Welcome to Jim Hill Media - Entertainment News : Theme Parks Movies Television

  • Jim Hill

    The Mouse makes use of its theme parks, in-cinema events and podcasts to help spread the word about Disney Theatrical Productions

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    Given that Disney Theatrical has - over the past two years - launched four international productions of its hit Broadway musical, "Aladdin" (With the Japanese version bowing in Tokyo in May of 2015, the German version debuting in Hamburg back in December of 2015, the London version opening in the West End in June of 2016, and the Australia version of this Tony Award-winner opening in Sydney back in August of 2016) ... It's not exactly as though this division of The Walt Disney Company...
  • Jim Hill

    How relocating to a leaky old warehouse made rebooting Disney's smart, subversive "Zootopia" so much easier

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    It was the one-two punch that would have felled a lesser group of filmmakers. Back in November of 2014, the " Zootopia " story team had just realized that - after 3+ years of developing this project for Walt Disney Animation Studios - they were going to have to change this movie's protagonist. "And doing that sort of reboot, changing our film's story so that it could then be told from Judy's point-of-view rather than Nick's, was going to cause a lot of upheaval,"...
  • Jim Hill

    Spending Valentine's Day at the Winchester Mystery House is not for the faint-of-heart

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    When it comes to making a romantic gesture on Valentine's Day, most men opt for the safe choices (i.e., cards, chocolate and/or flowers). But if you're one of those guys who's got a bit of a dramatic / gothic streak, if you sincerely believe that every great romance should have an element of surprise & mystery to it ... Well, maybe you should consider taking your beloved out to San Jose to tour the Winchester Mystery House . Okay. I know. Taking someone that you care about into what...
  • Jim Hill

    Getting "Zootopia" just right really challenged Disney screenwriters Jared Bush and Phil Johnston

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    Given that " Zootopia " is set in a mammals-only city, it's entirely appropriate that this Walt Disney Animation Studios production took home the lion's share of the prizes at this year's Annie Awards . This Byron Howard / Rich Moore movie wound up claiming six of the top trophies at Saturday night's ceremony at UCLA's Royce Hall . Among them Best Animated Feature, Best Directing, Best Storyboarding, Best Character Design and Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature...
  • Jim Hill

    "Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning" shines a spotlight on one of the greatest comeback stories in Hollywood history

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    60 years ago this month, William Hanna & Joseph Barbera were riding high. Following the retirement of their longtime boss / nemesis, Fred Quimby , Bill & Joe were finally fully in charge of MGM's animation division. And these two were genuinely looking forward to extending their studio's Oscar-winning streak (From 1940 - 1957, seven cartoons produced by MGM's animation unit wound up taking home the Academy Award for Best Animated Short. To put this in perspective: During this...
  • Jim Hill

    Three Disney Parks put very different spins on their Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year celebrations

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    Today's the first day of the Chinese New Year, a holiday that one sixth of the world's population will celebrate with friends & family. Mind you, not everyone will be celebrating the first day of the Year of the Golden Rooster in the exact same way. On the Mainland, Chinese New Year is kind of like Christmas & New Year's all rolled into one. Which is why this weeks-long celebration takes on almost an epic quality with spectacular entertainments, festive decorations, and special...
  • Jim Hill

    PR professionals pay tribute to Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway, Magic Kingdom Press Agent

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    It's been over a month now since we lost Charlie Ridgway. And for those of us who were lucky enough to know and/or work with this Disney Legend, this is a wound that will take a while to heal. "And why exactly is that?," you say. Well, I could go on & on about my own dealings with Charlie over the past three-plus decades. What a genuine pleasure he was to work with because Mr. Ridgway was that rarer-than-rare thing: A PR guy who actually liked working with reporters. Charlie Ridgway...
  • Jim Hill

    NASCAR stars & legendary car designers lend their street cred to Disney Junior's new "Mickey and the Roadster Racers" show

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    " Mickey and the Roadster Racers " may look like a cute little cartoon show from the outside. But were you to pop the hood of this new Disney Television Animation production (which premieres tomorrow on Disney Junior at 9 a.m. ET/PT), you'd discover that some serious car cred went into its creation. Mind you, that's largely because Rob LaDuca (i.e., the executive producer of "Roadsters Racers") and Mark Seidenberg (who's the Co-EP & Supervising Story Editor of...
  • Jim Hill

    How "Pinocchio" beat "Bambi" to become Disney's second feature-length animated film after "Snow White"

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    " Pinocchio " has long been hailed as Walt Disney's masterpiece. While Walt Disney Animation Studios ' second feature-length production may admittedly lack the heart that " Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs " had, there's no denying that "Pinocchio" tops its predecessor. At least when it comes to artistic ambition and technological advances. Mind you, "Pinocchio" wasn't always supposed to be the film that followed "Snow White." In fact...
  • Jim Hill

    Dana Daniels brings a little bit of Disneyland to NYC in "The Illusionists: Turn of the Century"

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    Given that Dana Daniels began his career at Disneyland Park , you wouldn't think that this award-winning comedy magician would be all that impressed with palaces. Ah, but the palace that Dana is currently performing in isn't found at some theme park. It's THE Palace Theatre in New York City's Times Square. That historic 1,740 seat venue where - during the first half of the last century -- countless legendary entertainers once worked this stage. "I am a huge Marx Brothers fan...
  • Jim Hill

    When you're having "Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," which version of this holiday classic do you prefer to sing?

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    "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" had a pretty big year in 2016. Thanks to Josh Groban, this 72 year-old Hugh Martin / Ralph Blane tune reached No. 1 on Billboard's adult contemporary charts . Copyright Reprise / Warner Bros. All rights reserved Mind you, this isn't the only time in recent memory that this holiday song has charted. Back in 2014, Sam Smith's cover of "Merry Little Christmas" made it into Billboard's Hot 100 . And Michael Bublé's...
  • Jim Hill

    Never mind about Santa Claus coming to town tomorrow. Rudolph, Charlie Brown & the Grinch are all spending the holidays in Orlando this year

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    Head's up to all you baby boomers out there: Tonight's your last chance to catch the "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" during its annual network airing ( NBC will be running this Chuck-Jones -produced holiday special this evening starting at 8 p.m. ET/ PT). Copyright Warner Bros. Entertainment. All rights reserved Mind you, if you're just not ready to say "See You Next Year" to Cindy Lou Who - or the cast of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" &...
  • Jim Hill

    Garth Jennings sings the praises of those Illumination Entertainment staffers who helped him through the animation production process on "Sing"

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    How hard can it be? That was the question that Garth Jennings asked himself when Chris Meledandri - the CEO of Illumination Entertainment - offered him the opportunity to direct "Sing," his very first animated feature. And given the many types of productions Garth has worked on over the course of his career (i.e., shooting well-received videos for bands like Blur & Radiohead back in the 1990s. Helming big-budget feature films like 2005's "the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...
  • Jim Hill

    Guess (Doctor) who Disney Television Animation got to voice Scrooge McDuck for their “DuckTales” reboot

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    If you ask fans of the original "DuckTales" (which debuted in syndication back in September of 1987) what their favorite aspect of this animated TV series was, I'm sure that a lot of them would mention the late Alan Young 's vocal performance as Scrooge McDuck. Mind you, that Scottish burr that Young (who first voiced this character back in 1983 for Walt Disney Animation Studios' seasonal featurette, "Mickey's Christmas Carol") gave McDuck was the real thing. Alan...
  • Jim Hill

    "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" director Gareth Edwards is having a blue (milk) Christmas

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    To hear Gareth Edwards tell this story, it was early 2014. He was right in the middle of working on " Godzilla ," his first huge Hollywood franchise film. And given that this $160 million Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros. co-production was supposed to open in nearly 4000 theaters nationwide on May 16 th ... Well, Edwards just didn't have a second to spare for outside activities. But then - as Gareth recounted back in April of 2015 during Star Wars Celebration Anaheim - he got a call...
  • Jim Hill

    Never mind about Christmas in July. Disney Television Animation started working on "Duck the Halls" back in August of 2015

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    Before you put that Christmas card in the mail to Grandma, I want you to pause for a moment and think about the artist who drew the image on the front of that holiday card. To be specific, WHEN they drew that image. "My Dad was actually an illustrator for Hallmark Cards . And I remember that he always got discombobulated because they were always doing holiday-themed stuff at the wrong time of year," recalled Paul Rudish during a recent phone interview. "By that I mean: In order to...
  • Jim Hill

    Thankful for the way Miss Piggy saved Tony Bennett from falling, Freeform names her their first-ever Ambassador of Cheer

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    Never mind about that Grinch who stole Christmas. Have you heard about the pig who saved a national treasure on Thanksgiving morning? Those of you who watched last month's live broadcast of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC surely remember this moment. To herald the arrival of Saint Nick at Macy's Herald Square store , Tony Bennett & Miss Piggy had just finished singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." And then -- as the parade float that these two entertainment icons...
  • Jim Hill

    Meet the team who brought Maui to life for Disney's "Moana"

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    You'd think - looking at Maui from Disney's " Moana " - given this demigod's dimples (more importantly, those eyebrows) that Dwayne Johnson was always supposed to be this character's voice. But that's where you'd be wrong. "You have to understand that - when we're initially developing these movies - we typically get them up on reels 5 or 6 times so that John (Lasseter , the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios ) and the other...
  • Jim Hill

    From toxic gas leaks to the triumph of 'Finding Dory,' Lindsey Collins has loved every minute of her time at Pixar Animation Studios

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    When it comes to " Finding Dory " producer Lindsey Collins , she takes "going-with-your-gut" to a whole new level. To explain: This Occidental College graduate joined Walt Disney Animation Studios straight out of school in 1994. And after working as a PA on " Pocahontas " & " The Hunchback of Notre Dame ," Lindsey had just been made assistant production manager on " Hercules " when she began hearing people talk about Pixar. "I was working...
  • Jim Hill

    New animated series, "Mickey and the Roadster Racers" to premiere at Fathom's "Disney Junior at the Movies" event this Saturday morning

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    Is your toddler anxious to take a look under-the-hood at " Mickey and the Roadster Racers " ? See how this new animated-series-for-preschoolers stacks up against all of their other favorite Disney Junior shows? Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Well, if you want your kid to catch "Roadsters" 's actual debut on this cable channel, that isn't scheduled to happen 'til early January of 2017. Which is an awful long time for any 3-to-5 year-old to wait...
  • Jim Hill

    WDW's new "The Muppets Present ... Great Moments in American History" show brings authentic Muppet mayhem to Liberty Square

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    Anyone who's ever seen " Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D " can tell you the title of that elaborate pageant which Sam Eagle has put together to close out that show. It's called "A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America." Sadly, things don't quite go as this self-proclaimed super-patriot had planned. As "Muppet*Vision 3D" predictably descents into chaos, Kermit the Frog asks Sam if that part of the show is now ready to go. "It's a glorious three...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney XD's "Milo Murphy's Law" offers optimistic alternative to election night coverage

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    With just one day left until America votes, people are really stressing right now. They keep looking at all the polling data and then wondering "What happens if everything goes wrong and the wrong person gets elected?" Well, I can't tell you how to vote. But I can tell you what to do after the election, especially if your candidate doesn't win. Which is: Be more like Milo Murphy. Copyright Disney XD. All rights reserved You've heard about " Milo Murphy's Law ,"...
  • Jim Hill

    How Hurricane Matthew forced Universal Orlando to extend Halloween Horror Nights 2016's run through early November

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    Halloween is one of those holidays that lingers, isn't it? Whether it's all of those decorations that are still out in the yard (which you'll finally get around to taking down & packing away later this weekend ... right?) or that bowl of leftover Treat-or-Trick candy that you've been slowly make disappear one fun-sized bar at a time, while All Hallows Eve should have been over at the stroke of midnight on October 31st ... Well, just like that jack-o-lantern that the kids carved...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Orlando will use cutting-edge tech to reimagine the water park experience at Volcano Bay

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    Seven years ago, Dale Mason - the Vice President and Executive Art Director at Universal Creative - had an idea. He wanted to do a water theme park. Not a water park, mind you. A water theme park. Something that would then move the whole water park experience to an entirely different level. "So I and this very small team of people put together a very small brief on this idea," Dale recalled during a recent phone interview. "And we thought that the concept that we had come up with for...
  • Jim Hill

    TASCHEN 's "Walt Disney Film Archives" features stunning artwork, seldom-told stories from that studio's past

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    As one very wise cinephile once put it, "Every Disney film is someone's favorite movie." Editor / author Daniel Kothenschulte tried to keep that in mind over the past two years as he worked on " The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921 - 1968 " ( TASCHEN America, October 2016). But given that he only had so many pages to work with as Kothenschulte tried to cover this massive chunk of Mouse House history, Daniel began the pruning process almost as soon as he...
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