Disney is becoming a giant screen fan. After the success of FANTASIA 2000 ($60.5M) and the favorable box office numbers received by the recent release of the large format BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ($12.5M and counting) is it any wonder? Now Walt Disney Pictures has decided to release its upcoming holiday animated feature TREASURE PLANET simultaneously in 35mm venues as well as in large format cinemas. This is the first time a major studio feature has been specifically formatted for both 35mm and the giant screen to receive a same day-and-date release. The digital production system that Disney uses allows the studio to create a version of the film specifically for giant screen venues without any loss of clarity or detail, as opposed to blowing up a 35mm print, the process by which some large format films are created. Producer Don Hahn commented, "The result is so impressive and approximates a 3D sensation without using glasses. TREASURE PLANET is particularly well suited to the [giant screen] venues because of its fantastic settings and ambitious art direction." TREASURE PLANET was directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, the team responsible for THE LITTLE MERMAID, ALADDIN and HERCULES, and features the vocal talents of Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce and Martin Short. The story is a futuristic retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson's TREASURE ISLAND that puts young hero Jim Hawkins in a parallel universe aboard a solar space galleon in search of treasure. Look for it on November 27, 2002.
With Fantasia 2000, Imax looked to be a great hope for animation. Karl Cohen investigates why this immediate future looks shaky.