Posts Tagged ‘Disney

30
Oct
12

Disney’s Acquisition of Star Wars

Wise is Yoda.

The Walt Disney Company sent the collective movie world on tilt today with the news that Disney will be purchasing LucasFilm Ltd for approximately $4 billion. The sale includes everything under the LucasFilm Ltd umbrella including the LucasFilm film unit, LucasArts video game unit, effects house Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound, and most prominent among them–the rights to the entire Star Wars universe. Perhaps the biggest news to come out of the whole deal is that Disney is kicking the tires on Star Wars: Episode 7 and is targeting a 2015 release with potentially more episodes to come.

Needless to say, this is some huge news that is already prompting a lot talk, buzz, and speculation about everything under the collective sun at Disney and especially the future of the Star Wars franchise.

Disney: Buying vs Creating

From a financial and business standpoint the purchase of LucasFilm makes perfect sense for Disney. They get to add another recognizable and family friendly name brand to their already large stable of family friendly name brand characters. The tactic of acquiring other name brands has served Disney well in the past 6 years. After a ten year relationship with Pixar dating back to the first Toy Story, Disney acquired Pixar Animation Studios in 2006 for $7.4 billion in stocks. Then in 2009 Disney announced that they would be acquiring Marvel Entertainment in a deal for $4.24 billion which would bring Marvel’s character’s into the Disney fold and gave birth to this year’s mega-blockbuster The Avengers. Now, three years later Disney has done it yet again and on similar terms with their acquisition of LucasFilm.

Over the past six years Disney has positioned themselves as THE center for lucrative family entertainment. In this time there definitely has been a shift at Disney from content creation to acquisition and becoming a repository for similar properties. Yes at the end of the day all these decisions are about how these properties will make the company money, but what does this say about the company itself?

Walt Disney was long gone by the time I was born, but I grew up watching the classics like Bambi, Dumbo, Cinderella and then experienced the second golden age of Disney animation with great films like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Lion King. After that last run though, things definitely take a different turn. As I got older it seemed as though every Disney movie was getting direct to video sequels and you could start to tell that they weren’t coming out with as much quality original content as they had in the past.

I guess you could say that the company is just changing with the times and their acquisitions over the past six years only reflect this change. In fact, if you look at the current trends in Hollywood right now where sequels, adaptions, remakes, and reboots are all the norm . . . acquiring the rights to Star Wars (ie: acquiring familiarity) totally makes sense. My biggest fear is that the next generation of kids/movie fans may not have anything to call their own if this current trend of rehashing and retelling stories from their parents’ past continues. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m down to see another Star Wars movie as much as the next person, but I’ve grown up in a world where the Original Trilogy meant something. I don’t think that could be said of those who grew up in a world where Jar Jar and angsty Anakin could have been their first introduction to the Star Wars universe.

What Comes Next For Disney, Star Wars, and Everything Else?

The Force is with Disney when you combine Star Wars with the collective power of the mouse house.

With today’s news comes a ton of questions, not just about the proposed film, but about how all of Disney’s properties could potentially intermingle with one another and the partnerships and creative projects that could be created.

First and foremost is Episode 7 itself. With a projected target date of 2015 (assume a summer release), production would have to start towards the end of next year (at the latest) in order to make this date. Is there anything currently in development right now? Is there a script or even a screenplay at this point? What would it be about? From a production standpoint who would be involved?

One of the most interesting nuggets from today’s news announcement is that George Lucas will serve as “creative consultant” on Episode 7 which means that he most likely will not be directing and only give creative input into the film. With that said who will screen write the story if there already isn’t one? Who will direct the film? And gulp . . . who will star in it? These are all questions that are currently circulating, answers for which I don’t think we’ll get for at least another year. However, that’s not stopping the movie blogosphere from already suggesting recommendations.

I know many Star Wars fans were disenfranchised when the new trilogy came out and continuously still when Lucas again altered the Original Trilogy when they were released on blu-ray. With today’s news that Lucas will be relegated to a supportive role rather than grand master on upcoming films I think is the reason why there is a lot of renewed interest and hope that Star Wars can be good again. Our first recommendation . . . friend of the blog and local screenwriter Brian Watanabe should be in the writer’s room on Episode 7, 8, or 9. After all, he did give some pretty good ways to remake the the prequels that made for some pretty good drama. With new Star Wars films a certainty, the question now will be: Will they be better than the prequels?

Sort of the next tier I guess is how this latest Star Wars film and the franchise itself will affect Hollywood. Star Wars has influenced so many filmmakers working today that who knows how many will jump at the chance to not just work on this film or any of the future films in the pipeline, or how many will make pitches to Disney for potential projects now that George Lucas is not controlling the reigns. Who knows, maybe Indiana Jones could come back for another tour. Granted, some of this this is all pie in the sky at this point, but when you live in a world where creative access to Star Wars and other Lucas related properties maybe viable, you can’t help but be excited by the possibilities.

Then comes the potential across the Disney landscape and the potential for cross collaboration, crossovers, and synergy between these Disney properties and creative units. Probably the first thing that jumps out with fanboys is that theoretically Pixar Animation could do an animated movie set within the Star Wars universe. With their track record for great storytelling and a focus on characters this could be a great project. However, this is what everyone said three years ago when Disney acquired Marvel . . . a Marvel movie done by Pixar, that’d be great! Three years later though we’re no closer to seeing the beginnings of this than when we were back then. And don’t even get me started on Marvel or Star Wars characters crossing over. I don’t think the universes should mix at all. However, the long talked about Star Wars TV show could get some life breathed into it seeing as how Disney owns ABC as well as a slew of other different TV channels. Only time will tell if any of this comes to fruition.

My (New) Hope . . .

In the grand scheme of things, I think Disney could possibly be the right place for the Star Wars franchise. There are some circumstantial numbers out there to prove it. If there is one thing Disney is smart about these days, they know how to foster success; you only have to take a look at their previous two high profile acquisitions to see that. With both Pixar and Marvel, both of those divisions have retained their internal structure and autonomy from when they were acquired. I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? With the internal development process that goes on at Pixar, it could have been a disaster if Disney chose to fully integrate them into the Disney brand. Same goes with Marvel. They seem to have a pretty good formula going as they craft and produce the Avengers line of films. The way Marvel vets stories and personnel seems genius in this post-Avengers world.

And I hope the same goes for LucasFilm and Star Wars. I hope that Disney takes what they’ve learned and gained from their previous acquisitions and applies that same management style to their latest. If they can do that, then I think that galaxy far far away will be just fine.

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19
Aug
11

Send a HELLO with New Pixar Postage

Next time you open your mailbox, you might see Wall•E, Buzz, Lightning, Remy and a few other Pixar characters in there with your mail.

I know that in the age of the Internet, who really sends mail things anymore? It’s easy to see why when you can stay connected with people through Facebook and any number of social media outlets, pay bills with a few clicks of the mouse, and hell . . . even text messaging is starting to supplant email as the most efficient way of sending a message to someone. Yeah sure we all GET mail, but aside from a few bills, most people I know hardly ever send anything of consequence via the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Maybe it was the two years that I worked in the mailroom during college that gave me an appreciation for our postal service (or at least a better understanding of it anyway), but I still like writing people letters and actually sending things via snail mail. I don’t know, just call me old fashioned I guess.

So what does it take for the topic of mail to end up on a movie blog? Well the answer’s simple when Disney and Pixar are involved. Just yesterday the USPS issued the latest batch of stamps that are part of the 2011 campaign and some of your favorite Disney/Pixar characters will now be making their way across the country on some very vibrant and colorful postage stamps. Together Lightning McQueen & Mater, Remy & Linguini, Wall•E, Buzz Lightyear & the aliens, and Carl & Dug each grace their own stamp:

The five stamps come together as a set of 20 and will set you back $8.80.

Since I send cards and letters to people pretty frequently, I was really excited when I heard that we were going to be getting Pixar stamps earlier this year. For me, it’s about adding just a bit more style and personally to the letters I send. And since I like movies so much–it just fits.

These stamps are also part of a larger USPS and Disney/Pixar letter writing campaign:

The U.S. Postal Service invites you take a moment and send a handwritten note to a friend, loved one, co-worker, dog sitter or whomever else comes to mind. Then, it would like you to stamp that letter — ideally using one of the new series of Disney/Pixar-themed stamps unveiled this afternoon — and drop it into your nearest mailbox.

The rest of the piece can be found over at the LAT Nation Now Blog. The USPS Disney Pixar “Send a Hello” stamps can be purchased at your nearest post office as well as online through the USPS.com website.

And here are larger images of the stamps themselves as well:

Backside of the stamp sheet. Click for a larger image to read.

30
Oct
10

Honolulu TRON Legacy Preview

Following in the footsteps Avatar and Toy Story 3, TRON Legacy got the preview night treatment in an effort to showcase the awe-inspiring effects of the film, give those unfamiliar with the story a peek into the plot, and hopefully build strong word of mouth a month and a half before the film comes out. Last night Disney screened about 23 minutes of footage of the upcoming compufest in select 3D IMAX theaters across the country, Honolulu being lucky enough to garner a screening. Not being a major market, the turnout in honolulu did not reach epic proportions as other preview night screenings did. However, fans seem to echo the same general sentiment from those across the country . . . TRON Legacy looks pretty good.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the scenes that stood out to me . . .

Sam’s Apartment ::

In the first scene of the preview Sam is seen coming home to his apartment. The main bulk of this scene sets up the current background of the characters . . . Sam is all grown up and reckless and comes home to meet Alan, his dad’s former business partner who wants Sam to take responsibility as well as the helm of his father’s business. However, what I liked about the scene was what Sam’s apartment was made out of–shipping containers. There were a bunch of them stacked on top of each other and hollowed out to create his apartment.

 

Into the Grid ::

Upon discovering a hidden workroom at his father’s arcade, Sam finds himself being sucked into The Grid. Upon arrival his is captured and put together with other rogue or delinquent programs. This clip introduces us to the world of the grid and some of the many protocols and procedures programs must follow in order to survive.

 

Getting Formatted ::

Of course not being of the Grid, Sam is formatted so that he can be apart of this new environment. Since Sam has already entered the Grid, he has already been digitized, but now he becomes fully integrated when he receives new clothing as well as his own disc.

 

Disc Wars ::

All of a sudden Sam is dumped into an arena where his is pitted against someone else and must battle each other to the death by using their discs as weapons. The enclosed space they battle in allows the combatants to ricochet their discs off the walls and holds other pitfalls as well so you definitely need to be on your toes. It was during this sequence that I was officially sucked into the preview. I began rooting for Sam and was thinking of strategies that he could use to win the game.

 

The Breakout ::

The next sequence finds Sam in a land speeder with Quorra being chased by orange (bad) light cycles. After some wonderfully awesome chase visuals the duo eventually break out the gladiatorial arena and speed off into the barren land that is “off the Grid.” Here is a continuation of the sequence:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Father & Son Meet ::

In the final scene of the preview we find out that Quorra is Flynn’s apprentice and arranges the reunion between father and son. It is definitely an emotional moment for both of them, but it seems cut a little too short as Flynn breaks away and longingly looks back to the city. It was during this scene that a bunch of questions began popping up . . . what happened to Flynn? How did he come to be back in the Grid? Will Sam be angry with his father? How can they escape The Grid get back out to the real world?

The preview ended with a montage of scenes from the rest of the movie and definitely sets up a tease of what else is to come.

In the end, I’m going to say that for our small preview screening here in Honolulu, the goal of the preview was definitely met. Almost everyone around me was impressed with the visuals and definitely wanted more. For me, the biggest thing that I took away from the TRON Preview Night was that I bought into the film. I wanted to know what the backstory was so that I could understand some of the history these characters have as well as some of the structure of The Grid. I was also taken in by the action of the games. Obviously the light cycle battles are a hallmark of the original TRON so showing the disc duel definitely was an interesting (and bold) move since people wouldn’t know that as well as the lightcycles. However, this sequence was no less action packed or spectacular in it’s own right. Finally, I wanted more of the story, especially when father and son reunite.

What happens next? We’ll just have to wait till TRON Legacy is released in theaters on December 17.

25
Sep
09

(23) Movies of Summer

As of Tuesday, Summer is officially over. Though most movie critics and bloggers have already done their summer 2009 movie recap, I decided I wanted to wait. I wanted to cherish the movie blitz we get from May – August and savor the tastes… both sweet and sour. But now… it is time.

May 2009 | Star Trek

In total, I have seen 23 movies in theater this summer (May 2009-August 2009)… some for work, more for pleasure and is it just me or was this summer like March Madness… you knew which films were favored going into the dance but there were a lot of underdogs that upset the favorites. After 15 min of looking at my list of summer movies, I was able to pick 5 that made this summer worth living for… Here are my top 5:

I’m a girl and I’ve never been a fan of Star Trek… I don’t have a really good reason why… I thought it was boring when we used to watch it on TV (but this was also when I was a little girl playing dress up and sneaking lipstick out of my Moms make-up box). So when they announced that JJ Abrams was doing a Star Trek movie, I just went – “meh”. Opening weekend was a smash and everyone had nothing but great things to say about the film… I still remained “meh”. But finally, I couldn’t avoid it any longer as my fellow Red Band Project blogger convinced me that I needed to see it…so I went… and I lost my socks. I was rocked so hard and sucked in so badly to this movie. It had action, comedy, and a story that really hit home for me(I’m a sucker for time travel). As a n00b to the Star Trek world, I didn’t get any of the lingo but I didn’t leave the theater feeling excluded from the story, which I thought was amazing. It felt like I didn’t miss anything and that this was just the beginning  of my love for Star Trek.

May 2009 | Up

May 2009 | Up

Disney and Pixar… oops you did  it again. Up was such a great film that took me on a roller coaster of emotions… it was the first time that I cried in a movie because I was sad and happy. At first I thought the story was too heavy, but at the very end when everything came full circle, I realized the perfection of the movie. Just thinking about it makes me all fuzzy inside in a sad but happy way. Amazing.

June 2009 | The Proposal

June 2009 | The Proposal

I’m going to be totally honest… I thought The Proposal was going to suck so badly. I had to see it for work (4 times mind you) and I remember the first time I sat through it I went home with a smile on my face.  I was shocked by how well Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock clicked. They were so funny and awkward at the right moments… it felt like real life. I thought Sandra Bullock was going to be too old for this role, but obviously she still got it… I mean, did you see her bod? She gave Ryan Reynold’s a run for his money. I loved it.

August 2009 | District 9

The teasers for District 9 that came out early in the summer did not excite me. I thought it was going to be another stupid sci-fi movie… nothing special. But then I went to Comic Con and Peter Jackson made me a believer. What I loved the most about this film was the evolution of the main character, Wikus. Sharlto Copley was so believable  that I felt like the film could’ve been real life… it really felt like a true documentary. Ok and I will say the same thing that everyone else said, the special effects were awesome. I especially liked the way that people disintegrated when they were shot by alien weapons… very impressive.

July 2009 | (500) Days of Summer

I saved the best for last…. I cannot put into words how much I loved (500) Days of Summer. It was so witty and funny and aggravating at the same time. Can I just say that I looooove Joseph Gordon Levitt (not in G.I. Joe…no.) and have loved him since 10 Things I Hate About You….  I just needed to put that out there.  My favorite scene from this film was the dancing in the street to Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True”…. *sigh* it was the highlight of my summer of movies. I think this movie was the first enjoyable Chick Flick from the guys perspective. Usually the girl is always the one getting screwed, but it was really refreshing to see it flip-flopped. This was my absolute favorite for the summer and potentially the year.

That’s my 5 favorites… I would write about the movies I hated this summer but it’s not even worth it. You all know which ones sucked… (Dance Flick, Year One, Wolverine… I could go on) and I think we should go into Autumn with only happy thoughts. So instead tell me which films were your favorite. I’ll be checking in.

01
Sep
09

The sky is falling!!

DisneyMerger_Poster

Though it was predicted that the world would end in 2012, no one… not even Nostradamus predicted 2009 would end the Marvel Universe. Yes… the awesomeness known as Marvel will now be owned by the magical world of Disney. The interwebz are a blaze with fury as die hard Marvel fans fear Tony Stark will start dancing with Mickey Mouse in Fantasia 2012 and Captain America’s theme song will be  “Hoedown Throw-down”. All that we love is now lost…

Wait… isn’t that a bit dramatic?

I will admit… I literally yelled “what?!” when I heard the news in my car. It is shocking because Disney and Marvel are like oil and water. They don’t mix! I love Disney… we all grew up on the classic animation films and fell in love with the characters, but whenever you hear “Disney” you think kids and family. When you hear “Marvel” you think of bad ass mutants, suits of armor that fly and have awesome weapons, or that really big green guy that you don’t make angry. Kids may like Marvel too, but the kids who grew up on Marvel and are adults now can still love it and its not lame.  Think about it…If a 30 year old guy came up to you wearing a t-shirt with Bambi on it, you would be a little embarrassed for him or think he’s a hipster. But, if a 30 year old guy came up  to you wearing a Stark Industries shirt, it would seem pretty normal. So riddle me this… how do you make Marvel & Disney fit into the same mind set? How do you over come the divide and make the pieces fit?

The one thing you have to give Disney is that they are really really good at giving you the full experience with the characters/brands they put out and I think this can only enhance the Marvel Universe, so long as they stay true to Marvel’s origins. As we’ve seen with Disney franchises, they hit you from every angle to encourage interaction with their different characters. Let’s also not forget that they have what seems like unlimited resources and they own practically every form of media! Studio lots, theme parks in three countries, ABC-TV, Disney Channel, Radio Disney… the list goes on and on (they even have a restaurant division dedicated to their brand). Marvel will now have the funding and resources to bring their comic book characters to life with Disney assisting in the overall Marvel brand experience. However, the question still remains, can Disney maintain the swagger of the Marvel brand & its characters or will it evolve Marvel into some old bullshit like Spiderman 3?

There are still a variety of things sketchy about this merger but I don’t think its Armageddon just yet. All we can do is hope for the best. I’ll put my hopes out into the universe: I hope that Disney allows the creative team at Marvel to be true to itself and not micromanage their creativity. I hope The Avengers still happens and when it does, I hope that I still want to see it. I’m hoping they put together a Marvel-Land with awesome rides & experiences (imagine… you get to voice over scenes from Iron Man). I wouldn’t mind seeing a Marvel/Pixar movie like most people on the web have voiced. And finally, I hope that Marvel can put out a film under Disney that’s as powerful as The Dark Knight (I know it’s DC but, really… that movie brought us all to our knees and I think all comic franchises should want to create something that amazing… I digress).

So with that, Disney & Marvel, please stay true to the fans and please don’t let us down.




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