News Bytes: ‘Addams Family’ Original Songs, Apple TV+ Launch Date, Disney+ Pulls ‘Muppets,’ & More

‘Steven Universe The Movie’ Soundtrack Debuts in Top 10
Following its Sept. 2 release, the soundtrack debuted in the Top 10 of five Billboard charts, the week ending Sept. 14: #2 Soundtracks, #2 Children’s Top Albums, #6 Top Independent Albums, #8 Current Pop Albums, #9 Digital Albums, #19 Top Current Albums and #20 Billboard Top Albums. The expansive soundtrack continues to be available for download and streaming on all major platforms. Fans can grab a physical copy to treasure on Nov. 15, in both standard and deluxe vinyl sets — pre-orders now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and FYE.

Studio Movie Grill Expands Movies + Meals Program with DreamWorks/Pearl’s ‘Abominable’
Universal Pictures is offering multiple screenings at SMG theaters of Jill Culton’s upcoming yeti adventure. (Read all about it in Tom McLean’s feature story in the latest issue!) SMG Access launched nationwide last summer and is the only theater-loyalty program focused on positively impacting underserved children and local community members. Through their purchases, alongside rewards, loyal SMG guests are able to assist SMG outreach in offering movies and meals to local non-profits and under-resourced community members with the hope of harnessing the power of movies to inspire and change lives. Since the program’s inception, multiple studios have joined the movement, offering screenings and giving SMG the opportunity to give back more than 14,000 Movies + Meals in the program’s first year.

“We are delighted to support SMG’s efforts by offering screenings of Abominable to local non-profits providing services to underserved children in their communities and to join SMG guests in supporting purposeful outreach and a loyalty program designed to give back to local community members through Movies + Meals. Abominable celebrates friendships and the importance of family, and we can’t think of a better partner to help spread that message of kindness and empowerment than SMG.” — JIm Orr, Universal Pictures President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution

‘The Umbrella Academy’ S2 Adds Three to Cast
Ritu Arya (Humans) has been cast as “Lila,” a chameleon who can be as brilliant or as clinically insane as the situation requires. Unpredictable, mischievous and sarcastic, Lila’s gifted with a twisted sense of humor. Yusuf Gatewood (Good Omens) will play “Raymond,” a born leader with the smarts, gravitas and confidence to never have to prove it to anyone. He is warm, dedicated and has the innate ability to disarm you with a look. A devoted husband, he’s the kind of guy everyone wants to know. Marin Ireland (Y: The Last Man) will be playing “Sissy,” a fearless, no-nonsense Texas mom who married young for all the wrong reasons. Still in her prime, she’s eager to rediscover what life and love has to offer.

It was previously announced that Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher and Justin H. Min are set to reprise their roles. Production on season two is currently underway.

’The Muppets’ Disney+ Comedy Series Scrapped
Creators Adam Horowitz, Eddy Kitsis (Once Upon a Time) and Josh Gad (Frozen) have departed Muppets Live Another Day due to creative differences, causing the to-be-launched streamer to scrap the project. Sources say the trouble started when Disney swapped in Disney Parks Live Ent. SVP David Lightbody to head Muppet Studios, with some different ideas on where to take Jim Henson’s beloved characters.

MGM’s ‘The Addams Family’ Scares Up Musical Superstars for Original Songs
The first track to be released, “My Family,” is performed by Migos, Karol G, Rock Mafia and Snoop Dogg and drops Friday, September 13. The song was written by Antonina Armato, Quavious Keyate Marshall, Carolina Giraldo, Danny Parra, Tim James, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. and Vic Mizzy and was produced by Rock Mafia. The track is being released by MGM Records and distributed by 12 Tone Music. “Haunted Heart,” performed by Christina Aguilera, was written by Antonina Armato, Aguilera and Tim James and was also produced by Rock Mafia, to be released later this month by RCA Records ahead of the film’s debut. Both songs will be available for streaming and \or download at all major music retail digital platforms.

The Addams Family arrives in theaters Oct. 11 — read all about it in the November issue of Animation Magazine!

Apple TV+ Launches November 1
The new service will be available on the Apple TV App worldwide for $ 4.99 per month (free for a year with purchase of any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac as of today), and shareable with up to six people with Family Sharing. At launch, subscribers can catch exclusive originals like See (a post-apocalyptic thriller set 600 years in the future when surviving humans are all blind, starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard), Sesame Workshop’s Helpsters and new Peanuts/DHX animation Snoopy in Space.

Steven Universe soundtrack

Steven Universe soundtrack

The Muppets

The Muppets

Animation Magazine

BBC’s Aussie Hit ‘Bluey’ Makes US Debut with Disney

BBC Studios has announced the mega-hit Australian kids’ series Bluey is set to premiere in the U.S., Monday, September 9, at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Junior and DisneyNOW. The series will then regularly air weekdays at 7:30 a.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and 4:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Junior.

Aimed at preschool aged children and their parents, the show was created by Joe Brumm and is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Ludo Studio for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and BBC Studios. Bluey first launched on ABC in Australia last year enjoying massive success with parents and children alike, being the most viewed series in the history of ABC iview with over 100 million plays (per Webtrends, OzTAM VPM data). It was the most popular children’s TV show on terrestrial TV in Australia in 2018/19.

“From script to screen, Bluey is created entirely under one roof in Brisbane, Australia, and we’re so proud that Joe and the whole team’s work is now coming to the U.S. with Disney,” said Bluey EPs and Ludo co-founders, Charlie Aspinwall and Daley Pearson.

Bluey follows the adventures of a lovable and inexhaustible six-year-old Blue Heeler puppy who lives with her Dad (Bandit), her Mum (Chilli) and four-year-old little sister, Bingo. In each episode, Bluey takes the everyday events of family life and uses her limitless Blue Heeler energy to invent elaborate games that unfold in unpredictable and hilarious ways, bringing her family and the whole neighborhood into her world of fun. Bluey and Bingo love to roleplay and, whether they are doctors, fancy ladies, butterflies or hotel managers, they always drag in Mum or Dad to take part in their games. Bandit and Chilli are both dedicated working parents who, tired as they might be, appreciate the value of time spent playing with the kids, even if it means getting down on all fours for a horsey ride or keeping the last balloon in the air for as long as possible.

Bluey is an authentic dive into family life with preschool kids and celebrates the joyful simplicity of learning, growing and having fun through play. Unstructured, self-directed play allows Bluey to use her creativity while developing her imagination, and her mental, physical and emotional resilience. Exploring her world autonomously, Bluey conquers her fears while practicing grown up jobs, sometimes with her sister or with other children, and always with her parents to guide her.

“We wanted to create a genuine co-viewing show that parents and their kids can actually enjoy together,” said series creator Brumm.

The series has already become a proven co-viewing experience for families. In a recent call for “delightful children’s programming” put out by The New York Times, Bluey was the most popular reader submission despite only being available in Australia. The show has also inspired grown-up fans to share their approval over social media — such as in this Twitter thread where one “Bluey Superfan” tried to figure out exactly where the canine stars live.

Animation Magazine

D23: Pre-K ‘Spidey,’ ‘Moon Girl’ Toons set for Disney TV

Exciting new animated takes on a familiar web-slinger and a brilliant next gen heroine are heading to TV screens! Announced at D23 Expo in Anaheim this weekend were Marvel Animation’s first full-length preschool series Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends for Disney Junior, and Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur for Disney Channel (announced by screen icons Laurence Fishburne and Kermit the Frog!).

Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends

Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends

Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends (set to debut in 2021) will take the normally solitary Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man) on a journey to discover what it takes to be a truly amazing super hero: being a super friend who works well with others! Peter and pals Miles Morales and Gwen (Ghost-Spider) will team up with heroes like Hulk, Black Panther and Ms. Marvel to defeat evil and use teamwork to save the day.

“Preschool kids already love Spidey, so they’ll be delighted to have Peter Parker thwipping across their screens in this new series,” said Cort Lane, SVP Marvel Animation & Family Entertainment. “Everyone at Marvel is thrilled to launch our first preschool series on Disney Junior, the gold standard platform for the audience. We believe parents and kids will be excited about these stories filled with themes of friendship, cooperation, solving problems and using your abilities to help others.”

Joe D’Ambrosia, SVP Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Marvel on this new series showcasing the exciting adventures of Spidey and his friends as they model the importance of teamwork and helping others in their community. This is the perfect series to introduce preschoolers to the super hero powers of friendship and working together to help others in need.”

Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends is executive produced by Alan Fine (The Avengers), Joe Quesada (Avengers Assemble), Dan Buckley (Marvel’s Spider-Man), Cort Lane (Ultimate Spider-Man) and Eric Radomski (Avengers Assemble); co-executive produced by Marsha Griffin (Marvel’s Spider-Man) and supervising producer Harrison Wilcox (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy). Alfred Gimeno (Marvel Rising) serves as supervising animation producer, and Ashley Mendoza (PJ Masks) as story editor.

Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur from Disney Television Animation is based on the hit Marvel comic books about 13-year-old super-genius Lunella Lafayette and her 10-ton T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur. After Lunella accidentally brings Devil Dinosaur into present-day New York City via a time vortex, the duo works together to protect the city’s Lower East Side from danger.

The pick-up was announced by Laurence Fishburne — who is executive producing — during Disney Television Animation’s panel at Disney’s D23 Expo:

“As an avid comic-book fan, I am thrilled to be involved with Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Disney Channel is the perfect platform to explore this pint-sized female African-American superhero and I can’t wait for their audience to enjoy the lighthearted adventures of Lunella and Devil Dinosaur.”

“Lunella doesn’t know she is the smartest person on the planet, but audiences will soon know how very cool Moon Girl is,” said Marvel’s Cort Lane. “Her adventures with giant buddy, Devil Dinosaur, are filled with so much wonder and joy, and this historic partnership with Disney Television Animation and Cinema Gypsy Productions proved the right formula to bring them to television.”

Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is executive produced by Fishburne and Helen Sugland’s Cinema Gypsy Productions (black-ish), Marvel Animation & Family Entertainment, and Emmy Award winner Steve Loter (Kim Possible). Jeff Howard (Planes) and Kate Kondell (The Pirate Fairy) serve as co-producers and story editors.

“Disney TV Animation is thrilled to collaborate with renowned producers Laurence, Helen and Steve and the talented Marvel Animation team to bring this modern-day roller-skating, gadget-wielding tween superhero and her larger-than-life partner to Disney Channel,” commented Meredith Roberts, SVP Animation Strategy, Disney Channels.

Animation Magazine

Disney Publishing & Disney+ Announce ‘One Day at Disney’

At D23 Expo on Thursday evening, Ricky Strauss (President, Content & Marketing for Disney+) and Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts announced One Day at Disney — a collaboration between Disney Publishing Worldwide and the Mouse’s new streaming service comprising a 224-page coffee table book and documentary series. The project highlights the talented people who bring life to some of Disney’s most beloved stories.

On February 21 of this year, 76 unique photo shoots took place around the world, as Disney dispatched photographers to capture images of the employees and cast members who drive creativity and innovation at The Walt Disney Company. From Shanghai Disneyland and ESPN to Pixar and the set of Modern Family, these spectacular photographs — and the stories behind them — will be featured in the hardbound, collectible book, written by Bruce Steele, which is now available for pre-order.

On December 3, the same day the book arrives in stores, Disney+ will debut its new, 52-episode short-form series One Day at Disney, launching with a feature-length documentary. This exciting new series takes an in-depth look at the unique and surprising roles these men and women call their daily jobs. The series and documentary are from Endeavor Content’s Non-Scripted Division and executive produced by Michael Antinoro and David Chamberlin and produced by Victoria Chamlee.

Following the premiere special, which features legendary animator Eric Goldberg and other high profile talents, more than 50 One Day at Disney shorts will debut weekly. The shorts range in length from 4 to 7 minutes long and each profiles a single remarkable person and their fascinating job.

Profiled in the Disney+ docu-special (in alphabetical order):

  • Eric Baker: The Walt Disney Imagineer who has overseen the creation of many of the intricately detailed props and lifelike creatures that inhabit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the newest lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts
  • Ashley Girdich: A talented Walt Disney Imagineer who, as a Research and Development Project Manager, drives plans and helps teams execute some of the innovative robotics technology projects being created for our Parks around the world
  • Eric Goldberg: The legendary animator known for creating the Genie in Aladdin and Phil in Hercules, directing Pocahontas, as well as for animating Mickey Mouse in the Academy Award-nominated short Get a Horse!
  • Mark Gonzales: A Los Angeles native who works on the world-famous Disneyland Railroad
  • Grace Lee: A senior illustration manager at Disney Worldwide Publishing who has worked on titles from Zootopia to Fancy Nancy
  • Zamavus “Zama” Magudulela: The talented South African actor currently playing Rafiki in the Madrid production of phenomenally successful musical The Lion King
  • Ryan Meinerding: Marvel Studios’ head of visual development who has worked on films including Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Natalie Mylniczenko: The veterinarian who cares for creatures large and small at Walt Disney World Resort, including a number of endangered and threatened species.
  • Jerome Ranft: The skilled Pixar artist who created detailed sculptures for animators to use as reference for such films as Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, and Ratatouille
  • Robin Roberts: The former ESPN sportscaster has been co-anchor of the Emmy Award-winning, top-rated morning show, Good Morning America, since 2005
One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney

Animation Magazine

Mouse House Announces Intl. Disney+ Launch Dates, Prices

Disney announced the first global launch dates and prices for its upcoming streaming service Disney+: The streamer will arrive in Canada and the Netherlands on the same day as the United States, where the service becomes available Nov. 12. The Canadian version of Disney+ will be priced at CAD$ 8.99 per month, or CAD $ 89.99 per year. The Dutch version will cost 6.99 euros per month or 69.99 euros per year.

The Canadian service will be slightly cheaper than its U.S. equivalent ($ 6.77 per month compared to the U.S. version, which will start at $ 6.99 per month). The Dutch version of Disney+, however, will be more expensive in U.S. dollars, at $ 7.75 per month, based on current exchange rates.

A week later, Disney+ will arrive in Australia and New Zealand on Nov 19, priced at AUD$ 8.99 per month or AUD$ 89.99 per year and NZD$ 9.99 per month, or $ 99.99 per year, respectively. (Equivalent of $ 6.09 per month and $ 6.42 per month in U.S. dollars). According to the studio, more global territories will be announced in the first two years. Disney will also offer a bundled package of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for $ 12.99 per month in the U.S.

Analysts predict that the service will have over 60 million to 90 million global subscribers in the next four years. Disney+ will offer shows and movies from the Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, National Geographic and 21st Century Fox library, and will also offer original content, including new live-action Star Wars and Marvel shows, a Phineas and Ferb movie, Monsters at Work (a spinoff of Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.), short films created in the SparkShorts program and Forky Asks a Question, a series of short films based on Toy Story 4’s popular new character! Also on tap are a new High School Musical series and a live-action version of Lady & The Tramp.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Disney+

Disney+

Disney+

Disney+

Animation Magazine

‘Toy Story 4’ Hits $1 Billion Mark, Scores Another Record for Disney

Buzz and Woody and the rest of the gang have scored another major record for Disney. Toy Story 4 has crossed the $ 1 billion global box office threshold, which means Disney now has five movies hitting that record in a single year—and that’s even before Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker pack houses in the last two months of 2019. This means the studio will have seven big billion-dollar grosses in one single year! As Deadline points out, all these popular movies also serve as an easy ad for the studio’s eagerly anticipated streaming service Disney+ which launches in November.

The studio’s other big 2019 movies are Captain Marvel ($ 1.1 billion), Avengers: Endgame ($ 2.795 billion), The Lion King ($ 1.3 billion) and Aladdin ($ 1.03 billion). Sony Pictures Animation’s Spider-Man: Far From Home is the only other big movie that crossed the billion dollar mark with $ 1.09 billion worldwide.

Directed by Josh Cooley and produced by Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen, Toy Story 4 has made $ 421.8 million in the U.S. and $ 580 million overseas. The movie had the best opening for an animated movie worldwide with $ 244.5 million. The pic is the 8th highest animated movie of all time, and is the No. 2 animated release of all time in the U.K. with $ 75 million.

You can read all about the making of the movie here:

Source: Deadline.com

Animation Magazine

VES Announces 2019 Special Honorees – Disney, Kubrick & Stan Lee Join Hall of Fame

The Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s global professional honorary society, announced the 2019 inductees into the VES Hall of Fame, the newest Lifetime and Honorary members and this year’s recipient of the VES Founders Award. The names of this year’s VES Fellows will be announced later. The honorees and Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized at a special reception in October.

Venerated VES leader Susan Thurmond O’Neal was named recipient of the 2019 VES Founders Award. The Society designated award-winning VFX supervisor Michael Fink, VES with a Lifetime VES Membership and presents FotoKem’s Chief Strategy Officer, Mike Brodersen, with an Honorary VES Membership. This year’s VES Hall of Fame honorees are Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick and Stan Lee.

“Our VES honorees represent a group of exceptional artists, innovators and professionals who have had a profound impact on the field of visual effects,” said Mike Chambers, VES Board Chair. “We are proud to recognize those who helped shape our shared legacy and continue to inspire future generations of VFX practitioners.”

Founders Award Recipient: Susan Thurmond O’Neal, for her sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects and meritorious service to the Society. O’Neal joined the VES in the late 1990s and has served as a member of its global Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. For many years, she served as the Chair for the global Education Committee and currently Chairs the Membership Committee – and she has been instrumental in the work to grow the Society by leading the bi-annual membership review and approval process.

O’Neal is currently a recruiter for BLT Recruiting, Inc and has worked as an Operations Manager at The Mill, Operations Director at Escape Studios in Los Angeles and as an Account Manager at Side Effects Software, Inc. She started her career in visual effects at Digital Domain in 1993, where she worked in finance and operations before turning to production. O’Neal’s credits include T2: 3D – Battle Across Time, Titanic, The Italian Job, West Wing, Deuce Bigalow 2: European Gigolo as well as a host of music videos, commercials and other works.

Lifetime Member: Michael Fink, VES, for meritorious service to the Society and the global industry. Fink began working in film on The China Syndrome. He was hooked, and worked on films such as Star Trek – The Motion Picture and Blade Runner before becoming a Visual Effects Supervisor on War Games (BAFTA Nomination). He has since worked on The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Batman Returns (Academy Award and BAFTA nominations), Braveheart, Mars Attacks!, X-Men, X-Men 2, The Golden Compass (VES Award nomination, BAFTA and Academy Award winner), Avatar, TRON: Legacy, Tree of Life and Life of Pi.

Fink directed the first Coca-Cola Polar Bear spot in 1993, which was one of the earliest widely-seen examples of 3D fur on a CG creature. Fink is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society and a former VES Board Member. He is a member of the Visual Effects Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and has served on its Executive Committee. He is currently a Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California and Chair of the Division of Film and Television Production. He holds the Georges Méliès Endowed Chair in Visual Effects at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Honorary Member: Mike Brodersen, for his exemplary contributions to the entertainment industry and for furthering the interests and values of visual effects practitioners. Brodersen is one of the owners of FotoKem, currently serving as its Chief Strategy Officer. Thanks to Brodersen, FotoKem has been a valuable longtime partner with the VES, including serving as the Los Angeles site for the VES Awards nominations events for many years.

In his 25-year tenure at the company, Brodersen has helped incubate services including film scanning and recording, digital intermediate, digital restoration, software development and file-based dailies. Established in 1963 and one of the last remaining full service film laboratories in the world, FotoKem provides color grading, digital imaging, VFX, graphics, audio, and a variety of other post-production services from dailies through finishing. In recent years, the company has been able to provide post-production, imaging and VFX support services on titles like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Aquaman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Dunkirk, Vice, Green Book, Kong: Skull Island, Better Call Saul and Homeland.

VES 2019 Hall of Fame honorees:

Walt Disney (1901-1966) – Walter Elias Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor, TV and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced a score of innovations in the field of animation. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 26 Oscars. His creative vision gave rise to the groundbreaking theme park Disneyland and Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios, the origin of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Stanley Kubrick (1928 – 1999) – Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in cinematic history. His filmography includes Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey (Academy Award winner for Best Special Visual Effects), A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. All of Stanley Kubrick’s films from Paths of Glory until the end of his career, except for The Shining, were nominated for Academy Awards or Golden Globe Awards.

Stan Lee (1922 – 2018) – Stan Lee was an American comic book writer, editor, publisher and producer. He became Marvel Comics’ primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that dominated the comics industry. In collaboration with others at Marvel, he co-created numerous popular fictional characters, including superheroes Spider-Man, The X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man. Lee was an inductee into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame and a recipient of NEA’s National Medal of Arts, as well as the VES Lifetime Achievement Award.

Learn more about the VES at www.visualeffectssociety.com.

Animation Magazine

Disney Appoints Andrew Millstein Blue Sky Co-Prez, Clark Spencer Upped to Disney Animation Prez

With the recent addition of Blue Sky Studios to Disney’s portfolio of film studios, The Walt Disney Studios’ Chief Creative Officer and Co-Chairman Alan Horn and Co-Chairman Alan Bergman announced today that Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) President Andrew Millstein and Zootopia producer and longtime creative executive Clark Spencer are stepping into new leadership roles at Disney’s animation studios.

As Blue Sky prepares to build out its upcoming film slate, Millstein will join the studio as Co-President alongside Co-President Robert Baird. Baird will continue to drive the creative direction of the studio reporting to Horn and Bergman, and Millstein will oversee day-to-day operations. Millstein will report to Jim Morris, who will expand his duties with a supervisory role at Blue Sky outside of his role as President, Pixar Animation Studios.

Spencer has been named President, Walt Disney Animation Studios, reporting to Bergman and working alongside WDAS Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee, who continues to report to Horn and Bergman.

“We are incredibly proud of the strength and depth of leadership in our animation studios, and Andrew, Clark, and Jim are all exemplars of that. The remarkable success of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios over the past decade is due in large part to the respective leadership of Andrew and Jim and their ability to foster creativity, technology, and culture in equal parts, and we are thrilled that they will be lending their experience to the Blue Sky team along with Robert Baird’s creative guidance,” said Horn and Bergman. “Clark has been an invaluable leader and contributor at Disney Animation, combining exceptional creative and business instincts, and we’re so pleased he will be leading this historic studio in a key role alongside Jennifer Lee.”

A 22-year Disney veteran, Andrew Millstein has served as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios since 2014 and General Manager of WDAS since 2008. Under his leadership, the studio has produced such creative and commercial successes as the Academy Award-winning billion-dollar hits Frozen and Zootopia, as well as Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Big Hero 6 and Moana.

Clark Spencer has been with Disney for nearly 30 years, during which he has produced five Oscar-nominated feature films for Walt Disney Animation Studios. He received both an Academy Award and a Producers Guild Award for Zootopia, as well as a PGA Award for Wreck-It Ralph, and is also the producer of hit films Lilo & Stitch, Bolt and Ralph Breaks the Internet. Spencer began his career at Disney in strategic planning and finance, later overseeing all production and operations at Florida-based Disney Feature Animation as Senior Vice President and General Manager. He earned his MBA in 1990 at Harvard Business School.

Jim Morris has been with Pixar since 2005. As General Manager since 2008 and President since 2014, Morris has overseen a hugely successful and critically acclaimed slate of films that include Wall-E, which he produced, Up, Toy Story 3, Inside Out, Coco and, most recently, Toy Story 4. Prior to joining Pixar, he spent nearly 20 years in executive roles at Lucasfilm.

Animation Magazine

Disney Enters Streaming Wars with $12.99 Disney+, Hulu & ESPN+ Bundle

With so many consumers and industry watchers wondering when we will hit peak platform saturation, The Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger has announced that the company will be offering consumers a streaming service bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and the ad-supported version of Hulu for $ 12.99.

Set to be made available with the November 12 Disney+ launch, the subscription trio carries the same pricetag as Netflix’s most popular plan, Deadline points out. The bundle will allow consumers to save $ 5 over subscribing to each service individually. Individual plans for Disney+ and ESPN+ cost $ 6.99 and $ 4.99; Hulu, now majority owned by Disney, lowered its basic AVOD tier to $ 5.99 in January.

The company is forecasting massive international growth for Disney+, predicting 60 to 90 million global subscribers by 2024 during its investor day earlier this year. Disney also expects Hulu, currently at 28 million domestic subscribers, to serve 40 to 60 million subscribers by 2024 after an international rollout.

According to Variety, Disney is also in talks with major competitors — like Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google — to distribute Disney+ on their platforms, setting up the new service to scale even more quickly.

Iger also revealed that reboots of family comedy and adventure classics Home Alone, Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cheaper by the Dozen have joined the Disney+ programming lineup.

Home Alone

Home Alone

Animation Magazine

‘Children of Blood and Bone’ Lucasfilm’s First Franchise Departure Since Disney Buy

A feature adaptation of bestselling fantasy novel Children of Blood and Bone planned for Fox 2000 is going ahead under the new Disney leadership, and Deadline reports that Lucasfilm is set to produce since the project caught studio chief Kathleen Kennedy’s attention. Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi’s tale of a gifted young woman a mission to bring magic back to her world would be the studio’s first film outside the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises since it was acquired by Walt Disney Co.

WGA Award nominee Kay Oyegun (This Is Us) is on deck to write a new script for the film, which has Image Award-winning writer/director Rick Famuyiwa (Dope, Talk to Me, The Chi) attached to direct. Famuyiwa is directing episodes of the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian, premiering later this year, and has been tapped for Sony’s graphic novel adaptation Son of Shaolin.

Original producers Marty Brown, Isaac Klausner and John Fischer (Temple Hill), Karen Rosenfelt (Sunswept Ent.) and Famuyiwa (VERSE) will continue to be involved.

Children of Blood and Bone was published in 2018 by Holt Books for Young Readers. The second book in the Legacy of Orisha series, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, is due later this year.

Book synopsis: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy.

With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

[Source: Deadline]

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi

Tomi Adeyemi

Rick Famuyiwa

Rick Famuyiwa

Kay Oyegun

Kay Oyegun

Animation Magazine

Disney Drops More Fox Layoffs, VFX Execs Dismissed

The Walt Disney Company has hit 20th Century Fox with another round of layoffs. Several dozen studio employees including several key executives were let go on Wednesday, insiders told Variety, bringing the total to about 250 employees dropped since Disney’s $ 73.1 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets.

The latest cuts largely affected the production and post-production departments. Among the executives who received notice on Tuesday were Head of Visual Effects John Kilkenny, EVP of Feature Production Fred Baron, SVP of Physical Production Dana Belcastro and EVP of Post-Production Fred Chandler. All these positions had reported to Vice Chairman and President of Production Emma Watts, who is reportedly finalizing a new contract to remain under the new Disney leadership.

Disney has also told staff that it will be shuttering the Fox Research Library on or before January 6. The library’s collection will be evaluated and incorporated into the Walt Disney Archives and Imagineering Research Library. The Fox Research Library boasts a collection of 19th century books, British newspapers, 1920s fashion magazines and World War II materials which have played a key role in the making of classic period flicks like The King and I and Titanic.

Last week, news broke that Fox Animation President Andrea Miloro was leaving the studio.

[Source: Variety]

Animation Magazine

‘Descendents 3’, LEGO Spidey & Pre-K Faves Heat Up Disney TV’s August

Things are starting to cool off on broadcast schedules as the big fall premiere season approaches, but kids can still catch plenty of fresh content across Disney TV channels in August.

The big debut of the month will be Descendants 3, the highly anticipated threequel of the live-action fantasy movie franchise, kicking things off at the top of the month on Disney Channel. On the animation front, Disney XD audiences will see the new special LEGO Marvel Spider-Man: Vexed by Venom. Season three of The Lion Guard gets roaring on Disney Junior, with episode premieres for other preschool favorites T.O.T.S. and Vampirina set for Disney Channel.

Descendants 3

Descendants 3

Friday, Aug. 2
9-9:30 A.M. EDT T.O.T.S. “Back To Cool/Baby Breakdown” (Disney Channel)

Pip and Freddy deliver a baby penguin to Pip’s hometown of Iceberg Alley. | When Pip and Freddy break the conveyor belt at T.O.T.S., they are determined to fix it on their own.

8-9:52 P.M. EDT Descendants 3 (Disney Channel)

This highly anticipated third installment in the global hit Disney Channel Original Movie franchise continues the contemporary saga of good versus evil as the teenage daughters and sons of Disney’s most infamous villains — Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay (also known as the villain kids or VKs) — return to the Isle of the Lost to recruit a new batch of villainous offspring to join them at Auradon Prep. When a barrier breach jeopardizes the safety of Auradon during their departure off the Isle, Mal resolves to permanently close the barrier, fearing that nemeses Uma and Hades will wreak vengeance on the kingdom. Despite her decision, an unfathomable dark force threatens the people of Auradon and it’s up to Mal and the VKs to save everyone in their most epic battle yet.

Saturday, Aug. 3
9:00-9:55 A.M. EDT The Lion Guard “Battle for the Pride Lands” (Disney Junior)

After Kion and Ono are injured in an attempt to defeat Scar in the battle for the Pride Lands, the Lion Guard must embark on a journey to the Tree of Life to help them regain their strength. Returning guest stars include David Oyelowo (Selma) as Scar, Christian Slater (Mr. Robot) as Ushari, Blair Underwood (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Makuu, Maia Mitchell (The Fosters) as Jasiri, Ana Gasteyer (The Goldbergs) as Reirei, John O’Hurley (Seinfeld) as Hadithi and Common (Selma) as Kiburi.

11:00-11:30 A.M. EDT Lego Marvel Spider-Man: Vexed by Venom (Disney XD)

Our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man must stop the evil Green Goblin and Venom from stealing key pieces of technology that could ultimately destroy New York City.

Lego Marvel Spider-Man: Vexed by Venom

Lego Marvel Spider-Man: Vexed by Venom

Friday, Aug. 9
9:00-9:30 A.M. EDT T.O.T.S. “Lost Lovey/Diggity Dog” (Disney Channel)

Pip and Freddy go on a wild chase to find Mia’s lost lovey. | Pip and Freddy’s delivery is in jeopardy when a puppy buries their FlyPad.

Friday, Aug. 16
9:00-9:30 A.M. EDT T.O.T.S. “Temple of the Tiger/The Gift-Mazing Birthday” (Disney Channel)

Freddy and Pip try their hardest to keep a baby tiger prince clean. | Freddy tries to find the perfect birthday present for one of the new babies.

9:30-10:00 A.M. EDT Vampirina “Bat Got Your Tongue/Haunted Theater” (Disney Channel) Vampirina loses her voice just before a Ghoul Girls performance in Transylvania. | Vampirina and her friends meet Sir Ghoulgood, a friendly, but dramatic ghost, on a field trip to a haunted theater. Alfred Molina (Raiders of the Lost Ark) guest stars as Sir Ghoulgood.

Friday, Aug. 23
9:00-9:30 A.M. EDT T.O.T.S. “The Bouncy Bouncy Baby/Like Cats and Dogs” (Disney Channel)

Pip gets locked inside a crate with a baby kangaroo. | Pip and Freddy must teach squabbling kitten and puppy siblings to share.

Animation Magazine

Marvel Reveals 2-Year Film Slate, Disney+ Series Details

Marvel Studios returned to Comic-Con’s Hall H this weekend to share exciting news about what’s next from the superheroic entertainment powerhouse. President Kevin Feige officially announced the lineup of feature films for the next two years, and revealed new information for the brand-new Disney+ exclusive series. (The new streaming platform launches in the U.S. November 12).

Here’s the 411:

The Eternals will introduce an exciting new team of super heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe this fall. Feige introduced the director, Chloé Zhao, followed by stars from the film: Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh and Angelina Jolie as Thena. November 6, 2020

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a Disney+ original series which pairs up two of the MCU’s most popular heroes — Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes — to fight against evil in a series of action-filled adventures, after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Anthony Mackie (The Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier) came on stage to greet the fans, and it was revealed that Daniel Brühl will return as the villain, Baron Zemo. Fall 2020

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a new feature that has been hinted at in the MCU since the first Iron Man, Feige noted. He confirmed the casting of Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, and was joined on stage by actor-director Destin Daniel Cretton. Awkwafina has also been cast in to to-be-disclosed role, while the real Mandarin will be played by celebrated Chinese actor Tony Leung. February 12, 2021

WandaVision joins the Disney+ streaming lineup, with Paul Bettany reprising the role of Vision and Elizabeth Olsen returning as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. The stars were joined on stage by MCU newcomer Teyonah Parris, who will be playing an adult Monica Rambeau — she was introduced to audiences in Captain Marvel. Spring 2021

Loki, one of the first series announced for Disney+, was celebrated with a visit from star Tom Hiddleston. As the mercurial god of mischief, Hiddleston has become an MCU fan-favorite villain, and he finally answered a burning Endgame question for the SDCC audience: Where did Loki go when he took the Space Stone? Spring 2021

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness director Scott Derrickson and star Benedict Cumberbatch joined Feige on stage to promote the second Doctor Strange franchise film. As a special surprise, star Elizabeth Olsen also came out to talk about how her Disney+ series WandaVision will directly connect to the sequel’s storyline. May 7, 2021

What If…? will be the first animated series in the MCU, created exclusively for Disney+ and featuring stories that present alternate Marvel universe realities. Feige noted that many actors from across the MCU will reprise their roles as voice talent in the series, then brought out Jeffrey Wright to introduce hi as the voice of popular character The Watcher. Summer 2021

Hawkeye star Jeremy Renner hit the stage to reveal the Disney+ original series’ official title, and reveal that the character Kate Bishop will be a key part of the show. Fall 2021

Thor: Love and Thunder, boasting a delightfully sword-and-sandals style logo font, will be the fourth feature in the Norse god’s franchise. In the next installment, Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman) will don the mantle of the Mighty Thor, Goddess of Thunder. Director Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Portman were all there for the presentation, getting a wildly enthusiastic response from the crowd. November 5, 2021

Black Widow, a standalone film starring Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, will be the first Phase Four MCU film to his the big screen. Director Cate Shortland was on hand along with Johansson, David Harbour (Alexei/The Red Guardian), Florence Pugh (Yelena), O-T Fagbenle (Mason) and Rechel Weisz (Melina). May 1, 2020

Blade was announced by Feige as the newest Marvel Studios Feature and — one of the most exciting surprises of the presentation — the ultra-cool vampire hunter will be played by Oscar winning actor Mahershala Ali (Green Book, Moonlight), who joined Feige on stage.


Animation Magazine

Billy Campbell & Kathy Najimy Join Disney TV’s ‘The Rocketeer’

A new comedic, animated adventure series for kids inspired by Dave Stevens’ beloved superhero comic and Disney’s live-action feature film, The Rocketeer announced its voice stars during the Disney Television Animation panel at Comic-Con International on Friday. The show follows Kit Secord after she learns she’s secretly next in line to become the rocket-pack wearing superhero. Billy Cambell (Cliff Secord in The Rocketeer movie) voices Kit’s father, Dave; Kathy Najimy (Hocus Pocus) voices Kit’s mother, Serena; and Kitana Turnbull (Carmelita Spats in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) stars as Kit.

“This is my first voice-acting job ever and I’m thrilled that it’s for The Rocketeer,” said Campbell. “This has been a really nice full-circle moment for me and I’m looking forward to introducing a new generation of kids, including my own, to the Rocketeer’s stories.”

Armed with her cool new gear and secret identity, Kit takes to the skies to protect her town of Hughesville and its residents from danger. Assisting her on her heroic adventures are her best friend Tesh (Callan Farris), bulldog sidekick Butch and airplane mechanic grandfather, Ambrose Secord (both played by legendary voice actor Frank Welker).

Additional cast includes Navia Robinson (Raven’s Home) as Kit’s classmate Valerie Valkyrie, and a rogue’s gallery of comedic villains: Maria Bamford (Arrested Development) and Kari Wahlgren (DC Super Hero Girls) as sisters Laura & Harley, Maurice LaMarche (Futurama) as Sylvester Slapdash, Charlie Adler (The Transformers) and Parvesh Cheena (Mira, Royal Detective) as The Great Orsino and Deany, and celebrity chef Ted Allen (Chopped) as Cast-Iron Chef.

The series is developed and executive produced by seven-time Emmy Award nominee Nicole Dubuc (Transformers: Rescue Bots). Michael Kenny (Miles from

Tomorrowland) is supervising director. Emmy Award nominee Beau Black (The Lion Guard) is the songwriter and Annie Award nominee Dominic Lewis (DuckTales) is the composer. The series is produced by Wild Canary in association with Disney Junior.

The Rocketeer will debut on Disney Channel and Disney Junior this fall.

Animation Magazine

Disney Flies First Look at 2nd VR Short ‘a kite’s tale’ at SIGGRAPH

Walt Disney Animation Studios, for the second year in a row, will debut an all-new VR short film at the SIGGRAPH conference (July 28-August 1, Los Angeles). Part of the third annual SIGGRAPH 2019 VR Theater.

Directed by Bruce Wright, a kite’s tale combines classic hand-drawn animation and the latest innovations in virtual reality to tell a whimsical tale of two kites — a playful puppy (with a wagging tail) and a pompous dragon — who clash, tangle and ultimately must learn to live with one another subject to the winds of fate.

“I’m thrilled that a kite’s tale is premiering at SIGGRAPH 2019’s VR Theater,” said Wright. “Virtual reality has the ability to bring us into new worlds of story, and touch the hearts of the audience in never before dreamt of ways. It’s an honor to showcase our film at SIGGRAPH for the innovators and artists who are shaping the future of this medium.”

a kite’s tale was created within Disney Animation’s innovative Short Circuit program, which gives anyone within the studio the opportunity to participate in a blind submission and be selected for the opportunity to direct their short film idea. The program has produced 20 short films thus far, with a kite’s tale being the second VR film (the first, Cycles debuted at SIGGRAPH 2018).

“We’re still on the cusp of a powerful new medium, and I cannot wait for audiences to experience what Disney has done with its second VR short,” said SIGGRAPH 2019 VR Theater Director Maxwell Planck. “It’s encouraging and exciting to see studios and artists with proven success in more traditional computer graphics contribute to the next evolution of storytelling, and further proves that the seeds we are planting are strong.”

Born in Los Angeles, and raised in Redondo Beach and Lomita, California, Bruce Wright’s interest in animation was awakened in 1985 when, as a high school newspaper reporter, he attended a special screening of the Disney classic Fantasia, followed by a discussion with legendary Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Inspired, he purchased a Super-8 film camera and started making movies. After attending Cal State Long Beach, where he majored in film and television studies, he went on to work at Paramount Pictures, where he founded an experimental desktop graphics and visual effects lab, and contributed to such projects as Addams Family Values and Star Trek: Generations.

Wright began his association with Disney in 1996 as a live-action visual effects animator at Dream Quest Images, where he worked on Armageddon and George of the Jungle. His Disney Animation feature credits include effects animation on Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Ralph Breaks the Internet and, most recently, Frozen 2. Bruce and his wife, Tekla, have a teenage daughter. An accomplished magician, he can often be found dabbling in sleight of hand as a member of the world-famous Magic Castle.

Animation Magazine