The Walt Disney Company is moving up its large-format release of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST to January 1, 2002, following on the success of last year's January 1 release of FANTASIA/2000: The Imax Experience. Produced by Don Hahn and directed by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has been digitally remastered and reformatted specifically for release to 15/70 and 8/70 theaters. The new version includes a never-before-seen musical sequence featuring Human Again, a song that had been written and storyboarded for the original release, but never animated. The announcement was made at the fifth Large Format Conference and Film Festival, held May 16-18, 2001 in Los Angeles, where Don Hahn delivered the keynote address. Hahn paralleled large format films with the theater, noting that film is meant to be a communal experience. We really do get that experience in venues where we can sit down and enjoy those films with our community, said Hahn. And, in no other format that I know, the large screen format comes close to this of putting us in the presence of the players, literally. Ultimately, we love that. We see ourselves in the characters on the screen. We see ourselves in that experience the filmmakers create for us on the screen. The large format version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was completed in about two years and the cost of re-do work is in the three million range. The original version (1991) was one of Disneys first digital movies. It was hand-drawn, but all the drawings were scanned and they were able to bring scenes back on the computer and repaint pieces of backgrounds, re-cleanup pieces of artwork, and literally do a restoration and a re-do of many pieces of the movie. Disney wanted to bring the audience a new experience in terms of the musical score, so they restored the Human Again song, bringing back not only the animators who had animated on the original film, but also the voice talent. Hahn concluded his uplifting speech by saying, I would love, someday, to make movies that are cut, edited and formatted for this unique format. I believe thats where all this is leading to, and I think thats an incredibly exciting thing.
With Fantasia/2000, IMAX looked to be a great hope for animation. In IMAX May Be The Greatest Film Delivery System Ever, Karl Cohen investigates.