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TOPIC: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken

3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 30 Oct 2005 23:08 #11243

  • sevstar
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Disney Has a Lot Riding on a Tiny Chicken

By GARY GENTILE

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) - A lot is riding on a very little chicken. With the Nov. 4 release of "Chicken Little," The Walt Disney Co. hopes to reverse the fortunes of its moribund feature animation division and regain the dominance it lost to competitors such as Pixar Animation Studios and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

In addition, a special 3D version of "Chicken Little," to be shown on 85 screens nationwide, could recapture the imagination of moviegoers who have been staying away from theaters in record numbers. It might also provide the final push for the transition to digital cinema, an initiative that has stalled because of the cost.
That's a lot to ask of a diminutive, bespectacled hero who has enough on his hands persuading his dubious neighbors once again that the sky is falling.

Disney has not tried to soften its expectations for the movie. In television ads, the company boldly proclaims, "A whole new era in Disney animated entertainment begins."
A new era is sorely needed. For decades, Disney was the undisputed leader in animation, starting with the 1937 release of "Snow White" and running through the 1990s with "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast."

But in recent years, Disney has bombed at the box office with lackluster hand-drawn films such as "Treasure Planet" and "Home on the Range" while Pixar has churned out computer-generated hits that included "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles."

Disney has since abandoned hand-drawn animation altogether. "Chicken Little" will be its first fully computer animated film. Pixar will release its seventh, "Cars," next year.
"I do know that over time, we have to be able to compete with Pixar and DreamWorks and Sony and all the rest," said David Stainton, chairman of Walt Disney Feature Animation. "Disney animation is not an also-ran enterprise, it is a leadership enterprise and that's what our expectations are."

Disney's animation unit has traditionally fed the entire company, providing characters that can be used at its theme parks, on TV shows and for direct-to-video sequels. Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh generate billions of dollars a year in revenue for the company.

None of the studio's last five feature animation films have sold more than $100 million in tickets domestically. By comparison, Pixar's last movie, "The Incredibles," grossed $261 million at the domestic box office. "Madagascar," from DreamWorks Animation, raked in $193 million.
Investors are looking for worldwide box office of around $350 million from "Chicken Little" according to David Miller, an analyst at brokerage firm Sanders Morris Harris.
The film's performance could affect ongoing talks between Disney and Pixar. After an ugly public split last year, in which Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs called off talks for a new distribution deal, the two sides have been negotiating again.

"I think Steve Jobs is watching 'Chicken Little' very closely," Miller said. "If the film underperforms relative to his, he may use that as a nugget of leverage."
Executives throughout Hollywood will be watching how the 3D version of "Chicken Little" does at the box office. More 3D films are already in the pipeline from other studios. Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis is making two - next year's "Monster House" from Sony Pictures and "Beowulf," due in 2007 from DreamWorks.

Interest in 3D has come and gone since the 1950s, but studios began to take the format seriously again after a 3D version of last year's "The Polar Express" from Warner Bros. grossed more than $45 million. The offering used technology developed by Imax Corp.

The film broke the one-day box office record for an Imax film and will be rereleased next month.
Other companies, including RealD and In-Three Inc., began to show their technology to Hollywood studios, encouraged by director George Lucas, who said he would like to release all six of his "Star Wars" movies in 3D format that can be shown in regular movie houses.

Disney decided at the last minute to make a 3D version of "Chicken Little" then set out to persuade theater owners to install new, silver-coated screens and expensive digital projectors to show it.

The technology is not cheap. It costs at least $7 million for a studio to convert a 2D film into 3D. In addition, RealD charges theater chains as much as $200,000 for a five-year license for a special screen, software and digital projector that can also show regular movies.

The goofy glasses needed to view the film cost about a buck each, an expense that Disney is bearing for "Chicken Little" but will likely be offset by marketing partners in the future.

If the new 3D takes off, it will come just in time for exhibitors.
Theater chains have been suffering through a yearlong slump that some blame on teens spending more time playing video games or surfing the Web. Others said fans are just tired of the lousy string of movies coming out of Hollywood.

Steve Starkey, the producer of "Monster House," thinks the resurrected 3D format could help resuscitate the industry.

"What is going to bring people into cinemas? I think people are feeling the 3D experience is one of the answers," he said.

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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 31 Oct 2005 09:01 #11244

What is it going to take to bring people back to the cinemas? Well, for one, I guess its good for the studios to be thinking about us, but I wish they'd get off the DLP thing.

This is direct to the studios: RELEASE ALL OF YOUR MOVIES IN DLP BEFORE MAKING NEGOTIATIONS FOR US TO CONVERT.

12 movies a year won't cut it.

And, on a side not/realization: new silver screens are required for this 3D? I thought the digital projector could just create 3D and didn't need the red/blue glasses, they had clear ones instead?
Since 1987
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 31 Oct 2005 09:17 #11245

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In reading the rationalizations here, I find the titles they use for comparison purposes interesting.

In terms of CONTENT, do you consider "Treasure Planet" and "Home on the Range" to be on par with "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles"?

I'm not sure we're looking at a level playing field when pointing to 2D over 3D product as reason for the difference in grosses.
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 01 Nov 2005 09:23 #11246

  • muviebuf
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The theatres showing Chicken Little in 3D are required by Disney to let the audience take home the "free souvenier" 3D glasses as a memento. However each theatre is adding between a $1.00 to $2.00 "surcharge" for each ticket to its 3D showings.

Gotta love the theatre business..... it invented doublespeak and spin long before there were politicians!

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited November 01, 2005).]
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 01 Nov 2005 09:47 #11247

  • D. Bird
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Exactly, Hollywood invented "spin". This article is more fluff. Just enough "news" to warrant publishing in all the press. "The final push for conversion to digital cinema". Oh, wow, really? Look, whether or not digital is or isn't coming soon (and I'm open minded, in the last few weeks I've seen a Buster Keaton festival and an RKO animated Hallowe'en classic at a local 600 seater - as big as any houses these days - on a digital projector that looked good FROM THE BALCONY but was plenty bright at least), they just can't say that when their plan is for a dozen - probably animated - features a year. Doesn't the push still seem to be ADDITIONAL content and/or a way to screen advertising with a very quick turnaround? If the dollars added up for either side, it'd be here by now.
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 01 Nov 2005 10:44 #11248

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The article seems to me to be primarily about this being Disney's first CGI animated movie from their own shop. 3-D looks to have been an after thought. And how the ongoing negotiations with Pixar will be affected.

As for Digital DLP releases. Disney has been pretty consistant with product. Sky High, Flightplan and now Chicken Little.

The fluff seems to be trying to get the public aware of Digital 3-D, Want Digital 3-D and then Demand Digital 3-D.
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 01 Nov 2005 14:33 #11249

  • jacker5
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Forget 3-D, forget Digitial just figure out how to get people back into the theatre...answer better product. Get these run of a mill writers who keep putting out the same stuff and get fresh new people to make movies.
Make enjoyale movies, make a variety of movies. Not get one hot and make 12 more just like it. NBC Televisoon network is putting a remake of the Posiedon Adventure on for Nov. sweeps....guess what they have a big budget remake (Wolfgang Peterson) coming out next summer. How many times do you want to see a remake of the same movie.
Remakes are not bringing them in!
Look SAW 2 30 mil this weekend, ORIGINAL even though it is a sequel it caught the attention of the audience.

[This message has been edited by jacker5 (edited November 01, 2005).]
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 01 Nov 2005 14:59 #11250

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The ORIGINAL "Posiedon" was a bore: a great concept, but it drug like watching paint dry in the middle, due to stretching the action to fill the running time... By the time NBC stretches it over 2 or 3 nights, the audience will have either dozed off, or switched channels... Can anyone remember ANY remake that was equal to the ORIGINAL?...
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 01 Nov 2005 20:04 #11251

  • Larry Thomas
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The Maltese Falcon (1941) was better the third time around, after The Maltese Falcon (1931) and Satan Met a Lady (1936).

His Girl Friday (1940) was better than the original version The Front Page (1931).

The Fly (1986) was better than The Fly (1958).

However, in each case you had a great filmmaker at work (John Huston, Howard Hawks, David Cronenberg) with some fresh ideas. There was something behind the remake besides corporate greed and stupidity.

Re: Poseidon, Wolfgang Peterson is a talented director, given the right material, but you can't tell me that someone, somewhere didn't know that NBC was doing to do a TV version first.
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 01 Nov 2005 22:23 #11252

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You're absolutely correct about the Maltese Falcon and His Girl Friday, I had forgotten they were remakes, after all this time!... Neither version of The Fly makes my best 1,000 list, but I can't hack Jeff Goldblume, so I won't commit on it... Your comments about real film makers and corporate greed/stupidity hit the nail on the head...
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 02 Nov 2005 12:21 #11253

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The theatres showing Chicken Little in 3D are required by Disney to let the audience take home the "free souvenier" 3D glasses as a memento. However each theatre is adding between a $1.00 to $2.00 "surcharge" for each ticket to its 3D showings

What I've read about this indicates the glasses are disposable, saving the exhibs the cost of cleaning/disinfecting reuseable glasses. I doubt the theatres would want them back.
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 07 Nov 2005 11:51 #11254

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We saw the little chicken in 3D over the weekend in NJ. 3D is impressive, of course the logos looked the best...Brightness was noticeably less than in non-3D houses but you'd expect that...

Presentation and sound were great. But....the non 3D trailers looked smudgy on this very large screen...not sure if that's because they were projected through the LCD screen or not.

The audience loved it!

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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 08 Nov 2005 13:10 #11255

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I don't know about the 3D version, but the 2D version we are playing is nice and bright. Animation is decent, not upto Pixar standards, but Ok, the story and such was lacking... seemed quite rushed and not upto any disney standards let alone it's first CGI film that they had to know was going to be looked at very closely...

Still in all, not a bad kids film.

Tony.
tony.
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 08 Nov 2005 13:26 #11256

  • RonOne50
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I find the Hollywood math is somewhat suspect on it's own. According to Nielsen EDI the weekend we just had was down 6% from the previous year, in fact most weekends have been down from the previous year and most weeks have been down.

Only about 5 weeks all year have been above the previous year and yet the total down is only 6% for the year. I'm off by about 15% from the year to date from the year before. Granted the Hollywood doesn't include the popcorn not sold in their totals but their totals and mine are way off.

Also, don’t see anyway that a +1% for winter a -13% for spring, a -9% for summer (when 40 + % of our money is made) and a -1% for fall can come in at -6% for the year. The math doesn't work just like they have a habit of including equipment that will be used in other productions to be written off on just one film now they are trying to manufacture a smaller loss than is real to look better.

I just think somewhere in the mix we should be able to get more accuate figures to judge just how bad it is. It is really bad from my point of view.

Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: 3-D, Disney and a tiny Chicken 08 Nov 2005 14:14 #11257

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Hollywood is notorious for their creative bookeeping, and I suspect exactly what you do... I think things are really much worse than they are admitting, and they are trying to spin the best face possible and hide the real facts...
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