Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme. A studio re-releases a hugely successful property back into theaters to milk the audience for every extra dollar they can. Recent examples include 20th Century Fox with Avatar and Star Wars, Paramount with Grease and now Disney is doing it with the 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast. Like with Grease, though, this re-release encourages you to belt out the lyrics to your favorite songs like “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston” as this is a sing-a-long event! The Beauty and the Beast Sing-A-Long will hit select theaters for two nights only, September 29 and October 2. Hit the jump for more information on what the future has in store for Beauty and the Beast. Read More »


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Teaser Trailer: Beauty and the Beast in 3D

It has been almost two years since Walt Disney Animation Studios announced that they would be converting Beauty and the Beast into 3D for a Valentine’s Day 2010 theatrical rerelease. Disney has been showing a short test of the 3D footage at various industry events, including last year’s ShoWest. Unlike the live-action 3D post conversions, I was actually quite impressed with what Disney was able to achieve with the added dimensionality (read my previous report here). Earlier this year, Disney pushed the releease back to a To Be Announced 2011 date, and it was later revealed that they were so happy with how Beauty 3D turned out, that they were also in the process of converting The Lion King to 3D as well.

We still don’t know when the 3D version will hit theaters, but many assume it’s February 14th 2011, as Disney wanted to target Valentine’s Day in it’s previous release plans. But a one minute teaser trailer has been found online, and can now be watched embedded after the jump. According to the trailer, it will get a very limited release in New Zealand on August 12th 2010.

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Initially scheduled to hit cinemas this February was Disney’s 3D rerelease of Beauty and the Beast. As the months went on and we heard nothing new, and there was definitely no trailer released or official announcements made, it began to seem like the film had just slipped off the sheet completely. A real shame, because the demo sequences previewed last March were very well received indeed.

All the while, reports kept consolidating that the film was approaching a Blu-ray release, in the original 2D. This release is currently expected to happen in October.

I’m going to speculate that these two releases have been re-ordered to better boost their overall commercial prospects. It doesn’t seem like rocket science to milk the 2D version of the film completely first, and then add the 3D element in for a little extra juice. I’m thinking we’ll see 2D BD, a 3D film and then ultimately a 3D BD.

The Disneyphiles at Stitch Kingdom are reporting word from Disney themselves that the film “is still expected to be released, but not until some point in 2011″. Seems to fit my pattern nicely. Better late than never, I suppose.

Comic-Con Interview: John Lasseter

John lasseter

Few people have shaped the course of modern animation as much as John Lasseter. The man directed classic films such as Toy Story 1 and 2, and A Bug’s Life, but he’s also the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar and at Walt Disney, in addition to being the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering. In short, this man brings out the child in each one of us, and makes that child’s dreams come true. We had the chance to sit down with Lasseter for a quick chat about his inspirations for Toy Story 3, the 3-D trend for animated films, his approach to Pixar villains, and what he has planned for Walt Disney Imagineering.

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What are Hollywood’s expectations for James Cameron‘s Avatar? We haven’t even seen a trailer, or even a photo, but many are already touting a “revolution.” With the director of the highest grossing film of all time behind it, everyone is hoping for big.
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Beauty and the Beast 3D Sequence Wows at ShoWest

When Disney first announced that they would be rereleasing Beauty and the Beast upconverted into Digital 3D, I was very skeptical. For a film like Toy Story, the up conversion makes sense because the movie was animated using 3D models. But with a hand drawn animated film like Beauty and the Beast, you have an entirely different animal altogether. I imagined someone ripping through the original film frame by frame, cutting out characters and objects, and separating them into layers, and that the result would look similar to the effect of the old multi-plane animation camera. Boy, I was wrong.

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The /Filmcast Interview: Producer Don Hahn

The /Filmcast Interview is a series of conversations with actors, directors, and other key figures from the entertainment industry. In this episode, David Chen speaks with legendary producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Emperor’s New Groove, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) about the animation industry, the making of Beauty and the Beast 3D, and Hahn’s new book, The Alchemy of Animation.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Want to be interviewed on the /Filmcast? Feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast@gmail.com. You can also call and leave a voicemail at (781) 583-1993.

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Topics Discussed

  • What are the trends in animation you’ve found most significant?
  • Hand drawn animation
  • The Little Matchgirl (buy this movie on iTunes now!)
  • Stop motion animation
  • Cinematography in animated films
  • The 3D version of Beauty and the Beast
  • The academy award for Best Animated Film
  • What excites you most about animation right now?
  • The Alchemy of Animation

A big thanks to Andy Sorcini from The Drill Down podcast for making this interview possible. Don Hahn will be signing copies of his book, The Alchemy of Animation, at 7 PM this Thursday, December 11th, at the Barnes and Noble on 210 Americana Way in Glendale, CA.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with legendary Disney producer Don Hahn while he was promoting his new fabulous book, The Alchemy of Animation. Don Hahn has produced a few small, low-budget animated Disney movies during his career (not sure if you’ve ever heard of them, but they include films such as The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Emperor’s New Groove). We reported on the new Beauty and the Beast 3D remake a few weeks ago, which Don Hahn is helping to produce, but a lot of us were left wondering: Why Beauty and the Beast? And how would they add a third dimension into an essentially 2D film?

So of all the films, why did Hahn and company pick Beauty and the Beast to remake in 3D? The answer was for practical as well as artistic reasons:

About a year ago we looked at our library and looked at the 3D technology and the fact that more 3D screens are becoming available every week. It’s a chance to take a title that’s very beloved by the audience and try to share it in a way that people haven’t seen before. Also, the way we made it and archived it allowed us to do it. If it were any other movie, it might have been somewhat more difficult. We did Beauty and the Beast on the CAPS [Computer Animation Production System] System, which is the early computer animation system that we had at Disney and archived it in separate layers and separate levels, so there’s a great separation of all the artwork in the computer. So, we can go back in now and separate those layers into a depth of field to create a great 3D experience for the audience. In the end, we’re trying to deliver a great new piece of animation on a really familiar and beloved movie title.

But what would the animating process be like? Would only the CGI backgrounds that were lauded in Beauty appear in 3D? Would the 3D simply be layers of flatness? Hahn responded:

We didn’t want to do the layers of flatness. There are some old Chip and Dale cartoons that do that. One of the first 3D movies is called Starchaser and it was just layers of flat, kind of viewmaster-looking flat. I think what we we want to do is not do that, and create a truly dimensional environment. It’s a very hybrid approach. There’s some proprietary software that Disney created for this, and it actually bends the drawings around geometry. You take a character like Belle or the Beast and you create geometry in the computer that matches the image on the screen, and then bend the original movie around that geometry, be it the character or a background, a tree, or a building or whatever. That creates very dimensional, round faces.

This sounded similar to the method they used to convert The Nightmare Before Christmas into 3D (Hahn produced the 3D version of that film as well). When I asked Hahn what this new proprietary system was called, Hahn responded, “I don’t think they’ve named it yet…It’s so new, that they haven’t put a moniker to it.”

Hahn also assured me that all the animation in the film would be virtually indistinguishable from its original:

We wanted to deliver the original movie. We didn’t want to add new drawings or take away anything from the original movie. I think all you’ll notice is that now suddenly there is great depth to everything on the screen. The effect is somewhat like the Haunted Mansion Madame Leota when you go through the ride at Disneyland and they project a piece of film onto a mannequin head. When that projector hits the mannequin head, it bends the light around it and it looks like it’s 3D. It’s not unlike that, where you’re taking the film, a character like Belle, and projecting her on a digital, rounded surface mannequin head. When it hits that, it breaks out into a 3D looking object that then you can photograph with a right eye, left eye, and create the illusion of depth.

Keep an eye out later this week on slashfilm.com for the full interview, courtesy of the /Film movie podcast. A big thanks to Andy Sorcini from The Drill Down podcast for making this interview possible.

Don Hahn will be signing copies of his book, The Alchemy of Animation, at 7 PM this Thursday, December 11th, at the Barnes and Noble on 210 Americana Way in Glendale, CA.

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