Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Pixar comedy offers light relief in Cannes

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cannes1The first film has been shown at Cannes and it is already a hit, which will come as welcome relief in the general climate of economic crisis that has surrounded the start of the festival.

Disney/Pixar’s “Up”, the story of retired balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, thrown together with a keen but clumsy boy scout called Russell, has been hailed as “arguably the funniest Pixar effort ever” by The Hollywood Reporter and as a “tremendous film” by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.

Director Pete Docter said he was inspired by film-makers of an earlier era like Frank Capra and “Up’s” debt to old movies is obvious.

Three dimensional digital effects give a remarkable visual depth to the adventure of the gruff old widower and the zealous young stowaway who float away to South America in a house borne aloft under a string of balloons. As the pair swing precariously through the clouds above the jungle green or flee a bounding pack of dogs, the 3D effects add a dazzling dimension to the tale. But beneath it all, the film is an old fashioned story of love and redemption in the classic Hollywood manner that would have done the old master proud. “Walt Disney always said that for every laugh there has to be a tear,” said producer and Pixar boss John Lasseter. Many a tear certainly seemed to be creeping out from under the special 3D goggles at the press screening and it was faintly disconcerting to see so many hardened reporters blubbing silently away as the credits rolled.

Christmas comes early with Disney “Christmas Carol” train

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Christmas is coming early this year, courtesy of a 40-city train tour of the United States to promote the upcoming  3-D animated movie “Disney’s A Christmas Carol.”

With a snowy backdrop complete with carolers, decorations and all the sights and sounds of Christmas, the four vintage rail cars will offer Americans a sneak peek of the new movie as well as artwork, costumes from the film and artifacts from the Charles Dickens museum in London.

Jonas Brothers vs. Hannah Montana in 3-D showdown

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Last year, then 15-year-old Miley Cyrus was the runaway hit at 3-D theaters when her “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” made $31.1 million the-jonas-brothers2its opening weekend at U.S. and Canada box offices in only 683 theaters.

Cyrus’ old friends the Jonas Brothers, who gained fame on her Disney television show “Hannah Montana,” are looking to eclipse that number when their 3-D concert movie opens in 1,271 theaters on Friday, and hundreds of theaters have been sold out.

Disney’s “Small World” expands

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It’s not such a small world anymore.

One of  the Disneyland theme park’s oldest and most beloved attractions — “It’s a Small World” -reopens on Friday after a make-over and the addition of 29 Disney and Pixar characters including Lilo and Stitch, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan to the cast of familiar child dolls from around the world.FP

Disney says some “subtle theme music” from Disney and Pixar films has also been woven into the familiar song that plays during the gentle boat ride that has been celebrating the children of the world and their message of peace and harmony since 1966.

Got bad date karma? Get a “virtual boyfriend” on Soapnet

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JAPANFor every woman who has looked aghast across a restaurant table as her date spouted something like the following: ”Waiter, I’ll have your cheapest champagne” or “If I want to get a hooker when I’m in Vegas, my wife is just going to have to understand” — Soapnet has a contest for you.

(For the record, those quotes are taken from two real dates)

The soap opera cable network, owned by the Walt Disney Co, is offering a “virtual boyfriend” to the woman with the absolute worst date story for a six-week Valentine’s Day promotion that kicks off Jan. 4.

Disney hands out subway tickets for “Narnia” DVD

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Cash-strapped commuters who wish they could disappear into a magical land with talking animals, take heart! The Walt Disney Co will be handing out free subway rides in the busiest U.S. subway stations to promote the DVD release of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” on Dec. 2.

Disney says it hopes to “spread a little magic” to strap-hangers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco who may not be aware that the Pevensie kids in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books — on which the films are based – were transported there while waiting for the subway.

Actors shed tears over “High School Musical”

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Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, Chad and Taylor were “all in this together” for almost zac-and-vanessa-premier.jpgthree years,  so when it came down to the final day of filming for “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”  tears were flowing on set.

The latest movie in the Disney franchise, which opens in the U.S. on Oct. 22, sees the six main characters graduate East High School, and although Disney is already planning a fourth installment in a couple of years time, many of the stars won’t be coming back.

Oprah joining cast of Disney movie

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Oprah Winfrey is going to the Big Easy — at least in the fictional world of animation — by joining the cast of an upcoming Disney movie set in New Orleans during the jazz age. 

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In “The Princess and the Frog,” which is set for release in late 2009, Winfrey will play the mother of the main character Princess Tiana, who in turn will be voiced by “Dreamgirls” star Anika Noni Rose.
    
The talk show queen has a dozen acting credits in her career, including voice work for  last year’s “Bee Movie.”
    
“The Princess and the Frog” marks Disney’s first return to traditional animation since its 2004 “Home on the Range,” which earned mixed reviews. The movie made $104 million worldwide, less than its production budget, according to Box Office Mojo. 
     
    

Get your head back in the game for HSM 3: Senior Year

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hsm.jpgFans of High School Musical have just a week to count down before Disney releases the first global look at “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on Tuesday said that from July 13, a high-energy trailer for the third movie about Troy, Gabriella and their friends at  East High School will be shown on Disney Channels in several countries as well as on Disney.com. Hosted by Zac Ephron (Troy Bolton) and Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella Montez), and including the song “Now or Never” from the upcoming movie, the trailer features footage from the film slated for a release on October 24.

“Wanted” vs. “Wall-E” at movie box offices

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angie.jpgAngelina Jolie’s new action assassin movie “Wanted” opens this weekend against the gentle-natured Disney-Pixar animation “Wall-E“ – two movies aimed at different audiences in a classic case of Hollywood studio “counterprogramming.” The different mix of movies is unlike last week when in an unusual move, two studios opened comedies against one another: “Get Smart” and “The Love Guru.”

“Get Smart” won the weekend box office sweepstakes with a roughly $40 million haul that beat expectations while “Love Guru,” disappointed with a paltry $14 million. In the case of “Wanted,” which is aimed at young adults, and “Wall-E,” a family film, both are expected to perform well and continue what has been a robust summer box office in the United States and Canada.

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