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Never mind about "Pirates 5" & "6." Does Disney already have a "Santa Paws 3" in the works?

Never mind about "Pirates 5" & "6." Does Disney already have a "Santa Paws 3" in the works?

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W.C. Fields is often credited with coining that old show business adage, "Never work with children or animals."


Copyright 2009 W.C. Fields Productions.
All rights reserved

Well, Robert Vince has clearly never heard this adage. Given that - as the writer / producer  / director of Disney's "Air Bud" & "Air Buddies" pictures - virtually every movie that this family film veteran makes is wall-to-wall canines and kids.


George Wendt and the canine cast of "Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws."
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And what with "Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws" having just had its world premiere on ABC Family earlier this week (FYI: There'll be an encore presentation of this Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment production on that very same cable channel tonight at 6 p.m. ET /PT, along with one last showing of this particular "Buddies" picture on ABC Family on Christmas Day starting at 12: 30 p.m. ET/PT), "The Search For Santa Paws" out on store shelves right now, not to mention a brand-new "Air Buddies"  movie - "Spooky Buddies" - due to debut in the Fall of 2011 ... Well, I thought that now might be an interesting time to talk with Robert. See if he might reveal the secret behind this super-popular WDSHE series.


Quinn (Kaitlyn Maher) and Paws (voice of Zachary Gordon) hurry back home in "The
Search for Santa Paws." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"It's simple, really. We just try and make our latest picture a little bit better, a bit more ambitious than the one that came before," Vince explained.


Santa Claus (Richard Riehle) and Santa Paws (voice of Mitchel Musso) deliver presents.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Case in point: "The Search for Santa Paws" is Robert's musical. So - what with having to rehearse and then shoot all of these musical numbers (which, as you might expect, prominently feature numerous kids & dogs) - he was facing a whole new set of challenges with this "Santa Buddies" prequel.


Will (Madison Pettis, center) sings about believing in the Christmas spirit with (clockwise)
Meg (Nicole Leduc), Mary (Melody Choi), Taylor (Michelle Creber), Janie (G. Hannelius)
and Quinn (Kaitlyn Maher). Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"Yeah, that was a little scary. At first. But what helps here is that I've been working with the same team for almost 15 years now. And the trainers, the production people, they all know their jobs. So they were always there to back me up if I got in over my head," Vince continued. "But I have to say that - once I got into the swing of things -- I was actually surprised at how much fun I had directing a musical. Which is why I genuinely hope that I get the chance to make another one of these 'Santa Paws' movies someday."


Paws (voice of Zachary Gordon) and Santa Claus (Richard Riehle) arrive in Central Park.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

That's right. "Santa Paws 3." Robert already has a story sketched out in his head. But in order for that "Air Buddies" movie to happen, people first have to seriously embrace (TRANSLACTION: Buy lots & lots of copies of the DVD & Blu-ray versions of)  "The Search for Santa Paws."


Eddy the Elf Dog (voice of Richard Kind) delivers a letter
Santa Claus. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

"And from what I've been hearing, people have already have been embracing 'Search,' " Vince said. "They especially seem to like this movie's explanation as to why there are so many guys in Santa Claus outfits out & about during the holiday season. What we tell 'The Search for Santa Paws' audience is that - while all these folks may not in fact be the real Santa --they still work to perpetuate the Santa Cause. That spirit of kindness & giving that we all feel this time of year."


Quinn (Kaitlyn Maher) tells Santa Claus (Richard Riehle) her Christmas
wishes. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Speaking of multiple Santas, that brings to mind yet another great W.C. Fields quote. Which also - continuing today's theme - touches on the holidays. As the Great Man once said:


Copyright 2009 W.C. Fields Foundation. All rights reserved

"Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we'll be seeing six or seven."


Still from "Snow Buddies." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And speaking of six or seven ... To date, there have only been five "Air Buddies" movies: 2006's "Air Buddies," 2008's "Snow Buddies," 2009's "Space Buddies," "Santa Buddies: The Search for Santa Paws" as well as next fall's "Spooky Buddies." But Robert seems confident that this series could continue. That there may be a few films yet to come from the "Air Buddies" franchise.


Still from "Space Buddies." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"Golden retrievers are hugely popular with families. And golden retriever puppies even more so.  So as long as we can still find interesting new stories to tell, fun adventures to send these puppies on, I'm sure that there'll be an audience out there eager to see more 'Air Buddies' movies," Vince concluded.


The Air Buddies during their cameo appearance on the 2009 Disney Parks Christmas
Parade holiday special. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But what do you folks think? Have you ever watched any of these Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment releases? If so, do you find the 'Air Buddies' movies enjoyable? Or are they ruff ... er ... tough for you to take?


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Your thoughts?

 


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  • My kids have watched and enjoyed all the Buddies movies and I've seen a few of them (I thought one of the Air Bud movies introduced "Air Bud's" romance and ultimately kids, but I'm not sure anymore). Some are better than others (I actually found Santa Buddies to be nearly unwatchable, but the kids liked it) - but they just saw Santa Paws and enjoyed that one too (though I can't comment). I -do- know that they'll be happy to hear another Buddies movie is coming for Halloween next year, so Disney must be doing something right with this series.

  • I wish someone would realize that they've milked a franchise waaaaay to much and move on to something that is actually better than talking dogs. How many of these do we need before realizing we are making our children go brain-dead?

  • My Daughter is 28 months and she Loves it and she has told everyone about Santa paw and explained the whole movie to me. The music is great. It's march now n she still wants to watch n sing it. Keep these movies coming I love seeing my daughter excited to watch this over n over again. Can't wait for fall!!!

  • So this is what Disney dumped their pencil animation department for?!? Personally, I'd rather see A 'Darkwing Duck' movie than another crappy 'Air Buddie' movie. This needs to end NOW!

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