John Lasseter holds up plans to move Disney/Pixar to Asia; Disney’s Moana to premiere to theaters 2016; Turner gets excusive rights to Disney films


Welcome to the moving in worldwide edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!


Last week, DreamWorks headed themselves to Shanghai, China to work alongside with South Korean animated companies to continue their ongoing movie franchises in here an back in the states. But Disney/Pixar animation chief John Lasseter is staying behind. For what reason Johnny?



Johnny Trout (via The Hollywood Reporter)- While DreamWorks Animation is set to launch its Chinese venture in Shanghai and to collaborate with South Korean animation studios, John Lasseter says Disney-Pixar has no immediate plans for localized projects in Asia.

“At this point in time, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, we have artists from all over the world working for us. We are working on handcrafted films at our in-house studios,” Lasseter told Korean reporters on Tuesday in Seoul, where he kicked off the company’s Asia tour.

About the growth of other animation firms, he said he welcomes healthy competition. “I’d rather be a player in a healthy industry rather than a single player in a dead industry,” he said.

The chief of the animation giant added, however, that both studios are always seeking inspiration “all over the world, for wonderful legends and stories.”

The reason for kicking off the tour in Korea, moreover, he said, is due to the incredible success of Frozen here, which made the Asian country the largest market for the wintry tale outside of the U.S. Grossing more than $77 million, according to the Korean Film Council’s KOBIS data — plus additional profits through IPTV — it became one of the 10 highest-grossing films in Korean box-office history.

“What happened in this country with the movie Frozen is very special. Frozen healed the Walt Disney Animation Studio and made the studio so strong. And the way Korea loved the movie so much meant so much for us,” said the executive. “The reason why we chose to start here in Seoul, Korea, for our big Asian tour is to say thank you.”

He presented the highlights of Disney-Pixar’s 2015-2016 lineup, including Big Hero 6. The film had made headlines in Korea for featuring the voice of Daniel Henney, one of the biggest local stars.

“We were very happy to have Daniel Henney do the voice of Teddy. He was fantastic to work with. It’s important to get great actors,” said Lasseter, adding that the actor inspired his character.

The executive continues his tour across mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan to promote Disney’s Zootopia, Moana and Giants and Pixar’s Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory. The executive said that Disney-Pixar will continue to be a strong, filmmaker-driven studio that produces “stories from the heart” while also showcasing groundbreaking technology that combines the ideals of both 2D and 3D animated visuals.


Disney and Marvel’s Big Hero 6 made an appearance last summer as a sneak peek of the next computer animated hit since Frozen. Well, the mouse uncovered a new animated adventure flick to add to their 2015-2016 movie schedule. What’s the story behind those 2 Jim?


Jim Fish (via Yahoo! TV)- With only a few weeks left before Walt Disney Animation’s Marvel Comics adaptation “Big Hero 6” hits theaters, the studio has added another feature to its pipeline. The Mouse House revealed plans Monday for “Moana,” a CG-animated comedy-adventure about “a spirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest.”
”Moana” is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, best known for Disney staples like “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin.” The directing duo’s last feature was 2009’s severely under-appreciated ”The Princess and the Frog.” (Parents, are we showing this one to our kids? Get on that!). “Moana” is expected to sail into theaters in late 2016.

Disney’s press release explains that “Moana” is set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania. In search of a fabled island, Moana “teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.”



“Creating ‘Moana’ is one of the great thrills of our career,” said Clements in a statement. “It’s a big adventure set in this beautiful world of Oceania.” If it’s as sweeping as “Treasure Planet” (another Clements gem!), count me in.

If John Musker is to be believed, “Moana” should continue Disney’s re-invention of the “Princess” brand that turned 2013’s “Frozen” into the fifth highest grossing movie of all time, “Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” the director said in the same statement. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”

“Moana” joins another Walt Disney Animated film, “Zootopia,” Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” and an untitled “Star Wars” standalone film on Walt Disney Pictures’ 2016 slate.


The mouse also got a shock this week as the Turner networks hit pay dirt big time! That also means big viewership numbers for Cartoon Network and Boomerang. What caused the big ruckus from there Dan?


Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. has secured the network television premiere windows for The Walt Disney Studios‘ upcoming releases Cinderella and The Jungle Book. As part of a licensing agreement with The Walt Disney Studios, the highly anticipated movies will be available to networks across Turner Broadcasting’s portfolio, including TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network, a little over two years after each film’s theatrical release. The tentative network premiere windows are slated to begin in mid-2017 for Cinderella and early 2018 for The Jungle Book.  Both films are set to hit theatres in 2015.

“We are confident Disney’s new live-action versions of Cinderella and The Jungle Book will appeal to a wide range of demographics and will enjoy extremely successful runs across our various branded networks,” said Deborah K. Bradley, senior vice president, head of program acquisitions, content strategy and licensing for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “These movies are the kind of tent-pole releases that will fit perfectly with Turner’s ever-growing stable of blockbuster titles.”

Turner Broadcasting’s licensing agreement for Disney’s Cinderella and The Jungle Book comes on the heels of a high-profile deal for the network television premiere windows for the next five theatrical releases from Disney subsidiary Marvel, including Avengers: Age of Ultron and the third installment in the Captain America franchise.

A live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, Cinderella brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually-dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation. Directed by Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh and starring Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden and Academy Award® nominee Helena Bonham Carter, Cinderella‘s theatrical release is slated for March 13, 2015.

Disney’s all-new live-action movie The Jungle Book, inspired by the animated classic, is directed by Jon Favreau. The all-star voice cast includes Academy Award® nominee Bill Murray as Baloo, Academy Award® winners Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Christopher Walken as King Louie and Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, plus Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela and newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli. The film arrives in theaters in 3D on Oct. 9, 2015.


Checking the Penguins tally, 2,047 fans sign in as Team Skipper prepares for their next mission to be spy superstars since the 3 Madagascar movies.



The biggest night comes next week as we sort out the clues to a marathon of surprises, but which ones? Find out on the next edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report!

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