Pixar

Disney/Pixar

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Pixar short Lava

Pixar’s current state of the union might be decidedly forward-looking — especially since we’re not getting a new Pixar feature until summer of next year, a major break with tradition that has been punctuated by pushbacks, switcheroos and even a little bit of regular confusion from th beloved animation studio — but that doesn’t mean that the creative giant is hiding what could be their next great film. Pixar showed off five minutes of their next film, Inside Out, to a batch of Los Angeles film journalists last night, and while the reaction to that little slice of footage was universally effusive, we’re far more interested in the other thing the group got to watch — and a complete thing at that. As is the norm for Pixar pictures, Inside Out (that’s the one about a young girl who is kind of literally battling her own emotions, which are all personified and raging inside her, get it?) will be paired with a brand new Pixar short, a short that was shown in its entirety to that same group last night, who also loved it. But what is Lava about? Well, love, incidentally.

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Cropped image from the teaser poster for The Good Dinosaur; JPosters

Not since 2005 has a summer passed without the release of a Pixar film, starting with Cars in 2006. Each June (or May, in the case of Up) has been their official month, all the way up until the release of Monsters University last year, bringing us to 2014: the summer without Pixar. In case this absence has caused you to fall behind on your upcoming Pixar trivia, or you’re just used to obsessing about Pixar each June, we’ve assembled a list of pretty much everything there is to know about the projects they have in the works. Read on for the official facts and an unsolicited theory or two:

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Big Hero 6 Disney

After Guardians of the Galaxy was announced as the next Marvel team venture, much speculation was given to the potential success of the first post-Avengers franchise, due to the relative unfamiliarity of the comic. But while we’ve all been hemming and hawing and throwing out AOL keywords like “talking tree” and “raccoon with blaster gun” and “David Hasselhoff trailer dude cool,” the studio has quietly produced yet another movie that we’ve (and they’ve) let slip by the wayside. Big Hero 6 comes to us from Disney Animation, a Marvel property that follows a kid and his robot sidekick in the futuristic society of San Fransokyo. In the Marvel comics, the Big Hero 6 is a team of state-sanctioned superheroes formed by the Japanese government to fight crime at their disposal, a handy dandy group of do-gooders and superpowers that are at their disposal to fight crime and any forces of evil that try to topple their ranks. It’s kind of the perfect solution to all of our international relation needs, isn’t it?

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Marlin and Dory in Finding Nemo

As a parent, there are certain films that you commit to memory. This is not out of necessity, nor is it specifically out of desire. These movies burn their way into a mother or father’s memory banks because they are often set on constant repeat over the course of months – if not years – to keep the kids happy. The technology of home video systems allows movies like The Lion King and Finding Nemo to play on an infinite loop during the day. After watching a film like Andrew Stanton‘s Finding Nemo 186,000 times, a parent starts to look at it different. He or she will forget it’s a story of talking fish featuring sharks on a twelve-step program and surfer dude turtles. Parents will start to question the internal logic of the film and wonder whether any of it is actually possible. Spoiler alert: it’s just a cartoon, so it really doesn’t matter. Still, one can’t help but wonder if the story of a dedicated father clown fish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) would be able to do what he does in the movie. Forget probability odds of literally finding one fish in the massive sea. Watch it enough times on repeat, and you’ll get to thinking: Would Marlin really be able to find Nemo?

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TOY STORY OF TERROR!

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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The Incredibles

Get ready to lose your mind and run around your living room a hundred times in a minute. According to Variety, Disney used its annual shareholders meeting to confirm that they were planning The Incredibles 2. They’re also planning a third Cars movie, the announcement of which coming alongside the return of the Parr family is a lesson in polar opposites. On the one side, there’s another license to print money whose fandom remains squarely under the height requirement to participate in the cooler rides at the amusement park. On the other side, there’s the most popular answer to every Reddit post asking, “What awesome movie deserves a sequel but hasn’t gotten one yet?” All anyone knows right now is that they want to make The Incredibles 2 and that Brad Bird is writing the script. An excellent start. Will Bird be back as director? Maybe. Will Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson or the rest of the cast return? Unclear. Obviously, all of those people showing up to the drawing board would be encouraging for fans. Bird is currently filming Tomorrowland, and he’s also got 1906 in the mix, but there’s definitely room on the table to take a new spandex adventure across the finish line, too.

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Pixar Character Logo

Fans of Pixar and its particular brand of charming and widely appealing animated outings might be stuck waiting longer than they’d like for a new film to hit a big screen near them – thanks to pushbacks on both The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory – but the studio may have just announced something exciting enough to appease the (maybe?) rioting masses. Over at ScreenDaily, the outlet reports that Pixar’s director of 3D production, Josh Hollander, recently revealed at the quite-clearly-named 3D Creative Summit that they the studio is working on 3D re-releases of both The Incredibles and Ratatouille. While Hollander also shared that he and his team have not yet worked out the release strategy for either film, it should not prove to be that hard for them to accomplish, as Pixar has done it no less than four times before. As is the case with most things Pixar, it all worked out pretty okay.

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Frozen Princess Elsa

Disneyphiles rejoice. In conjunction with the digital release of the massively successful Frozen, and the arrival of Thor: The Dark World on DVD/Blu-ray, Disney has launched its own movie streaming service, where fans will be treated to a full catalogue of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel releases, to the tune of more than four hundred titles up for purchase. Called Disney Movies Anywhere, as the name suggests, the multi-platform streaming service is tailored for mobility, currently available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and web, and even your television via Apple TV through AirPlay or iCloud. The new cloud-based app service, powered by iTunes, is currently offering a limited time free digital download of Pixar’s massive 2004 hit, The Incredibles, when users sign up and connect their iTunes account. In addition, digital codes provided in Disney DVD/Blu-ray releases since 2008 will be redeemable upon joining of the service. Using the service will come with a variety of perks, including exclusive featurettes on a large number of titles, bonus features, and a Disney Movie Rewards points system earned via purchase of digital content.

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Pixar Cutting Room

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predator

Most fans of the Toy Story franchise are of the opinion that Toy Story 3 was the perfect send-off for the toy gang who we met in Pixar’s first feature, all the way back in 1995. It ended their story nicely, made for a perfect trilogy (which is the accepted number of films for series to come in), and generally it just seemed that any sort of Toy Story 4 would feel like a cash grab that was trying to exploit a brand name rather than give us a story somebody wanted to tell. There is that little problem that the Toy Story characters are still a lot of fun and deep down we all want to spend more time with them though. So recently Pixar has been deftly navigating our conflicted emotions by not making another full-length Toy Story feature, but still allowing us to watch the gang go on smaller adventures in shorts that have been playing before other movies. And on October 16 they’re going to take things a step further by airing a half-hour special on ABC called Toy Story of TERROR!. We’ve already posted the trailer for the special, but now Pixar has released an image of a new character who we have yet to see, and who the usual crew is going to encounter when they go on their Halloween adventure. Click through to check him out.

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Toy Story of Terror

Dropping the gang from Toy Story into a campy horror special makes a lot of sense considering how many terrifying elements were in the original movie. Spike as mad scientist, the three mile island of misfit toys, John Ratzenberger as a pig. It’s a lot of fun to see the boundless imagination that goes into playing with toys as a kid shifted into genre storytelling. And yet with all that, a pez dispenser totally steals the show in this trailer for Toy Story of TERROR!. Check it out for yourself and enjoy laughing through the fear:

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It pains me to write this, but 2014 will mark the first year since 2005 without a Pixar film hitting theaters. Deadline Hollywood reports that next year’s The Good Dinosaur is now slated for release on November 25, 2015. That date was previously held by Finding Dory, which will now open on June 17, 2016 (and this was the spot held for Lee Unkrich’s Dia De Los Muertos movie, which will presumably be pushed back as well). Maleficent will now be shuffled up a few weeks into Good Dinosaur‘s spot, and will avoid being sandwiched by the latest Transformers and Fast & Furious outings. It’s not exactly surprising news. A few weeks ago, it was confirmed that Bob Peterson would not be directing The Good Dinosaur and that Pixar didn’t have a replacement lined up. It’s probably for the best that Pixar takes their time with this one and puts out a good film rather than a deadline-adherent one. There’s enough goodwill built up towards the studio that people (such as myself) might hem and haw a little but won’t exactly pick up torches and pitchforks. And this may end up being a boon for Pixar. Their last few offerings haven’t quite hit the same high they used to, and with the studio planning to increase their output from one film a year to one-and-a-half, a little breathing room might be for the best. And this means that the next Pixar film to release will be Inside Out, so everyone start anxiously awaiting […]

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THE GOOD DINOSAUR

Earlier this week, a rumor began floating around that Bob Peterson, director of Up, would no longer be directing Pixar’s latest (and thankfully, non-sequel) feature, The Good Dinosaur. Well, it turns out the rumors are true – Peterson is off the project. Pixar’s president, Ed Catmull, offered a few words of explanation on the sudden change: “All directors get really deep in their films. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process.” That description of Peterson as so “deep in [his] film” that “a different perspective” was needed almost makes him sound a little unhinged. Like he chased the rabbit too far down the Good Dinosaur hole and had spent the last several months locked in a supply closet, constructing a crude time machine to get a more accurate representation of what dinosaurs really looked like. But apparently Peterson still has some degree of sanity, as this move isn’t a firing – Peterson will still remain with the studio.

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BIG HERO 6

Despite the recent bout of sequel and prequelitis that Pixar has suffered (arguably from a Patient Zero named Disney), the ships seem to be creatively righting themselves. They’re also apparently tethering themselves to the Golden Gate bridge in order to watch the sunset. The picture above is from Big Hero 6, which is one of many projects that The Mouse opened up about during this year’s D23 conference. It’s one of the biggest signals of Marvel sensibilities merging with Disney — an exciting prospect that could bring some fantastic comic book properties to the big screen beyond the post-Avengers plans through, gulp, 2021. There’s a world out there of comic heroes that may not be right for live-action, and it’s encouraging to see that Disney understands that potential and is willing to take a chance. There are some innovative ideas here, nestled in a comfortable nest of old favorites (and, yes, a few cash-grabs). Luckily for now they all look gorgeous.

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Finding Nemo 3D

Well, I guess it’s really true that Dory the fish really does speak whale, because an insider at Pixar has revealed that the animation studio has decided to alter the ending to the script for 2015’s Finding Dory after viewing the documentary Blackfish. Blackfish focuses on the plight of orca whales kept in captivity, and skewers SeaWorld for keeping the majestic sea creatures in bathtub-like habitats. Though the overall plot line of Finding Dory, starring the voice talents of Ellen Degeneres and Albert Brooks, is still for the most part a mystery, early reports stated that the ending had the characters wind up at a marine park, happy as can be. Naturally, with the Blackfish controversy and the ongoing publicity battle the real-life SeaWorld is currently waging, Pixar decided to do some recon and restructure the ending so that the characters do travel to the marine park, but like any totally normal situation that would definitely happen, they have the option of leaving and going back out to the ocean if they choose. When you wish upon a star, etc. Granted, Pixar movie scripts change all the time while in production; this is nothing new. But in this case, the studio is making alterations in direct response to the documentary’s message – good for director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and writer Eli B. Despres.

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Disney

There’s a scene in this movie, Disney’s Planes, in which a group of international superstar propeller-driven racing planes come together for a massive race round the world. One of the planes is from Mexico, wears a luchador mask and calls himself El Chupacabra. We watch as he spies a sultry, well-painted, French-speaking plane. She’s Rochelle, the rally champion from Canada. He falls in love and must serenade her with a mariachi version of The Miracles’ 1976 hit “Love Machine.” Heavy emphasis on the “chhhh” sound in “machine.” As you might imagine, this wins her interest and they fall head over heels for each other, a love that involves lipstick marks on his wings and pet names between them such as “Chalupa” and “Chimichanga.” In a movie so haphazard with its horrible stereotype-driven character creation, this is actually one of the less offensive moments. And that’s pretty bad. Because as we discover within 30-seconds of Planes, this is the laziest brand of kid’s film: the kind created by a bunch of marketing executives in a 90th floor boardroom. It’s sad to see it pillaging the strong, if flawed brand built by Pixar’s Cars.

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Pixar Inside Out

It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached a point where it’s surprising to hear about an original movie from Pixar. Back in 2011 when Inside Out was vaguely first announced, the studio was coming off of Cars 2, and it felt like the sequel obligation behemoth was off their back. Between then and now, follow-ups started to feel like the norm. Now the path has cleared a bit, and Pete Docter‘s current project is something fresh to get excited about. The filmmaker recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter at the Siggraph CG convention and revealed a few ambitious details about the 2015 animated flick that lives inside the brain space of a little girl.

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IntroActorSpoofs

When an actor nails a certain role in his career it can be both a blessing and a curse. Anthony Perkins, for a no-brainer example, rarely picked up any roles after Psycho due to being typecast as the lunatic he so exquisitely played. That’s why it’s also great to know when actors have a sense of humor about their more iconic roles – taking up the burden of spoofing themselves so no one else has to.

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Dan Scanlon

For writer/director Dan Scanlon, Monsters University does not necessarily mark his directorial debut. He wrote, directed, shot, and starring in an independent comedy called Tracy in 2009. But to compare making an independent live-action comedy to being in control of a $100-million plus budgeted animated tentpole film at Pixar — based on an existing and beloved Pixar property, no less — seems like an unfair need to do. In this context, Scanlon is the rookie. Charged with bringing characters like Mike and Sully back to the big screen, the director seemed very aware of the prestige that goes along with directing at one of the film world’s most innovative houses. Yet, as we sat down at a table just outside The Steve Jobs Building on the Pixar lot to talk about his Pixar directorial debut, the longtime storyboard artist and writer (Cars, Brave) was one other important thing: calm. If there was ever any pressure for the young writer/director, it has long come and gone. At this point, he seems to be enjoying this part of the ride. In our conversation, we talked about the pressure, the innovation and the lessons learned during his first run in the director’s chair at Pixar.

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