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  1. #1

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    Pixar gambles on a robot in love

    Pixar Gambles on a Robot in Love
    Pixar Animation Studios/Walt Disney Studios
    Wall-E, the little robot who stars in a big (and expensive) new Pixar film.


    By KATRINA ONSTAD
    The New York Times
    Published: June 22, 2008

    HE is rusty, lipless, sub-literate and keeps company with garbage. Worse, he’s a "Hello Dolly!" fan. This little robot, who goes by the name Wall-E — for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class — is also the newest face (not that he has one) of Pixar.




    Jim Wilson/The New York Times
    Andrew Stanton wrote and directed the almost-silent “Wall-E.”




    Last year’s offering, "Ratatouille" about a cartoon rat with Cordon Bleu aspirations, seemed like a hard sell. But Pixar may have outdone itself in the weird-premises department with "WALL-E," a $180 million post-apocalyptic, near-silent robot love story inspired by Charlie Chaplin.
    Andrew Stanton, who wrote and directed the film, doesn’t care if the kiddies want to hug Wall-E or not when the movie comes out on Friday. “I never think about the audience,” he said. “If someone gives me a marketing report, I throw it away.”

    Mr. Stanton, 42, sat in a Toronto hotel room this month, shaggy-haired and bearded, bouncing in his chair with a tween’s frenzied energy. In this way he seemed to embody the anti-corporate posture that is part of the Pixar mythology. When John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief creative executive, announced the company’s $7.4 billion acquisition by the Walt Disney Company in 2006, he did so in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans. Employees at the Pixar “campus” in Emeryville, Calif., ride scooters and play foosball. “It’s like a film school with no teachers,” Mr. Stanton said. “Everyone actually wants you to take risks.”

    Such is the Pixar brand, or anti-brand: a multibillion dollar company that acts like a nerd hobbyist in a basement. But that balancing act is even tougher to pull off as a subsidiary of Disney, a company whose very name has been turned into a neologism — Disneyfication — for a kind of bland commercial aesthetic.

    Perhaps to assure the public that nothing has changed under new ownership, an early trailer for “Wall-E” plays up Pixar’s carefree mystique. The teaser, narrated by Mr. Stanton, describes a 1994 lunch, when the central Pixar players were finishing "Toy Story," the first feature-length CG animated film. Over lunch they sketched on napkins characters that would end up in "A Bug's Life," "Monsters, Inc." and "Finding Nemo."
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/mo...ts&oref=slogin

  2. #2

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    Re: Pixar gambles on a robot in love

    Thanks for posting this

    I think it's rather sad that the very idea that a studio would take a chance (or, to spin it with a negative connotation as they did, "gamble") on an original concept is something so rare that it makes headlines. The idea that every movie Pixar Studios produces would automatically make more money than the last is preposterous and (unless I'm mistaken) has no precedent in the history of movie studios, so I don't know why they act like this was expected and make it sound all disappointing. There will be BIG big box office hits like Finding Nemo and smaller big box office hits like Ratatouille (which still made a lot of money at the box office considering its supposedly "unsellable" concept, and made even more money overseas). I shudder to think what will happen if Pixar ever produces a bona fide flop, something parent company Disney has done one several occassions.

    The important thing here is making enduring classics. Toy Story was a hit when it was released, and is still popular 13 years later. Films like Pinnochio, Bambi and Alice in Wonderland were initally "financial disappointments" for Disney, but I'm sure they've made up for it since then.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Pixar gambles on a robot in love

    OK, so I just went and saw a sneak peak of this movie and I've gotta say; it's about as difficult to sell as cotton candy. The movie is adorable. There is nothing absolutely nothing that will turn kids off of it. It's no more a risk than a Wiley Coyote film and it will be just as popular. It's not heavy, it's not dark and there is more expression in Wall-E's "not a face" than almost any Dreamworks pic I've seen.

    I had my doubts before I saw it because of how deep and complex the subtleties of Ratatouille were that this movie would be just as difficult for young kids and I was totally wrong. It's probably the lightest movie they've made since Bug's Life and it was thoroughly enjoyable!! Just my opinion, of course.

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  4. #4

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    Re: Pixar gambles on a robot in love

    I have to laugh at this article... at the end it worries about Pixar are not doing as good of box office profit as other Pixar movies in the past.

    Whether or not viewers give in to “Wall-E” is a billion-dollar question. “The box office from Pixar films hasn’t been growing since ‘Finding Nemo,’ ” Mr. Price said, speaking of the domestic box office. “Certainly ‘Cars’ and ‘Ratatouille’ were not as strong as the predecessor films.”
    Ratatouille - worldwide gross-to-date is $621,416,583 which is more than half what Nemo has done but It still a great profit.

    Talk about trying to make something out of nothing.

  5. #5

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    Re: Pixar gambles on a robot in love

    Quote Originally Posted by ni_teach View Post

    Talk about trying to make something out of nothing.
    Seriously. And did they conveniently ignore that Cars has made, so far, FIVE BILLION DOLLARS in merchandise? That's frickin insane.
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  6. #6

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    Re: Pixar gambles on a robot in love

    Fantastic film!
    I laughed, I nearly cried, I fell in love with a little lonely robot that just wanted someone to hold his hand.
    As has been said, I think kids will love the cute little robot running around where adults will pick up more on the environmental message present within. It's not beating it over your head which is nice but there's still that layer of "OMG we're going to ruin the planet and become fat slugs!"
    I also thought people might be put of by the lack of dialogue, but honestly, I hardly noticed it
    I really think the film will have no problems especially after word of mouth starts getting out.


  7. #7

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    Re: Pixar gambles on a robot in love

    Quote Originally Posted by Queentitania19 View Post
    It's probably the lightest movie they've made since Bug's Life and it was thoroughly enjoyable!! Just my opinion, of course.
    ROFL! If you think this movie is this light...I don't know what to say. It was an obvious commentary of corporate America and where rampant consumerism is leading the world. Light indeed. That being said, it was a wonderful film and they were able to give a grim subject a light feel. The end was uplifting, but just thinking of the future in this way is a bit scary.
    I found it rather ironic exiting the theater into the Disney Soda Fountain and seeing all the merchandise. Wall-E will be picking up all that stuff later I suppose

  8. #8

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    Re: Pixar gambles on a robot in love

    The backdrop was serious, the story was nothing more than a romance. I don't find a romance to be heavy subject matter. If a love story is set in WWII it's still a love story. That's all this movie is. Which again doesn't make it any less fabulous.

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