The Academy Award nominees have been announced, and they're... eerily familiar! The actor nominees almost mirror the SAG Award nominees, and all of the Golden Globe nominees for Best Drama, Best Screenplay and Best Director (well, except one) are represented. There are still some oversights, but no real upsets, except maybe in the director category. Somewhere in Gotham City, a bat is crying.
Talk about your landslides. Moviegoers voted with their wallets this weekend, and they unanimously voted for Toy Story 3, which brought in $109 million. Not only is that the biggest opening for a Pixar film yet (money-wise, anyway; the 3-D prices help), it also had the biggest June weekend opening ever, beating Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And without even a single robot testicle! Unfortunately, it fell just short of having the biggest opening of any animated feature, since Shrek the Third made $122 million in its 2007 opening, but it can rest confident knowing that it's a much, much better movie.
In Hollywood, a slightly sluggish summer has executives questioning their safe moneymaking strategy of sequels, remakes and more sequels and looking for more original fare. Of course, that didn't stop them from greenlighting a sequel to a remake this week, nor will it stop them from rejoicing when Toy Story 3 makes a boatload of money this weekend. And rejoice they should. Because the new Toy Story, with a newly promoted director and the screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine at the wheel, is as enjoyable and moving as the first two, and I, for one, would be perfectly happy if Pixar made nothing but Toy Story movies from here on out.
It's summertime, which means parents need to find stuff for their kids to do, which means they're taking them to a lot of movies. That's why we can expect to see Toy Story 3 in the Top Ten for a looong time, given that it's getting even better reviews than How to Train Your Dragon, which also stuck around for a while a couple of months back. This weekend the film landed the #7 spot on the list of highest second-weekend grosses of all time with $59 million, and became the fifth-highest grossing movie of the year. I certainly don't envy the upcoming supervillain cartoon Despicable Me having to meet a bar that's been set so high.
Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning role comes out on DVD today, but we're personally more excited about the movie with the talking woodland creatures.
Look out, San Diego Comic-Con -- this past weekend, Disney held their own convention in Anaheim, and it had more Disney-related celebrity panels and announcements than you could shake a stick at. While a lot of the show was simply fan service -- merchandise, collectible pins, a look at new theme parks and attractions in the works, a Miley Cyrus concert -- there were actually a lot of great announcements about upcoming movies, and we thought we'd run down some of the bigger ones below.
Disney released information about some of the future animation projects it has on tap. Most of the offerings seem to be cashing in on previous successes, or relying heavily on old stand-by stories. On the one hand, it's easy to see why: If you spend four or five years making something, you want a sure thing. On the other hand, there's something to be said for laying a foundation for the future. If they don't start up more in the way of new franchises now, what will they have to fall back on five or ten or fifty years from now? Sooner or later, someone's going to lose the keys to that "Disney Vault" and they'll have to come up with something to do besides re-releasing all their old stuff every few years.
Planned for a 2012 release is Cars 2. The kids you took to see the original might have their driver's licenses by then, so you can make them take you to the movies for a change. Then ditch them and sneak into the movie you really want to see.
If that doesn't make the passage of time seem like its's zipping past your eyes like the pictures in a flip book, try this one: Coming in 2010 is Toy Story 3, in which little Andy from the original is now heading off to college. Like too many other movies, this one will also be produced in 3D. Ken is the newest character. Is Ken still on the outs with Barbie and crashing on Andy's couch? If there's not some kind of joke about being anatomically incorrect in a 3D world, I'll be torn between being disappointed and relieved.
Slated for release next year is The Princess and the Frog, which is banking on two separate Disney traditions: Familiar fairytales are an easy sell and young girls are prone to falling in love with complete strangers and/or talking animals.
The Toy Story movies have always featured a fun mix of real and imaginary toys, with Mr. Potato Head, Barbie, Army Men and a Barrel of Monkeys hanging out alongside Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Now, the third installment brings with it a whole slew of new toy characters, including a Ken doll and a classic Chatter Telephone, and it got us thinking about other actual toys we'd like to see in future installments. Make it happen, Pixar!