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A theatrical release for Tinker Bell?

The new direct-to-video Tinker Bell feature will be playing exclusively at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, from September 19th through October 2nd.

The line is blurring as to what actually constitutes a theatrical release these days. This is clearly a promotional engagement for the DVD release on October 28th. But it’s being released with all the hoopla (and advertising) normally reserved for a kids event film (think Disney’s Miley Cyrus/Hanna Montana 3-D concert or that recent American Girl flick). So here’s my question: Does this qualify the film for Oscar eligibility?

(Thanks, Eric Graf)

  • Christopher Cook

    If it goes to DVD straight away, no Oscar nods. Yet another Disney shill to milk allowances from little girls.

  • Tissa Tack

    Doesn’t something have to play in at least a couple of theaters for a couple of nights? I have no idea, but I wouldn’t think so, personally. Does anyone know for sure?

  • Kyle

    Oscar eligibility? ha ha, good one.

    I’d say no, this doesn’t count. coming from a big cooperation like Disney a release this limited is nothing. I mean, they showed the little mermaid a for a bit before its dvd release, but you never really hear people acknowledge that do ya?

  • Bill5925

    If they do a “qualifying” run in LA and NY, it may be just to up the number of “features” released this year, possibly qualifying for five final nominees instead of three.

  • Wouldn’t it be funny if Disney were to actually submit this for Oscar consideration?

  • Bobby D.

    “Yet another Disney shill to milk allowances from little girls.”

    You say “shill”, I say a great way to spend an afternoon with my little girl. Not every film is made for 25 year old animation students.

    Respectively, let the kids have some fun. This “Tinker Bell” movie is a much bigger thing than many may realize….(check the number of plays on all of the You Tube trailers). Thank You for your time.

  • Unlike Mr. D., I try desperately to keep my 5 year-old daughter away from dreck like this. It’s tough. She sees the bus shelter ads and hears about it from her friends.

    And the Kit Kitteridge movie (live action, guys) was quite good but made no waves at the box office.

  • Eric Graf

    I’m no Academy rulemaking wonk, but after checking the official rules, it looks to me like this 100% qualifies for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

    It’s in a commercial theater in LA county for 7 consecutive days,

    it’s being advertised,

    it’s for paid admission,

    it’s presumably 24 FPS, either on 35mm or in minimum 1080P High Definition projection,

    it’s within the designated release timeframe,

    and it’s over 40 minutes.

    The only possible snag I can see is this one:
    “Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category. (This includes broadcast and cable television as well as home video marketing and Internet transmission.) However, ten minutes or ten percent of the running time of a film, whichever is shorter, is allowed to be shown in a nontheatrical medium prior to the film’s theatrical release.”

    The El Capitan run is well before the DVD release. So the only remaining questions so far as I can tell, are: Have they shown more than 10% of it in public? And is Disney going to submit it?

  • Paul N

    To qualify for an Oscar, a film has to run in a theater in either L.A. or N.Y.C. for one week in front of a paying audience. Disney’s plan exceeds this requirement by a week, so this move would technically qualify the film for Oscar consideration.

  • tom


    Oscar eligibility! Gold, Jerry, gold!


    Inkers, Painters, Cameramen…lend me your mouse ears…
    I come to bury Tinkerbell not to praise her;
    The evil that execs do lives after them.
    The good oft interred with their bones,
    So let it be with Peter Pan.. The noble Lassiter
    Hath told you Tinkerbell was ambitions.
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Tinkerbell answered it…
    etc etc and so forth….

    (apologies to Walt) but SCREW TINKERBELL!
    Never thought I’d say that… In my minds eye this project could have been so much better. But, what the “heck” is “Disney” thinking about. The film should be buried not praised.

    My heart is in the coffin there with Tink…
    And I must pause till it comes back to me…

    Pray the same for Mighty Lassiter! The fool…

  • Angry Anim

    I thought even playing for a single night enables Oscar eligibility. Isn’t that what they did with that documentary with Sting on the making of Emperor’s New Groove? Right? Or maybe I’m not remembering correctly.

  • No need to guess at the rules…


    note that animated features have to be 70+ minutes long. The 40+ minute rule is for non-animated features.

    exhibition rules vary for non-features films but they are also written there if you dig far enough.

  • Bobby D.

    “Unlike Mr. D., I try desperately to keep my 5 year-old daughter away from dreck like this. ”

    Nice, thanks…nothing like passing judgement on someones parenting choices. (Amid, I can defend myself here, right?) thanks:)

  • Andrew

    When John Lasseter viewed the film BEFORE he suggested changes to it, he called it “unwatchable”. Judging from the news and the links provided here, I still think it is, but you DO raise a good question on the Oscar nomination.

  • Paul N

    Here are the eligibility rules from the Oscars.org website:


    I tried to cut and paste, but it’s not working for some reason…

  • Chuck R.

    I like Bill5925’s hypothesis: maybe they are trying to saturate the landscape to give Bolt a better shot at a nomination? How many features have to be out there to get 3 nominees? How many for more than that?

    I’ll side with Bobby D. The tykes can watch a “chocolate frosted sugar bomb” of a movie once in a while. All things in moderation.

  • uncle wayne

    CGI or not CGI….she’s STILL the sexiest thing in Toondom!!

  • It could be but I doubt AMPAS would even consider it. I bet they would get a great amount of criticism for giving a nod to a film that was on one screen. Plus there’s the straight-to-DVD stigma.

    When you consider how straight-to-DVD films get bad press (and rightfully so in a large number of cases…did you know National Lampoon was relevant at one point?) you know that AMPAS voters would be reluctant to vote for a film with this kind of release.

  • Jason

    So what’s so bad about the Tinkerbell movies? Beats the hell out of My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and other merchandising dreck that was made into truly crappy movies. These new Tink films look like some care and even some vision went into them. Good stuff for girls, and just kids in general. What’s wrong with that?

  • If/when I have a kid, I’m going to corrupt his/her innocent mind with the madness that is Looney Tunes (and maybe some Disney golden age shorts, while I’m at it). Why, that’s what I did when I was a young’un and I turned out *twitch* fine!

    As much as my brain is telling me not to, I’m actually going to give this, uhh, film(?) the benefit of a doubt. I think there’s a tiny chance it might actually be GOOD.

    I’d put it at about the same odds that I start up an award winning feature animation studio someday.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Jason sez: “So what’s so bad about the Tinkerbell movies? Beats the hell out of My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and other merchandising dreck that was made into truly crappy movies.”

    Except that the Tinkerbell movie IS following in the footsteps of other licensed character merchandising. As surely as the Care Bears begot the Care Bear Cousins through the process known as “line extension” [for thus did Coke beget Diet Coke and Caffeine-Free Coke and Cherry Coke unto the third and fourth generations…], so Disney did behold Tinkerbell and lo, they perceived she was not just a character from J. M. Barrie’s story but one of a line of fairies begging to be extended. I know the artwork looks good, and the back story details as I’ve seen them in various tie-in books are very reminiscent of the material in Rein Poortvliet’s “Gnomes” book from around 1980, and they seem to have gone out of their way not only to sketch out personalities for the other fairies but to make them a multicultural bunch rather than a tribe of blue-eyed blonds like Tink.

    But frankly, I’d be very surprised if there’s a halfway-decent story associated with the vid. Heck, there wasn’t much of a plot for “Jungle Book 2,” either, if I recall.

  • joecab

    What’s so bad if it does go into theaters? When I was a kid we had a mess of crappy cartoons that did that (like Santa and the Three Bears) and it was still kinda fun just to go to the movies. I realize there’s a lot more competition nowadays, but we also have local theaters running TV toons for special summer matinee programs, so why not?

  • Keith Paynter

    I doubt this film qualifies as [i]anything…[/i]

  • Brian Kidd

    Does the Tinkerbell movie look like it’s going to be any good? Nope. Then again, I’m not an eight-year-old girl. I grew up watching all the animation I could pipe through the old Zenith. That included classic Disney shorts and films, WB toons, and, yes, complete drivel like He-Man, Mr. T, and the Transformers. The thing is that, at the time, I enjoyed all of them. They served their purpose. Now once I grew up, I developed the taste and reasoning to shed the lesser shows and films while increasing my enjoyment and appreciation for the better shows and films. Having one does not automatically exclude the other. They both serve a purpose, but the quality animation endures long after the disposable entertainment fades from memory. For a current example, my four-year-old can watch Scooby Doo or Filmation’s Ghostbusters show for hours and enjoy them. He also decided on his own just this morning to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Some of his favorite things to watch are classic Disney, Looney Tunes, and The Iron Giant. Disney is in the entertainment business. The Tinkerbell movie might not be my cup of tea, but it will very likely entertain young kids.

    That being said, I do think that Disney desperately needs to begin concentrating a little more on bringing back the quality animation projects in addition to the fluff. Their talent pool and reputation demand it. They can only coast for so long on past triumphs. Thankfully, Pixar has taken up Walt’s mantle and is producing the new classics.

  • dan

    I guess I’ll just never understand passing judgement on something you’ve never even seen.

    I can imagine seeing a movie trailer and deciding that the film is probably not for me, but to take the time to go on line and verbalize your distain of the unknown is bizzare to me.

    I don’t know what to think of Tinker Bell. I have reservations, but who knows?

  • Eric Graf

    “It could be but I doubt AMPAS would even consider it. I bet they would get a great amount of criticism for giving a nod to a film that was on one screen.”

    You lose your bet. Rules are rules. If it meets the requirements and they follow the instructions, it’s in, no matter who made it, or why, or how unlikely it is that it will get nominated. And if it runs in a theater first as this one is doing, then it is by definition NOT straight-to-DVD.

    Remember, we speak here of eligibility, not nomination. There have been several movies declared eligible after only one week on one screen, including Persepolis and Paprika, both of which got early 1-theater runs to meet the submission deadline.

    As for obscurities … remember Eden? Jester Till? Gulliver’s Travel? The Legend of Buddha? Son of Alladin? All were shown in one theater for one week in LA county (sometimes way out in the boonies of LA county) for the sole purpose of meeting the minimum Academy requirements. All were declared eligible animated features, and all were in competition for the Oscar in their respective years.

    >>note that animated features have to be 70+ minutes long. The 40+ minute rule is for non-animated features.<<

    Woops, you’re correct. Oh well, too bad for Dumbo.

  • Lara

    I’m with Bobby D. and Jason. Showing a little girl a movie that’s aimed at little girls and likely to interest her in cartoons will only help someone’s case when they show her some of the real art in animation. Purposely forbidding a child to watch shows in her demographic is more likely to make her resent the works you want her to see.
    I still think the focus on the fairies’ each having a talent (read: career they love) is a more positive aspect than what I’ve seen in the Princess line, and this might actually be a decent movie for its intended audience.

    P.S. Speaking of decent, a preschool-age girl at the library yesterday told me she’d seen “The Hills Have Eyes”. How much worse a choice can you get?

  • Garrett

    Why is there such a big fuss over this?

    Sure, it’s probably not any good by any standards, but is Disney really going to try and get an Oscar nomination for this? I think not. Nor is this really new: besides Disney’s now-regular practice of giving direct-to-DVD movies theatrical showings, Filmation slapped together a special intro and some bridging sequences for the first three episodes of He-Man, named it, “The Greatest Adventures of All” (which honestly applied only to the middle episode, “Teela’s Quest”, written by Paul Dini), gave it a matinee showing, and then did a wide release on home video. I suspect “Skeletor’s Revenge”, another trio of He-Man episodes joined together with bridging sequences (and ending with a really shameless plug for either the second or the third broadcast seasons of the show), got the same treatment.

  • Marc Baker

    ‘Yet another Disney shill to milk allowances from little girls’

    I blame Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff, and Lindsay Lohan leading little girls away from good animation, and into the flaming pits of hades. As well as changing Disney from an animation icon to a shallow, corporate ‘Barbie’ empire.

    And speaking of ‘Filmation slapped together a special intro and some bridging sequences for the first three episodes’, dose anyone remember ‘She-Ra’? That was a ‘He-man’ spin-off where Filmation just edited the first five episodes together into a movie, (Called ‘The Secret Of the Sword’) and released it theatrically. Oh and i think ‘The Greatest Adventure Of All’ was the name of the ‘Flash Gordon’ pilot movie that Filmation produced in the late 70’s that didn’t get released until the series ended it’s TV run, and aired on prime time once. And for the record, At least She-Ra is a much better role model for little girls than Hanna Montana.

  • mawnck

    And even as we’re talking about theatrical features made of stitched-together TV episodes, there’s a little Lucasilm project playing at a theater near you that is *exactly* that. And you know it’s going to get submitted.

  • Steve Carras

    Marc Baker, you are absolute right in a big way but Annette Funicello abnd comapony had poioneered thart..(though, you woiuld be right in saying, never to the distraction from animation, though live material – whose actors often crossed over into the Disney animation talent pool – with actors of, and aimed at, TV and flcik fans of ALL ages, was already taking over by 1950, before Miss Funicello and Hayley Mills, who were just one entitty speciality–sounds like a Disney Sherman Bros.song!-hmm..-in the Disney empire.)

    In closing, I have a confession that I do like College Triop,m and High School Musical,m but (to Marc Baker) still agree that this stuff has got to stop taking over Disney…and though HIlary Duff is a secret guilty pleasure of mine, nice job in 2003 on AnimationNation regaridng that Lizzie movie about…”a blonde bimbo with mike” as Disney mascot! LOL! I’m still; surprsied, honestly, that Mickey topiary bushes are still there at the parks, even if I don’t entirely have the same antipathy toward the IDEA of teenage and preteen girl stuff, you still made a good point.

  • Dear people:
    Here in Argentina, the people of Disney Latin American told me that, in fact, the film was produced for theaters. When I asked them why in IMDB the only american release yet announced (was on the first september week) was the DVD one, they told me that “that’s incorrect, it’s a major feature”. As, in fact, I’m specialist in animation and know very well as complicated was to finish the film (after the Lasseter’s commentary about how “unwatchable” was) I ask the Disney fellas here in Argentina about the story. They told me that “the official position all around the world about this film is Tinker Bell was an original inspiration of Mr. Lasseter, it’s a major release and there where no problems with the production” (‘that means: everything published on Variety was a lie’; was my ironic answer). Nobody wanted answer neither why the trailer releasde in several DVD’s on the past two years was so different from the original film. The film in Argentina was released successfully (in the worst part of the year for cinema bussiness) and with the original english title Tinker Bell, even if here -and in all spanish-spoken world- everybody know the character by the name “Campanita”. Disney fellas told me “was to unificate the name”. So, I ask why release a spanish-dubbed version.

    The Misteries of the Third World.


    Leonardo D’Espósito
    Editor Cine-Crítica de la Argentina
    El amante-cine