First the bad news: Yes, the rumors you've heard are true. Chris Sanders -- the man who wrote & directed Lilo & Stitch, Disney's traditionally animated smash from the summer of 2002 -- was forced off of his follow-up project, American Dog. Which was originally supposed to be Walt Disney Feature Animation's big release for 2008.
Now the worse news: Given what a huge talent Chris is, how highly this man is thought of by the rest of the crew at Disney Feature Animation ... Sanders being pulled off of his own picture this past Wednesday -- coupled with those 166 staffers that were laid off last Friday -- has caused morale to sink to an all-time low at WDFA .
You see, that's the really tough part of the situation that Catmull & Lasseter now find themselves in. These guys are running two animation studios that are -- in effect -- in direct competition with one another. Think about it. If Pixar's making CG films and WDFA is also producing computer animated features, doesn't that basically mean that these two studios are now competing for the same customers? That they're both lusting after the same dollars?
That doesn't seem like a very smart business plan to me. Competing directly with yourself.
Now -- as to the real reason that Ed & John pulled Chris off of American Dog ... Sanders deliberately designed that film to be a CG feature. And Catmull & Lasseter ... Well, they don't really want Disney Feature Animation to be in the computer animation business as of 2008.
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.
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