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December 21, 2006

Disney dropping CGI? a lot riding on Enchanted...

disney.jpgWalt Disney recently fired director Chris Sanders (LILO & STITCH) off the upcoming film AMERICAN DOG, which was supposed to be the studio's big 2008 release. Sanders created many of the film's characters and wrote the script and was fired along with 150 staffers? Doesn't sound like a Merry Christmas at The New Disney... But, according to Jim Hill Media, new Disney animation head John Lasseter didn't ditch Sanders because he didn't like the film. Apparently, Lasseter's new plan for Disney is to return the studio to its 2-D, traditional route. That's right - no more CGI-style CHICKEN LITTLEs from Disney. Sanders, who had designed his film to be a CGI feature all along and wasn't ready to redesign his film to fit the traditional mold, then left while a new director could be brought in to do said redesign. It's a tough break for Sanders and AMERICAN DOG but probably a smart move in the long run for Disney. Pixar, under this plan, would produce all the CGI films while Disney would produce only traditional film. That would mean that other projects in the Disney pipeline, like RAPUNZEL and THE FROG PRINCESS, could as well be transitioned into traditional style.

A lot, apparently, is riding on next November's ENCHANTED, live-action/traditional animated film, to see whether traditional animation can still be successful.


Catmull & Lasseter ... Well, they don't really want Disney Feature Animation to be in the computer animation business as of 2008.

"Wait a minute ..., " you sputter. "You don't mean ... You can't mean ..."

Yep. Following the release of "Meet the Robinsons," Ed & John would like WDFA to go back into the traditional animation business. Full-time. With their battle plan being that -- from here on in -- Pixar would do all of the CG features while Disney Feature Animation would then become a strictly traditional operation.
Obviously, this is a pretty bold plan. One that (given the $100-million-plus that WDFA spent over the past three years to retrain that studio's staff as well as to change Disney Feature Animation into a start-of-the-art CG operation) Bob Iger reportedly hasn't entirely embraced yet. The way that I hear it, Disney's new CEO wants to see how well "Enchanted" does at the box office next November as well as how the story reels for "The Frog Princess" turn out before he officially commits to Catmull & Lasseter's new scheme.

So again ... When you take in the view from a thousand feet back ... And you realize that animated features are like ocean liners. In that they both take years to build & then launch ... If Disney Feature Animation really is going to get back into the traditional animation business ... Well, that means that -- at some point -- WDFA actually has to stop working on those CG-only projects that it already has in its development pipeline.

read the entire article here (jimhillmedia.com)


Posted by dschnee at December 21, 2006 9:28 AM