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Disney Not Developing Any Hand-Drawn Animated Films Right Now

by
March 6, 2013
Source: SlashFilm

Walt Disney Pictures

If Walt Disney emerged from cryo-slumber and heard what Disney CEO Bob Iger just said at the company's shareholder's meeting, we're guessing he'd be pretty disappointed. Iger revealed today that the Walt Disney Company - including Pixar, Disney Animation, and Disney Toons - is currently not in development on any hand-drawn feature films. That's awfully sad news for fans of the classic Disney animation aesthetic, and it's particularly sad to hear that news coming from the studio that first proved hand-drawn animation could be a viable method of making movies by releasing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. Read on.

After the disappointing box office returns of Disney's hand-drawn film Winnie the Pooh in 2011, it looks like Iger is taking that as a sign that audiences don't want to see hand-drawn animation anymore. I don't necessarily think that's true - The Princess and the Frog made over $265 million worldwide only a few years ago - but money talks, and Hollywood is becoming increasingly risk-averse. It's important to note that Iger hasn't sworn off hand-drawn animation altogether, but there just aren't any big projects being developed internally that we'd see in the next couple of years. Thanks to SlashFilm for pointing out Iger's quotes.

With John Kahrs' charming Paperman winning an Oscar for Best Animated Short, perhaps Iger wishes to further explore the technology that Kahrs and his team pioneered, which blends hand-drawn animation with CGI. After all, we haven't seen an entire feature film using this technique yet, so instead of crying that hand-drawn films might be on their way out, let's be optimistic that Paperman's Oscar-winning success could cause a mini-revolution in the way all animated features are done going forward. Your thoughts?

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  • Clocker910
    The reason Winnie the Pooh had poor returns was because some dumb mother fucker released it the same god damn weekend as HARRY POTTER!!!!
  • http://twitter.com/FidelReyes_ Fidel Reyes
    Ow but hand drawn disney movies are beautiful... But then again Paperman as beautiful as well could be interesting... I think I like hand drawn movies more because of nostalgia, since I am from The Lion King and Hercules disney movie era.
  • http://twitter.com/stalkbrandon Brandon V. Fletcher
    This is unfortunate
  • The Truth
    Please keep making the hand drawn movies like The Little Mermaid and lastly The Princess and the Frog! Stop being lazy motherfuckers usinfg the CGI/Pixar stuff instead.
  • OfficialJab
    One every once in awhile is good enough for me.
  • Happy camper
    I dont care for CGI animation films everything feels lifeless to me. But it dont matter cause Studio Ghibli > Disney.
  • syntaxterror
    I think Disney just needs to break format with their animated movies. Meaning, don't make everything a damned musical fiesta and maybe try different art styles. Of course, a good original script makes everything better
    • Aero027
      Disney has done this several times. Lilo and Stitch, Emperors New Grove, Treasure Planet, Atlantis, and Home on the Range were all strikingly different style wise and none of them had music. Most don't remember them because audiences rejected them for not following the musical formula that Disney is famous for. (And with the exception of Home on the Range all of those movies are much better films than people give them credit for)
  • http://www.facebook.com/jmooore Alex J Moore
    if they bring out a CGI and hand-drawn hybrid feature length i think that would satisfy everyone. the passion for it is still clearly there, the lighting in Paperman was astounding for a black and white film.
  • Ignitrous
    Believe it or not, they've been doing CGI/hand-drawn animation hybrids ever since Beauty and the Beast. Just check out the dancing scene. Also, I recently watched Treasure Planet with my kids and noticed they used the same technique, very effectively I might add.
    • castingcouch
      I think The Little Mermaid in 1989 was the first Disney movie to use the CAPS technique.
  • Wafffles
    What will happen sooner or later is some company will emerge that basically flips the Pixar strategy on its head. Pixar gained its following by making good films, but it gained its market share by doing something unique in CGI animation. There is a gaping hole for a very good brand of hand drawn movies, regardless of what Disney says, simply because there is no company out there doing it any more. Of course I'm not saying any old kindergartner with crayons will make the next Toy Story, but a studio with a vision and talent will cash in big with a decent story will cash in big with both the nostalgia crowd and, ironically enough, the novelty crowd looking for a change of pace from computer animation.
  • Aero027
    I think this is the right decision for Disney because when Disney dwells on their past, Disney fails at their projects. Whenever they create an attraction at Disney World that honors the "tradition that Walt built" its always a mediocre attraction because what fits that formula is pretty tame and boring by today's standards. However when Disney makes something new to compete with Universal Studios...they knock it out of the park. They're Disney. They can lure in the most creative and talented people in the world and those types aren't looking to rehash old ideas from the past for some nostalgia trip. They're looking forward, and forward is technology and computer animation. If Walt Disney were alive today he wouldn't be defending his hand drawn animation. He was a pioneer. He'd be looking towards the next big thing (like animation was back then) and making it his own. Disney will never abandon animation all together but they know what they're doing. I work with kids and I can tell you all children under 8 are starting to struggle to maintain interest and attention unless the animation is CGI. We watched 101 Dalmations with some preschoolers not too long ago and one kid asked what was wrong with the television because the animation looked so foreign to him compared to what he was used to watching he thought the TV was broken. Disney is great at what they do, but they shouldn't insist on living in a broken television world of animation just because we, as adults...like the tradition (that might I add is our perception of their tradition, and not really what they strive for).
    • semo2010
      What you said about exploring new ideas and not dwelling in the past is quite valid, however, you got something wrong. Hand drawn animation is something completely different to CGI animation. They're apples and oranges, I cringe every time I hear the whole CGI is the future of animation. That's plain none sense. CGI is one outlet for animation just like stop motion, cut out and hand drawn animation is, or else, explain to me Japanese animation? I don't see them going mainstream 3D anytime soon and they are the biggest animation industry in the world today. CGI animation, when done right, plays with its strength, which is realism and depth. Stop motion, when done right, plays with its strength, which is bringing literally real life inanimate objects to life. And hand drawn animation, when it's based on a successful idea, plays by its strength, which is expressive animation that is not really doable in any other form. Next time, instead of showing the kids 101 Dalmations, try showing them Ben10, Avatar or Naruto, not that I recommend it (age issues), but you'll see what I mean. We need to move on from this mentality that 2D animation is a thing of nostalgia, it is a beast of its own.

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