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Hollywood hypes what it hopes will be its 2011 & 2012 hits at the Licensing International Expo

Hollywood hypes what it hopes will be its 2011 & 2012 hits at the Licensing International Expo

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Welcome to Las Vegas. Where the 2010 Licensing International Expo is just winding down.

Just like last year, before attendees could enter the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, they first had to walk through this gauntlet of colorful banners which trumpeted all of The Walt Disney Company’s key brands and franchises.


Photo by Jim Hill.  Characters copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

As this annual sales event got underway on Tuesday, all anyone could talk about was the big Entertainment Showcase that Disney Consumer Products had staged on Monday night. Which closed out with a big tribute to those Disney Channel & Disney XD favorites, “Phineas & Ferb.” Which – if you can believe it -- involved 10 beautiful showgirls dressed in platypus costumes and Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton, coming out onstage to sing the “Agent P” theme song.


Photo by Jim Hill. Logos copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Mind you, it’s not been all fun & games for the Mouse this week in Vegas. For even as the Studio was beginning its full court promotional press for Disney's big December 2010 release, “TRON: Legacy” …


Photo by Jim Hill.  Logos copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

… Company insiders who have already seen portions of this Joseph Kosinski film were whispering about how dark & grim it is. And given that Disney’s plans for turning TRON into a full-fledged franchise (with TRON: The Animated Series due to debut on Disney XD and at least one more TRON feature film already in development) hinge on “Legacy” being this huge success …


Photo by Jim Hill. Character design
copyright Disney Enterprises,
Inc. All Rights Reserved

… There are those at the Mouse House who are now concerned about how this hugely expensive follow-up to Disney's 1982 cult classic might play over the holiday season. Especially since Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund)’s long-overdue reunion with his long-missing Dad, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) isn’t exactly long on those warm-and-fuzzy Christmas morning feelings.

And speaking of sequels ... Just down the hall from Disney, DreamWorks Animation was busy getting the word out about two follow-up films that they currently have in the works: A “Shrek” spin-off which tells the origin story of Puss in Boots


Photo by Jim Hill. Poster copyright
DreamWorks Animation L.L.C.
All Rights Reserved

… as well as “Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom.” Where Po and the Furious Five face off against a new villain who’s armed with a weapon that’s so powerful that it threatens the very existence of kung fu. Gary Oldman joins the all-star vocal cast of this DreamWorks sequel as he voices a peacock who is far more than he seems.


Photo by Jim Hill.  Poster copyright
DreamWorks Animation L.L.C.
All Rights Reserved

Meanwhile, over at the Fox booth, late 2011 / early 2012 looks to be a pretty tough time for that studio’s toon stars. Manny the Mammoth and his “Ice Age” herd are going to be set adrift on an ice flow in “Continental Drift.”


Photo by Jim Hill.  Poster copyright FOX. All Rights Reserved

While Alvin, Simon and Theodore are going to be “Chip-Wrecked” in the three-quel to “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”


Photo by Jim Hill.  Poster copyright FOX. All Rights Reserved

Speaking of cartoon characters … That was one of the more obvious trends at this year’s Licensing International Expo. It seemed like every single major media company was here in Las Vegas, hawking a brand-new animated feature that they’d soon be bringing to market. Be it Fox’s “Rio” ( Blue Sky Studios' latest flies into theaters next April) …


Photo by Jim Hill.
Poster copyright FOX. All Rights Reserved

… or Universal’s “The Lorax” (with this eco-friendly Dr. Suess story showing up at a theater near you in March of 2012).


Photo by Jim Hill. Poster copyright Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved

There are people at the Mandalay Bay convention center talking up reboots of popular film franchises (EX: “Men in Black 3D,” which Sony Pictures will be releasing on May 25, 2012) …


Photo by Jim Hill. Logo copyright Sony Pictures. All Rights Reserved

… as well as executives who were promoting film franchises that had previously been given the boot (EX: Walden Media’s “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. When Disney opted out of producing “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” Fox quickly stepped in. Look for “Narnia 3” – in 3D, no less – to sail into theaters on December 10th of this year).


Photo by Jim Hill.  Poster copyright FOX
/ Walden Media. All Rights Reserved

The walls of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center were covered with posters promoting upcoming motion pictures about fast moving cars


Photo by Jim Hill. Poster copyright Universal Pictures.
All Rights Reserved

… not to mention fast moving cars that can quickly transform into robots.


Photo by Jim Hill. Poster copyright Dreamworks Pictures
and Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved

More importantly, there were salesmen here who would talk to you ‘til they were Smurf-blue in the face.


Photo by Jim Hill. Poster copyright Columbia Pictures and
Sony Pictures Animation. All Rights Reserved

That’s just a little taste of what it’s been like here in Las Vegas during the 2010 Licensing International Expo. Where Hollywood goes to hype what it hopes will be its big hits for 2011, 2012 and beyond.

Special thanks to Mouseketrips.com for helping with the travel arrangements for this JHM roadtrip.

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  • It is Sam Flynn, now Sean Flynn unless they have done a HUGE redo of the film, web site, and the ARG that has been going on for the past 5 months or so.

  • Nothing for POTC 4?

  • Do any of the other animation houses have an original thought in their heads?!?!

    "You can't top pigs with pigs."

    What is that Ice Age IX: Fievel heads east?!? Will my grandkids be watching Shrek 18: we promise this time is the last?!?

  • ..."other animation houses"?

    jedited is a pixar fanboy

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