poohsign poohsign

Next on the Disney 2D drawing board: Winnie The Pooh

Some disappointing news out of the Licensing Expo now going on in Las Vegas. Disney has officially announced their next hand-drawn animated theatrical: a new Winnie the Pooh movie. The new Pooh feature is planned for release in spring 2011.

This is a real let down for me. I was hoping the The Princess and the Frog was the starting point for a new era of original hand drawn masterpieces. Greenlighting a new Pooh is an understandable commercial business decision, but it only seems to reinforce the stereotype of what hand drawn cartoons have become: a babysitter – and it’s a regression of the medium’s true potential.

Disney needs not only to reclaim its mastery of this art form, but to push it forward. I fail to see how Pooh will accomplish this. However, if it keeps artists employed while more ambitious projects are developed, that could be a good thing. And who’s to say a good Winnie the Pooh film can’t be created?

The studio also announced today plans to “pump more enthusiasm into the world’s largest licensed character franchise: Mickey Mouse.”

“That effort, said consumer products chairman Andy Mooney, could include classic footage of an animated Mickey mashed up with contemporary Disney properties, with the resulting creations running on the Disney Channel. “Through extensive research with kids, we found they actually love the original Mickey Mouse property,” Mooney said.

Yeah, mashing classic Mickey cartoons into Hannah Montana is exactly what kids want. Hoo-boy!

  • amid

    Stick a fork in them. Disney’s been done for the last fifteen years, at least creatively and artistically.

  • I was thinking…If 2D is to remerge it will be because of a new and young audience-like my three year old. I think it’s smart to do this. It is also a property that is simple enough to teach the budding young animators at Disney how to do great character animation, and not be encumbered with complex design. If the affinity and exposure to 2D isn’t locked in at a very young age, then, when you watch the Princes and The Frog trailer juxtaposed with UP you may not even be interested. I think it’s a long term strategy at play, and a good move. “HOPE”

  • Whatever happened to the “Mickey, Donald, and Goofy” short that was supposed to be made after Goofy’s “How to Hook up Your Home Theater”? Is that ever going to get completed? Did Waybe Allwine ever record his lines for it before he passed away? Or did Disney just put the boot on the project?

  • David

    What ?! No way.

    C’mon… no.


    So, I wonder what’s the idea here: repeating history with the patten of “The Little Mermaid” = amazing success, critical accolades, rebirth of the animation dept. , the animation dept. takes one step forward … with “The Rescuer’s Down Under” sequel = 2 steps back ?


  • Tempus Fuggit

    So, is it done in LA?

  • mike

    whoa, whoa, there mr. mooney. your going a little too fast for me. let me just step back for a moment and see if i can comprehend this astounding discovery you have made with your “extensive” research. you mean to tell me that children actually respond positively to mickey mouse?!? you sir, are either a genius or a mad man!!… or perhaps both…

  • You’re all acting as if there was a mysterious 2011 title that all Disney animation fans were eagerly waiting to discover the name of.

    We had no idea there’d be a new 2D film before 2013 (if at all, based upon the pending success of “The Princess of the Frog”), or another 2011 film. So this shouldn’t be a let-down so much as a surprise that doesn’t interest you.

    Since we didn’t even know Disney was dropping anything else in 2011, this shouldn’t change anything!

    Initially, following last April’s upcoming slate announcement, it seemed we knew all that Disney/Pixar was doing. That being, 2 films a year comfortably shared between them:

    2008: WALL-E/BOLT
    2009: Up/The Princess and the Frog
    2010: Toy Story 3/Rapunzel
    2011: Cars 2/The Bear and the Bow
    2012: Newt/King of the Elves

    …Disney had it planned perfectly. One Spring/Summer Pixar film, one Fall/Winter Disney film year.

    So, this new 2011 film shouldn’t be a game changer. It’s a surprise announcement, and most of us didn’t expect a new 2D film until 2013 at the earliest.

    So rather than acting like we knew a 2D film was coming or a 2011 project was in the works and this is the disappointing result, we should just be happy Disney is willing to make another 2D film before testing the market with “The Princess and the Frog”.

  • If they’re capable of doing something nice with Pooh these days, I’m all for it. Glad it’s not 3D like that insipid, bland piece of absolutely nothing that is My Friends Tigger & Pooh. If I have to sit through another episode of that, it’s clocktower and rifle time.

    Thing is, my daughter is instantly drawn to the 2D versions. She loves them. I suspect not to it being 2D, as she’ll happily watch 3D cack, but because the characters have far more, well, character in those old Winnie films.

    Tigger & Pooh turned Pooh from a playful little bear to a big grumpy old man.

    But Pooh’s not dead yet. Yeah, this could be rubbish but it could also be absolutely lovely. Far from being something that would have me writing Disney off, that they would look to a classic may actually be a good sign. Sometimes you have to be reminded of where you have been before you can move forward.

  • Tim Hodge

    I thought Chris Buck was developing a 2D feature for Disney, too. Any word on that one?

  • David

    “So rather than acting like we knew a 2D film was coming or a 2011 project was in the works and this is the disappointing result, we should just be happy Disney is willing to make another 2D film before testing the market with “The Princess and the Frog”.”


    But Neal, they could have chosen any number of hand-drawn films as a “surprise” 2011 follow-up release to Princess & The Frog. Instead this is what they chose to put into production. But do we really need any more of Disney’s bland marketing franchise version of “Pooh” ? That material has been mined as deep as it’s going to go.

    So, this is where the glorious return of hand-drawn at the New Disney is going ? Hand-drawn Animation is now officially the poor Cinderella who has to accept whatever scraps are thrown her way and be grateful for it ?

    Jerry nailed it in his comments above:

    “it only seems to reinforce the stereotype of what hand drawn cartoons have become: a babysitter – and it’s a regression of the medium’s true potential.”

  • I’m gonna side with Amid. They’re done…let them have their franchises and their cushy business plans. It keeps animation in the spotlight at least in a financially feasible way. WHY does DISNEY need to reclaim mastery? Can we pass off the torch now? Oh wait, Pixar’s already here.

    Here’s to the future master level artists, innovators, and studios.

    Also…Pooh’s a cute franchise. Best of luck to this film.

  • Bill

    @Neal Patten: The Bear and the Bow is Pixar, not Disney.

  • Jen

    For god sakes people settle down! This is just to keep the 2D guys busy between Princess and the Frog and Chris Buck’s project. Sheesh!

  • Another brave, bold move from Disney Animation!

    Oh, wait …

  • emily

    Maybe there’s another 2D film in the works that hasn’t been announced? Maybe they’re in the process of making three hand-drawn films?

    Oh, well. Whatever.

  • Lucky Jim

    Do we know if this is being done by Walt Disney Animation Studios, or by some other division (Disney Toon maybe)?

  • cliffclaven

    Pumping up an old franchise is a tricky business. Warner has always had wildly mixed results trying to revive the Termite Terrace style and characters; Universal fumbled an attempt to revive their classic monsters in Van Helsing; and assorted “sure-fire” comic book characters have crashed and burned onscreen.

    I with I could make a case for either total reinvention (Batman) or serious respect for the original (the first Spiderman), but both approaches have yielded train wrecks.

    It would be interesting if Disney actually went back to the original Pooh books and illustrations to start from scratch, but that’s about as likely as DC replacing the logo on Superman’s chest.

  • They stopped the My friends Tigger and Pooh 3D TV series because it was making the characters be limited to just the pre-school crowd.

    imho, these characters are some of Disney’s most charming and appealing. From Tigger,Pooh, Piglet and Roo and so on.
    I believe the appeal can go beyound the pre-school age.

    And { as an animator or board artist } they are so much fun to draw….. so cute and appealing.

    If the story doesn’t talk down to the audience, this could be a great gig for the crew.

    As people look forward to the next ToyStory, why can’t Disney create another film with characters that are also theirs, and maybe just as charming, if not more so.

    Make the story new, entertaining and emotional, and with these known likable characters it may very well be successful.

    thinking positive here.

  • Creepy

    keep the 2D coming!!!

  • Killroy McFate

    It’s a featurette, from what I’ve heard.

  • “Through extensive research with kids, we found they actually love the original Mickey Mouse property,”

    The cynic in me would think that if it takes extensive research to find something, there may not be much of it.

    None-the-less, the research found that kids like the original Mickey Mouse and yet it sounds like Disney is itching to put him in saggy pants and add some tattoos.

  • a reader

    Does anyone here care for the original featurettes? Because that’s exactly the style, approach and spirit of the current Pooh project on the boards, with the same feature talent that work(ed) on Rapunzel, Frog, etc. doing it. It’s an in-house Feature Animation Class A act in every respect. Pudleiner has got it exactly right.

    It’s understandable given the excessive milking of Pooh pre-Lasseter, but this is an entirely different deal. It can-and there’s every reason to believe it will-be done right.

  • William

    “And who’s to say a good Winnie the Pooh film can’t be created?” – Jerry

    Exactly. I don’t see anything bad about this news. How does this spell either glory or disaster for 2D?

    The reality is that Disney needs people who know what they’re doing on all points, plain and simple. That’s what Pixar has. They have the right people doing the right project at the right time. That’s as close as you can come to a “formula.” 2D or 3D is, in my opinion, of least importance.

    Oh, and that Mickey concept just sounds bizzare.

  • John A

    ANOTHER Pooh movie? Pooh is one of those properties that has been strip mined within an inch of its life. There isn’t a single fresh new idea that can be introduced to this franchise. It’s all been done and what’s left is just a pale imitation of the original three featurettes.

    It’s already a damned shame that Critter Country at Disneyland has turned into The World of Pooh. (just try to find a Brer Rabbit anything anywhere.)I know the characters are popular, but does Disney need to automatically turn to them whenever they run out of ideas?

  • I find it interesting that everyone here is bashing Disney and then Praising Pixar!
    You know what I think would be a good idea? Get the guys who run Pixar to fix Disney animation!!!
    Yeah, that’d be a good idea! Lasseter and Catmull could reinvigorate that place and make it viable again!!!
    Oh…wait…they did.
    Interesting that none of this vitriol is being slung their way.

  • Justin

    Indeed, Disney is done.

    Everyone, watch this for inspiration, and for a reminder of what animation is:


  • Trevor

    I honestly can’t see this being a full blown feature. It would have such a limited audience since they’ve been watering down Pooh for the last 10 years to make it strictly a pre-school franchise.

    At least Princess could get 10 and under girls.

    Disney, get me out there. I’ll clean up this mess.

  • Trevor

    I think it also should be noted that every voice from the original 1977 film is dead except for Clint Howard playing Roo. I don’t think his voice would be quite right this time around.

  • Nerd

    Hmmm… Walt Disney Animation Studios training their new 2D animation crew on something safe that may actually bring in some cash. Yeah, horrible business decision. Please give them a little credit at least.

  • Carlos

    Christ people, way to damn something out of ignorance! Oh no, it’s Pooh, animation is doomed! Sure, it’s not the savior of 2D features that some of you seem so convinced Disney is supposed to produce, but it’s still getting 2D on the big screen! It’s giving traditional animators jobs and getting full 2D animation a spot next to the 3D features. What’s more, at least in my eyes, something like this could have been so much worse than what we have now. Imagine this would have instead been a 3D Pooh feature? Imagine your reaction then! Be happy they at least had the right mindset to choose 2D for a 2D franchise. It’s not indicative of much, but hopefully they’ll do their best to produce a quality film.

  • “Disney” is not a sentient entity, but a company made up of individuals and the individuals in charge of Disney Feature Animation is John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, the very same geniuses you are lauding when you are praising Pixar.

    They have been in charge of that place for almost 3 years.

    What are they doing?

    Are they fixing the mess left behind by the previous administarations? It sure doesn’t seem like it. So far, all they’ve done is fire people, cut salaries and thus drive morale lower than it’s been in 15 years, and lets not forget, chase out the creator of one of their most successful and bankable characters they’ve ever had ie Chris Sanders and Stitch.

    I can tell you for a fact that there are still incredibly talented artists working there, people who are every bit as talented and inventive as the folks at Pixar.

    And yet, even after the great John Lasseter has taken over, this talent is STILL not making it to the screen!


    This is the question we should be pondering.

  • I’m disappointed by the news, but at the same time I am hoping for a re-charge in the Winnie the Pooh series. Let’s just beg they don’t add a new Christopher Robin replacement and actually stay faithful to the original short subjects. (Though the last three theatrical features were good efforts)

    But let’s think of something, Disney made “Little Mermaid” twenty years ago and was a big smash, then they put out “Rescuers Down Under” and was a pretty good picture, but it underperformed, then they made up for the audience’s need for fairy-tale musicals by putting out “Beauty and the Beast”. So maybe we’ll be getting something good after they make this new “Pooh” movie.

  • Matthew K Sharp

    There’s no reason why a new Pooh film need be only aimed at kids. Disney could take a lead from British humourist Alan Coren’s classic “The Hell At Pooh Corner” and star Pooh in an adaptation of The Great Gatsby”. Or there’s Coren’s later “The Pooh Also Rises” (http://tinyurl.com/68cvfd). New, fresh, exciting, adult Pooh could be but a single licensing call away!

  • No wonder their cars weren’t selling!

    Oh, wait. That was General Motors. Why do I get these two companies confused?

  • Wow, I can’t believe the negativity surrounding this! A Disney exec let it slip there was going to be a 2D film post-King of the Elves. So this isn’t the end-all!

    This makes sense from a business perspective. They want to bring 2D back to the mainstream. How are they attempting to do that? Make films that ‘feel’ Disney. First, with a Broadway-style musical in “The Princess and the Frog” – and then with a new Pooh film.

    If you’re trying to restore a legacy that deteriorated in the late 90’s early 2000’s and then died in 2004, would you try all new (therefore risky) projects, or try something proven?

    If I was running the business, I’d do what was proven. And what is proven is that Princesses and Pooh sell.

    Their riskier films failed – Atlantis, Treasure Planet. They were critical and financial bombs. Only Lilo & Stitch, a ‘riskier’ 2D project, managed to be successful for Disney Animation in the 2000s.

    With the revenue from these projects they can attempt something more risky, starting with “King of the Elves” and moving on from there (albeit that is CGI).

    Lasseter cares for Disney’s characters. That’s why he ended the DTVs. That’s why Oswald is back at Disney. He won’t just toss Pooh into another film willy-nilly. He will make sure the characters are treated properly.

    A few responses to specific people:

    A) Tim Hodge – where’d you hear this about Chris Buck?
    B) David – Just like Lasseter stopped the “Disney Princess Enchanted Tales” series which was meant to start pumping out yearly princess stories, he stopped all DTVs. He will now make a much higher caliber princess film, just like he will make a much higher caliber Pooh. Better story, better animation, surely a better soundtrack – this will not be another DTV. This could wipe the DTVs off the map.
    C) Jessica Plummer – because Disney is trying to bring back American 2D in the theaters. Japan still has it. Russia still has it. But American studios all went CGI. Disney is trying to return 2D to our American theaters.
    D) Bill – I realize my post made it seem like I was saying Bear was a Disney film. I now it’s Pixar. It’s the Pixar film I’m most looking forward to.
    E) emily – It has been all but confirmed that there will be more 2D after King of the Elves, regardless of how “The Princess and the Frog” performs. I bet they are saving their more ‘risky’ 2D for then.
    F) Lucky Jim – WDAS. Here is the word straight from Disney:

    “Beginning with Winnie the Pooh, DCP and Walt Disney Animation Studios today announced a new theatrical film planned for spring 2011, making it Pooh’s first theatrical release in six years since Pooh’s Heffalump Movie in 2005.”

    G) pudleiner – Glad to see someone being positive. I think these characters will be treated right under Disney’s new(ish) management.
    H) Killroy McFate – Nope, feature. See F.
    I) Carlos – Exactly. For Chicken Little the whole staff was trained to do CGI. Now they must switch back to 2D. Since Disney wants to create two separate pipelines – one for CGI and one for 2D – a film like this with familiar animated characters is a great training tool for something bigger, bolder!

    I guess I’m the only one who still loves that silly old bear, even after all the DTVs!

  • Gerard de Souza

    Hannah Montana, a timeless classic.

  • Mesterius

    Turning away from Pooh for a second, here is the part of the article which shocked me most of all: “Through extensive research with kids, we found they actually love the original Mickey Mouse property.”


    How incredibly, unbelievably stupid and near-sighted are these products chairman people? They had to FIND OUT that kids like the original Mickey Mouse cartoons? Man, this world must really be going to hell.

    First, Disney Channel downplays the original toons in favor of terrible live action shows like Hanna Montana. Then, they think kids stop liking Mickey because they watch Hanna? Maybe I’m overreacting, but Disney’s classic shorts have been children’s favourites on television for more than 50 years. They won’t die because of iditotic fads like ‘Cory in the White House’. And anyway, why shouldn’t kids be able to like both Mickey and Goofy, and Hanna, at the same time?

    Well, Disney Channel has finally figured out the obvious: A lot of kids LIKE CLASSIC CARTOONS. Way to go, chairman Mooney. And how do you plan to give the kids what they want? By showing more of the good ol’ toons? No… that would be too obvious. How about “classic footage of an animated Mickey mashed up with contemporary Disney properties, with the resulting creations running on the Disney Channel”? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

    Somebody please stop these people.

    If Disney wants to reinforce the Mickey brand people know and love, they must show the original toons more, rather than make mutants like the plan descibed above. Also, new cartoons with the characters in their classic style would certainly help keep them alive, in a way that can appeal to both children and adults. I agree with Brandon, let’s get that “Mickey, Donald and Goofy ” cartoon by Eric Goldberg produced!

  • Jonah Sidhom

    I can’t wait! Sounds like a great idea to me.

  • Krauthammer

    Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories are still wonderful, no matter much life has been sucked out of them the past 20+ years. I would actually be very interested in a radically new Pooh and company, far more respectful to the original sources. The chances of this happening? A man can always dream…

  • The definitive Pooh has already been done, and not by Disney.


  • Gobo

    Maybe I’m naive, but I fail to see how Disney returning to their roots by making a 2D film out of one of their most-cherished and popular properties… a property MADE for hand-drawn treatment… is in any way a bad thing.

    And what’s more, let’s also take their comments in context. They did NOT say they’d be mixing Mickey with Miley. Sounds to me like they’re considering some old-school Mickey, when he had actual personality.

    Sounds good to me. I’m eager to see it.

  • Whatever keeps 2D alive long enough for someone with talent to get in there and make something amazing out of it again. I’m all for it. Go 2D, show 3D what you’re made of.

  • elan

    Can someone confirm that this is being done by disney animation studios in burbank? (you know, the hat building) I highly doubt it is, especially since Lasseter didnt announce it. I dont work there (anymore) so hopefully someone who does can set the record straight.

  • Trevor

    I don’t understand why some of you are arguing to go with the safe and tried and true franchises. It would cost much less to do a theatrical re-release of Pooh and other classics, while making new and exciting properties. Besides, I’d pay double to see 101 Dalmatians on the big screen again.

  • Russell

    This guy thought it was worth it.

  • Heh. If Eisner tried this there’d be howls for blood.

    That’s all I gotta say about that.

  • amid

    Dan Caylor wrote, “Whatever keeps 2D alive long enough for someone with talent to get in there and make something amazing out of it again.”

    Dan – Comments like this are a disservice to the countless artists who are, at this very moment, making amazing use of the hand-drawn 2D technique. Have you ever heard of Paul Fierlinger, Koji Yamamura, Joanna Quinn, Masaaki Yuasa, Sylvain Chomet?

    Disney hasn’t kept up with the technique’s progress, and Hollywood as a whole hasn’t kept up either, but when you look at the bigger picture, 2D is as vibrant and diverse today as it has ever been. If your desire is to see more of Disney’s formulaic interpretation of 2D animation, that’s fine, but please don’t suggest that the lack of that type of animation somehow means that 2D as a whole is struggling. That’s the farthest thing from the truth.

  • Seni

    Hey, you never know. It could go through development hell and get cancelled as a result.

  • Could this project be related to the authorised ‘sequel’ to Milne’s books announced earlier this year?


    Not certain how I feel about this sort of venture but the pedigree of those involved seems decent. Maybe Disney are adapting these new stories? That might at least lend this film the whiff of authenticity.

  • Honestly, I really don’t care. I never expected another 2D feature so ok. And if done well there is nothing wrong with Pooh. Jerry even said in a previous post was that Pixar would make the more diverse films whilst Disney would make the films that people would want to see. The real issue here is them just discovering that Kids today like classic Mickey and the editing with Disney Channel Properties. Just make a Mickey short. Bad idea.

    Oh and I don’t see any vibrant, diverse representation of 2D animation. Sure some independent films have been made, but honestly, the public really doesn’t care about independent films and independent films will not bring the 2D craft industry back.

  • One 2D animator

    I think Dan is probably talking about traditional animation that is more of a style close to Disney’s, which is what a lot of people all around the world have grown up watching, and have long regarded as one of the standards for how high quality 2D animation should look. I think comments putting Disney animation down as a mere “formulaic interpretation of 2D animation” also does a great disservice to countless artists who are still trying to learn that type of hand drawn animation, and continuously try to improve their skills by learning from the basics and traditions from that style. If Dan is saying what I think he says, I would agree with him in that I feel that allowing this specific form of 2D animation continue through the generations is also very important, so that we can keep it alive while opening up the possibility for newer artists practicing it to continue to develop and rejuvenate it.

    As Amid says, 2D itself is still very much alive in many forms. I was born and raised in a different country where Japanese animation was what I mostly saw on TV all the time growing up. I also saw a lot of European animation on TV as specials during holiday seasons, and there was always an abundance of different media available. For me it seems funny to regard all the “amazing use of the hand-drawn 2D technique” as something new, or necessarily above the efforts of hard working artists at Disney or any other major studio in the US. I enjoy all kinds of animation, and I think no specific type of animation can be ranked higher than another by anything other than personal taste. For me, having more exposure to other types of animation sometimes allowed me to regard Disney animation or TV animation from the US as a newer, less understood, fresh approach.

    Nevertheless, I think Disney Animation definitely needs to take a step forward. But that step forward is difficult when things have been stagnant, or have been steadily stepping backwards as it has the last few years. It had been a while since I felt that a Disney film actually felt like a Disney animated film I’ve loved growing up, one that differentiated itself from other animated features. For me since I was a small child, that was defined by great animation, imagination, genuine characters, fun and appeal. As much as some people are condemning Disney for reaching back to its past, I think it a good idea that the studio seems to have decided to try and go back to doing a good job at what it did well, train a new generation of artists in the meantime, and plot for a better future. When one is trying new techniques and abstractions in drawing, and at the same time failing to advance in the right way, it’s often a good idea to revisit the basics of figure drawing and design to fortify the step forward. I think maybe this can be interpreted as a similar approach, I don’t know how well it will work and cannot make any judgments yet but I am hoping for the best.

    Disney has been one of the top in the field, but this is not the first time it has stumbled. There’s also many parts of the world that never considered it to be the best 2D studio, even many of my friends growing up would with no question rank Dragonball, Galaxy Express 999, or Cowboy Bebop superior to any Disney feature ever made. There’s plenty of people also that say experimental, self expression in animation is the true way to extend the art form. I say just enjoy it all. Anyone can criticize and try to be the one who pointed out this and that about the state of things, as do I, but I for one am looking forward to Disney producing something that is just fun and enjoyable in a genuine way. I don’t think either Disney or those other independent artists are considering each other some sort of 2D competition. However it’s because Disney animation has been such a large part of our love for hand drawn animation, that when Disney stopped, it seemed to many that 2D was dead. I love all the other forms of 2D, but I also miss Disney 2D. I just hope for Disney to be a better Disney, I don’t hope for it to be something else, and if Disney says they will try and do that for starters, I’m all for it!

  • I don’t think anyone should continue to rely on Disney for the future of 2D animation, and this Pooh movie is a perfect example that the company itself is not interested in the artform beyond its own brand name. This is not Walts company, and I wouldn’t really want to rely much on Lassiter. For as much power as he has, he’s still unfortunatly an employee for Disney, and it’s his job to help keep the brand name alive for his bosses. Lassiter had his own company going before the buyout, and now even Pixar films are (or eventually will be) branded in service to the Disney name. The last few films Pixar has made after the buyout haven’t been nearly as good as the ones beforehand.

    And I think Amid is right, I don’t think 2D is really struggling at all. It’s only in the minds of people and their expectations for a company that probably should have stopped making cartoons 15 years ago.

  • I’m cautiously optimistic for the new Pooh. I have fond memories of the original films and handled with the right care and vision I think there is the potential to make a new classic.

    What I love about the executive’s statement is how they had to conduct research to figure out that the classic Mickey shorts have appeal. Do they not understand how their company got built in the first place?

  • David

    I agree with what Amid wrote above . This “whatever it takes to keep 2D alive” attitude being expressed by some people here buys in to a false assumption: i.e. that the whole world of animation, particularly hand-drawn animation, revolves around Disney and is dependent on Disney to survive and flourish.

    There was also a comment made by someone above that said : “Walt Disney Animation Studios is training their new 2D animation crew on something safe that may actually bring in some cash.”

    What is this the late 70’s all over again or something … what is that person talking about ?!! The current crew are not all recent wet-behind-the-ears animation school grads. At least 90% of the crew on Princess & The Frog are veterans with 12 – to – 25 years (or more) of feature film experience and are not in need of “training” . Why is it assumed that the current Disney 2D crew needs “training” on something safe and easy ? (unless maybe the training involves going all paperless and they need it for the ramp-up time in learning to do it all on Cintiq tablets) As for making something “safe” wasn’t that the idea of making a princess movie to begin with ?

    No one is unhappy that the current Disney 2D crew now facing layoffs gets an opportunity to be hired back sooner rather than later and gets to keep practicing their craft. The artists working on Princess & The Frog are among the best in the business and I’m sure they will do a fantastic job on making a Pooh feature look beautiful. In the short-term it means employment and that’s a good thing. But in the long run does a Disney’s Poohâ„¢ franchise-driven movie help move hand-drawn animation forward in the same way that the Pixar films are allowed to mature and move forward thematically and stylistically ? Or is it as Jerry Beck suggested : ” it only seems to reinforce the stereotype of what hand drawn cartoons have become: a babysitter – and it’s a regression of the medium’s true potential. Disney needs not only to reclaim its mastery of this art form, but to push it forward. I fail to see how Pooh will accomplish this.”

    That’s the disappointment that some of us here have with Pooh being the next 2D project. How is this not understandable ?

  • in contrast to this Pooh story, I find THIS-


    to be an interesting attempt by disney to reach out to their fans.

    there’s more on that here:


  • While I understand your concern, and while I myself am not going super crazy over the announcement either, I do think that there is a strong positive for this decision. Training. Now I know that there are still just some amaaaazing animation artists out there, but to keep this medium going you will have to bring in some new blood. The first film seemed to have alot of already established artists attached to it. But what about the day when those guys aren’t able to do what they do so well. This problem has already happened once with the nine old men, so I see working with a pre-established franchise good both in business, but also to help give some of the new artists some more training working on familiar characters. Plus along the lines of what OtherDan was saying, 2-D will not survive only by passing on what has been learned to young animators, but also influencing audiences that are really young. I may be off my rocker completely, but I’ll let this decision of Disney’s not bother me, though future ones could.

  • My, how insatiable we Disney fans are! First we cry “bring back 2D animation!” So they do, but now we go “but not this way!”

    amid – You’re argument is true but not so simple. It is nearly impossible for any layperson (i.e. just a movie fan or a parent, not some animation otaku) to access these foreign 2D films. Either they aren’t in English, the DVD doesn’t have English subtitles, or there is no Region 1 DVD whatsoever.

    It’s great that France, Spain, and other European and Asian countries are still producing strong 2D films – except – they don’t come stateside.

    If they do, they come to indie or arthouse theaters, which only exist in the big cities. When Howl’s Moving Castle was in theaters, I would have had to driven 3 hours and 45 minutes to see it. That’s a mini-vacation for me. I obviously could not make such a commute.

    Sure, such 2D films as The Secret of Kells and Mia and the Magoo come to the New York Children’s Film Festival, but I don’t live in New York, so what good does that do me?


    Last year at this time, my Best Buy had a whole aisle of anime – some 300 DVDs at least. My Borders added another 50 or so. A few months ago, Best Buy slashed all their anime prices in half in order to clear their stock. Borders stopped stocking anime and is letting their collection run out. Target has no anime, nor does K-Mart. My Barnes and Noble shoved their final few DVDs behind the check-out counter where I would never see them. You want to know who is my anime savior? Wal-Mart. Sure, like 98% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Wal-Mart (proven statistic) but their selection is sloppy.

    They buy anime series season collections. Such as Death Note. Except, they buy season 2 first. Sometimes they never buy season 1. So unless you are willing to watch the second season first, or happened to see the first season on TV, you’re S.O.L. Plus, they only buy the popular anime – Death Note, Naruto, InYuasha – nothing more than a select few. Now and then a random feature anime will crop up – like The Sky Crawlers or Paprika – but they only stock them once, and they stock only five or so, so if you don’t spot them, their gone.

    And that’s it for foreign 2D. If I wanted Ocelot’s latest, I’d have to go online. Should I always have to go to the internet to buy these 2D films?

    As for those – many of these foreign animated films are subtitle only. Kids won’t watch them because they can’t read all the words. Parents won’t watch them because they don’t want to spend all their time reading to their children or reading for themselves.

    If animation is moving art – you don’t want to be staring at the bottom of the screen, only glancing up once you’ve read on each frame. You want to be immersed in the art.

    You also don’t want to just listen to a foreign language track with no understanding of the story whatsoever.

    Even when there is a dub, oftentimes they are not very good and were put together for an animation festival, not for a theatrical wide-release.

    And many of the foreign 2D films just don’t fit the American taste.
    Chomet, for instance. Yes, The Triplets of Belleville was a wonderful film – for animation enthusiasts. When so many parents criticized WALL-E for having 10 or 15 minutes of silence, save music and sound effects, you really think they’d sit through 90 minutes of silence with Triplets? No.

    And when American audiences say that Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is one of the trippiest films they’ve seen, and it disturbs them, then clearly they shouldn’t watch anime.

    Foreign 2D exists but it is not accessible to Americans.

    The fact is this goes beyond just bringing back 2D. We animation connoisseurs all know 2D is still existent in nearly every country but the states. The point is bringing back American traditional animation. It only exists on TV these days and most of that is highly commercialized garbage. Disney wants to restore American traditional animation – 2D tailored to American tastes.

    It is also trying to continue a storied history and preserve a legacy. Select any random top anime creator today and they will tell you that Disney was a huge influence on them – Oshii, Miyazaki, Takahata. They all got into their craft because Walt Disney inspired them. It’s sad to think that the big parent company that inspired them is now dead while they live on.

    Disney wants to restore a lost legacy – where for several years DTVs were the only product they put out with 2D. That’s very sad. They know that their style of animation, their music, their voice acting choices appeal to the general American sensibility.

    And using Pooh makes sense – they need to ease back into 2D. It’s been out of theaters for going on five years (excluding “The Simpsons Movie”) – to just drop any 2D film back into theaters wouldn’t work. They need to re-familiarize children, parents, and movie-goers, so they are using a familiar character. Once they can do that, they can move onto something bigger and better.

    “It has to get worse before it can get better.”

  • brad Constantine

    Kung Pooh Panda?..you never know…oh bother.

  • Chris J.

    Disney is a Brand. They’re NOT going to push the limits of 2D animation. Not anymore. It’s not what Disney is about anymore. We have to stop looking for Disney to lead the animation revolution we all seem to want. Especially in the U.S.

    The American “Akira” will be made independently.

  • Buck

    Way to “Pooh-pooh” something without giving it a chance. The always seemingly negative vibe is why I rarely visit the site anymore. Also, the talk about Disney restoring it’s glory blah blah blah. It’s all TIRED and played out. Disney will be successful with this Pooh Movie. It will get asses in the seats and make them money as Pooh is a popular brand for them. If this film is as well animated as Princess and The Frog I’m all in.

  • Although I am not a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh, I’m glad that Disney has decided to release more 2D stuff! Maybe they just need the safe success of an old character before they take chances with the new stuff. Which could be a good thing for the long run in the 2D world, which is a good thing for us 2D animators!

  • Dan – Comments like this are a disservice to the countless artists who are, at this very moment, making amazing use of the hand-drawn 2D technique.

    Yikes Amid. Way to draw conclusions. “One 2D Animator” hit it correctly, but in way more detail. Read his post if you want to come closer to my meaning. I don’t have time to get into a debate, I’m busy teaching myself traditional animation. Maybe one day I’ll get offended by my own comment. ;)

  • Tim Hodge

    to Elan:
    Yes, I’m pretty sure this is being done in the Animation bldg on Riverside. I was visiting there a couple of weeks ago and noticed several boards lining the halls on the 3rd floor.

  • Personally, I’ve never been entertained by Mickey. Even as a kid, I found him an extremely bland, tepid character. But, given his success, what do I know?

  • Aerial Flyer

    Personally not interested.. but maybe it’ll stick with new generation of kids(*and creates jobs)

    Funny how Disney now has to go to studios like Pixar to produce fun, innovating projects now and not do them themselves. I mean, to some extent weren’t they partial innovators of animation?

    Long live the merchandise kings!(ha)

  • 70’s again.
    Xerox is missing for me but not that movies.
    we know when disney change something in his movies.

  • Creepy

    JL knows what he is doing by bringing 2d back to Disney. Frog looks amazing and bringing Pooh back to excellence in glorious 2D hand drawn animation is something to look forward to. the CG attempts at this beautiful 2d icon have been an abomination to say the least.

    looking forward to the new age of 2d animated features.

  • John A

    You know, if the’re so goshdarned interested in reviving their past glories, instead of the all too familiar meanderings of the ever bland Pooh characters, how about doing something with a REAL animated character, like Donald Duck? How about that Barks inspired film that the (now) old animators at the studio had always wanted to make?

  • Trevor

    They’re not training 2d artists. I’ve applied twice now to the Talent Development Program and they’ve canceled all 2d the first time, delayed the program the second time until October, and now I’ve just found out that the effects program has been canceled. I’m ready to go, ready to catch the next plane to Burbank, and my work reflects that.

  • Graham

    Maybe they need to warm up with something easy to draw

  • “And using Pooh makes sense – they need to ease back into 2D. It’s been out of theaters for going on five years (excluding “The Simpsons Movie”) – to just drop any 2D film back into theaters wouldn’t work. They need to re-familiarize children, parents, and movie-goers, so they are using a familiar character. Once they can do that, they can move onto something bigger and better.
    “It has to get worse before it can get better.”

    Ahhh…in case you haven’t noticed Neal, everytime something like Pooh is successful, Disney ends up milking it for the next 10 years. I think enough 2D animation exists on TV today that kids and adults don’t need their memorys jogged about what a 2D cartoon looks like. This whole ‘dipping their toe in the water’ theory is nonsense because if they really wanted to go out there and do something diffrent with 2D, they would just do it and stop with the song and dance routine. They’re going to continue doing what their doing because they’re afraid of losing their audience. The company does not care. The artists/animators working for the studio are all incredibly talented, but there’s no way Disney is going to let them carry out their own vision without a price. The whole “bringing back 2D” thing is just PR, it has nothing to do with revitalizing the artform.

    I remember when I was 11 years old and I saw the trailers for “Aladdin”. And I still remember the feeling I had when I first saw the Genie, and how different that character was from any other Disney film that came out at the time. It wasn’t just that he was a funny character, but the animation really caught my attention, just in the way he moved and how he acted. I had never seen anything like it, and it was really exciting. And they actually managed to combine a Disney film with everything that was wonderful about the old Warner Bros. cartoons, and it gave us something new.

    I just don’t feel that kind of excitement when I see a Disney cartoon anymore.

  • Marc Baker

    You know, when Miley Cyrus starts drinking alcohol, and they can no longer rely on pooh for their animators to work on, they can always go to Duckburg, and bring Scrooge Mcduck back into the spotlight. Besides, i’m still waiting for ‘Ducktales’ to show up on the Wii’s ‘virtual console’.

  • Sigh…

    You guys need to really chill out and have some faith. The project is TWO YEARS away from release, you’ve seen some random licensing image. How about waiting for some real artwork from the project? The talent that resides there will deliver.
    It’s amazing to me that people get so overly worked up with barely a grain of information.

  • Tom

    I have a sure fire Disney idea, but before I take it to the Mouse I want to run it by the room here. Ahem:

    An 8-year-old hip-hop kid from the streets (don’t worry, Disney, he’s a demographics-friendly Caucasian) visits an adorable farm, meets a magical animal there that can print money, and together they destroy a major American corporation. It’s called “Short Money and the Cash Cow”, and I see a summer release for 2010 if we get right on it.

    JL, call me, won’t you? My number is scratched into the side of your car. Ciao!

  • I wrote to Disney myself and got some absolutely BREAKING news for you about this project! According to Disney Motion Pictures Group President Mark Zoradi:

    “The movie is being produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. This marks the first time in more than 35 years that a Winnie the Pooh motion picture is being produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Under the supervision of John Lasseter and producer, Clark Spencer (“Lilo & Stitch,” “Bolt”) the movie is due out in theaters spring 2011. Steve Anderson (“Meet the Robinsons”) and Don Hall (head of story on “The Princess and The Frog”) will co-direct. Tidbit: Burny Mattinson who worked as an animator on the original Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree featurette in 1964 will serve as the lead story artist on the project.”

    For more information visit my animation news blog.

  • Mesterius

    Mike Caracappa: “The last few films Pixar has made after the buyout haven’t been nearly as good as the ones beforehand.” Really? I thought “Ratatouille” and “WALL-E” were pretty great films, among the best I’ve seen by Pixar.

    John A: “…that Barks inspired film that the (now) old animators at the studio had always wanted to make…”
    Could you tell more about this wish project? Is there any information about it online? I’ve always wanted to see an animated Duck feature based on Carl Barks’ wonderful storytelling and art style from his comic books, and the fact that some of the Disney animators themselves wish to do such a project sounds extremely exciting!

  • You know, I’m not as versed in the original texts as some- I kind of skipped a lot of that stuff when I was a kid and went right to Bradbury and Marvel Comics of the early 60s- but I can’t help wonder if there are any of the original Milne stories remaining to be adapted.

  • Ken

    This is the worst news coming out of Disney Animation that I have heard in a long time…. and I have heard nothing but bad news from them lately. I long for the days when Disney actually made original 2D cartoon movies. Apparently, the studio is reverting back to the old “what would Walt have done?” mentality in the ’70s, after Mr. Disney died.

  • Alan Menken just interviewed with an Italian newspaper. Did he let slip that WDAS is resuming production on “The Snow Queen”?

    (translated from Italian)
    >In his future at Disney?<

    “I’m preparing the soundtracks of two cartoons, Rapunzel and Snow Queen, and of a live musical film feature of Beauty and the Beast. At the same time I am also working on a musical comedy that will debut in Autumn 2010, Leap of Faith.”

    More information on this news at my blog!:


  • In 2011, the first hand-drawn Winnie the Pooh movie in six years will be released. The movie is being produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. This marks the first time in more than 35 years that a Winnie the Pooh motion picture is being produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Under the supervision of John Lasseter and producer, Clark Spencer (“Lilo & Stitch,” “Bolt”) the movie is due out in theaters spring 2011. Steve Anderson (“Meet the Robinsons”) and Don Hall (head of story on “The Princess and The Frog”) will co-direct. Burny Mattinson who worked as an animator on the original Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree featurette in 1964 will serve as the lead story artist on the project.

    In 2005, Lumpy the Heffalump melted our hearts when he busted onto the screen in “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie.” His exuberance, loyalty, and silliness were the essence of an innocent childhood. Fans of the purple Heffalump, Heffridge Trumpler Brompet Heffalump the Fourth, need to join together to ensure Lumpy is in the film. It is possible that Disney will make this new Pooh film a direct sequel to the original, which would cut Lumpy out. If you’re a fan of this heartwarming, purple Heffalump please express it by signing the petition and letting Disney know that Lumpy should be in the 2011 Winnie the Pooh sequel!

    Please sign my petition!


    Then pass this along to all other Pooh and Lumpy fans you know of, as well as posting it at any related Disney news site, blog, or forum!

  • Boris

    Animation has never been high art.It is purely entertainment for children.That’s really what I hate about this industry is this recent flood of pretentious art designer and computer nerds populating the industry who think you have design and work a story to death instead of having fun with it.

  • When I heard about the Disney’s plan to release Winnie The Pooh Movie, I was son interest and being impatient to wait for the day. Winnie The Pooh Coloring Pages are always with me and kids during our playing time. The movie would be another plan to enjoy together with the kids. 2011? Better than never.

  • Maddie

    I’ve actually seen their attempt at doing the whole Mickey thing. They take an old mickey cartoon pair it up with a song that seems to go along to it from their extensive library of bubble gum teens and just play the song and roll the clip. It’s quite sad, I saw one that had hannah Montana’s He Could be the One… And to the pooh thing, we saw with our own eyes that they still have it (princess and the frog) who’s to say they couldn’t totally reinvent the franchise or come up with great story. Though I have to admit I was looking forward to another musical with some fresh ideas and all their set up and coming stuff just sound bizarre.

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  • This is quite interesting actually, never thought of it like this previously.

  • Agreed, but have you really considered all the substance behind this argument?

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