Posted: Thurs., Mar. 19, 2009, 8:05am PT

Pixar's 'Up' to open Cannes fest

Film is first 3-D toon ever to kick off the event

By Marc Graser
Variety

PARIS -- Ed Asner isn't exactly the first celebrity you'd think of to demand the spotlight on the Cannes Film Festival's typically star-studded red carpet. But organizers are changing things up this year, choosing Disney and Pixar's "Up"as the event's opening night pic.

In fact, "Up" will be the first animated pic, as well as 3-D title, to open Cannes since the festival was founded 62 years ago.
Organizers were attracted to "Up" because toon enables them to tap into Hollywood's push to release more 3-D animated features in theaters.
"Cannes has demonstrated for many years its interest in animation by selecting films from DreamWorks, as well as films that use animation differently," said Thierry Fremaux, Cannes Film Festival's director. "It's audacious to open the festival with an animated film, but we're conscious of our duty: by stretching its boundaries, cinema remains universal."

The Mouse House is only happy to use Cannes as a way to hype "Up," about a 78-year-old man who embarks on a series of adventures after tying thousands of balloons to his house and flying off to South America.
"Up" is the 10th film from Disney and Pixar. Pic is co-directed by Bob Peterson and Pete Docter ("Monsters, Inc.").

Studio has been looking for more ways to promote its critically lauded animated pics after execs like toon topper John Lasseter have grown increasingly frustrated at the recent B.O. performance of releases like "Bolt." While the pics wound up doing well, execs feel they could have performed better with bigger pushes.
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