Those worries can be put to rest. More than five months from the premiere of Disney's latest animated film, the first to be traditionally-animated since 2004's "Home on the Range", a new 2D film has been announced.
The film will star a familiar, silly ol' bear. His name? Winnie the Pooh.
New Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh Initiatives
Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh remain among the company's key character franchises; for a broad cross-section of consumers, these two classic characters boast a deep emotional connection and an unrivaled affinity like no other. In support of this, DCP has developed comprehensive plans to propel the growth of these classic character properties and keep them "top of mind" across demographics.
Beginning with Winnie the Pooh, DCP and Walt Disney Animation Studios today announced a new theatrical film planned for spring 2011, making it Pooh's first theatrical release in six years since Pooh's Heffalump Movie in 2005. DCP will focus merchandise strategy on moms of infants and toddlers, with a secondary focus on women. Other Disney businesses, including Disney Publishing, are developing Pooh content for a new generation of consumers that will further drive the growth potential of this classic character.
The other reactions have been negative at best. Disney fans are in disbelief that after touting "The Princess and the Frog" as a return to classic animation, Disney has chosen to follow with a sequel. The problem is the original 1977 film Winnie the Pooh has had nearly a dozen sequel films and TV shows spin off of it. For many, Pooh has been sucked dry and is now a lifeless, ragged old toy. So, while they aren't necessarily against the idea of a sequel, these enraged fans are against a Pooh sequel.
The counter-argument has been that if Disney wants to ensure a successful return to 2D after the market has been dominated and over-saturated by CGI for the last five years, than they need to produce something familiar to consumers. Hence, a Princess film and a Pooh film.
Fans have hopes that bolder, original animation projects will follow.
The aforementioned press release left doubt as to which studio was animating the picture, which caused further debate in forums. At face value, it sounded like Walt Disney Animation Studios - creators of all the 'classics' (spanning from 1937's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to last year's "BOLT"). Others remained un-convinced and thought that it had to be DisneyToon Studios, creators of the many 'cheapquels' (The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, Cinderella III: A Twist in Time).
Well, I was determined to find out for myself. I pulled out my Disney contacts list and shot off an e-mail to every Disney higher-up I had. It was a little desperate, but hey, I got results!
My e-mail to Disney Motion Pictures Group President Mark Zoradi was forwarded to Disney spokeswoman Heidi Trotta.
The information she has sent is breaking news! No other report has had this information. Currently, all news reports about this new 2011 Winnie the Pooh film merely echo one another and are very vague. My report below includes major updates!
I will post her e-mail first, followed by my original e-mail to Mark Zoradi, where she has posted her answers.
Your e-mail was forwarded to me for response.
My answers are below in red.
Thank you so much for
Dear Mr. Zoradi,
Disney Animation fans are excited about the newly announced Winnie the Pooh feature film arriving in Spring 2011.
This was exciting news to come out of the Licensing Exposition in Las Vegas yesterday.
However, there is some confusion that is causing an uproar across forums and blogs. Is this film being animated at and/or by Walt Disney Animation Studios? The movie is being produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. This marks the first time in more than 35 years that a Winnie the Pooh motion picture is being produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Under the supervision of John Lasseter and producer, Clark Spencer ("Lilo & Stitch," "Bolt") the movie is due out in theaters spring 2011. Steve Anderson ("Meet the Robinsons") and Don Hall (head of story on "The Princess and The Frog") will co-direct. Tidbit: Burny Mattinson who worked as an animator on the original Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree featurette in 1964 will serve as the lead story artist on the project.
The studio is seen in the website below: http://www.disneyanimation.com/aboutus/history.html
Is that Walt Disney Animation Studios animating this new Spring 2011 Winnie the Pooh feature? Yes
If not, who/which studio is in charge of animating the upcoming film?
If so, does that make it one of the 'classics' or 'canon' films, also represented at the aforementioned website. Yes
Your assistance with these questions is highly appreciated. If you could just take a moment to clear up the confusion to settle down fans who are up in arms, that would be great!
Thank you in advance,
This marks only the third (maybe fourth) official sequel within the Disney Animated Classics Line:
Fantasia and Fantasia 2000
The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under
(Possibly) Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros
Not only that, but it is going to be traditionally animated!
So, are you excited or not? Please sound off in the comments section!