|THE STUDIOANIMATIONTHE STORYPIXAR|
There’s no box office to report. Instead, we’re watching theaters furlough workers as the $2 trillion federal relief package gives hope that someday they can be rehired. American studios exercised optimism as they moved theatrical release dates, while China stepped back from its own exuberance and closed theaters just five days after reopening.
President Trump has retreated from his claim that the country could return to something like normal by Easter, and extended social distancing recommendations through the end of April. With cases and deaths very much on the rise, it seems reasonable to believe that social distancing will continue until those numbers are in real decline. So while Warner Bros. switched the highly anticipated “Wonder Woman 1984” from June 5 to August 14, it remains to be seen if that will represent foresight or wishful thinking. Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” still claims July 17.
China opened around 500 theaters in remote provinces March 23, and reports treated it as a positive harbinger. On March 28, they all closed again. It was a bit overblown: The reopened theaters played older films, which didn’t generate a lot of interest. While the government’s newest closure came without explanation, the reversal may also reflect a simple lesson of supply and demand: Even in a top-down controlled system, the public won’t return to theaters until there are new movies.
Meanwhile, specialized distributors are partnering with arthouse theaters to present recent titles in “virtual screening rooms.” Kino Lorber led with the Brazilian “Bacurau;” Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You” Zeitgeist and “Vitalina Valeri” Film Movement joined in. However, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” Focus, which had only two days’ play in two cities before theaters closed, will go to premium VOD April 3. Among top early-year titles, A24’s “First Cow” so far seems a rare holdout in hoping for theatrical resumption.
A handful of theaters, mostly drive-ins, remain open. There’s also few small-town, independent indoor theaters screening movies, as government shelter orders permit — but almost everything they have on offer is also viewable at home.
That’s the backdrop for our main event, a recap of what we can tell about home viewing. Here are the current listings from top VOD and streaming sites:
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
iTunes and Amazon titles are listed by their rank on Sunday, followed by their highest rank in past week and the lowest available price to view.iTunes Downloads and Rentals
1 1 1917 Universal – $5.99
2 1 Onward Disney –...
The 60th anniversary edition, set for June 15-20, will instead take place June 14-19, 2021.
The Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and its associated market, has been called off this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 edition, set to be Annecy's 60th anniversary, was scheduled to run June 15-20. Instead, the event will be held June 14-19, 2021.
Organizers made the announcement "with tremendous disappointment" Tuesday.
"Over the past few weeks, driven by our passion and our enthusiasm, despite the confinement constraints we were nevertheless hoping to maintain the exceptional edition that we had in store for you," they said in a statement. "But today, the rationale and the international situation compel us to act with lucidity and responsibility. To show our respect and our deep gratitude to the health care providers, as well as all those who choose solidarity and the public interest."
Calling the Annecy festival "a party, a family gathering," organizers said they could not bring themselves "to celebrate animation and our 60th anniversary when some amongst you would not be able to attend."
Pushing the festival to a later date this year was not possible, Annecy said, because of other events on the industry calendar. The 2020 Cannes Film Festival, which has been postponed, is eyeing a possible alternative date in late June or early July.
Annecy still plans to unveil its official selections for the 60th anniversary festival April 15, though the films won't be screened until next year. On April 15, organizers said, they will also announce details for industry attendees.
Annecy is the world's number one festival for animated film and has become a favorite event for studios and independents to launch new projects or kick off global marketing campaigns. At last year's festival, Disney screened the first footage of Frozen 2 and Netflix gave a sneak peek at images from several animated projects in development, including Ricky Gervais' The Willoughbys.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
[Note: The following interview contains spoilers for “Westworld” Season 3, Episode 2 “The Winter Line.”]
No, your eyes did not deceive you. That was a dragon in the belly of the Parks.
“Westworld” Season 3’s second episode finds the unlikely team of Bernard and Stubbs making their way through the treacherous labyrinth of behind-the-scenes testing and staging rooms. At one point, the action cuts away from the two series regulars to focus on two other men weighing some dark choices for the fire breather coiled up in the room next to them.
Of course, these schemers were played by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the real-life co-creators and main duo behind fellow HBO behemoth “Game of Thrones.”
Much like a writers room joke about Hemingworld eventually set Warworld in motion, this week’s quick cameo came from another source very familiar to “Thrones” fans.
“George R. R. Martin had long joked about wanting a crossover between ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Westworld,'” series co-creator Lisa Joy told IndieWire. “Somehow, he must have incepted that idea in our heads, because when it was time to explore, to have Stubbs and Bernard run through this world, we knew that we had to have fun with it.”
For a show that seems based on meticulous, intricate plotting across multiple timelines and realities, bringing Benioff and Weiss into the fold had more casual origins. While the two were in post-production on the final season of “Game of Thrones,” some catch-up time with Joy and Jonathan Nolan set the plan in motion.
“Over a beer we pitched them a silly idea and they very graciously said yes. It was really more an excuse to hang out on set together,” Nolan said. “They’ve been very kind to us over the years. We could not be making our show if they had not blazed the trail of gigantically ambitious cinematic television.”
“The idea of taking these great pals and humiliating them in these white suits, and to bring their little pet over to play was too good to pass up,” Joy said.
This isn’t the first time the show has brought in real-life creators for on-camera recognition. Season 2 enlisted composer Ramin Djawadi to pose as an in-park townsperson and pluck away at a guitar. This week’s episode has another string instrument player — Nolan confirmed that wasn’t Djawadi but joked, “We’ll get him back next season!” As with the Benioff and Weiss scene, that cameo came from a long evening of filming.
“We like to take our good friends and traumatize the shit out of them with night shoots and make them stay up all night,” Joy said with a laugh.
For more thoughts on the rest of Sunday’s episode, read Ben Travers’...
Infinity and Beyond is a regular bi-weekly column documenting the 25-year filmography of Pixar Animation Studios, film by film. In today’s column, writer Josh Spiegel highlights Cars.
In the early days of 2006, the Walt Disney Company made a dramatic change whose impacts are still being felt today. Michael Eisner had once been the CEO of the Disney conglomerate, and while he’d grasped a modicum of the success that Pixar Animation Studios would bring, he’d always been standoffish to the idea of Pixar being fully brought into the fold. For many reasons, Eisner was pushed out of Disney in 2005, when Robert Iger became the new CEO. As Iger wrote in his recent memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime, one of his first acts of business was to do what Michael Eisner refused to do: make Pixar an official part of Disney.
So in January 2006, Disney confirmed a $7.4 billion deal to acquire Pixar Animation Studios. The deal was such, though, that it really felt like Disney was asking Pixar to join them, instead of throwing billions at them. John Lasseter was installed as a creative lead at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, too. That same year, Lasseter returned to the director’s chair, for a true passion project. It was technologically as bold and daring as anything else Pixar had done. The studio’s prior film, The Incredibles, had focused entirely on humans, for the first time. For Cars, though…well, Cars was another story.Taking a Drive
The idea for Cars, though, didn’t officially start with John Lasseter. Instead, it was animator Jorgen Klubien who came up with the idea for something called The Yellow Car. This would be a story about an electric car in a world of gas-guzzling vehicles, akin to The Ugly Duckling. Klubien’s script was first reviewed and initially greenlit in the late 1990s, as Pixar was wrapping production on another fable-inspired story, A Bug’s Life. But for one reason or another, Klubien’s version of a world of cars was pushed to the back burners.
And then, much as there had been a fated lunch in advance of the arrival of Toy Story that would lead to ideas for many great Pixar films, there was a road trip. In 2000, Lasseter took his family on a cross-country road trip that would lead him down a Route 66-shaped rabbit hole. He soon contacted automotive historian Michael Wallis, in the hopes of having a consultant lead him and a group of animators on a trip down the fabled, but mostly forgotten Mother Road.
Klubien, for his part, has frustrated feelings about the whole experience. The animator and musician was excluded from Cars’ end credits, pointing out in an interview, “It is also the most bitter experience of mine as Pixar got rid of me…and because I feel John Lasseter has written me out of the story of how the film got made.”...