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And The Hits Keep On Comin’…

Well, the bodies sure are stacking up.

First, King of the Elves gets whacked. The computer-animated fantasy based on a short story by Philip K. Dick would have been released in 2012.

Then, in all the marketing-driven panic following Princess and the Frog‘s lukewarm box office, Disney shelves the long-anticipated and traditionally animated The Snow Queen. Who’s up next on the hit list?

It looks like it’s newt.

Logo for newt

Actually, I’ve been worried about this one for a long time. I’d heard a few things hinting at this, but nothing definitive enough that I’d be comfortable writing about it. Then, today in a comment thread on the Animation Guild Blog, Disney vet Floyd Norman stated that the film is dead.

newt was first announced in April of 2008 as part of Disney and Pixar’s ambitious new animation slate. It was to be directed by long-time sound engineer and guru Gary Rydstrom, from a script by Rydstrom and Leslie Caveny. Michael Giacchino was slated to write the score.

According to the press at the time, the film would have followed Newt and Brooke, the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet. Forced together by science to save their species, the only problem was that they can’t stand each other. According to the press release, “Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science.”

So, that’s out. But hey, at least we get Winnie-the-Pooh and Cars 2. Who wants to bet that newt‘s summer 2012 release spot goes to another Pixar rehash, Monsters, Inc. 2?

UPDATE: I’ve had a couple of people tell me that King of the Elves has not actually been completely abandoned, but that it’s still in turnaround for retooling. I know this had been the fact at one point, but other informed sources have said that it’s no longer actively being worked on. If anyone can clarify this, drop me a line. In stranger news, I’ve had two sources independently hint to me that Cars 2 is actually having production problems, and I’ve seen that rumor posted anonymously today on the Animation Guild’s blog. Whispering campaign or fact, I don’t know, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.

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4 comments to And The Hits Keep On Comin’…

  • Another Voice

    In other interesting news, word is that Disney is shortening the theatrical window for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ from the usual sixteen weeks down to thirteen weeks. This way Disney will be able to release the DVD/Blu-ray sooner and leverage off the marketing of the theatrical release. Iger had previously wanted to have a home video release either the same day or at least the same month as the theatrical releases, but he ran into a firestorm from the big theater chains and had to back track. Whispers are that he still has the same goal, but will try for a more incremental approach.

    What’s interesting is that ‘Alice’ was filmed as a Big-Time 3D, CGI-in-your-face spectacle that only really works on the large screen. How well it will come off on everyone’s living room will be interesting. One suspects that once ‘Avatar’ hits DVD and people actually see it as a movie instead of “an event”, the whole 3D thing may be in for a rough go (Hollywood makes far more money off home video now than it does theatrically). A friend has described ‘Alice’ as “Johnny Depp playing Madonna in drag playing the Mad Hatter”. If nothing else, it will force the Hot Topic crowd to buy something other than Jack Skellington t-shirts.

    And in a similar move that mirrors the ‘Pixar = adults and Disney = kids’ branding philosophy for animation, it’s now being said that Disney’s Interactive group will be using the Marvel brand for high-end video games (aimed at Xbox and PlayStation platforms) while Disney-branded games will only appear on the Wii and DS systems.

  • Grant

    Actually, Alice in Wonderland was not shot in 3D/Stereo. It was shot in a standard fashion, and FAKE 3D is being digitally applied afterwards. It is not as good as true stereoscopic viewing.

  • Josh L.

    He didn’t say it was shot IN 3D. He said it was created as a big 3D CG spectacle – which means filmed to be experienced in the theaters.

    BTW most 3D released films are “FAKE 3D”. Even many of the CG “3D films” had a 3D effect applied to them afterward. Many were NOT rendered for each eye.

  • Another Voice

    More rumors around today that ‘Newt’ was canned to push more resources to ‘Cars 2′. Its slot is supposed to be taken up be an accerlerated ‘Monsters Inc. 2′. One wonders about “interesting times” up in the Bay Area.

    “Big-Time 3D, CGI-in-your-face spectacles” only exist for marketing. No one cares if ‘Alice’ is in “real” 3D, phony 3D, red-green 3D or Pixie-Powered Magically Magical MagicVision 8D!!!!! It’s a dumb gimmick that will be dead by this time next year. But given the public’s hatred to the Burton/Depp projects ‘Charlie Wonka’ and ‘Sweeny Todd’, Disney needed something to convince the Hot Topic crowd to but on the eyeliner and head to the theater (and the three bucks surcharge is a bonus as well – that more than covers buying all those copies of Photoshop).

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