News Bytes: Pixar’s Watercooler Talk, Tubi OC Expansion, FanDome Returns & More

Pixar Staff Speaks Out against Disney Moving Its Films to Streaming Only

Several Pixar staffers spoke anonymously to BusinessInsider about the release tactic taken for Oscar-winner hit Soul — amid mass COVID theater shutdowns — and this summer’s Luca, despite the cautious reopening of movie theaters. Unlike Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon and Mulan, the Pixar titles are included with regular Disney+ subscriptions. Here’s what employees shared:

  • Luca doesn’t even have a premium price next to it.Does it make it lesser? It’s hard to grasp.”
  • “We don’t want to be a title just on Disney+. These movies are crafted for the big screen. We want you to watch these movies with no distractions, no looking at your phones.”
  • “If these movies aren’t having $1 billion runs, does that hurt the company? You wonder that.”
  • “Everyone is worried about keeping their jobs if our films aren’t seen by Disney as financially successful.”
  • “There will not be a change on how we make the films. That’s what’s important; the piece of art. That’s what matters.”

Tubi to Expand Programming Slate with Fall 2021 Launch of Original Content
The FOX-owned free streamer will begin rolling out stand-alone feature-length Tubi Originals this fall, and is planning to debut 140+ hours of all-new content, including documentaries, premium indie genres titles and animated productions from FOX Ent.’s Emmy-winning studio Bento Box (more info TBA). The news coincides with the one-year anniversary of FOX’s acquisition of the AVOD platform, which registered a record-setting TVT of 798 million hours in the first quarter of this year (+54% year over year) and a platform-best of 276M hours TVT in March. Over 2.5 billion hours of content were streamed on Tubi in 2020.

A Vision of Justice: Tyrus Wong & The Cultural Continuum of New Chinatown
A Vision of Justice: Tyrus Wong & The Cultural Continuum of New Chinatown

Virtual Exhibition of Tyrus Wong Watercolor
Hung in L.A.’s New Chinatown, the numinous painting of Chinese philosopher Confucius by Disney Legend and prominent Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong (1910-2016) is available to view online through the support of the Louie Family Foundation. The exhibition was launched May 1 to mark the start of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Join curator Sonia Mak, artist/comedian Kristina Wong and attorney/arts advocate George Yin for a discussion about the relationship between Wong and the painting’s patron, immigration lawyer Y.C. Hong, on Wed. May 5 at 7 p.m. PT.

DC FanDome Is Returning in 2021
The global, virtual event which offered fans a first look at some of the brand’s biggest new movies, games, shows and comics garnered more than 22 million views across 220 countries and territories last time around. The next edition has been scheduled for October 16 this year. Details TBA!

‘The Dig’ – Union VFX Reel
See how the London studio helped bring to life the story of modern British history’s most famous archaeological discovery — the Anglo-Saxon burial ship at Sutton Hoo, uncovered in 1939. In addition to constructing in 3D, rotoscoping and grading the iconic mounds, Union animated the life-threatening collapse of one of the mounds over Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) as well as the dramatic crash of an RAF spitfire into a nearby river. The Dig co-stars Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty. James Etherington-Sparks was the film’s VFX supervisor. The movie is available to stream on Netflix. See more of Union’s work at

The Dig | VFX Breakdown Reel from Union Visual Effects on Vimeo.

‘The Elfkins – Baking a Difference’ Wins Bavarian Film Award
Germany’s Akkord Film is celebrating the Best Animated Feature Win at one of the country’s most prestigious cinema celebrations — animated productions are only awarded for special achievements. Directed by Ute von Münchow-Pohl, the movie introduces the folkloric gnomes of Cologne who once helped humans with household chores, until a meanspirited tailor’s wife chased them out — and tells the story of their return.

Elfkins has also won Best Film at the Giffoni Int’l Film Festival and the Children’s Jury Prize for Best Animated Feature at the Chicago Int’l Children’s Film Festival, and enjoyed successful theatrical runs in multiple markets before the pandemic. Sola Media ( is handling worldwide sales.

Photo: Akkord Film producer Dirk Beinhold with Bavarian Film Award (and Elfie the Elfkin!)
Photo: Akkord Film producer Dirk Beinhold with Bavarian Film Award (and Elfie the Elfkin!)

Animation Masters Summit Announces 2021 Honorees
The virtual event, organized by Toonz Media Group, will toast filmmaker, media entrepreneur and a pioneer for the Indian animation industry Ketan Mehta (founder, Cosmos-Maya Studios) and pathbreaking artist, filmmaker and art academic Prof. Nina Sabnani (IDC School of Design at ITT Bombay) — one of the first women to forge a career in animation in India (Hum Chitra Banate Hai, The Stitches Speak, It’s the Same Story). The 2021 Summit, themed “Embracing Diversity: Finding beauty in our differences” will be held May 4-8 (

“Every year at Animation Masters Summit we give away the Legend Award to a legendary animation master in recognition of their life-long contribution to Indian Animation. Prof. Nina Sabnani is one of the most revered figures in Indian animation today. She is like a guru to all of us in the fraternity. As a pioneering woman animator, she is also an inspiration for hundreds of young women who aspire to join this industry,” said P. Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Media Group. “Mr. Ketan Mehta, who is being awarded the Special Contribution Award, has helped put the Indian animation community on the global map by founding one of the most successful animation studios in India. He also played a significant role in fostering new talent by establishing the Maya Academy.”

Ketan Mehta | Prof. Nina Sabnani
Ketan Mehta | Prof. Nina Sabnani

Genius Brands’ ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten’ Surpasses 9 Million Views
The April 23 premiere of the new series starring the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger has proven to be a huge hit for Kartoon Channel! ( “Superhero Kindergarten analytics from Kartoon Channel! from the first weekend, exceeded all expectations, with traffic up across every metric we track,” said Kartoon Channel! General Manager, Jon Ollwerther.

“Network hours watched went up 941% week-over-week to 349,735 hours. Unique users went up 1,841% week-over-week to 1,858,434 uniques. New application installs went up 465.9%, as we saw growth across all viewing outlets including televisions, tablets, mobile phones, computers, and game consoles, as well as growth across all the viewing platforms of Kartoon Channel!, including Apple, Android, Roku, Amazon, You Tube, Samsung, LG, and others, with full episode viewing exceeding industry norms as well. We can already see the 2nd weekend dramatically building on the 1st.”

Stan Lee's Superhero Kindergarten
Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten


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