empire Strikes Back and become the second-biggest re-release of all time, behind the $137 million gross of Star Wars: Special Edition.
Unless Disney does pull the movie next Friday, it should pass $400 million at the end of next weekend, putting it within spitting distance of the $410 million domestic total of Toy Story 3. The $441 million domestic total for Shrek 2 seems out of reach for the moment, but we’ll know for sure by the end of next weekend.
Again, there is no reason to assume that every 3D-converted rerelease coming down the pike in the next year will perform like this one, anymore than other nationwide anniversary re-releases were expected to match the astonishing 1997 Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition roll outs (HERE for a review of the Star Wars Blu Ray set). Considering this release was basically a glorified advertisement for the October 4th Blu Ray release, Disney is basically pulling pure profit on this one.
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Weekend Box Office: The Lion King 3D

HollywoodNews.com: In a slightly shocking result that has several notable meanings, Disney’s 3D-converted re-release of The Lion King (essay) cruised into the number one spot over the weekend with a mighty $30.1 million. Acting as both a two-week advertisement for the October 4th Blu Ray release and a test run for possibly reviving the old ‘out of the vault and back into theaters’ strategy of old, the film didn’t just top the box office but very nearly set a record for the Mouse House.
In the realm of Disney cartoons that are NOT Pixar releases, The Lion King 3D is actually fifth on the opening weekend list, behind Tarzan ($34 million), Chicken Little ($40 million), The Lion King ($40.8 million), and Tangled ($48 million). It is the fifth-biggest September opening in history and came within $600,000 of besting the $30.7 million domestic gross of Disney’s Toy Story/Toy Story 2 double-feature 3D re-release October, 2009. That re-release, which was both an advertisement for the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Blu Ray releases as well as the upcoming Toy Story 3, opened with $12.4 million despite Disney offering two shows for the price of one (IE – half the show times in a given day). So simply taking the Toy Story 3D opening weekend and doubling it gives you around $25 million, meaning that this weekend’s result was not quite as unexpected as its being reported.
If The Lion King 3D matches the 2.4x weekend-to-total multiplier of the Toy Story double-feature, then we’re looking at $71 million. That accomplishes three goals. First of all, it’s already surpassed the $339 million domestic gross of Finding Nemo, which means that The Lion King is now the biggest-grossing non-sequel cartoon of all-time. Second of all, a $73 million total will be JUST enough to get The Lion King over the $400 million mark, which just looks prettier. And finally, with $12 million in overseas added to the new domestic total of $357 million, the worldwide gross for The Lion King now sits at $825 million (Up yours, Shrek the Third!).
If this re-release does $73 million in America and $32 million overseas (a reasonable guess), then ends with $890 million and leapfrogs over Finding Nemo ($867 million) and most importantly Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($886 million). The $919 million worldwide total of Shrek [...]

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