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Disney to close Florida animation unit

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Keith Paynter, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Well-Known Member

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    As expected due to poor performance in its hand-drawn animation features of late, the Orlando studio will close Monday (tomorrow), putting 260 animators out of work.

    Yahoo! News

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Well-Known Member

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    Of course, this will be based on the fact that the suits think that people prefer computer animation vs. handdrawn. Will it ever occur to them that it is all about good stories, characters and vision? Oh well, sad end to a long roller coaster of a ride. Will this stop the yearly DTV horrid sequels?


    Phil
     
  3. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Well-Known Member

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    Weren't most of those produced using their Japanese, Australian, and Canadian units? I thought the Florida unit was just Feature work.

    I saw a trailer for a Disney animated film that was very unusual stylistically. It looked hand animated, but unfortunately I cannot remember the name of it. I only saw the trailer once.

    It is too bad they are closing down the unit. The problem isn't the animators. The problem is a management bereft of any creativity. As long as Michael "Cancer Man" Eisner is in charge I see no real improvement in their animation division for years to come. The derivative "Brother Bear" is a glimpse of the future for Disney animation.
     
  4. Pete SE

    Pete SE Active Member

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    Edwin,

    I believe the trailer you are referring to is "Home On The Range". It will be realeased this summer.
     
  5. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Well-Known Member

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    The poor performance of Disney animation is because of poor films (the only half-decent film in years was Lilo & Stitch - it wasn't classic Disney, but it was a good film).

    The success of Pixar films has not been because of CG animation, but because they focus first on making good movies that people will enjoy, and they minimise the preachy moralising that films like Brother Bear are (reportedly) filled with.

    Still, it's sad to see this happen. With the unit closed, there is no hope for good hand-drawn animation from Disney.

    Well, there won't be any new movies to make DTV sequels to. One good thing, I guess...
     
  6. george kaplan

    george kaplan Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure there were cheap handdrawn direct to video sequels to computer animated films like Toy Story, so there's no reason to think that won't continue.
     
  7. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Well-Known Member

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    Nope. The film was definitely not HOME ON THE RANGE. HotR has all the hallmarks of normal Disney fare. The trailer I saw was really something stylistically different for Disney. I just wish I could remember what the thing was about.
     
  8. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Well-Known Member

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    Okay. I found it. The thing is called "Teacher's Pet." Apparently it is based on a TV series. Stylistically, I find it to be unusual for Disney. It is basically a twist on the Pinocchio story.
     
  9. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Well-Known Member

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    Jim Hill Media has an interesting article about the reasons behind the closure. He also has a press release inthe article, about a new Florida-based animation studio opened up by former Disney animators.



    This is also mentioned in the IMDb StudioBriefing
     
  10. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Well-Known Member

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    Well, that is an eye opening article. "Teacher's Pet" fits very well into Disney's new corporate model for double dipping by releasing made-for-video animated films into theatres first. They have turned the theatrical release into an advertisement for the "real" release onto home video. Meanwhile, the workers at WDFA-Florida get the shaft. Something tells me the wrong guy got killed in that 'copter crash.
     
  11. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Well-Known Member

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    The Jim Hill article is an eye opener. I always suspected that all those 'supposed' theatrical sequels were just gateways to direct-to-video, attempting to legitimize their status by appearing in theaters first.

    When Walt was told to 'give us more dwarfs', he steadfastly refused, and never duplicated any of his feature works (with the potential exception of Fantasia, which was originally meant to continually change, which kinda happened with Fantasia 2000). Some new stories failed (The Black Cauldron comes to mind), but they always created new projects.

    With the exception of Pixar projects, I have wasted little time, energy (and money) on Disney animation outside their classics. No DTV products grace my shelves, (especially anything ending in 'II'), and the Mouse House will see very little of it in the future.

    Good luck to Legacy - theirs is an uphill battle, as Don Bluth has learned.


    Subtle...but I tend to agree.
     
  12. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Well-Known Member

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    Toy Story 2 was originally a DTV product that was released to cinema because it became clear that it was quality product that deserved to be seen on the big screen. They put the work into ensuring that it was of the expected quality, and the film stands up as another great Pizar film.

    So I have no problem conceptually with DTV product being released to cinema, provided the product deserves it and it's of high quality. But the stuff having cinema release now? Awful. Jungle Book 2? Who actually thinks that this is worth putting the Disney name to?

    By the way, what helicopter crash are you talking about?
     
  13. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Well-Known Member

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    The late Frank Wells, President & COO of Disney, died in a helicopter crash on April 8th, 1994. The Lion King was dedicated to Wells onscreen as the film begins before the opening number 'Circle Of Life'.

    Micheal Eisner has driven every nail into Disney's corporate coffin ever since.
     
  14. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Well-Known Member

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    For the folks in Legacy, this may actually turn out to be a blessing. I think the Disney executives have been the primary reason for so much crap coming out of those animation studios, now we get to find out if I was right.

    Still, at the end of the day there will be a lot fewer American animators working, and that is a bad thing. [​IMG]
     
  15. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Well-Known Member

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    I think it's simplistic to attribute one cause like that. Yes, the Pixar films have been great while the Disney ones have been more of a mixed bag. But just talking with family and friends who don't go to every movie like I do, I think that there is a real preference for CGI over tradition hand-drawn animation out there, at least among adults and teenagers. I don't defend it, and I think it's wrong-headed, but I do think that for whatever reason, things by Pixar, PDI, and even Ice Age are not perceived as "cartoons for kids" the way traditional animation is, even though some (such as Ice Age) are far more cartoony than "normal" Disney features.

    Why is that? Well, I think part of it is because of marketing. Not the amount, but I notice CGI films tend to promote their name stars more than Disney ever did. Even when it's not done in the obvious way that DreamWorks promoted Shrek, there still seems to be more awareness of the voices for Toy Story 2 or Antz than there was for, say, Titan AE or even The Emperor's New Groove (which had great celebrity voice-casting). And names sell.

    I think the look is important, too. Audiences have grown accustomed to "realism" in their films, especially live-action ones - which means when they see animation, they're not prepared to see something visually inventive. When I talk to casual moviegoers about animation, they always mention how "real" Pixar's movies look, and dismiss the nifty design work of Treasure Planet or Atlantis. Heaven knows how they'd react to The Triplets Of Belleville.

    (And I don't think it's just casual moviegoers - it's like pulling teeth to get even people who see a lot of films to admit that, yes, one of the reasons to see Finding Nemo is that it's absolutely beautiful; I like character and dialogue as much as the next person, but give style its due!)

    And that's only two factors, other than plain "quality" (which doesn't explain the public's complete and utter ignorance of The Iron Giant). I wish I knew how to combat these perceptions, but I don't think it does anyone any favors to pretend they don't exist.
     
  16. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Well-Known Member

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    Jason - Good points. It probably is true that people, especially adults and teens, are likely to percieve traditional animation as "kid's films", while viewing other animated films as less embarrassing to be seen going to. Sadly.
     
  17. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Well-Known Member

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    There's another great article at Jim Hill media here detailing the meeting where the Florida unit were finally told that the unit was being closed. The best section of the article:
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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    The only problem will be that Legacy lacks Disney's billion dollar budget. They're aiming to start small with a short film early this year. I figure they plan to run the festival circuit, get their name out there, and get contracted to make a film by one of the majors in a Pixar/Disney type situation. It'll probably be a few years until we see anything major come from them.

    That said, more power to them. I'm glad SOMEBODY cares about Walt Disney's legacy.
     
  19. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Well-Known Member

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    I like this comment. Disney has to destroy their "braintrust" in order to save it. This guy should have been in the military. What am I saying? He probably was in the military!
     
  20. JonZ

    JonZ Well-Known Member

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    As usual,Disney doesnt have a clue.

    Sorry for those loosing their jobs.
     

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