Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 03-02-2015 - 'Cinderella' Premiere, 'DuckTales' and the Right Way to Watch 'Star Wars'

By Tim Callaway

Director Kenneth Branagh and the cast of Cinderella at the film's Hollywood premiere.
(l. to r.) Kenneth Branagh, Cate Blanchett, Holliday Grainger,
Lily James, Sophie McShera and Richard Madden.
Anthony and I take you on the red carpet in Hollywood for the premiere of the new live-action version of Disney's Cinderella. This updated fairy tale stars Lily James as the titled scullery maid turned princess, Cate Blanchett as her wicked stepmother and Richard Madden as her Prince Charming. Kenneth Branagh directs the film, which is scheduled to open in the U.S. on March 13th. On Inside The Mouse Castle, Branagh talks about the challenge of staying true to the animated Cinderella while updating the story for modern audiences. James also shares why her character is not the stay-at-home-and-wait-for-her-prince kind of princess. 

Also roaming the red carpet was Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in Frozen. He's back with the whole gang in the new short film Frozen Fever, which opens for Cinderella. The film looks like it might be cute (even if it is Frozen), but we're really concerned where all those baby snowmen in the trailer come from.

Also in this edition of Inside The Mouse Castle:
  • Robert Downey, Jr. and Omaze are teaming up to give you a chance to attend the world premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron. I'm really excited at the prospect--and it's totally for a good cause--but Anthony has reservations about it. Or maybe he's just jaded and bitter.

  • A fire at it's a small world caused more of an uproar on the Internet than it did at Disneyland Saturday night. The blaze, presumably caused by fireworks, did minor damage and there were no reported injuries. Reactionary people online, however--as is their custom--collectively lost their minds.
  • Bob Chapek is the new chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts. He takes over for Tom Staggs, who was recently promoted to chief operating officer. Chapek has put in 22 years with Disney and was formerly president of Disney Consumer Products.
  • Next to Shanghai Disney Resort, Bob's biggest new project is the completion of "Avatar-land" at Disney's Animal Kingdom, or as Anthony calls it, The Wizarding World of James Cameron. Is anyone outside of Disney actually excited about this? Because we're really skeptical. Sure, Avatar is the all-time movie box office champ, but six years after its release, is it even relevant anymore? And two years from now when it's scheduled to open, will anyone care?
  • Walt Disney World has announced the dates for this year's special event holiday parties at the Magic Kingdom. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will be held on select dates from September 15th to November 1st. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will begin a week later on select dates between November 8th and December 18th. Tickets go on sale in April. For a complete list of dates, visit disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/02/dates-for-magic-kingdom-special-events-tickets-on-sale-in-april
  • We're hearing that Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World will close for a major--and much needed--refurbishment this summer. It's always been the ugly sister to POTC at Disneyland. Will it finally get the update it deserves?
This Pirates of the Caribbean audio-animatronic
sold for $129,800 over the weekend.
  • Van Eaton Galleries in Southern California concluded an epic auction of Disneyland collectibles and memorabilia over the weekend. The Story of Disneyland collection was expected to take in about $1 million. It blew right through that estimate and finished with a take of $1.7 million. Did you bid? Did you get the items you wanted?
  • DuckTales is returning to Disney XD in 2017...woo-ooo!!!
  • LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales is slated to air on Disney XD before the end of the year. The series of half-hour episodes will tell the saga of both Star Wars trilogies through the eyes of C3PO and R2-D2. The awkward part is the story will be told in chronological order. Any true Star Wars fan knows the only way to tell the tale is by starting at the beginning of Episode IV

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 02-26-2015 - Disney Animator James Lopez, Part One

By Tim Callaway

Animator James Lopez
I like James Lopez for a number of reasons, not the least of which is when he was a kid, he was a master of the video game Dragon’s Lair. That was the laserdisc arcade game created by Don Bluth in the early 1980s after Bluth had departed Disney Animation. Dirk the Daring, the evil dragon, Princess Daphne—I loved that game. Anyway, the beauty of if all is that as a young animator, James later worked for Bluth on the 1991 film Rock-a-Doodle. It's a nerd thing.

James attended CalArts and found early success in animation. He would go on to have a lengthy career at Disney. His animation credits include Timon in The Lion King, Wiggins in Pocahontas and Pain in Hercules. He also worked on The Emperor’s New Groove, Home on the Range, The Princess and the Frog and the Oscar-winning short Paperman.

James is a gifted artist who excels in 2D, hand-drawn animation. These days he’s keeping the art alive by animating and directing a personal project, the steampunk adventure Hullabaloo, which he successfully crowd funded last year on Indiegogo. But more on that next week. Today, in part one of our two-part conversation, James and I talk about his early career and how he literally had to learn his craft on the job. James Lopez is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

Download: http://traffic.libsyn.com/themousecastle/TheMouseCastleLounge02-26-2015.mp3

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 02-23-2015 - The Oscars, Rising Ticket Prices and Walking to Walt Disney World

By Tim Callaway

Big Hero 6
Oscar winner Big Hero 6.
"Once upon a time, there was a freckle-faced little boy who told his mom and his dad that one day he was gonna work at Walt Disney Animation. And they did something amazing. They supported him and they believed him. And from the bottom of his heart, he thanks them."
--Big Hero 6 co-director Don Hall

It was a good night at the Oscars Sunday for Disney Animation. Big Hero 6 was named Best Animated Feature while Feast claimed the statuette for Best Animated Short Film. There were those other films too: Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash. Anthony and I cover it all in today's episode of Inside The Mouse Castle.

We cover a few other things too:
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has started filming in Australia and we finally know what the story will be about. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) crosses swords with "deadly ghost pirates" led by an old nemesis (Javier Bardem). Captain Jack's only hope is to obtain the Trident of Poseidon, the key to unlocking all the powers of the sea. POTC 5 will open in the summer of 2017.
Kevin Costner is McFarland, USA
Kevin Costner stars in Disney's inspirational sports film McFarland, USA.
  • Kevin Costner's latest flick for Disney, McFarland, USA, opened to generally favorable reviews and pretty good box office numbers ($11.3 million) over the weekend. One day, Anthony and I might even be talked into watching it.
  • Disneyland and Walt Disney World upped their ticket prices on Sunday. The world did not end.
Lauren Passell wins the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon
Lauren Passell wins the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
  • A year ago, Lauren Passell thought she might never run again due to a broken hip. Sunday, she beat a field of over 20,000 runners to win the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. 
  • The Cobb family from Houston, Texas, is on a cross-country hike from Disneyland to Walt Disney World to raise money and awareness for cancer treatment and to honor the memory of their daughter, Julia Cobb. In 2013, Julia died of Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, at the age of eight. The family's 4,000-mile journey began on August 4th last year and they are currently just past the halfway point in east Texas. To find out more about the Cobb family and how you can support their cause, visit www.jucanfoundation.org
  • Last year on Inside The Mouse Castle, we talked about the frivolous lawsuit filed by author Isabella Tanikumi, who claimed Disney stole the idea for their mega-hit Frozen from Tanikumi's autobiographical book Yearnings of the Heart. Last week, U.S. District Judge William Martini granted Disney's request to dismiss the lawsuit. In his ruling, Judge Martini wrote, "The setting, plot and characters have no close similarities. No lay person could find that Disney improperly appropriated from Yearnings of the Heart."

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