Aug. 10, 2013 | 1:30 p.m.
“Maleficent” star Angelina Jolie arrived at D23 on Saturday morning, and like the evil sorceress she’s playing in the live-action retelling of the 1959 animated classic “Sleeping Beauty,” she knows how to make an entrance. Clad in a black sweater and black pants, the actress received a standing ovation from the audience, and she described her elation at starring in the film, saying that as a child she had an affinity for Maleficent. “Since I was a little girl, Maleficent was always my favorite,” Jolie said. “I was terrified of her, but I was also drawn to her. I wanted to know more about her. She had this elegance and grace, yet she was wonderfully, deliciously cruel.” Unfolding at the Anaheim Convention Center, the weekend-long D23 kicked off Friday with programming focused around Disney’s upcoming animated ventures. Saturday’s presentation emphasized news […]
Aug. 10, 2013 | 12:51 p.m.
Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins took the D23 stage Saturday morning in Anaheim to promote “Thor: The Dark World,” the first of three featured titles upcoming from Marvel to be touted at the expo. Hopkins received a standing ovation from the audience, but Portman and Hiddleston were received almost as warmly, taking the stage after Marvel movie chief Kevin Feige, who presented both the footage from the “Thor” sequel that was screened at Comic-Con International last month and a new scene detailing Portman’s astrophysicist Jane Foster’s first day in Asgard. In the unfinished scene, Jane’s body seems to be having some trouble adapting to the Asgardian atmosphere, and she lies on a table being tended to. Odin storms in, noting, “She is mortal, she does not belong here in Asgard anymore than a goat belongs at a banquet […]
Aug. 09, 2013 | 2:32 p.m.
When a young Disney employee in the early 1970s by the name of Tony Baxter found his daily assignments to be lacking a certain luster, he opted instead to devote his time to building a model train. This self-described “little train” would eventually cost more than $15 million to construct. Known today as moderate thrill ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Baxter’s extracurricular hobby would ultimately become one of the premiere attractions at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts. It opened first at the Anaheim theme park in 1979. “Going into Big Thunder, I was a kid in a model shop. Coming out, I was a designer,” says Baxter. At 66, Baxter this year has transitioned from his senior executive position at Walt Disney Imagineering into a creative advisory role. Baxter officially will be recognized as a Disney “legend” at […]
July 26, 2013 | 1:28 p.m.
This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details. It’s been seven-plus years since the last core “Kingdom Hearts” game was released in the U.S. Although there’s been no shortage of spinoffs in the Disney-meets-”Final Fantasy”- role-playing-game series, a 10-year-in-the-making story will finally reach its conclusion when Square Enix publishes “Kingdom Hearts 3″ on next-gen consoles. So how did series architect Tetsuya Nomura know he was ready to start bringing many of the branching plot points outlined in the numerous “Kingdom Hearts” to an end? He just did. “First and most important,” said Nomura, speaking through a translator, “is the determination in my mind. That will launch the project. It’s difficult to explain what kind of determination I am talking about. As you can imagine, expectations by the fans for franchise with sequels go up each time. “Fan […]
July 22, 2013 | 8:30 p.m.
J.J. Abrams is not dropping out of the next “Star Wars” film, contrary to certain online reports. “There is no truth to the rumor,” Lucasfilm said in a statement issued Monday. “J.J. is having a great time working on the script and is looking forward to going into production next year.” “Star Wars: Episode VII” will be written by Michael Arndt, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Toy Story 3,” and will be shot at England’s historic Pinewood Shepperton Studios. Disney, which acquired Lucasfilm last year, announced in April it will release a new “Star Wars” film every year beginning in 2015 with “Episode VII,” the first installment in a planned trilogy. George Lucas will serve as a “creative consultant” on those three films, but has no plans to write or direct. In an interview with Hero Complex […]
June 20, 2013 | 6:09 p.m.
Helena Bonham Carter will be bringing the bibbidi-bobbidi-boo to “Cinderella.” The quirky actress has been cast as the fairy godmother in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of the classic fairy tale, the studio announced Thursday. “Cinderella,” slated for a 2014 release, is set to star “Downton Abbey” actress Lily James as the titular plebe-to-princess heroine and “Game of Thrones” star Richard Madden as her charming prince. Cate Blanchett plays Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s evil stepmother. Kenneth Branagh is directing, and the screenplay was penned by Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”). Though the fairy godmother in the 1950 animated feature was a grandmotherly dumpling, Bonham Carter’s casting would suggest that the updated “Cinderella” might be embracing a darker tone; the actress is known for playing offbeat, exaggerated roles, including the villainous Bellatrix Lestrange in the “Harry Potter” films, the twisted Mrs. […]
June 19, 2013 | 1:39 p.m.
In Disney’s upcoming animated musical “Frozen,” fearless protagonist Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) teams up with mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) to find Anna’s Snow Queen sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), who has trapped their kingdom in endless winter. As epic as their journey may be, the first trailer focuses instead on a comedic battle between reindeer Sven and snowman Olaf over the latter’s carrot-nose. “Frozen,” out Nov. 27, features songs by “The Book of Mormon” composer Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The film is directed by Chris Buck (“Tarzan”) and Jennifer Lee, a screenwriter for “Wreck-It Ralph” and, with “Frozen,” the first woman to direct a feature at Disney Animation. Buck first pitched the idea to John Lasseter, Disney Animation’s chief creative officer, in 2008, proposing an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Snow Queen.” “One of […]
June 10, 2013 | 5:06 p.m.
The “Star Wars” series is getting another shooter. On Monday, Electronic Arts revealed that it is at work on “Star Wars: Battlefront” for next-gen consoles, teasing the title with a brief 34-second trailer that had the gaming press erupting in cheers. The clip, which debuted at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles as part of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, features an AT-AT, the four-legged armored vehicle made famous in “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back,” crushing a ship it had been pursuing. The game is the first announced as part of a recent multi-year, multi-title licensing agreement between Electronic Arts and Disney. PHOTOS: Scenes from E3 2013 Shortly after Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in October. the latter said it would no longer develop games in-house under the LucasArts banner. “After evaluating our position in the games […]
June 04, 2013 | 11:48 a.m.
“Fantasia” will live on. The Disney brand, first unveiled to the public via a 1940 film that put classical music to animated sequences and introduced the world to Sorcerer Mickey Mouse, is coming to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and the new Xbox One platform in 2014. “Fantasia: Music Evolved” is a motion-controlled musical adventure that utilizes Microsoft’s Kinect device and takes the player through a number of newly crafted animated worlds — only this time the soundtrack isn’t Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. The animated action in “Fantasia: Music Evolved” is set to a pop-heavy soundtrack that features the likes of Bruno Mars, Queen, Fun., Kimbra and AVICII. “Walt described it as being about the classic music of all time, and that was where we jumped off,” says Chris Nicholls, Disney Interactive’s director of product development. “We saw a little chink in there and […]
May 16, 2013 | 3:58 p.m.
Two classic Studio Ghibli films are getting the Blu-ray treatment. Disney is releasing Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” on May 21. This year marks the 25th anniversary for “My Neighbor Totoro,” which follows sisters Satsuki and Mei (voiced by Dakota and Elle Fanning, respectively, in the Blu-ray’s 2005 Disney dubbing) as they move to the countryside and discover their new neighbor, a furry forest spirit named Totoro. Only children can see the strange animal ghost — “a seven-foot forest spirit who looks like an outsized cross between a bunny rabbit and a fuzzy throw pillow,” critic and historian Charles Solomon wrote in his 1993 Times review of the film. “Guided by their supernatural friend, the sisters share a series of adventures, soaring over the landscape while Totoro’s roars make the winds blow,” Solomon wrote. “But the story […]