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Hal Geer, Warner Bros. Animation Legend, Dies at 100

Hal Geer, Warner Bros. Animation Legend, Dies at 100
Hal Geer, a film editor, writer, director and producer for animation at Warner Bros. and Disney, has died. He was 100.

A World War II combat cameraman who survived 86 missions flying over China, Geer died Jan. 26 in Simi Valley, Calif., his family announced.

Geer worked on 25 feature films (including 1953's Peter Pan), more than 500 television shows, 400 commercials and 100 short-subject films.

In 1946 after the war, Geer landed a job as a color technician in the special-effects department at Warner Bros. Four years later, he moved...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Disney’s Live-Action ‘Peter Pan’ Movie Finds Director in David Lowery

Disney’s Live-Action ‘Peter Pan’ Movie Finds Director in David Lowery
David Lowery, who has already directed a remake of Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon,” has come on to helm a live-action adaptation of “Peter Pan.” Toby Hallbrooks is penning the script.

Disney’s 1953 animated classic is still the most successful adaptation of the J.M. Barrie novel about the boy who couldn’t age. Sony’s “Hook,” starring Robin Williams and directed by Steven Spielberg, underperformed in 1991, considering the players involved, and last year’s “Pan” bombed.

Disney seems like the right choice to pull off the live-action retelling, given its success of late in turning its animated classics into live-action hits. “Cinderella,” “Maleficent” and “Alice in Wonderland” all dominated box office charts.

“Pete’s Dragon” bows on Aug. 12, and Lowery is also developing “The Old Man and the Gun” with Robert Redford. He is repped by Wme and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Disney to offer movies online

Disney will stream full-length movies on its Web site for the first time as part of its Wonderful World of Disney series on ABC, running now through August.

Finding Nemo is available at www.Disney.com/WWoD through Friday after the film aired Saturday on Disney-owned ABC. Monsters Inc., Haunted Mansion, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Princess Diaries 2, Freaky Friday and Peter Pan also will be available on the site this summer.

A Disney spokesman said the decision to stream movies for free marks an "evolution" in the company's online strategy. Fox, Universal, Lionsgate and MGM have all previously placed titles on Hulu, the NBC Uni/News Corp.-owned JV, while Disney has gone the pay route and kept its films, for the most part, on iTunes.

Disney Channel does, though, stream episodes of its shows online for free.

The spokesman said that the "advertising strategy has not been finalized" for the films. Nemo currently employs a pre-roll and the others will, most likely, have the same, but this approach could change and a "presented by" option is also being considered.

DisneyToon has sequelitis cure

Disney Toon Studios, behind such straight-to-DVD hits as The Lion King 1 1/2, Bambi II and Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, will cease making sequels in order to focus on original stories.

Friday's decision coincided with the announcement that DisneyToon now will operate as a separate unit of Walt Disney Animation Studios under the supervision of Pixar impresarios Ed Catmull and John Lasseter.

Sharon Morrill, who helped found DisneyToon 13 years ago and has been its president since 2004, now will be charged with "special projects" at Walt Disney Studios, including animation and live-action, a spokeswoman said.

Pixar executives have made no secret of their disdain for most Disney-animated sequels; four years ago -- long before Disney's purchase of Pixar -- Steve Jobs called them "pretty embarrassing."

Pixar and Disney, though, will continue to work on Toy Story 3 for theatrical release in 2009. And DisneyToon will finish The Little Mermaid III for a straight-to-DVD release, making that the final sequel planned from DisneyToon, a spokeswoman said.

The first "original" nonsequel movie to come from the restructured DisneyToon is Tinker Bell. Although the character appeared in the 1953 Disney film Peter Pan, executives don't consider it a sequel or prequel to that film because it's about Tinker Bell in the fairy world independent of Peter Pan.

USC names division after Dis' Hench

The USC School of Cinema-Television on Thursday named the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts in honor of the late Disney animation artist. Hench worked on such classic Disney films as Peter Pan, Dumbo, Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland. The naming was made possible through a $5 million endowment gift from the John C. Hench Foundation. The Disney animator died in February 2004. In addition to being a longtime supporter of the division -- which offers three-year Master of Fine Arts and a four-year Bachelor of Arts degrees, as well as undergraduate minors -- Hench was a frequent figure in the classroom and studio, teaching the faculty and students his technique and philosophy. Featured during the event was a screening of the 2004 Oscar-nominated animated short Destino, which first was storyboarded by Hench and Spanish painter Salvador Dali in late 1945 and '46.

USC names division after Dis' Hench

The USC School of Cinema-Television on Thursday named the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts in honor of the late Disney animation artist. Hench worked on such classic Disney films as Peter Pan, Dumbo, Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland. The naming was made possible through a $5 million endowment gift from the John C. Hench Foundation. The Disney animator died in February 2004. In addition to being a longtime supporter of the division -- which offers three-year Master of Fine Arts and a four-year Bachelor of Arts degrees, as well as undergraduate minors -- Hench was a frequent figure in the classroom and studio, teaching the faculty and students his technique and philosophy. Featured during the event was a screening of the 2004 Oscar-nominated animated short Destino, which first was storyboarded by Hench and Spanish painter Salvador Dali in late 1945 and '46.

Animator Frank Thomas Dies at 92

Animator Frank Thomas Dies at 92
Animator Frank Thomas, one of the "nine old men" behind Disney's legendary launch into animation in the 1930s, died Wednesday at his home in California; he was 92. The studio released a statement on Thursday confirming Thomas' passing, stating that he had been in declining health the past few months following a brain hemorrhage. One of the animators on such classics as Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Bambi, Thomas joined Disney in 1934 just as the studio was beginning production on Snow White, its first full-length animated film. Known primarily for crafting emotional scenes, Thomas was the man who created the spaghetti dinner scene in Lady and the Tramp, the ice-skating sequence in Bambi, and Pinocchio's birdcage incarceration by the evil Stromboli, as well as the "I Got No Strings" number from the same movie. Other famed and celebrated creations included the wicked stepmother in Cinderella, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, and the wary Ichabod Crane of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Thomas met his fellow "old man," Ollie Johnston, at Stanford University, and the friendship between the two was chronicled in the 1995 documentary Frank and Ollie, written and directed by Thomas' son Theodore Thomas. The animator retired in 1978 and went on to write several influential books on animation. Thomas is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jeannette, and their four children. --Prepared by IMDb staff

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