June 21, 2012 |
EMERYVILLE, Calif. - It takes a fearless sort of man to wear a skirt to the office - even when the office is a den of art school grads, the boss is an avuncular guy with a Hawaiian shirt fetish and the skirt is a stylish plaid number designed for charging through the Scottish Highlands. Mark Andrews, originator of "kilt Fridays" at Pixar Animation Studios here in Northern California, has the requisite nerve. So when Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter announced in late 2010 that "creative differences" had arisen on the studio's movie"Brave" - which centers on a rebellious teenage princess in ancient Scotland - and that director Brenda Chapman was being replaced, he looked to Andrews.
January 15, 2012 |
"Brave," its filmmakers at Pixar Animation Studios would like you to know, is not your mother's fairy tale, beginning with its unruly heroine, Merida. Deft with a bow and arrow and crowned with a massive mane of curly red hair, Merida (voiced by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald), defies her parents King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and disregards an ancient custom, inadvertently setting off calamity in the lush, fog-shrouded Scottish highlands where she lives.
June 24, 2011 |
"Cars 2" will get a checkered flag by the end of this box-office weekend, but it won't be traveling in the fast lane. The latest release from Walt Disney Co.-owned Pixar Animation Studios will continue the studio's unblemished record of No. 1 openings, but it is expected to debut with only $50 million to $55 million worth of tickets, according to people who have seen pre-release surveys. That would be the second-lowest opening in the last decade for a Pixar movie, ahead of only "Ratatouille's" $47 million in 2007.
June 19, 2011 |
"Honnnnnk! Honnnnnk!" John Lasseter had explicit instructions about how the Galloping Goose, an antique steam train character in "Cars 2," should look and sound, and he was delivering them with brio. It was January and the animation czar was making the hourlong commute from his home in Sonoma County to his Pixar office here on the outskirts of Oakland in the passenger seat of a town car. On his lap, he balanced an iPad loaded with shots to review while he recorded voice memos for the movie's crew: "Like a diesel horn.
May 25, 2011 |
Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the director of the new animated film "Kung Fu Panda 2," might have been destined for a career in pictures. After immigrating to the United States from South Korea with her parents and two sisters when she was 4, Nelson spent her childhood in Lakewood watching martial arts movies, playing with cars and drawing. As a young girl, she would sit at the kitchen table for hours and watch her mother draw, copying her every stroke. Nelson traces the lineage of her career to those formative family experiences.
December 28, 2010 |
2010 provided valuable lessons about what works -- and, more important, what doesn't work -- when it comes to the box-office performance of movies. Studios, in planning the kinds of films to make this year and next, might want to take note: Be careful what you pay for Reese Witherspoon ("How Do You Know"), Johnny Depp ("The Tourist"), Russell Crowe ("The Next Three Days") and Tom Cruise ("Knight and Day") may still command fat paychecks, but what's good for their agents isn't necessarily good for the box office: Each of the actors' last movies faltered.