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March, 2014

  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Mae Whitman doesn't want to Tinker with the way Disneytoon Studios runs its "Fairies" film franchise

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    It was early 2008 when Mae Whitman got this mysterious call from her voiceover agent, Melissa. Mae Whitman at the world premiere of "The Pirate Fairy" on the Walt Disney Studios lot back on March 22, 2014. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved "She was telling me that Disney had this very important project but that they wouldn't tell Melissa what it actually was. All she knew that that they were eager for me to come in and audition for this part," Whitman...
  • Jim Hill

    Ease on into the 2014 convention season by experiencing Emerald City Comicon

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    Please forgive me for fusing two entirely different Howard Ashman lyrics together. But I wanna be where the people are somewhere that's green. Yeah, if I had my druthers, I'd leave the frozen wasteland of Southern New Hampshire (where -- God help us -- it's supposed to snow again tomorrow night) ASAP and then catch a direct flight for Seattle. Where -- once I landed -- I'd immediately beat feet for the Washington State Convention Center , so that I could then surrender myself to the...
  • Jim Hill

    After 22 years, Lella Smith checks out as Creative Director of Disney's Animation Research Library

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    When Lella Smith 's 10-year-old godson, Rey, found out she was retiring from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library (ARL) , he was incredulous. "Why would you do that auntie?," he said. "You've got the coolest job in the world!" Smith has been the Creative Director for the ARL, the little-known department of the Mouse Factory once described by Disney CEO Bob Iger as "... the most important department in the Company." The ARL is the repository for all the...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- How Disney "Aladdin" went from being a diamond in the rough to Broadway's newest hit

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    When the reviews for Disney "Aladdin: The New Musical Comedy" finally came in last night, with the New York Times praising this production for its " ... relentless razzle-dazzle and its anything-for-a-laugh spirit," there was no one on this planet that was more pleased & relieved than Chad Beguelin . After all, it was Beguelin who - 5 years ago - was among the first artists Disney Theatrical Productions reached out to when it was looking to turn "Aladdin" into a...
  • Jim Hill

    Should Disney have made "The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made" instead of "Muppets Most Wanted" ?

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    As its box office totals continue to trickle in, you just know that there have to be people back in Burbank who are disappointed with the way " Muppets Most Wanted " performed this past weekend. Racking up just an estimated $16.5 million in ticket sales . Which doesn't compare all that well with the $29 million that " The Muppets " earned over the 2011 Thanksgiving weekend. So what exactly happened here? Was it just as Kermit & Fozzie musically foretold in "Muppets...
  • Jim Hill

    It was twenty years ago today ...

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    It was twenty years ago yesterday that I was standing in the Adventurers Club surrounded by some very incredulous WDW cast members. "Let me get this straight," said the woman who was playing Pamelia Perkins that evening. "Your wife is in a hospital, in labor right now ... And yet you're here?!" "You don't understand," I stammered. "I'm only here tonight because she sent me here ..." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Hang on...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Universal Orlando will use lifelike animation & live special effects to recreate Harry Potter's journey aboard the Hogwarts Express

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    It seems kind of counte-rintuitive to use a plane to promote a train. But that's exactly what the Universal Orlando Resort did earlier this week. They jetted James & Oliver Phelps (AKA the two talented Brits who played Fred & George Weasley in the "Harry Potter" film series ) all over the globe. To London, São Paulo and New York City, to be specific. But then again, James & Oliver weren't talking up just any locomotive. This was the Hogwarts Express experience...
  • Jim Hill

    There were cars & stars at last night's world premiere of "Muppets Most Wanted" at the El Capitan Theatre

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    Yesterday evening, there were thousands of people lined up along Hollywood Boulevard . Photo by Alice Hill Not to mention hundreds more peering down from nearby rooftops. Photo by Alice Hill And why were all of these folks staring so intently at the El Capitan Theatre . Because that's where the world premiere of " Muppets Most Wanted " was being held last night. Photo by Alice Hill And as a long time Muppet fan, I have to say that it was really pretty sweet that Walt Disney Pictures...
  • Jim Hill

    Does Disney have a special 50th anniversary celebration in the works for "it's a small world" ? Recently domain name registrations suggest that it does

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    It's that time again. Time to take a look at the various domain names that The Walt Disney Company has registered over the past few months. Which might then provide us with a few clues as to what the Mouse has planned for the not-so-distant future. As you might expect, there are domain names that Disney grabs because it doesn't want anyone else using them. Take -- for example -- mymagicminus.com ... which the Company registered back on March 1st so those folks who aren't exactly fans...
  • Jim Hill

    CD reveals how Walt turned dysfunction at WED Enterprises into fun for the Disney theme parks

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    I got an e-mail this past weekend from a longtime Disney fan who I won't name. Mostly because he had some very unkind things to say about Bamboo Forest Publishing 's latest audio effort, " More Cute Stories, Volume 3 : Museum of the Weird ." Copyright 2014 Bamboo Forest Publishing. All rights reserved Here's a brief excerpt from that e-mail: "This recording features all sorts of mean-spirited stories about Marc Davis , Roger Broggie and Dick Irvine . According to what Rolly...
  • Jim Hill

    Film composer Christopher Willis talks about the challenges of writing music for Disney's new Mickey Mouse shorts

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    There's this terrific comment that someone once made about Fred Astaire . "Sure he was great. But don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards ... and in high heels!" And for some odd reason, that comment brings to mind British composer Christopher Willis . This is the guy who's been composing all of the music for that Emmy Award-winning series of new Mickey Mouse shorts which Disney Television Animation has been producing. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- How Rob Minkoff turned Mr. Peabody & Sherman into the original Modern Family

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    It's kind of ironic that " Mr. Peabody & Sherman " has a sequence involving the Trojan Horse . Because according to what Rob Minkoff -- the director of this DreamWorks Animation production -- says, this new animated feature is actually something of a trojan horse in and of itself. "When I was a kid, I used to watch a lot of television. And I was a big, big fan of Rocky & Bullwinkle ," Minkoff recalled during a recent interview. "And during the "Peabody's...
  • Jim Hill

    Will Disney "Frozen" blow past "Toy Story 3" to become the top earning animated film of all time?

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    Talk about your Hollywood endings. On the very same day that Disney "Frozen" won the Academy Award for Best Animation Feature , this Walt Disney Animation Studios production then becomes a member of Hollywood's exclusive Billion Dollar Club . (L to R) Peter Del Vecho, producer of Disney "Frozen," Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck onstage at the Dolby Theatre as they win this year's Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. P hoto by Adam Taylor. Copyright American Broadcasting...
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