[ Digital cinema, democratization, and other trends remaking the movies ]

AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Returned to life: `Toy Story 3'

After Disney's acquisition of Pixar, the buzz was that John Lasseter had killed `Toy Story 3,' which was being developed by Disney animators. (Disney had the rights to make sequels to Pixar films that they'd distributed - up through `Cars.' So even if the company didn't buy Pixar, they could've still released Pixar-esque movies that they'd made in-house.)

I had breakfast today with an ex-Disney exec who said that was Lasseter's signal to the Pixar animators that even though they were now part of the Mouse House, he was going to defend them and their artistic integrity. He also mentioned that former CEO Michael Eisner knew that moving forward with a sequel based on Pixar characters would tick off Steve Jobs - and didn't much care. `Toy Story 3' was very much part of the feud between the two CEOs.

So it's very interesting news this week that the picture isn't dead, but is rather being handed over from Disney's CG animators to Pixar's, according to Bob Iger, Disney's current CEO. IGN also has a piece.

Last week, I chatted a bit with Jeff Kleiser, who brought up an interesting question: in the Disney-Pixar marriage, which sides traits will dominate? Pixar's perfectionism (everything they do, whether it shows up on the screen or not, is over-the-top, Kleiser said), or what he called "the economic focus of the Disney people" - and the concern that budgets be reasonable and contained.

(As an aside, right now Jeff's studio is working on visual effects for `X-Men 3' and `Scary Movie 4,' not to mention some TV spots for Sun-Maid Raisins.)