News ► Disney Currently Not Developing Any Hand-Drawn Animated Features



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Oracle Spockanort

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The studio that helped pioneer 2D, hand drawn, theatrical animation is currently at a crossroads with the process. At Wednesday’s Walt Disney Company shareholder’s meeting, CEO Bob Iger revealed none of Disney’s animation companies, which includes Disney Animation, Pixar and Disney Toons, are currently developing, or have plans to develop, any 2D, hand drawn animation for the big screen. He’s not ruling it out, but the current slate - which probably stretches 3-4 years – has none of it.

The only place the company is currently continuing the tradition is on some of their animated television shows.

With 3D theatrical animation becoming so lucrative for studios these days, this doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. The target audience, young kids, have come to expect a certain aesthetic in their movies. The Pixar aesthetic. Even the other animation studios, such as Blue Sky or DreamWorks, have been emulating that for a while. Not to mention a younger generation of animators currently working in features are likely much more proficient on a Mac rather than with a pencil and paper.

It makes an animation fan wonder, is hand drawn animation dead?

[Update: This next paragraph has been edited as I made a minor mistake differentiating between Princess and the Frog instead of Winnie the Pooh.]

Disney’s last hand-drawn theatrical feature was 2011′s Winnie the Pooh, which grossed a paltry $33 million worldwide. Iger, almost expectedly, forgot that when addressing the question and incorrectly stated that 2009′s The Princess and the Frog was their last hand-drawn film. That film was a success, grossing $267 million worldwide. However, juxtapose it to the Disney animation films that came before and after that. Bolt, which grossed $310 million and Tangled, which grossed $590 million. Obviously, that could have something to do with the quality of those films, but the bottom line surely isn’t lost on the company. (Winnie the Pooh even bolsters the point further. It was critically adored, but publicly forgotten.)

I’d imagine, somewhere down the road, a Disney fan who works their way up in the company will come to the executives with an original, hand-drawn animated idea and it’ll be sold as Disney’s return to their roots. But according to the CEO, that isn’t happening anytime soon, especially not on the big screen. Hand drawn animation isn’t dead, but it’s certainly on life support.
Walt Disney Company Currently Not Developing Any Hand-Drawn Animated Features | /Film

I think it is absolutely ridiculous that it's been four years since Princess and the Frog and Disney still doesn't intend to make a new 2D film. The plan after Princess and the Frog was to not work on anything new for 2D for a few years, but another four years without having anything lined up? (that isn't Pooh because Pooh was marketed terribly and released the same weekend as Harry Potter) That is a bit much.

The fact that 3D animated films are everywhere right now should be the incentive for Disney to think about taking the dive and shift away from the trend. Disney wasn't entirely pleased with the box office numbers for PatF despite being pretty good, but the merchandising and marketing before the film was fantastic. Not sure what Disney is looking for, but Disney has the power to reintroduce hand-animated movies back into the mainstream. They should just do it and not by relying on previous franchises like Winnie the Pooh considering how that blew up in their faces.
 

Wehrmacht

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They should just do it and not by relying on previous franchises like Winnie the Pooh considering how that blew up in their faces.
I think Pooh could have done well but everything around the film just sorta doomed it to not being the success it could be. Premiering the same time as Harry Potter might as well have been a bullet to the head.
 

Raz

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Sad. :(
I enjoyed computer animated stuff a lot more when it was the infrequent, but really special, Pixar film. Disney's output has been ho-hum for some time now.
 

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I actually went to see the Pooh movie with my family when it came out in theaters. It was alright.

I'm honestly more excited for them to use the art style that was used in Paperman for their future movies.
 

OmniChaos

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Disney wasn't entirely pleased with the box office numbers for PatF despite being pretty good, but the merchandising and marketing before the film was fantastic. Not sure what Disney is looking for, but Disney has the power to reintroduce hand-animated movies back into the mainstream.
My guess is that they're looking for the next "Lion King" movie, where they can just just rake in piles of money. When PatF didn't preform at the level they wanted, they got all pissy about it. It's a shame Walt Disney ideal of making movies to make people happy was lost in what his legacy has become.

I think Pooh could have done well but everything around the film just sorta doomed it to not being the success it could be. Premiering the same time as Harry Potter might as well have been a bullet to the head.
I don't know. While I will agree that Pooh would have done much better had it been released better, I think the franchise in general was too old to appeal to audiences as it previously did.


I think, for me, one of the most disappointing things I heard was when Disney announced "Frozen" as CGI. Sure, I suppose I should actually withhold my opinion until I actually see the movie, but I can't help but feel, with a story based on the Snow Queen, that the film would be so much stronger (and more magical) had it been hand-drawn. It could have easily been what revived hand-drawn animation.
 

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you'd think they'd at least try something in the paperman vein after the success it saw
 

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you'd think they'd at least try something in the paperman vein after the success it saw
My thoughts exactly. People loved it, but still no motivation to go forward with it? Really disappointing.
 

Professor Ven

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To Walt Disney, his greatest achievement was in making Snow White. It was probably the only animated Disney movie into which he put so much time and effort, etc. Everything was hinged on it, and it turned out to be a success both financially and visually.

Problem for the Walt Disney Company is that they don't have another Walt. The WD Company itself is too afraid of taking risks with movies now, or for that matter, almost anything. They're too focused on keeping the Disney image and also trying to work in the area they've been in for almost a hundred years, while also trying to turn a profit.

Or they could always bring in Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.
 
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