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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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Box office report: 'Monsters University' stays on top with $46.2 million; 'The Heat' hot, 'White House Down' not

It’s been a great June at the domestic box office — and thanks to a jam-packed slate of robust earners, the month finished strong this weekend. In fact, the top five films all earned over $20 million.

Monsters University stayed on top of the chart with $46.2 million, marking a slim 44 percent drop over the Friday-to-Sunday period, which was lower than the second weekend declines of Brave (49 percent), Cars 2 (60 percent), and Toy Story 3 (46 percent). The well-received family film has earned $171.3 million total after ten days — and it will definitely surpass the original Monsters Inc.‘s $251 million cume. The film will face a formidable challenge next week, though, when Despicable Me 2, which has been cleaning up overseas (it’s already earned over $50 million from just seven countries), hits theaters on July 3.

In second place, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy’s buddy-cop comedy The Heat scored an excellent $40 million — a career-best debut for both stars. The film, directed by Bridesmaids helmer Paul Feig, cost Fox only $43 million to make — and it will surpass that figure by Tuesday. The Heat‘s great debut trumps the opening weekend of McCarthy’s other 2013 hit, Identity Thief, which began its run with $36.3 million on the way to a $134.5 million finish.

As might be expected, adult women drove business for The Heat, which carries an R-rating. According to Fox, audiences were 65 percent female and 67 percent above the age of 25. Crowds issued the film an “A-” CinemaScore grade. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Monsters University' and 'The Heat' crush 'White House Down' on Friday

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock proved they were an appealing comedic duo on Friday — but they couldn’t outpace the animated pairing of Mike and Sully at the box office.

Monsters University topped the chart with $14.3 million yesterday, putting the Pixar sequel on track for an excellent $49 million second weekend. That would give the family film a $175 million total after ten days — a healthy total as it prepares to take on Despicable Me 2 next weekend.

In second place, The Heat scored an excellent $13.6 million, which easily trumps McCarthy’s last two starring efforts: Bridesmaids, which opened with $7.8 million on a Friday, and Identity Thief, which began with $11.1 million on a Friday. The Heat may take in about $39 million this weekend, which would not only be a fantastic start considering its $43 million budget, but also a career-best opening for both Bullock and McCarthy. READ FULL STORY

Pixar announces plans to cool it with the sequels, already. (Kind of.)

In almost two decades of continuous production, Pixar has yet to make a financially unsuccessful movie. Before this year, two of their last three films grossed half a billion dollars; the other movie grossed half a billion and then grossed another half a billion, making a plain ol’ one billion dollars plus change. And the money machine shows no signs of stopping: Current release Monsters University had the studio’s second-biggest opening weekend ever. However, it’s impossible to avoid the sense that the animation titans have entered a weird, even unsettling new era. Three of their last four movies were sequels; after Toy Story 3, none of them has been an out-the-gate classic like The Incredibles or Ratatouille; heck, one of them was Cars 2, the first movie ever made by Pixar that everyone agreed was flat-out bad. (Unless you’re a kid, in which case your bad taste in movies is forgivable until you turn 15.) READ FULL STORY

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