3-D FOR ALL DISNEY FEATURE CARTOONS
All future Disney and Pixar animated features will be released in 3-D, beginning with next year's Up, Disney Animation chief John Lassiter said Tuesday. Speaking at New York University, Lassiter gave a rundown of the company's slate of animated features, which includes Toy Story 3 to be released in June 2010 (bearing the Pixar banner) and The Princess and the Frog to be released in December 2009 (bearing the Disney banner). Next up for the company is the Pixar-produced WALL-E, coming on June 27 and Disney's Bolt, set for November 26 (Thanksgiving weekend). Also included in the release schedule is the direct-to-DVD-and-Blu-ray release of Tinker Bell North of Never Land. But the film creating the most buzz is Disney's planned release of King of the Elves, based on a Phillip K. Dick short story, for Christmas 2012. In a statement, Lassiter said, "The thing I love best about my job is that I get to work at both Disney and Pixar with filmmakers who are passionate about their projects and who are the absolute best in the business. We're excited to be pushing the boundaries of 3-D and computer technology to tell our stories in the best possible way. At the same time, we're drawing on our past to emphasize memorable characters, original edge-of-your-seat stories, and believable worlds."
MPAA TO FIGHT "FAIR MARKET" BILL
A bill that would have the effect of barring studios from selling movies to their sibling TV or cable networks for less than their fair market value was approved by a California senate committee on Tuesday and now moves on for consideration by the senate as a whole. Senator Sheila Kuehl, who authored the bill, said, "Studios should not be allowed to undervalue their products in sweetheart deals with their own parent company and cost creative talent and crew members their rightful share in residuals and contributions to health and welfare funds." The bill was applauded by Writers Guild of America President Patric Verrone, who said that it would end a "Hollywood accounting technique" that has hurt the talent community. However, the MPAA called passage of the bill "regrettable," saying it would upend "successful business practices that have made the entertainment industry a vital engine in the California State economy."
COUNCILMAN PROPOSES BUFFER ZONE BETWEEN PAPARAZZI AND CELEBS
Members of the Los Angeles Police Commission spoke out Tuesday against a proposed ordinance that would limit the activities of paparazzi around celebrities. Commander Kirk Albanese told the Los Angeles Times after the meeting: "There are laws that exist out there [to deal with unruly photographers]. We need to use those laws." But City Councilman Dennis Zine, the author of the proposed ordinance, asked, "If they have enough rules, why does it cost [the city] $25,000 to transport Britney Spears to the hospital?" Zine accused the paparazzi of "becoming increasingly aggressive in their tactics, posing a clear danger not only to the people they are trying to photograph, but to the general public around them." His ordinance would create a "buffer zone" between the photographers and the celebrities.
PHIL DONAHUE SHOWS ANTI-WAR DOC IN WASHINGTON
Former talk-show host Phil Donahue took his anti-Iraq War documentary Body of War to Washington Tuesday, where it was enthusiastically greeted by a largely liberal audience. Helen Thomas, who at 87 is the oldest member of the Washington press corps, called the film "terrific and a story that should be told." Although it focuses on the story of a single wounded veteran, Tomas Young, CNSNews.com, a unit of the conservative Media Research Center, said that "Donahue used the occasion ... to voice an anti-war and defeatist agenda." It quoted Donahue as remarking, "We have lost. ... It's over. America is going to have to look in the mirror and suck it up and tell the truth to itself. This was a massive blunder." But the news service quoted conservative filmmaker J.D. Johannes, an Iraq War vet who has made his own film about the war, as saying, "Was Iraq perfect? No. ... War is generally a [series] of colossal mistakes and failures until someone starts to get it right and win." And in a review of the film, Kyle Smith, the conservative film critic of the New York Post, dismissed at as "one of the most incompetent documentaries to emerge from the Iraq war."
BLOOM TO GET $40 MILLION PAYCHECK? NOT ON YOUR LIFE, SAYS DISNEY
An on-its-face laughable report that Orlando Bloom would receive $40 million to star in a movie based on the video game Prince of Persia spread all over the Internet Monday until Disney got wind of it and attempted to stomp it out. Late in the day, the website Coming Soon reported that the studio said that there was no truth to the report. "What we do know so far is that Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) is expected to start shooting Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time soon at Pinewood Studios in the UK and in Morocco as well," the website added.
MOVIE REVIEW: [email protected]
A group of senior citizens performing rock-and-roll numbers in a theatrical documentary are receiving much critical praise from film critics as the film opens in limited release today (Wednesday). The senior citizens are not the Rolling Stones, who are appearing in their own concert documentary directed by Martin Scorsese. These are the 24 persons in a 24-member group from Northampton, MA, whose average age is 80 and who perform cover songs from groups like the Talking Heads, the Clash, the Ramones, and Coldplay. They call themselves [email protected], which also is the name of the movie about them. Comments Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times: "It's as much of a heady tonic for these folks to take on these unlikely lyrics as it is for us to watch it all go down." Stephen Holden in the New York Times suggests that the film might have been a cloying portrayal of old folks at play if it had been a fictional movie. Instead, he writes, it "offers an encouraging vision of old age in which the depression commonly associated with decrepitude is held at bay by music making, camaraderie and a sense of humor." Claudia Puig in USA Today awards the film 3 1/2 stars and concludes, "Not only is it enjoyable, [email protected] is a heartening and poignant affirmation of the transformative power of music."
STORMTROOPERS -- THEIR COSTUMES, AT ANY RATE -- GO TO COURT
The British prop designer who created the costumes of the Galactic Empire's Stormtroopers for the Star Wars films went helmet-to-helmet on Tuesday with lawyers representing Lucasfilm, which claims that he violated the company's copyright and trademarks. Designer Andrew Ainsworth has been selling replicas of the helmets and armor, which he claims are made for his original molds. While Lucasfilm won a $20-million judgment against Ainsworth in California two years ago -- not yet collected -- Ainsworth is countersuing, claiming that he copyrighted the design for the Stormtroopers. He is seeking a share of merchandising revenue.