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"Disney's A Christmas Carol" train begins nationwide promotional tour

"Disney's A Christmas Carol" train begins nationwide promotional tour

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Let’s say you have a big picture planned for the 2009 holiday season. One that not launches a brand-new hi-tech production arm at your studio but also renews your company’s relationship with one of Hollywood’s top hitmakers.

You’d need something big to signify an event like that, right? Something of size. Like – say – a train.

Disney's A Christmas Carol Train tour
Photo by Brian Gaughan

So this past Thursday, that’s exactly what The Walt Disney Company did. On Track 12 at LA's Union Station, they rolled out “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” Train Tour. Which will spend the next six months rolling around the country, visiting 36 states as it spreads the word about this all-new 3D version of Charles Dickensclassic holiday tale.

This press event got off to a suitably festive start, as carolers strolled the train platform singing holiday favorite and jugglers in period garb performed.

Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour
Photo by Brian Gaughan

Eventually Dick Cook – Chairman of Walt Disney Studios – took to the stage and thanked members of the media for turning out.

Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour
Photo by Brian Gaughan

Cook then introduced the talent behind “Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis and human cartoon Jim Carrey.

Disney's a Christmas Carol Train Tour
Photo by Brian T. Gaughan

After some banter involving a charitable donation that The Walt Disney Company was going to present to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (Before this over-sized check for $100 thousand dollars could actually be turned around and revealed to the press, Carrey loudly exclaimed that the amount that Disney was about to give was $100 million. “Oh my gosh, Dick,” Jim said. “That’s incredibly generous.” To which Cook replied “That’s okay, Jim. We’ll just deduct that amount from your pay”), these three then sat down and began fielding questions from reporters.

Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour
Photo by Brian Gaughan

Perhaps the funniest exchange in this press conference came when Jenni Smart of Jenniradio.com – after pointing out that Carrey had now played two holiday icons (i.e. The Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge) – asked what it was about projects this that appealed to the performer. Jim growled in response, “I hate Christmas.”

Disney's a Christmas Carol Train Tour
Photo by Brian Gaughan

When asked if the world really needed yet another big screen version of “A Christmas Carol,” Zemeckis responded that – thanks to the state-of-the-art performance capture system that ImageMoversDigital uses – for the first time ever, Dickens’ classic holiday tale can finally be told the way that he actually wrote it. “Dickens was an incredibly cinematic writer. And we now have the tools that we needed in order to really do justice to this story.”

Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour
Photo by Brian Gaughan

Which quickly came apparent as the press filed into the inflatable theater that was set up on site there at Union Station to scope out some scenes from “Disney’s A Christmas Carol.”

Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour
Photo by Brian Gaughan

The sequences that were screened for the media should be familiar to any fan of this holiday tale. They showed that moment from early on in the story where Scrooge’s nephew Fred visits his uncle at the counting house. We also to see Ebenezer’s frightful encounter with the Ghost of Jacob Marley. And while I was not exactly a fan of Zemeckis’ earlier performance capture projects (I thought that “The Polar Express” looked stiff & creepy, while “Beowulf” was just plain creepy), I have to admit that I was won over by “Disney’s A Christmas Carol.” This time around, though this picture is clearly CG animation, the performance is purely human.

Afterwards, I toured the four cars that will be taking part in the “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” Train Tour and checked out all of the exhibits. And I have to admit that there was some pretty neat stuff on display here. Everything from props & costumes that were used in the making of this movie to genuine artifacts from the Charles Dickens Museum of London (Which The Walt Disney Company has on loan for the length of this six-months-long promotional tour).

All in all, I thought that the “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” Train Tour was a great take-in. And film fans around LA seem to have agreed with me. Given that – this past weekend – some people stood in line at Union Station for upwards of 3 hours in order to get the chance to experience this traveling exhibit.

Disney's a Christmas Carol Train Tour
Photo by Brian Gaughan

And speaking of traveling … The “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” Train Tour rolled out of Los Angeles this morning. It’s now en route to Arizona, where it will then set up shop for three days at Williams Depot near the rim of the Grand Canyon from May 29 – 31st. From there, the train makes a single day stop in Santa Fe on June 2nd before then chugging onward to Albuquerque. Where this exhibit will do a three stand at the Amtrak Station June 5 – 7th.

If you’d like to know if “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” Train Tour is coming through your neck of the woods as this traveling exhibit makes its 16,000+ trip around the country, be sure and check out the official website. Which lists all 40 stops that this tour will make now through November 1st.

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  • Is it just me, or is it a bit weird to be pushing a 'holiday' film at the beginning of the summer?  Why didn't they start this campaign in October / November?

  • lost... - the reason why they started so early is that the promotion is to hit 38 of the 48 lower states.  Trains do take some time travelling from one city to another.  I thought it was a great idea to start it now and let it garner steam.

    BTW I was there on Monday and the lines to view it were FIVE HOURS!  Let's say that we just turned around and went home.

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