Tag Archives: Animation

Film Studio: Pixar

All of Pixar's films are among the top 50 highest-grossing animated movies of all time - and Toy Story 3 is number one. Uploaded by moviemobsters.com.

Hard to imagine how many films 20th Century Fox has made. Or MGM. Or Universal, Columbia, Paramount. But we know how many Pixar has made. Eleven. Eleven of the smartest, most charming, and most profitable films you’ll ever want to see.

The studio began as The Graphics Group, a part of Lucasfilms. True to his reputation as a visionary, Steve Jobs purchased the group. Disney saw how Pixar’s software could help its traditionally animated movies, as well as its potential making its own computerized animation films, and bought it. Jobs bought it for $5 million; when Disney purchased it, its value was $7.4 billion. Nice going, Stevie boy.

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Here’s a complete list of the Pixar catalog:

  • Toy Story (1995)
  • A Bug’s Life (1998)
  • Toy Story 2 (1999)
  • Monsters, Inc. (2001)
  • Finding Nemo (2003)
  • The Incredibles (2004)
  • Cars (2006)
  • Ratatouille (2007)
  • WALL-E (2008)
  • Up (2009)
  • Toy Story 3 (2010)

All these movies are among the top 50 highest-grossing animated movies of all time, and Toy Story 3 is number one. Altogether, Pixar films have won 26 Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes. Not to mention the hearts of millions of fans all around the world.

Film: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs featured a lot of firsts: first American full-length animated film, first in Technicolor, first to have a soundtrack recording, first to have merchandising. Uploaded by images2.fanpop.com.

Computer animation can be a marvelous thing, and studios such as Pixar have taken it to a new level of excellence. So it’s hard to imagine what a marvel Snow White was when it was released in 1937. It was the first American full-length animated feature, and the first ever produced by the master himself, Walt Disney (Great American Things, April 14, 2009). It’s the first to have a soundtrack released, and the first to have merchandising support.

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Also hard to believe today is that most of those closest to Walt Disney tried to talk him out of making the film, including his brother Roy and his wife. “No one’s going to pay a dime to see a dwarf picture,” she said.¬† Walt thought it would cost $250,000 to produce, and ended up as a then unheard of $1.5 million. Disney had to mortgage his home to get the picture finished. The industry called it “Walt Disney’s Folly.”

But audiences loved it. It became the highest-grossing film of all time, a distinction it held for one year (Gone With the Wind). The movie earned Disney an honorary Academy Award “as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field.” The American Film Institute has named it number 34 in its 100 Years…100 Movies series, and the number one animated film of all time.

Kid Stuff: Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote

It's actually a classic cat and mouse story, except Wile E. Coyote fancies himself a genius, and he always JUST MISSES his prey. Uploaded by thecartoonpictures.com.

Poor, poor Wile E. Coyote. Never quite able to capture his prey. Many times he got close – oh so close, so tantalizingly close – only to hear “Beep Beep” (actually more like “Meep Meep”) and be left empty-handed.

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RR and Wile E. are creations of the great Chuck Jones for Warner Brothers. Wile E. would devise the most elaborate contraptions (often purchased from Acme Corp.), and would easily outsmart the poor Road Runner. Unfortunately, he would also outsmart himself.

I like what writer Kevin McCorry said: “Wile E. Coyote is every man’s failing hero. His facial expressions or proclamations on hand-held signs as one of his schemes is about to go painfully awry are always totally empathetic…The ACME materials that he utilizes become more and more fantastic, like tornado seeds, earthquake pills, dehydrated boulders, an ice-making machine, and a jet-powered unicycle, and all fail by necessity of their one possible fallibility, which Wile E. never anticipates.”

Road Runner became so popular that, out of all the Warner Brothers cartoon characters, the Saturday morning show had the title “The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour.” While essentially a takeoff on the classic cat and mouse game, in Chuck Jones hands the characters became much more complicated – and more popular.

Person: Walt Disney

Photo courtesy of Flickr. Posted by Andy Latham82.

Photo courtesy of Flickr. Posted by Andy Latham82.

Lots of people have changed American culture. Some for better, some for worse. But few have had the positive influence that Walter Elias Disney brought to the world of entertainment.

From Steamboat Willie to The Wonderful World of Color to Epcot Center, Walt Disney’s imagination has inspired and delighted generations of Americans. His movies managed to achieve the near impossible task of simultaneously enthralling both children and adults.

In the Disney movie Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket said it best: “Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.”