On the day its new Disney Junior series, ‘Sofia the First,’ launches, Disney has also released Sofia the First: Story Theater for Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices.
The app contains two modes: the first is an interactive storybook, a retelling of the Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess movie which is narrated by Sofia (Ariel Winter) and features audio clips from the movie as well as dozens of individual animations.
The other mode is the theater mode in which the user chooses multiple ‘cutout’ elements such as main characters, backdrops, props and even background music. Once each of the elements is chosen, the user is able to press the record button and record an audio track (dialogue) while moving the elements around the backdrop. After halting recording, the ‘production’ can be played back and even saved for later enjoyment.
The innovative theater mode appears to work well, although there was a bit of a learning curve. For example, though the backdrop consists of just a small portion of the stage, the theater mode records only elements that are in front of it. This actually means that you are able to keep props and characters out of view until desired. Also, characters are abnormally large against the backdrop by default (and props are small), but they can be resized with the usual pinch to zoom, as well as rotated. The resize and rotate functions even work while recording, allowing for some interesting use of perspective and overall weirdness. The app’s description even boasts multi-touch to allow friends to work together to move multiple characters at once.
For more information or to purchase ‘Sofia the First: Story Theater,’ click here.
As for the original televised film itself, it will be available to own on Disney DVD with special Royal Sing-Along mode on March 5, 2013 and is now available for pre-order. The DVD is set to include bonuses such as a ‘Princess in Training Activity Kit’ featuring stickers and tiaras.
Just in time for the theatrical release of Monsters Inc 3-D on December 19, Disney Mobile Games released ‘Monsters, Inc. Run‘ last night for Apple iPhone, iPad and iOS Touch devices ($.99).
‘Monsters, Inc. Run‘ is a side-scrolling action platform adventure that has players dashing through locations from the movie as their favorite Monsters, Inc. characters. Players find themselves on a spine-tingling mission as some of the most popular scare team duos, including Mike and Sulley, to find and rescue Boo from danger.
Players run, jump and power through three frightening worlds and 48 hair-raising levels inspired by the movie, tackling the Rooftops of Monstropolis to the Ice Caves of the Himalayas. Fly with jet-packs, attack with ray guns, dodge and blast through obstacles and mischievous monsters, using over 20 explosive power-ups and the ability to call in partners to save Boo.
Brought to players by Disney Mobile Games and developed by Get Set Games, the makers of Mega Run, the launch of ‘Monsters, Inc. Run‘ promises Monsters, Inc. fans a monstrously fun run adventure through a world they’ve only seen on screen.
‘Monsters, Inc. Run’ features include:
- The ability to play as four Monsters, Inc. scare team duos!
- Dash through three worlds and 48 exciting levels!
- Master levels with over 20 explosive power-ups!
- Take on familiar monsters from the movie!
- Go on an endless running adventure in Endless Mode!
Disney is currently looking for Apple iPad owners in the Los Angeles area to help test the new ‘Second Screen Live’ app, allowing movie-goers to interact with and experience movies in a whole new way. Beginning tonight, Disney will offer several screenings of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas employing the app which will allow guests to ‘participate in fun challenges, speed trivia, sing-alongs and more for the chance to win prizes and play against other fans in the audience.’
To be eligible for the test, guests must own and bring their own iPad device as well as download a copy of the app which will be emailed in advance. As a thank you for participating in the test, guests will also receive a gift. Available screenings are as follows (all screenings are at 7 pm PT):
- ArcLight Sherman Oaks on October 22
- AMC Burbank 13 on October 23
- ArcLight Pasadena on October 24
- El Capitan Theatre on November 1
For more information and to sign up for free tickets, visit the event page.
With Apple’s iPad dominating the tablet population, it’s small wonder that the emerging ‘apptivity’ market has becoming increasingly competitive at an exponential rate with companies chomping at the bit to develop creative and enticing physical objects to provide additional interactivity with the iPad and its apps. Already a pioneer in the field with its Cars app and toys, Disney is once again looking to set the bar, this time with the Disney Creative Studio by eKids.
The ‘appcessory’ included here is the stylus which allows children (of all ages) to use the iPad screen as a drawing surface. Using the stylus with the app, artists are able to engage in various activities featuring their favorite Disney toons which includes learning to draw them with guidance from actual Disney character artists. Much like the popular ‘Animation Academy’ at Disneyland’s Disney California Adventure and Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios, an introduction (here provided via embedded video by master character artist John Quinn) talks about being an artist and how it’s okay. However, unlike its theme park counterpart, this stylus includes a virtual eraser along with a host of other tools. Clicking the eraser cycles through the tools which includes various brushes and a stamp tool, while a rocker switch on the stylus itself helps determine the thickness of the brush. Selections are immediately displayed on screen in the app, so there’s no confusion.
Using the stylus itself is as simple as it gets: press and drag to draw, press any one of the dozens of available colors to select it, or flip the stylus over and use it as an eraser (there’s also an undo/redo button on-screen). The stylus also has a special mode in which the brush magically cycles through rainbow colors as you draw — this mode is engaged by shaking the stylus.
In addition to the character drawing lessons, the app includes other activities such as coloring, connect-the-dots and tracing, as well as a blank canvas mode if you’re inspired to go at it on your own. Creations are automatically saved and can be emailed at the press of a button to all of your adoring fans.
Below is a video demoing some of its features as well as some photos of the app and stylus in action:
Having played with Disney Creative Studio myself, I was greatly impressed with what it has to offer and found the stylus very comfortable and natural to use. The stylus uses audio cues to interact with the app and, as you can tell from the video above, appears to work pretty well even in extremely noisy environments. Because of the nature of how it works, at launch time, multiple styluses are advised to be kept at least five feet away from each other, but I am told that a free software update coming down the pipeline will fix that so they can operate independently even when two iPads are being used right next to each other. Updates also promise to add additional features including the ability to automatically remove the guide lines when using the learn to draw feature.
Disney Creativity Studio will be available for purchase beginning November 1, exclusively through Apple Stores and will retail for $49.99 which includes the stylus (either Mickey or Disney Princess designs), a carrying case and a code to download the app for free (regularly $3.99). The app will be available as a standalone purchase and is completely usable in all of the activities, but will lack most of the special features afforded by the stylus. As an added bonus, Disney will be updating its free PIXEL’D app to incorporate being able to use the stylus. At launch time, the app will contain only Mickey Mouse-inspired activities but future updates will introduce additional content from other Disney franchises.
It’s not a new concept at the core, but Disney Interactive (NYSE:DIS) plans on launching a new platform dubbed ‘Disney Connected Learning’ in late 2012/2013 which will allow parents to actively monitor their child’s performance in learning-related activities. What makes this particular implementation unique is that it will run under Apple iOS and Amazon Kindle devices, along with Facebook and other platforms, and encompass more than thirty separate games throughout the year, featuring familiar Disney characters as they educate players via Disney’s Learning System. In addition, an API will be exposed that will allow third party developers to integrate Disney’s K-5 curriculum which was developed in partnership with Stanford University and the University of Georgia. The native and third party apps will allow to progressively test skills with the child and report back to a separate parent-specific app that will allow feedback on the child’s progress.
While this is a new frontier for education for the company, it is no stranger to producing educational materials for children. Disney Educational Productions has produced and offers several series of DVD videos including the popular ‘Science of Imagineering’ series. In addition, Disney Consumer Products owns and operates Disney English centers in China, which uses Disney characters and stories to promote English as a second language.
Disney Publishing Worldwide announced today the release of Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book, based on Walt Disney Studios’ highly anticipated stop-motion animated film directed by Tim Burton, Frankenweenie, in theaters October 5, 2012. Capturing the creative process from concept to completion, the interactive book integrates videos, vibrant music, and original sketches to offer readers a fully immersive behind-the-scenes look into the making of the movie. Available on the iBookstore, this book is Disney Publishing’s first to be created with Apple’s iBooks Author.
“We’re thrilled to give fans a look at how Tim Burton and his creative team brought Victor Frankenstein and Sparky to life in the town of New Holland,” said Lyle Underkoffler, vice president, Digital Media, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Using iBooks Author, Disney Publishing was able to include more digital content than ever before—including previews of animated storyboards documenting the transition from sketch to screen.”
Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book incorporates a brief history of the 1984 live-action short film and details the upcoming full-length stop-motion animated feature, including a foreword by Academy Award®-winning actor Martin Landau (the voice of Mr. Rzykruski in the film) and introductions to over 200 resident puppets of New Holland (with a special introduction to Victor and Sparky), as well as a look into “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition,” now on tour.
A chapter on the film’s music includes previews of each track from the original motion picture score by Oscar®-nominated and GRAMMY®-winning composer Danny Elfman and from Frankenweenie Unleashed!, a 16-song compilation of music from and inspired by the film, featuring artists including Karen O, Neon Trees, and Kimbra. Both albums will be available from Walt Disney Records on September 25 and can be purchased directly from within the book.
Using Apple’s iBooks Author app, Disney Publishing was able to include video, audio, multi-touch, and 3D widgets to create a robust storytelling experience that enlightens Frankenweenie fans of all ages. Readers can watch interviews featuring producer Allison Abbate and executive producer Don Hahn and explore the art of stop-motion animation with Tim Burton, while younger fans can create their own “chalkboard collage” using the film’s characters.
“Thirty years after he first visualized Frankenweenie as a student at CalArts, Tim Burton has finally made the movie he dreamed of making way back then,” said Martin Landau, voice of Mr. Rzykruski in the film. “The eBook reveals how a truncated, live-action version made by Tim three decades ago evolved into the 90-minute, black-and-white, stop-motion (Tim’s favorite animation process), 3D motion picture that he visualized all those years ago. It’s wonderful that Tim has managed to keep Victor and his friends young, energetic, and alive for 30 plus years.”
Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book is available for free exclusively on the iBookstore in 32 countries around the world.
After topping the iTunes app charts for months, what is Swampy the Gator from the Disney Mobile franchise, ‘Where’s My Water?’ going to do next? He’s going to Walt Disney World, of course! Maybe sneaking in a bath or two first though.
Disney Parks has quietly launched SWAMPYATDISNEY.COM, a mobile mini-site that shares the above image along with the following teaser:
For the first time Swampy is leaving his subterranean home for a vacation in the human world. There were a lot of water parks to choose from, but Swampy has settled on two of the crown jewels: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach at the vacation capital of the human world, Walt Disney World. Humans haven’t made it very easy for alligators to travel freely, but Swampy is finding that getting there is at least part of the fun!
Rumors of a meet and greet character version of Swampy have been swirling about for months, but this is a pretty good suggestion from an official source that he is coming. Sources have indeed confirmed to us that costuming has created a character costume for Swampy and that whispers of what amounts to a ‘publicity stunt’ have been traded amongst the inner circles at the Walt Disney World Resort, so expect to hear more about this event soon. Blizzard Beach has offered meet and greet opportunities in the past with its mascot, Ice Gator, whom Swampy is sure to get along with swimmingly.
The site also makes mention of the Typhoon Lagoon-inspired hidden level in Where’s My Water? FREE. The hidden level is called ‘Waterslide’ and can be accessed through the Collection screen in the game by scrolling down and tapping on the life preserver (thanks to @WillD79). Another hidden level, ‘Ups and Downs,’ can be found on the same screen by scrolling upwards and clicking on the arrow. The same level can be found in the paid version of Where’s My Water? on the Collection screen, while clicking on the sun after scrolling down will reveal ‘Good Morning’ as featured on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’
Coming this fall, the third highest-grossing movie of all time and the #1 movie in the world, Marvel’s The Avengers assembles as you’ve never seen it before on Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital and On-Demand platforms on September 25, 2012. In anticipation of this release, Marvel is also launching an all-new App in July — ‘The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen App’ (available for the first time on iPhone) — that gives fans unprecedented access to exclusive content building up to the home entertainment release.
Providing viewers with the ultimate in-home experience, the premium 4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack provides 5-unique ways to enjoy Marvel’s The Avengers (on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and Digital Download of ‘Avengers Assembled’ Music from and inspired by the film) and brings to life the Super Hero team-up of a lifetime in a whole new dimension on Blu-ray hi-def with stunning visual effects, superior sound and unparalleled bonus content.
Extras include a gag reel (a first for a Marvel Studios film), the chance to hear from the cast and Joss Whedon on their experiences in bringing these larger than life characters to the big screen, a behind-the-scenes look at the groundbreaking visual effects and stunning cinematography, the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Helicarrier, Soundgarden’s ‘Live to Rise’ Music Video, deleted scenes and more!
Also for the first time ever, fans will be able to enjoy even more of the Marvel Universe via the all-new ‘The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen App.’ By downloading this onto a secondary device, consumers will be able to gain unprecedented access to exclusive content building up to the home entertainment release on September 25. Pieces will be unleashed bi-weekly in July & August and weekly in September leading up to a full immersive experience accompanying the film on Blu-ray.
Content includes special access to the S.H.I.E.L.D. database, becoming a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, invitations to ‘special missions’ either remotely or in the field, links to character profiles, stories and scenes, interactive Marvel digital reader comic books and more. App owners will receive push notifications whenever new content is uploaded and available for their viewing.
The full range of Marvel’s The Avengers home entertainment offerings and bonus features are as follows:
BLU-RAY BONUS FEATURES:
- Audio commentary by director Joss Whedon
- Marvel One Shot: Item 47
- Second Screen
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Opening – Maria Hill Interrogation
- Extended Scene – Loki & Barton Strategize
- Steve Rogers – Man Out of Time
- Nick Fury & World Security Council
- Extended Viaduct Fight – Raw Footage
- Fury & Hill Discuss the World Security Council
- Extended Scene – Banner and Security Guard
- Alternate Ending – Maria Hill Interrogation
- A Visual Journey
- Assembling the Ultimate Team
- Soundgarden Music Video – Live to Rise
Disney Studio All Access Finally Launching This Month? (Introducing Disney Everywhere’s Movie Cloud)
Now that Disney (NYSE:DIS) has finally gotten its ‘TV Everywhere’ initiative off the ground, as we first reported earlier this month — with even more networks such as ABC Family on the way, along with cable providers beyond Comcast — the focus now shifts to Disney’s extensive film collection.
An announcement made last week on Disney Movies Online has raised some eyebrows, causing some to ponder if DSAA/Keychest’s time has finally arrived. Certainly the changes coming to DMO on June 27 are worth the contemplation: accounts for those under 13 not permitted; accounts only for United States users; and a slew of films that won’t be available for viewing online for the foreseeable future.
More curiously, however, and perhaps more to the point, are the following domain names very recently registered by the company: DISNEYANYWHERE.COM, DISNEYEVERYWHERE.COM, DISNEYMOVIECLOUD.COM, DISNEYMOVIESANYWHERE.COM, DISNEYMOVIESEVERYWHERE.COM.
While it’s possible Disney Studio All Access may finally reveal itself to the world this summer (see our sneak peek for more details), what we’re more likely to see is an interim phase in which Disney Movies Online simply goes mobile on Apple iOS and Android devices.
As far as DSAA is concerned, Disney has officially been maintaining a ‘wait and see’ attitude, monitoring the successes and failures of UltraViolet, the only competing service. UltraViolet has managed to rack up more than 3 million accounts since its debut, most of which as a result of a push campaign by Walmart this year, but continues to confuse and disappoint its customer base.
The Disney/Pixar Brave edition of Temple Run from Imangi Studios and Disney Mobile is now available for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, ahead of the official June 14 release date. The app is priced at $.99 but includes 2500 ‘free’ coins (coincidentally, a $.99 value).
The Brave edition shares many qualities of the original game that inspired it as you assume the role of Merida, running through the forest and being chased by Mor’du, the demon bear. While all of the same goals and bonuses are available as the original, the game also adds the ability to partake in archery challenges in which Merida takes aim at targets as she runs, simply by tapping on them.
Like the original, there is a store which allows you to activate and increase special bonuses as well as supporting in-app purchases so you can pad your coin stash. A note of caution though: while it may be tempting to add to the virtual bank to unlock the three wallpapers, they are the same as previously released graphics which you can find online for free. Still, providing Merida an in-game change of clothing would be certainly tempting to any fan and understandably so.
For more information or to purchase Temple Run: Brave, click here.