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Meet Pixar's singing volcano in 'Lava' short

It’s a rare off year for Pixar, with no full-length feature in theaters until next summer. But Disney recently shared an adorable clip from Lava, the short that was slated to debut in front of The Good Dinosaur—before that movie was delayed from May 2014 to November 2015. As you can see, Lava is the story of a singing Hawaiian volcano, named Uku, who is looking for love.

The name Uku evokes the ukelele—the popular Hawaiian guitar-like instrument that practically scores the state’s sunsets and seduces millions of mainland tourists every year. The late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s strummed a uke, and Lava director James Murphy told Yahoo that his short was in part inspired by the singer’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”“I thought that if I could marry the rich imagery and with the power and emotion of music, then I could really make something cool,” he told the site.

Singer Kuana Torres Kahele provides Uku’s voice, and one-third of the inspiration for the volcano’s face. The other two-thirds: Jackie Gleeson, and the cartoon bulldog in the Looney Tunes short, “Feed the Kitty.” READ FULL STORY

Pixar reveals more details about mind-bending upcoming film 'Inside Out'

Show of hands: Who else is really excited about Inside Out?

Until now, Pixar has been tight-lipped about its upcoming film, which takes place entirely inside an 11-year-old girl’s brain. But at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France yesterday, Variety reports that Inside Out director Pete Docter both showed the opening of the film and outlined his vision for the whole movie. READ FULL STORY

Pixar reveals plot details of 'Inside Out,' starring Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, and more

If you thought you were excited before

Pixar just revealed plot details of its latest animated tale, Inside Out, which will take viewers inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley.

Pixar writes: “Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions — Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.”

First of all, a round of applause for a voice cast that is a comedy fan’s dream. Secondly, anyone else think the characters in this Pete Docter-directed tale sound a bit like the muses from 1997’s Hercules?

Inside Out will be released June 19, 2015.

Disney launches digital service Disney Movies Anywhere

Fans will now be able to watch Frozen on any device.

Coinciding with the digital release of the company’s latest hit, Disney has launched a movie streaming service called Disney Movies Anywhere. The multiplatform service — which is available for iPad, iPhone,  iPod touch, and the web — lets people purchase and watch more than 400 titles from Disney, Pixar, and Marvel.

“Disney Movies Anywhere is an adaptable digital ecosystem designed to help consumers consolidate their Disney movie collections and enjoy them for years to come,” said Jamie Voris, Chief Technology Officer, The Walt Disney Studios, in a release. “The beauty of this technology is that it enables us to work with iTunes and future provider partners to ensure movie lovers have streamlined access to all of their favorite Disney titles no matter which device they are on. The intuitive layout of the website and app creates an easy and enjoyable browsing environment for the whole family.”

The service is powered by iTunes. For a limited time, fans will receive a free digital copy of The Incredibles when they sign up and connect their iTunes account. The digital codes Disney has included with DVD/Blu-rays since 2008 will also be redeemable with the service.

Disney to showcase new Pixar short 'Party Central' in front of 'Muppets Most Wanted' - EXCLUSIVE

As any Jim Henson fan could tell you, Muppets and monsters are an ideal match, like chocolate and peanut butter or Cookie Monster and sugary baked treats. It’s only fitting, then, that Disney is set to unveil the latest Pixar short film — a Monsters University spinoff titled Party Central — in front of Muppets Most Wanted when that movie hits theaters on March 21.

In the six-minute short, which Disney first debuted at last year’s D23 Expo, Mike and Sulley and their Oozma Kappa frat brothers try to throw a monster blowout party but are dismayed to find that no one is showing up. Fortunately, they have some extra inter-dimensional doors handy, which they put to creative use (we won’t spoil how here) to get the party rocking.

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'Despicable Me 2,' Monsters U' in Oscar mix for Best Animated Film nominations

Nineteen movies are in the running for this year’s Oscar nominations for Best Animated Film. The Academy today released its long list of submitted films, including box-office winners like Monsters University and Despicable Me 2, as well as movies that haven’t yet hit theaters, like Frozen and Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises.

In recent years, Pixar has dominated the competition, winning last year for Brave and taking five of the last six Oscar trophies. At least two and no more than five animated features will be nominated from the list below:
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'Monsters University' Blu-ray: See the fourth-grade Mike/Sulley meeting that never happened -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Monsters-U-clip.jpg

Even before Monsters University opened in theaters in June, a few devout fans of the original 2001 movie expressed irritation that the prequel seemed to violate one aspect of Monster history. In Monsters, Inc., Mike playfully responds to an insult from Sulley with, “You’ve been jealous of my good looks since the fourth grade, pal.”

In Monsters University, however, the entire premise is built around the two monsters meeting for the first time in college. It was initially a problem for director and co-writer Dan Scanlon, who was determined to resolve the two storylines. “As much as we could, we wanted to be totally respectful of the continuity of the first film,” says Scanlon. “Our first inclination was to try to make it work, to do versions where they became friends in fourth grade. Basically, after trying it a lot, we felt like it was robbing the audience of the experience of really watching a relationship grow. And we realized we were going through all these hoops for this one line that doesn’t affect the story in a negative way. It was really [Monsters, Inc. director] Pete Docter and John Lasseter who said, ‘It’s not as important as you think. You’re not hurting the movie to ignore that line.'”

That Docter himself made the suggestion was crucial, since Monsters had been his baby and he remained involved as executive producer of the prequel. “I think Pete really pushed us to make big changes,” says Scanlon. “He was really good at standing back and going, ‘Oh, you want to make Sulley a jerk? Great.’ Nothing was precious. Pete was really a reminder of, ‘No, for characters to be interesting, they have to go through these changes.’ He really empowered us.”

But before the filmmakers decided that the fourth-grade zinger from Monsters, Inc. had to be ignored or simply written off as a flippant retort, playground scenes were written and artwork was commissioned. In the Monsters University Blu-ray, which comes out Oct. 29, one of the extras includes what could have been Mike and Sulley’s first childhood meeting. If you don’t want to wait until then, click below to see an exclusive video clip.
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Pixar pushes 'Good Dinosaur,' leaving it without a 2014 movie

The last year that passed without a Pixar movie in theaters was 2005, one year after The Incredibles and one year before Cars. Since then, every summer has been blessed with a Pixar release, eight straight years with a blockbuster that’s earned at least $191 million and resulted in five Oscars for Best Animated Feature. But yesterday, Disney announced that The Good Dinosaur, its movie about a time when dinosaurs and humans co-existed, had been delayed and its release date was being shifted from May 30, 2014 to Nov. 25, 2015.

The news wasn’t a complete surprise: just last month, Pixar had replaced The Good Dinosaur‘s director, Bob Peterson (Up). While some might interpret the recent announcements as a cause for concern, switching directors midstream is not exactly an uncommon occurrence at Pixar — Ratatouille and Brave replaced its directors during production — and it is a point of pride at the prestige animation company that it releases its movies only when they are completely satisfied with the finished product, deadlines be darned.

The delay, though, also impacts Finding Dory, the Finding Nemo sequel from director Andrew Stanton. It was slated for Nov. 25, 2015, Good Dinosaur‘s new date, but will now arrive June 17, 2016. If the new release dates hold, Pixar’s next movie will now be Inside Out, the inside-the-mind-of-an-11-year-old girl tale starring the voices of Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling that is scheduled for June 19, 2015. To fill the void, Disney moved up Maleficent, its live-action twist on Sleeping Beauty starring Angelina Jolie, into Dinosaur‘s original slot, May 30, 2014.

Pixar replaces another director, this time on 'The Good Dinosaur'

Pixar’s fifteenth feature film The Good Dinosaur will hit theaters next May. It might sound strange, then, that the beloved animation studio has just fired the film’s director, Bob Peterson, from the project, according to the LA Times. But Pixar has lately made swapping directors Standard Operating Procedure — most controversially with last year’s Brave, the company’s first-ever female-headlined film, which was also going to be its first-ever female-directed film before the ousting of original helmer Brenda Chapman. Chapman now works for cross-court rivals DreamWorks Animation, and recently implied to the New York Times that Pixar chief John Lasseter micro-manages; coincidentally, Lasseter himself stepped in to replace the original director of Cars 2, that terrifying post-apocalyptic horror film that your kids love so darn much. READ FULL STORY

Pixar preview: Casts revealed for 'Finding Dory,' 'The Good Dinosaur,' 'Inside Out' at Disney's D23

Pixar turned its table lamp on its voice actors for the upcoming films The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out at the Disney fan convention D23.

The equivalent of Disney’s Comic-Con brought new revelations about the plots for the upcoming movies, which feature a dinosaur keeping a toddler human as a pet, a journey inside the workings of the human mind, and a return to the ocean for a sequel to a Pixar classic.

Disney animation czar John Lasseter also showed off footage from the films, and presided over a parade of voice talent.

Among the biggest news was that Pixar’s Finding Nemo sequel — Finding Dory — would feature Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton as the parents of Ellen DeGeneres’ forgetful fish, while Modern Family‘s Ty Burrell will voice a beluga named Bailey.
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