Written by Russell Meyer
Published: December 8, 2004 at 8:43 PM
Disney and Pixar announced today that they have decided to delay the release of their final joint effort, Cars, from November 2005 until June 2006. Steve Jobs says that Pixar is looking to maximize box office profits with a summer release, making the DVD available for release during the lucrative holiday season 5 months later. Disney says the movie is more suited to a summer release because of its theme. While both sides’ reasons for wanting to push the release date back are very valid, one may think that these “reasons” are actually excuses. After watching the preview trailer for Cars, the concept looks kinda cute, but not the type of movie that’s going to blow out the box office, not to mention there wasn’t a single memorable moment presented in the trailer. No one from Disney or Pixar is going to come out right now and say it, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the movie may need those extra 6 months to be polished into a finished product. However, it is possible that it is all about the money, and after Shrek 2’s box office totals have crushed everything Disney or Pixar has produced so far, they want to try to steal some sparkle for themselves with a summer release.
Disney Backs Sony Technology
Disney and its home entertainment division Buena Vista Entertainment have chosen sides in the next generation of home entertainment technology. Sony’s Blu-ray discs hold up to 50GB of information compared to 4.7GB of a standard DVD of today. The discs and players- that’s right, your current DVD player or players (I have 7 in my home right now, including those in PCs) are about to go the way of VHS and BETA; will be available for U.S. consumption in late 2005 to early 2006. Assuming a standard tech lag of 1-2 years, we will need to replace our outdated technology by 2008. So take Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Extended Edition and Mary Poppins off your pre-order list, because you’ll just have to buy a new copy in 4 years.
But wait, Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers, and New Line announced last week that they are going to support HD DVD, another format that reportedly may allow current DVD discs to be played on the upcoming HD DVD players. Hmmm, hasn’t Sony tried this before? Does anyone remember MiniDisc? That technology sounded so great in the mid-90’s with recordable music discs that produced CD quality music. CD-RW put MiniDisc out of business before it could even get its foot in the door, and a similar fate may befall Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick technology. Sony’s technology, which is typically very good and reliable, has one major downfall- it is proprietary. Sony and HP are the only 2 manufacturers on board to produce Blu-Ray players, and it looks like the home entertainment sector may be in for yet another battle.
Interesting Movie Tie-In
In what appears to be one of the strangest movie promotions, Universal Orlando Resort is inviting “Fockers” to the resort for a special weekend. Anyone with the legal name Focker who has registered with Universal Orlando will be participating in a Focker Family Reunion at the resort December 17-19, in advance of the December 22 release of the movie Meet the Fockers. The sequel to the popular comedy Meet the Parents stars Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand, and Dustin Hoffman. Perhaps this promotion was inspired by complaints by people who actually have the last name Focker and were offended by the numerous jokes made about the name in Meet the Parents. Maybe someone looked through the phone book and actually realized that there are really people with the last name Focker. In any case, it sounds like a nice promotion, assuming you have the right last name.
A Nicer Drive to Busch Gardens
Busch Boulevard will be receiving a $2.4 million facelift to begin in 2007. The major road leading guests to Tampa’s most popular destination was never the prettiest, especially considering the more aesthetically pleasing roads surrounding competing parks in Orlando. The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization has approved dramatic improvements to the 4-mile stretch of road that will include: brick pavers at crosswalks, landscaping at the I-275 interchange, and animal shaped topiaries along the side of the street. Busch Gardens Tampa has always seemed a bit out of place with its urban setting and walls around the park to keep the unattractive outside view out of guest’s minds. Now with a 200-foot tall roller coaster on the way, Busch Gardens will eventually have some visually attractive things to look at outside the park’s walls.