Disney Associated Movies 14 – Mary Poppins Returns

In early September, I began this blog series looking at movies that involved Disney Animation Studios, but weren’t fully produced or released by the famed studio. Most of these movies combine live action with animation. Some of these movies only involve the studio for assistance on the animation front. One is a fully animated movie released by DisneyToons that used multiple other studios for help. Saving Mr. Banks really only uses footage from previous movies on this list, and a couple adapted Walt Disney videos starring Tom Hanks instead of the original. Of the movies on this list, the most profitable for its time, and by far the most famous, is Mary Poppins. What better way to conclude this series than by looking at last year’s sequel.

Mary Poppins Returns is set in 1930’s London, 25 years after the original took place, and during the great depression era. Released 54 years after the original, it’s one of the longest intervals between two films in the same series in history. It wasn’t a runaway success like the original, but it earned $349 million with a $130 million budget. It received generally positive reviews. It also received a number of award nominations, including four Academy Awards (Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Production Design and Best Costume Design. It didn’t win any of these awards, as Best Original Song went to “Shallow” from A Star Is Born, and the other three all went to Black Panther.

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Disney Associated Movies 13 – Saving Mr. Banks

The first movie I did for this blog series, The Reluctant Dragon, was more of a dramatized behind the scenes look at the animation process than an actual movie. This movie isn’t anything like that, but there are a few common elements. Saving Mr. Banks is the dramatization of Walt Disney’s efforts to acquire film rights to Mary Poppins from author P.L. Travers. I’ve looked at the background behind Mary Poppins before, but it’s worth looking at it again for the sake of comparing it to today’s subject.

The backstory for this movie begins with an Australian documentary about P.L. Travers’ childhood, ‘The Shadow of ‘Mary Poppins”’. While producing the documentary, producer Ian Collie noticed there was an obvious biopic that could come of the story. This project attracted the attention of the BBC at the time, and they decided to fund the project. It would look at both the creative disputes between Travers and Walt Disney, while also looking at Travers’ rough childhood. This production of course needed songs and footage owned by the Disney Corporation to work properly, but they still moved forward with the project, hoping that they could later acquire the licenses.

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Disney Associated Movies 12 – Enchanted

Enchanted is somehow both a unique film in the Disney cannon, and not unique at the same time. It’s a mostly live-action musical comedy romance, mixed with traditional animation. It also happens to be the very first movie distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, instead of the historical Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

This movie is simultaneously a homage and a self-parody of Disney’s animated features, most notably the Disney Princess brand. It marks a return to traditional animation after the company decided to exclusively use CGI animation back in 2004, after Home On The Range bombed (I hate that movie). Released in 2007, Enchanted earned $340 million on an $85 million budget. It also did well with critics, and earned itself three Academy Award nominations … all in the Best Original Song category. A few years later, the Academy stopped giving any one movie more than one nomination in the same category.

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Disney Associated Movies 11 – James and the Giant Peach

Although Tim Burton has worked with Disney quite a bit over the years, he’s only been involved with two movies tied directly with Disney Animation Studios. Like with The Nightmare Before Christmas, the famed studio mostly focused on touch-up animation, but that is enough to include this in this Disney Animation Studios Associated Movies blogathon. There’s a reason I didn’t go with that full title for the name of this blog series.

Anyway, James and the Giant Peach is the second Skellington Productions movie to be associated with Disney’s famed animation studio, and their third and final theatrical release overall. Although The Nightmare Before Christmas did moderately well in theaters, and has done quite well on home video since, both of the short-lived production company’s other releases bombed. Cabin Boy earned $3.7 million on a $10 million budget, and while James and the Giant Peach did well with critics, it only earned $28 million on a $38 million budget. That is despite the very positive critical reception for today’s subject.

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Disney Associated Movies 10 – A Goofy Movie

Even in a blog series where every movie is unique in one way or another, this movie is particularly unique. But to get into what makes it unique, we first need to take a brief look at DisneyToon Studios.

DisneyToon Studios, which started as Disney MovieToons, was a division of Disney Animation Studios. It was originally founded in 1990, and was eventually closed in June of last year. In that time period, they produced 47 films, which is crazy when you think about it. 47 animated films produced by a single studio within 28 years. Although most of their films were direct-to-video, including a number of notorious sequels to Disney classics, both their first and last films were theatrical releases. Their first movie, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, took place between the third and fourth season of the very popular DuckTales TV series. Their last, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast, saw a limited release in 2015.

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Comics of October 23, 2019

I only just noticed that I didn’t post anything about comics in the last couple of weeks. Although I read the comics that I picked up, I guess I didn’t even notice that I didn’t post anything. I’m not going to talk about every comic that I read in the last three weeks – only last week’s X-Men 1 and this week’s Star Wars 73 (the only comic I picked up this week).

But in general, while I’m still enjoying reading comics, and I like that the general direction for the X-Men actually feels new and interesting, I’m finding it difficult to get genuinely excited about comics these days. Maybe I needed a two week break from comic posts. Lately I’ve been much more excited about movies and games than I’ve been about comics. Also, even though I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I am getting excited about my plan to start easing back into writing. I’m planning on at least showing up to a couple of the NaNoWriMo events in my hometown, where I’ll probably spend my time either editing short stories or planning my next major project. I plan on beginning this project in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Enough about my writing plans though; it’s time to talk about comics.

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Disney Associated Movies 9 – The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is probably the only movie I’ve heard of that successfully celebrates two holidays at once. It manages to capture a touch of horror movies to tie into Halloween, while also celebrating Christmas. Although Disney Animation Studios had their hand in creating this movie, it was primarily produced by Tim Burton’s Skellington Productions.

Skellington productions was a short-lived studio that mainly focused on stop-motion animation, with two movies released under the Touchstone Pictures label owned by Disney (including this one), one released directly by Disney, and another released by Nickelodeon. We’ll look at James and the Giant Peach soon enough in this series, but the studio closed shortly after that movie flopped, despite positive reviews.

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