Disney’s Bolt to Get 3-D Jolt

You may recall a movie in development at Disney Feature Animation under the title American Dog. Originally shepherded by Lilo & Stitch director Chris Saunders, the pic was heavily retooled with the arrival of Pixar’s John Lasseter and Ed Catmul, and is now being called Bolt. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be released in stereoscopic 3-D when it opens next Thanksgiving.

Chris Williams, who has story credits on Disney’s Mulan and The Emperor’s New Groove, will make his directorial debut with Bolt, the story of a pampered Hollywood TV dog who learns about the real world when he is accidentally shipped off to New York. The voice cast will include John Travolta and Susie Essman.

After he was pushed off the project, Sanders moved to DreamWorks Animation to direct Crood Awakening, a comedy the studio was initially developing with Aardman Animations before the two parted ways earlier this year. Crood Awakening revolves around a culture clash between enlightened cavemen and their less evolved counterparts. Sanders may end up doing re-writes on the script, which was written by comedy legend John Cleese of Monty Python fame and Kirk De Micco (Racing Stripes).

Disney’s previous efforts in the 3-D arena met with success as a lot of moviegoers strapped on special specs to view Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons and the enhanced re-release of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. But while those films were converted to 3-D after the fact, Bolt will be designed for stereoscopic viewing, as will the recently announced animated Tim Burton features Alice in Wonderland and Frankenweenie. Disney is also experimenting with live-action 3-D with its Feb. theatrical release of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus ‘Best of Both Worlds’ concert tour.