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Pixar is Star of Disney CinemaCon Panel; Screens Half Hour of 'Brave,' Announces New Film and Dates

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 24, 2012 at 10:55PM

At a time when Disney is undergoing management turmoil, Pixar stole the Disney thunder at a very long show-and-tell at CinemaCon. Pixar/Disney Animation czar John Lasseter screened the glorious first half hour of "Brave" (June 22), which will surely prove a summer blockbuster and showed stunning footage for "Finding Nemo" in 3-D.

Tim Burton promoed his reworking of an early Disney short "Frankenweenie" (October 5), based on his own experience loving "Frankenstein" and losing his beloved childhood dog, this time in stop motion black and white 3-D. He admitted it was "weird" recreating the Burbank of his youth in East London.

In Peter Hedges' "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," Female Star of the Year Jennifer Garner and "The Great Gatsby" star Joel Edgerton star as a suburban couple who give up on making kids, but get one in their back yard.

DreamWorks goes in a family direction with "Star Trek" writer Alex Kurtzman's heart-tugger "People Like Us" (June 29) starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks as a brother and sister who never knew each other until after their father died. Michelle Pfeiffer plays their mother. It's a personal film for Kurtzman. There were no new materials on Steven Spielberg's holiday awards-contender  "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The talk of CinemaCon is who will replace Ross. Most insiders believe that Feige, Lasseter and DreamWorks Stacey Snider will stay put, keeping their powerful Disney labels strong. The person who gets the job, everyone agrees, needs to be experienced and knowledgeable enough to be able to diplomatically manage all these strong personalities while keeping Disney on course. The irony is that this may not be the first time that a studio head departs just as some of the films they nurtured turn into hits.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar , Animation, Comics

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.