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December, 2013

  • Jim Hill

    Though Disney "Frozen" may be the Snow Queen of today's movie box office, "The Lion King" still reigns supreme

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    You have to admit that Disney "Frozen" has already had a pretty spectacular run at the box office. Over the past five weeks, this Walt Disney Animation Studios production has earned an estimated $248.4 million domestically . And then when you favor in the $250 million worth of tickets that foreign film-goers have purchased for "Frozen" to date, that's a half billion dollars right there . And given that this Chris Buck / Jennifer Lee movie is expected to maintain its box office...
  • Jim Hill

    Have a Holly Rolly Christmas by listening to "More Cute Stories -- Volume 2: Animators and Imagineers"

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    If you're like me, you spend a lot of time during the holiday season on the road. Take -- for example -- last night, where Nancy and I drove down to her sister's place in Massachusetts so that we could then spent Christmas Eve with the Moores. Then later today, we'll climb back in the car and once again zoom down to the Bay State. Just so that we can then do Christmas dinner with my family. And given that Nancy and I live 'way the hell out in the woods of New Hampshire (How far out...
  • Jim Hill

    New England Studios hopes to begin producing motion pictures & television series at this state-of-the-art facility in 2014

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    "If you build it, they will come." No, that's not just a phrase that gets whispered to Kevin Costner as he wanders through a cornfield. That's also the dream of would-be entertainment entrepreneuers everywhere. They sincerely believe if they build a state-of-the-art soundstage somewhere other than Hollywood, filmmakers who are tired of dealing with the high costs & hassles of shooting in Southern California will flock to this new facility. Copyright 2013 New England Studios...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Watch Santa give Krampus a seasonal smackdown on "The Aquabats! Super Show! Holiday Special"

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    He sees you when you're sleeping, He knows when you're awake, He knows if you've been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake. This particular refrain from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" has always kind of creeped me out. Mostly because -- according to European folklore -- St. Nick actually has this sinister sidekick called Krampus . And this horned holiday devil will not hesitate when it comes to dropping the hammer on naughty little girls & boys. So how big a bad-ass...
  • Jim Hill

    Classic Disney characters help turn the lobby of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children into a more kid-friendly space

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    Let me take you back to March of 1994. I'm in the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children . And because my then-wife Michelle had just begun having contractions, the staff in Maternity had quickly admitted her. And since I wanted to keep both sets of would-be grandparents aware of what was going on in this pre-cell-phone era, I went off in search of a pay phone. Which the woman working at the admissions desk said was downin the lobby. So I hustled down to the lobby, made two phone calls (One to Massachusetts...
  • Jim Hill

    Busch Gardens Williamsburg went right down to the wire while decking the halls for the 2013 edition of Christmas Town

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    I wanted to share a few shots that Nancy and I took last month at Busch Gardens Williamsburg . We were onsite for the official opening day of this year's edition of Christmas Town . Photo by Jim Hill We actually managed to make it inside this 350+ acre theme park before it opened to the public and got to see some of BGW's decorating team at work. Photo by Nancy Stadler I now want to direct your attention to the clock in the bottom-left-hand corner of the above image. Photo by Nancy Stadler...
  • Jim Hill

    Never mind about Emma Thompson playing P.L Travers. Did you hear about the time that this "Saving Mr. Banks" star was supposed to play Mary Poppins?

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    Given that one of the key scenes in " Saving Mr. Banks " is the Hollywood premiere of " Mary Poppins " (which was held on August 27, 1964 at Graumann's Chinese Theatre ), I thought that all of you movie trivia buffs out there might be interested to learn that the 49th anniversary of this Walt Disney Productions' London premiere (i.e. the one that Walt had hoped Pamela Travers would attend, rather than the Hollywood premiere) is today. Yep, according to what Valerie Lawson...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- I Remember Papa: Jonathan Winter's Smurfy swan song

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    When it came time to find just the right voice for Papa Smurf, Raja Gosnell and Jordan Kerner were admittedly feeling a little blue. Why For? Because the casting department at Sony Pictures Animation kept coming up short. (L to R) Sony Pictures Digital Production president Bob Osher, director Raja Gosnell and producer Jordan Kerner at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Smurfs 2." Photo by Michael Buckner / Getty Images North America "This was back in early 2010 when we had just begun...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- How Josh Gad almost missed out on the chance to voice Olaf the snowman for Disney "Frozen"

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    To be asked to participate in the first reading of a brand-new Disney animated feature was like a dream come true for Josh Gad. "You have to understand that -- when I was growing up -- I was absolutely obsessed with the animated films of Disney's Second Golden Age," Gad explained during a recent phone interview. "I mean, I recall going to see ' The Little Mermaid ' in theaters no less than 20 times. My poor mother had to send me with various aunts and uncles and nephews...
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