ASIFA-Hollywood has announced the nominations for its 41st annual Annie Awards, the awards that show the best in animation. The Walt Disney Company and GKIDS both have two nominees for Best Animated Feature (if you count Mizayaki’s Kaze Tachinu, which Disney distributes in the US), with single entries from Pixar, Universal and DreamWorks Animation.
With all the talk over the weekend about Frozen, many are missing the little gem of a short that precedes the big, cold monster. While Lauren MacMullan’s Get A Horse! first released last June at the Annecy Film Festival in France, it was not until it was paired before Frozen that it many of us got a shot at seeing it, much less even knowing it existed. And a lot of fun it is– but by the end of the feature, many of people may forget about this wonderful little gem that lead off the movie.
As the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend winds to a close, Disney’s Frozen is freezing out the competition. Placing second for the extended weekend at the box office, both first place The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen beat the previous Thanksgiving box office record holder, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Within its own little world, Frozen blew away every previous record for an animated film opening from Disney. The animated musical grossed a gargantuan $26.9 million on Friday (this after earning $26.3 million on Wednesday and Thursday). The film will end at about $68 million over the weekend frame, which would give it about $97 million after its first five days in wide release.
Frozen is definitely Disney– or perhaps Disney Junior. There are bits and pieces of what we know and expect from Disney here, but when it is all put together, a little Disney does not a great film make. This film is obviously aimed squarely at girls 12 and under, with very little for anyone outside that target audience. The music, and much of the film, is confused, unfocused and bland. The artwork, while beautiful, sets no new Disney highpoints for animation, and the acting does not stand out at all. Frozen has all the elements we expect in a Disney film, but limited in scope; they do not attempt anything new in this movie. While it is definitely no Chicken Little, it also does not come close to the classics like The Little Mermaid or The Lion King; it is more one of the more forgettable films in the Disney oeuvre, a young girls version of The Rescuers.
Pixar’s misfortune associated with the ill-fated animated film The Good Dinosaur seem to be continuing. A short two months after announcing that the feature would be held back a year– and only three since changing up the films director– Pixar is laying off 50–60 artists associated with the film at its Emeryville, Calif., headquarters.
The Simpsons is a massively creative show, with years of great parody under it’s belt. Many of their fans wait excitedly each week for the show open, or “Couch Gag”- which varies many scenes for many little surprises. On occasion, the whole open is redone for a massive surprise. Such is the case this week when The Simpsons crew completely rework the open in an homage to Disney classic cartoons, Silly Symphonies cartoon series and Music Land specifically.
Canadian and South Korean animated co-production The Nut Job has a new trailer online. Based on Peter Lepeniotis’ 2005 short Surly Squirrel, this film is ToonBox Entertainment’s first feature length film. This film has a planned release date for January 17, 2014, and features the voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl and Liam Neeson.
It could be the best of films.… or it could be the worst. Disney is revisiting one of their scariest characters in this tale of Maleficent, complete with a new back story that re-writes a lot of what they first showed us in 1959 with Sleeping Beauty. Abandoning the original back story is one reason to be scared; having Angelina Jolie re-create this classic character is another.… but should Maleficent really scare us? We have a peak now to make that judgement.
The Big Cartoon DataBase announced upgrading their forum to a new software package this weekend, and the new forum went live Saturday morning. The upgrade was also accompanied with a change in URLs, to the new location http://forums.bcdb.com/. The changeover went over smoothly, with not glitches according to BCDB. All of the current moderators and Admins from the old forum moved over to the new.
Though it hardly seems like it, it is Oscar Time! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced their short list for the Best Animated Short Film category. This is not the final list, but the final five will come from this list. Canada’s National Film Board leads the pack with three shorts, and Pixar’s The Blue Umbrella did not make the list. It has been a while since a Pixar film has not been in the running.
19 animated features have been submitted for consideration for the Animated Feature Film Oscar this year according to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. This years list includes films from France, South Korea, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Japan and Brazil. From the field of 19, the three to five final contenders will be chosen. Those final nominees will be announced on January 16, 2014.
Frostbite Falls most famous residents are coming to the big screen in 2014, according to DreamWorks Animation. Not only are Moose and Squirrel making their big screen debut in a new theatrical short, but a long-time voice actor is returning to provide one of the duo’s voices. While not explicitly stated in the release, it is expected that the short will accompany the theatrical feature film release of Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
USA Today has given us our first look at the design for the forthcoming DreamWorks feature Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Based on characters from the early sixties classic Jay Ward series Rocky and His Friends and its segment Peabody’s Improbable History, the movie follows the lives of a bespectacled dog and his pet boy Sherman. The movie is currently scheduled to hit theaters on March 07, 2014.
Triggerfish Studios has released the first trailer for its new South African animated film Khumba. This newest feature from Triggerfish Studios opens in South Africa on October 25, and will arrive in theaters and On Demand on December 6 in the US and worldwide. It had it’s World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of 2013. The film is distributed by Millennium Entertainment. Khumba is the second feature film from the studio at the tip of Africa– Triggerfish released Zambezia in July of 2012.