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 […]
May 09, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is announcing its first movie inspired by a Marvel comic Thursday, an adaptation of a lesser known crime fighter series called “Big Hero 6.” Directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and due in 2014, the CG-animated movie will center on a robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada and his robot companion BayMax, who join a team of superheroes in a high-tech city called San Fransokyo. (For a closer look at the city of San Fransokyo, see the video above). Even die-hard comic book fans may have trouble recalling the Marvel series, which was created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau in 1998 and is something of a whimsical love letter to Japanese culture. Characters in the original comic include a samurai, an agent who invented a nanotechnology-based Power Purse and a monster born from a […]
May 08, 2013 | 3:51 p.m.
Let’s hope that Richard Madden has an easier time wearing a crown in “Cinderella” than he does in “Game of Thrones.” Madden, who plays King in the North Robb Stark in the hit HBO series, has been cast as the glass slipper gal’s prince in Disney’s upcoming live-action “Cinderella” film, the studio announced Wednesday. “Cinderella,” slated for a 2014 release, is set to star “Downton Abbey” actress Lily James as the rags-to-riches heroine and Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine, her evil stepmother. Kenneth Branagh is directing, and the screenplay was penned by Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”). Simon Kinberg, who was recently recruited to write a stand-alone “Star Wars” spinoff film, is a producer on “Cinderella.” Kinberg and McKenna (the two are friends) hatched the plan for a live-action update of the classic fairy tale. PHOTOS: ‘Game of […]
May 03, 2013 | 4:24 p.m.
Iron Man is back in the multiplex in a big way this weekend with “Iron Man 3,” but the character also features prominently in “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” a new animated series set to premiere July 7 on the Marvel Universe block on Disney XD, with a special one-hour sneak preview on May 26. Hero Complex is bringing you a new look at the team. The heroic lineup, which also includes Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow, is the same as the Avengers who assembled for Joss Whedon’s 2012 blockbuster, with the notable inclusion of one of Captain America’s oldest friends and partners, the Falcon. A previous series, “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” offered glimpses of numerous Marvel characters, but “Avengers Assemble” marks the first time this lineup has appeared on a television show. The series stars Adrian Pasdar […]
April 17, 2013 | 2:38 p.m.
The Force is strong with Alan Horn. At CinemaCon on Wednesday, the Walt Disney Studios chairman said the company plans to release three “Star Wars” films by the end of the decade — one in 2015, 2017 and 2019. In between those movies, “we expect to have pictures derived from that universe,” Horn said, indicating that spinoff movies should be expected in 2016 and 2018 as well. The news comes six months after Disney acquired Lucasfilm in a surprise deal for $4.05 billion. At the time of that deal in October, the company said it planned to release a seventh live-action “Star Wars” movie in 2015. It has since been announced that J.J. Abrams will direct that film, while Oscar winner Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Toy Story 3″) has been tapped to write the screenplay. PHOTOS: J.J. Abrams career […]