If you didn’t buy 2013 as being a year of total change for Pixar Animation Studios before, it would be extraordinarily difficult to deny it after the latest bit of bad news out of Emeryville. And, as is now typical, it all revolves around The Good Dinosaur, which holds the title as the most unfortunately beleaguered future release from any major film studio, all things considered. Was it only a few months ago when the film was unveiled at the D23 Expo, including some of its top-billed voice cast? Since early August, things have changed rapidly for The Good Dinosaur. First, its director, Bob Peterson, was shifted off the project. (As of this writing, no replacement has been announced; there’s a group of creatives working on the film’s production, but it’s closer to a brain trust.) Then, the release date was shifted from May of 2014 to November of 2015, making 2014 the first year in nearly a decade without a new Pixar film. Now, the company has laid off roughly 5% of its work force, in conjunction with that 18-month delay.
After Pixar announced that The Good Dinosaur would be delayed, there was a question as to where the studio would move those employees who would have been working on the film. The animation process for a Pixar feature film takes approximately one year, so with the film not arriving in theaters until November 2015, there is almost an entire year before the bulk of the animation portion of production begins. We have our answer now, as the animation studio has stated that an undisclosed number of employees are being laid off.
Watching business decisions get handed down from on high is always maddening, with the context for such choices being obscured from public view; all that can result is rampant speculation. So it is with the surprising announcement a few weeks ago from the Walt Disney Company that it was shutting down Pixar’s Canadian studio, located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The studio, which employed over 100 animators, had worked primarily in shorts related to preexisting properties, such as the Toy Story shorts Small Fry and Partysaurus Rex, as well as some of the Cars shorts released straight to DVD and Blu-ray. As of now, one of the reasons being bandied about for why the shutdown occurred is that a number of the tax loopholes that existed in the past in Canada have been tightened, giving Disney less profit on this extension of one of their most financially fruitful branches.
On Saturday, many woke up to the news that a new poster for The Good Dinosaur had been released. However, things just did not add up. As I pointed out when we posted the image, it would be questionable for Disney/Pixar to release a poster for a film two years down the line when the film next in line (Inside Out) still had not had a poster released. Studios tend to work in an orderly fashion, and promoting film number two before number one would be bizarre. Additionally, the website listed on the poster is not live, making it obvious that the poster was not meant to be released – not yet at least. Today, we have confirmation that the poster was not released by Pixar.
Last month, Pixar delayed the release of The Good Dinosaur by approximately 18 months, leaving 2014 without any feature film from the studio. The announcement of the significant delay came eight months before the film was due in theaters, which must have left other units within Disney and Pixar, like their consumer products divisions, scrambling. New plans had to be developed in how the film would be marketed, and when new products and tie-ins would appear. A new teaser poster for the film is now making the rounds online, and it gives us a great look at the main characters of the film. Take a look after the break!
We have grown accustomed to expecting a wealth of easter eggs in Pixar films, references to other films in its catalog. The Pizza Planet truck and A113 symbol are the most abundant, with both appearing in almost every Pixar feature film. The most challenging easter eggs tend to be those that reference upcoming films, as it is difficult to know what to look for. It is a tradition to hunt for easter eggs and one that has continued with the studio’s first television special, Toy Story of Terror. Take a look at images of the easter eggs we found after the break!
This column doesn’t often traffic in the oft-familiar conversational tack you’ll see online, amounting to someone saying, “Boy, this carton of milk really spoiled badly! Here, smell it, and take a swig, too!” Essentially, the Pixar Perspective doesn’t often wade into the world of hate-reading, which isn’t too far removed from hate-watching certain TV shows or movies, or even hate-following people on Twitter or Facebook. It can be easy, fun, and cynically enjoyable to read something so purely terrible or backwards-thinking, specifically knowing that said article or blog post or book is designed to push your buttons. Typically, it’s better to be above such a visceral pastime, even when the topic centers on a certain animation studio in Emeryville, California. Today is not a typical one, unfortunately.
Inevitability is, sometimes, the worst of all feelings. It’s easy to deny something is going to happen, even if all logic and evidence points to it being the case. But allowing yourself to accept the inevitable can be more satisfying than if you remain stubborn and obstinate. If you consider a piece of pop culture like Breaking Bad (allow the indulgence, please), you’re looking at a story that had a very clear and inevitable ending for many of its characters. We can wish that some of them might have escaped whatever fates they arrived at, but when logic points to the grave as being where they’ll wind up, there’s not much of a point in hoping otherwise. Denying the inevitable is easier than acceptance, but as much as we may imagine other possibilities, the latter option is healthier.
Last week, this column pondered why, exactly, Disney and/or Pixar Animation Studios were holding back on a teaser trailer for their next film, The Good Dinosaur, which is slated to open in May of 2014. By the time the article was published early Tuesday afternoon, the rumor mill was in high churn about the film’s status. Was its director, Bob Peterson, being taken off the project? Would this explain why he wasn’t present at the Pixar presentation at last month’s D23 Expo? Did this explain his ever-changing Twitter biography? (If only that last question was a joke, but no, that’s something fans were left to ponder as Disney stayed silent.) On Friday, the rumor became news: Peterson had indeed been booted off The Good Dinosaur sometime “over the summer,” and presumably before the D23 Expo. The project is now reportedly in the hands of a mix of people, including the film’s co-director Peter Sohn (known equally well for his behind-the-scenes animation work as for voicing characters like Emile in Ratatouille), Lee Unkrich, and John Lasseter himself.
Think back, if you will, to May 30, 2003. Just over ten years ago, Pixar Animation Studios released Finding Nemo into theaters to widespread critical and commercial success. But, for the purposes of today’s column, we won’t be considering that film as a whole, nor will we focus on its impending sequel. No, what we’ll look at today is what was attached to the Finding Nemo prints at theaters nationwide: a teaser trailer for The Incredibles, the first Pixar film from Brad Bird. The teaser featured footage that—as is customary for such advertisements—never appeared in the finished film. (Of course, the gag at the crux of the teaser—that the former Mr. Incredible had let himself go to the point where he couldn’t fit inside his old super-suit anymore—is used to fine effect in the movie, just in a different context.) Nevertheless, this first marketing salvo for The Incredibles demonstrated in less than 2 minutes the kind of movie audiences could expect: there would be physical humor borne from character development and there would be an old-fashioned design and ethos to the world this mysterious Mr. Incredible inhabited. The rest, we’d have to wait and find out about…in nearly 18 months. If you are really interested in knowing animation details of the movie then visit sustainabilitystreet .