Here’s hoping you like Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book…. because you are about to get three animated feature versions in as many years. Based on their popular animated series of the same name, DQ Entertainment will be the first out of the gate with their The Jungle Book. 2015 will see Disney’s second bite at the apple, with their own remake of The Jungle Book. And not wanting to be left out, Warner Bros. is bringing up the rear with 2016′s Jungle Book: Origins. While DQ’s entry is first, and comes from the land of The Jungle Book, it will probably make the least impact on American audiences. But both Disney and Warner Bros. versions feature all-star casts, and both look to attract a ton of attention as they come to theaters. We have a score-card so you can keep track of which star is attached to which project….
When The Good Dinosaur was pushed back from May 30, 2014 to November 25, 2015, it left the year 2014 entirely devoid of a Pixar feature film. The film has lead a very troubled existence, from first being pulled from Disney’s Frozen‘s 2013 release date to having the director removed in August of 2013. No new director has even yet been announced, but a brain trust of John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews, and original project co-director Pete Sohn has been hard at work for most of the last year, restructuring and rewriting the film.
Ottawa International Animation Festival is celebrating the world’s most beloved, successful and pioneering animation studio with a series of screenings, talks, exhibitions and legendary Disney animators. Presented with the support of Celebrate Ontario and Walt Disney Animation Studios, OIAF’s tribute to Walt Disney Animation Studios touches upon their impact in feature films with a 25th anniversary screening of The Little Mermaid – a film that revitalized both the studio and the animation feature when it was released.
Disney Television Animation has announced development of an animated television special based on the popular Disneyland ride, “The Haunted Mansion.” While no air date is set, Disney did point to some of the artists involved in the project. Look for book illustrator and horror artist Gris Grimly to art direct the film. Joshua Pruett will produce the project, with Grimly and Scott Peterson executive producing. Pruett and Peterson are also joining forces to write the TV special.
Proving that once again that Hollywood’s secret motto is there is no good idea like an old idea rebooted, Disney is dipping into their storied history to bring another animated film back to life… with a twist. As we have seen with Alice In Wonderland and Maleficent, and the forthcoming Cinderella, taking an old, safe animated feature and making it a new, live-action film is making bucket’s of money. So Disney turned to it’s history and pulled out an elephant of an idea- and here comes Dumbo!
Disney Television Animation has announced they have begun production on “Pickle & Peanut,” a buddy-comedy series about two unlikely friends. Scheduled to premiere on Disney XD in fall 2015 premiere, “Pickle & Peanut” will be a hybrid mix of 2-D animation and live-action footage that tell of the adventures of two small-town underdogs who dream up plans to be anything but ordinary. The show’s title characters- an emotional pickle and a freewheeling peanut- are voiced by Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite“) and Johnny Pemberton (“21 Jump Street“), respectively.
Pixar’s next animated feature film – Inside Out- is due out in one year, and today Pixar announced the short that will accompany the film. The short is titled Lava and is described as a musical love story that takes place over millions of years. Pixar gave LA journalists an early sneak preview last night and by all accounts, the footage shown was stunning. Pixar also showed the new poster for the short, which shows a beautiful, idyllic tropical island, frolicking (and paired!) sea-life, and a background of a smoldering volcano.
Over the last week, three new series have been announce from three separate studios, all of them revisiting previous shows or films. Disney is sending The Lion Guard to Disney Jr., Scholastic Entertainment is sending Ms. Frizzle back out with The Magic School Bus 360°, and FremantleMedia is resurrecting Cosgrove-Hall’s 80′s hit with a new version of Danger Mouse.
Once again dipping into their deep archives, Disney is pulling out a rework of the life of the Seven Dwarfs for their new animated TV show The 7D. Rather than set the story in the world of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, the show takes place in contemporary storybook world of Jollywood. The 7D follows brave little heroes Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc as they work together to maintain order in the kingdom. Standing in their way are Grim and Hildy Gloom, a novice warlock and witch couple, who haplessly plot to dethrone the Queen and take over Jollywood.
I have been looking forward to Maleficent with equal amounts of anticipation and dread. On one hand, she is easily my favorite Disney villain, so cold and so pure, and I want desperately to see more of her and her back-story. On the other hand, she is easily my favorite Disney villain, and I would hate to see her parodied, taken lightly or ultimately destroyed in a film that does not understand this great character. The good news is that this film almost gets it right; but that is also the bad news.