BURBANK, Calif., Sept. 13 — London will host a traditional Dickensian Christmas with a little Disney magic this holiday season as Jim Carrey, Colin Firth, Robin Wright Penn, Bob Hoskins and Academy Award -winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis come together to celebrate the World Premiere of “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” on November 3, 2009. The festivities include a history-making coordinated Christmas Lights Switch-On: for the first time ever, the world famous Christmas Lights on Regent and Oxford Streets, plus the festivities in The City of London – at the very heart of Dickensian London – will share the same theme of “Disney’s A Christmas Carol.”
NEW YORK, Sept. 14 — “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with Emmy Award-winning host Meredith Vieira is making big changes to the show’s “money tree,” giving hot seat contestants the opportunity to win even more money this season! Contestants will still face 15 questions to win the top prize of $1-million, but will be able to reach the higher level questions faster as the monetary values of the first eight questions will increase. The new “money tree” will take effect on Monday, September 14.
Millionaire will no longer start with the first three questions being valued at $100, $200 and $300. Instead, contestants will jump right into big-action game play with their very first question valued at $500. Contestants will reach the first safety level of $5,000 (formerly $1,000) after correctly answering the first five questions. At that point, they are guaranteed to win at least $5,000 from their hot seat appearance. The monetary values for the next three questions will also increase, leading up to the next safety level of $25,000.
“We’ve launched our own little stimulus package this season on Millionaire,” said Michael Davies, Executive Producer on the hit game show. “Regular Americans from all over the country have always been the stars of our show. This season, we’ll be giving them the opportunity to win even more money in the Millionaire hot seat,” he added.
Here is a rundown of the newly revamped Millionaire “money tree”:
Cars 2, due out in summer of 2011, finds its foundation when Lightning McQueen is invited to participate in the International Race of Champions, a world-wide race in which McQueen competes against all genres of racing cars.
Inspired by the press junkets Lasseter used to make around the world while promoting Cars, Lasseter said he often found himself wondering ‘What would Mater do?’ when encountering all of the different types of unique driving experiences around the world, such as driving on the other side of the road in London, the roundabout in Paris, viewing scooters in Italy as gnats, etc.
It was news when it was announced that Dick Cook would be a keynote speaker at the D23 Expo on behalf of the Walt Disney Studios. It was big news when it was announced that he would be joined on stage by actor Nicolas Cage. It was headlines when D23 announced at the eleventh hour that directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton would also take the stage. But what literally thousands of rabid Disney fans bore witness to this morning defies any category of news. Filled with exclusives and celebrities upon celebrities, even those who had an inkling there was more than Disney was letting on couldn’t have imagined what the Walt Disney Studio managed to pull off in front of the capacity crowd.
Getting settled in your seat, it was impossible not to notice the orchestra setup at stage right – you knew then you were in for something a little extra. The lights dim and the orchestra fills the Arena with epic theme music as clips from Disney films begin to play. Then you start to hear singing voices as a 10 person choir chimes in when there are lyrics to be sung. Theme song after theme song, movie after movie, from Snow White to the Proposal and everything in-between. It has to be at least, oh, I don’t know… 23 minutes long. An absolute masterpiece crafted by Barnette Richie with music and songs sync’d perfectly every frame of the way, remarkably demonstrated by an extended clip of a musical number from Enchanted mid-way.
Then Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook took the stage. He talked of his love for the company ever since he started as a steam train and monoral operator at the Disneyland Resort some 40 years ago. He spoke of quality being the underlying factor in movies produced by the studio. He talked about the animation studios and upcoming projects such as Cars 2 and Rapunzel which will be covered in depth when John Lasseter takes the same stage on Sunday. He talked about how for the first time in history the Walt Disney Studios will open its gate to the public and invite them to see a limited pre-release engagement of The Princess and the Frog in the studio’s newly renovated state-of-the-art theater as well as the special engagement in New York City’s famous Ziegfeld Theatre.
He acknowledged the work of Miramax before turning to the Touchstone Pictures label and its newest upcoming release The Last Song, written by Nicholas Sparks for and starring Miley Cyrus. And he mentioned the upcoming sequel Wild Hogs 2: Bachelor Ride.
Every day at the D23 Expo, from approximately 12 pm – 2 pm, attendees are treated to a look at upcoming Vinylmation releases. For Thursday – Saturday, this opportunity includes Vinylmation product developer Donald Ferro. Donald took some time out to show me some of the figures that have never been on display up until now, which you can see below. We also talked about new Vinylmation products such as the 3″ colored blank for those who prefer to begin with a non-white base canvas. Pictured below, the blanks will initially come in red, black, yellow, pink and purple colors with the potential to retire and/or introduce new colors along the way.
Just a few days ago, Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter found some time to squeeze in a game of The Princess and the Frog for the Nintendo Wii while at Odeon Leicester Square in London. Due out in November, the game will also be available on the Nintendo DS. See here for more details on the upcoming release.
Thanks to Disney Interactive Studios for the photo.
CELEBRATION, Fla. (Sept. 11, 2009) – For the first time ever, Disney Cruise Line will offer Alaskan cruises during a four-month season of seven-night sailings aboard the Disney Wonder in summer 2011. Combining the natural wonder and adventurous spirit of Alaska with the unparalleled, family-friendly experience provided by Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Wonder will depart out of Vancouver, B.C., calling on popular ports such as Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.
Before and after the 2011 summer season in Alaska, the Disney Wonder will sail seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises from the Port of Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.
In response to guest demand, the Disney Magic will once again return to the Mediterranean in 2011 with 10- and 11-night cruises sailing out of Barcelona. In addition to popular ports in Italy, France and Spain, the Disney Magic will visit Tunis in northern Africa and the island nation of Malta.
“We’re excited to offer this incredible choice of itineraries for 2011, with cruise vacation options for every family – whether that’s outdoor adventure in Alaska, the beauty and culture of Europe, folklore and pageantry of Mexico or tropical fun in the Caribbean,” said Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. “The unique advantage of Disney Cruise Line is that we offer a customized ship experience that brings families together, while still catering to the personalized vacation needs of every guest who sails with us.”
Disney Cruise Line also will offer a number of repositioning cruises and special sailings in 2011, including a 15-night Panama Canal crossing, two 14-night transatlantic voyages, a five- and six-night cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and Vancouver to Los Angeles, with first-ever stops in San Francisco and Victoria, B.C., and 10- and 11-night holiday sailings to the Mexican Riviera and the eastern Caribbean.
Guests will be able to book Disney Wonder and Disney Magic itineraries for the 2011 season beginning Sept. 28, 2009.
Enjoy footage from the exciting events and announcements from the Walt Disney Studios presentation featuring WDS Chairman Dick Cook. Dick welcomes numerous celebrities to the stage for the event including directors Robert Zemeckis, Jerry Bruckheimer and Tim Burton, actors John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Ella Bleu Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, the Muppets, a performance by Miley Cyrus and more. Plus see what the fans have to say! Footage courtesy of Disney
All-new episodes of Disney•Pixar’s “Cars Toons,” an animated short series directed by Academy Award©-winner John Lasseter with Rob Gibbs co-directing and starring Lightning McQueen’s rusty friend Mater, will debut beginning FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 on Disney Channel, Disney XD and ABC Family. They are titled “Unidentified Flying Mater,” “Monster Truck Mater,” “Heavy Metal Mater” and “Tokyo Mater.”
Mark Mothersbaugh (“Devo”) composed the music for three episodes and BT (“The Fast and the Furious”), a prominent composer of dance and electronic music, scored “Tokyo Mater.”
The four new stories follow the popular shorts that began debuting in October 2008 and which have reached 22.9 million Kids 2-11, or 56% of all kids in that age group in the U.S., and 67.5 million total unique viewers.
“Cars Toons” are directed by John Lasseter, (“Cars,” “Toy Story 2,” “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story”) and co-directed by Rob Gibbs (“Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc” and “Toy Story 2″). Kori Rae (“The Incredibles” and “Monsters Inc.”) is the producer. Victor Navone (“Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.”) co-directed the episode “Tokyo Mater.”
In “Unidentified Flying Mater,” premiering Friday, November 20 on Disney Channel, Mater meets a cute little bucktoothed UFO named Mator, takes him out for a night of fun and they quickly become best friends. But when Mator is captured by the military, Mater and Lightning McQueen come to the rescue.
Below is some footage provided to us by Disney from both the Bob Iger address and the induction of both Betty White and Robin Williams into the Disney’s Legends program. Enjoy!