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  • 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...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Joseph Gordon-Levitt loves how Hayao Miyazki's "The Wind Rises" celebrates the magic of normal, everyday life

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    He's helped Batman battle Bane in " The Dark Knight Rises ." Not to mention going toe-to-toe with the G.I. Joes in " The Rise of Cobra ." He's even braved multiple levels of the human subconscious in " Inception ." Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the last man standing in Christopher Nolan's sci-fi thriller, "Inception." Copyright 2010 Warner Bros. All rights reserved So given that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gotten so good at doing the action-hero thing in...
  • Jim Hill

    The Mouse continues its hi-tech, hand-held roll-out with today's debut of Disney Movies Anywhere

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    This ain't your Dad's Walt Disney Company anymore. Sure, every so often, you'll see the Company fund the construction of some massive immersive environment like Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park or that AVATAR-inspired "land" which finally officially broke ground at Disney's Animal Kingdom last month. But increasingly these days, Disney is deliberately bypassing these bigger-than-life projects so that it can deliver to its fans magic that they can then hold in...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- How Walt Disney Animation Studios evolved Mickey Mouse backwards for "Get A Horse!"

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    It's the question that most animation professionals ask immediately after they've seen " Get A Horse! " How did Walt Disney Animation Studios actually pull that short off? How'd they first replicate the exact look & feel of a Mickey Mouse cartoon of late 1928 / early 1929 and then (SPOILER AHEAD) send a CG version of Mickey & Horace Horsecollar hurtling out through the screen into today's world? Well, director Lauren MacMullan & producer Dorothy McKim were obviously...
  • Jim Hill

    No one Forced Freddie Prinze Jr. to voice Kanan, the cowboy Jedi on Disney XD's "Star Wars Rebels"

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    There are a lot of people on this planet who are excited about " Star Wars Rebels ." But perhaps the person who is most looking forward to this program (which will debut on Disney XD in the Fall of 2014) is Freddie Prinze, Jr . You see, as Prinze revealed at a Disney Consumer Products presentation yesterday at Toy Fair 2014 ... "If you're anywhere near my age -- I'm almost 40 -- Stars Wars is pretty much in your DNA. You can't get away from it. You've probably heard...
  • Jim Hill

    Lucas Grabeel trades high school for preschool by voicing a character on Disney Junior's "Sheriff Callie's Wild West"

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    So what's Lucas Grabeel 's favorite memory from all the " High School Musical " craziness? Was it when the soundtrack for this super-popular Disney Channel Original Movie became the best-selling album in the United States for all of 2006? Or when the cast of this TV movie traveled the globe and then performed live in front of tens of thousands of people as part of the "High School Musical: The Concert" tour? "I have to admit that that concert tour was completely nuts...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Bobby & Kristen Anderson-Lopez reveal the real-life inspirations for Disney "Frozen" songs

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    They're the reason that the Disney "Frozen" soundtrack has already sold more than 1 million units. They're also why this Walt Disney Animation Studios production has -- after 12 weeks of being in theaters -- seen a sudden resurgence in domestic ticket sales . As thousands of people rush back to their local multiplex so that they can then take part in the new sing-along version of this Oscar-nominated film. But did you ever wonder what the inspiration was for "Frozen" 's...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering Shirley Temple and her many ties to The Walt Disney Company

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    You know, as I sit and watch footage of Shia LaBeouf behaving like a jackass at the Berlin Film Festival or hear yet another story about how Justin Bieber continues his transition from talented tween to delusional jerk , I wonder: How did Shirley Temple do it? Shirley Temple on the red carpet at the world premiere of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at the Carthay Circle Theater December 21, 1937. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved I mean, Shirley (who passed away peacefully...
  • Jim Hill

    SeaWorld's animal ambassadors were a big hit at the 2014 Boston Globe Travel Show

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    Nancy and I drove down to Massachusetts yesterday to tour the 2014 Boston Globe Travel Show . And it was pretty easy to see most people from around here have already had their fill of ice & snow. Given that there were absolutely no takers at the Alaska Land & Cruise Adventures booth ... Photo by Jim Hill Meanwhile, right next door in the Florida aisle , it was body-to-body. Photo by Jim Hill Given the steady stream of people that kept going in & out of the Universal Orlando Resort booth...
  • Jim Hill

    Disneytoon Studios' "The Pirate Fairy" brings Captain Hook, the Croc & Skull Rock into the "Disney Fairies" fold

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    Did you catch the Annies this past Saturday? The members of ASIFA-Hollywood obviously thought a lot of Disney "Frozen ." For this Walt Disney Animation Studios production wound up coming out on top in five different categories. Best Animated Feature Directing in an Animated Feature Production Music in an Animated Feature Production Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Pixar Animation Studios also did okay at this year's Annies...
  • Jim Hill

    Looking back on why The Walt Disney Company decided to restore the New Amsterdam Theater in NYC

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    An estimated 1.5 million people made their way to Times Square last week to experience Super Bowl Boulevard . In fact, so many folks crowded into this 13-block area that they sometimes had to wait for hours before they could then zoom down that 60-foot long toboggan run on 40th Street or shuffle through that tent where the Vince Lombardi Trophy was on display. Mind you, it's doubtful that this many football fans would have made their way to "The Crossroads of the World" if this section...
  • Jim Hill

    How Vermont's brutally cold winters had a hand in Disney's "The Jungle Book"

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    Since Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will be released the Diamond Edition of " The Jungle Book " next month (on February 11th, to be exact), I thought it might be fun to talk about the Rudyard Kipling book that this 1967 Walt Disney Production was based on. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Now given that Kipling was born in India back in December of 1865 and then spent for the first six years of this life in that country (Not to mention that -- even before...
  • Jim Hill

    Harry Potter stars & fans journey to Universal Orlando for a celebration of the boy wizard

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    At this point, people who come to the Universal Orlando Resort kind of expect to encounter some Harry Potter-related lines. Yesterday afternoon, the line to get into the Harry Potter Expo actually started down by Universal Studios' Classic Monsters Cafe ... But yesterday, the Guests weren't lining up for " Forbidden Journey ." But -- rather -- a whole different kind of theme park magic. ... and then curved past USF's New York Public Library facade. Photo by Nancy Stadler No...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley nears completion at the Universal Orlando Resort

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    There's not a stitch of clothes for sale at Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. Not yet anyway. And the shelves at Borgin and Burkes are still bare as well. But none of that matters. Even though The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley is still basically a construction site, there's really only one word that describes this soon-to-open addition to the Universal Orlando Resort. And that word is magical. Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved Though visitors to Universal...
  • Jim Hill

    Never mind about Meryl & Emma. What about Julie & Audrey's epic battle for Best Actress back in 1965?

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    Okay. I know. You're feeling kind of blue because members of the Academy didn't show " Saving Mr. Banks " all that much love last week. There's also a number of you out there who are really, really angry at Meryl Streep right now. Mostly because you believe that her ill-considered remarks at the National Board of Review awards gala is what wound up costing Emma Thompson a Best Actress nomination. Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson at the 2014 Board of National Review Awards Gala...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Disney "Frozen" directors credit their crew with this film's Best Animated Feature nomination

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    So was it glamorous & exciting for Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee earlier today when they learned that " Frozen " -- the Walt Disney Pictures release that they had co-directed -- had been nominated for Best Animated Feature ? Not exactly. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved "You have to understand that the Academy makes these announcements at around 5:30 a.m. West Coast Time. And the last time I was nominated, for " Surf's Up ," I didn't set my...
  • Jim Hill

    "Roadblock!" reveals how Disney's "The Happiest Millionaire" wound up being such a cinematic misfire

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    What with " Saving Mr. Banks " being out in theaters right now, there's been a lot of talk lately about " Mary Poppins ." How this Academy Award-winning film was perhaps Walt Disney's crowning cinematic achievement. But me? I can't help but look at the two Disney-produced movie musicals on either side of "Mary Poppins." To be specific, 1961's " Babes in Toyland " and 1967's " The Happiest Millionaire ." Which are ... um ... Here...
  • Jim Hill

    Was Walt Disney an anti-Semite? Not according to The Wizard of Oz

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    Sorry I've been away for a couple of days. So what did I miss? Ah, yeah. Meryl Streep 's speech at the National Board of Review awards. Where -- before she handed Emma Thompson the best actress award for her stellar performance in " Saving Mr. Banks " -- Streep first went out of her way to attack the late Walt Disney. Calling him racist, sexist and anti-Semitic . Look, Floyd Norman has already effectively addressed the racism issue . And Amid Amidi did a great job of debunking Meryl's...
  • Jim Hill

    Adam Sanderson is named as the new head of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club

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    Ever since Steven Clark -- the head of D23 -- stepped down in late September, people have been wondering what this means for the future of the Official Disney Fan Club. Even though Bob Iger had already announced that The Walt Disney Company would be staging another D23 EXPO in Anaheim in 2015 , there were those within the Disneyana fan community who were concerned about the Club's future. The Ben Franklin & Mark Twain audio animatronic figures from the finale of Epcot's "American...
  • Jim Hill

    Why didn't Disney & Marvel officials come to Spider-Man's rescue during "Turn Off the Dark" 's Broadway debacle?

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    Over the past few days, you've probably seen a story or two about " Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ." You know, that problem-plagued Broadway musical which just closed at the Foxwoods Theatre this past Saturday night . Given that Marvel Entertainment, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company , there were always those within the theater community who wondered why -- when "Turn Off the Dark" was genuinely floundering during this show's seemingly endless...
  • Jim Hill

    "Saving Mr. Banks" production team works with Disney Archives to accurately recreate Walt's World circa 1962

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    So just how far did the " Saving Mr. Banks " production team go when it came to replicating the look & the feel of a early 1960s version of Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Park ? Pretty darned far. Or so says Becky Cline , the Director of the Walt Disney Archives . "When the Studio brought Kelly Marcel 's script for 'Saving Mr. Banks' in February of 2012 , it was all over the news out here. And as soon as Disney officially acquired the project, the filmmakers then...
  • 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...
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