Disney+ to Launch Original Series on the Animation Process

Disney+ on April 27 will begin streaming the six-part original series “Sketchbook,” an instructional documentary series exploring the art behind Disney’s famed animated classics.

The series, from Supper Club in partnership with Walt Disney Animation Studios, will provide viewers with an insider’s look into the animation process as studio artists teach them how to draw beloved Disney characters, including Kuzco from Emperor’s New Groove, Olaf from Frozen, Genie from Aladdin, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, Mirabel from Encanto and young Simba from The Lion King.

Each episode focuses on a single artist illustrating characters that either they helped create or inspired them to want to be an artist at the studio. The artists also shared their own stories about how they made their way to Disney and their chosen character. 

“This series is an unprecedented look at what it takes to bring these beloved characters to life,” said Jason Sterman, director and executive producer at Supper Club. “We are honored to feature this incredible group of artists who trusted us not only with presenting their skillset, but with sharing their personal, and often emotional, stories with the world. We’re looking forward to audiences becoming inspired to hopefully pick up a pencil and put it to paper themselves.”

“Think back to your favorite films from Walt Disney Animation Studios, whether from our earliest days, the films of our 1990s renaissance or the award-winning films of today like Encanto and Frozen — every film starts with an idea, a pencil and an artist,” said series executive producer Amy Astley, SVP of publicity and communications, creative legacy and brand strategy for Walt Disney Animation Studios. “And within the thousands of artists who have created our 60 films over the last century, every person has a unique and special story. … With ‘Sketchbook,’ our hope is to demystify the art of drawing, making it accessible for anyone who wants to pick up a pencil and paper while deepening an appreciation for the individuals who contribute to our films.” 

Disney+ Bowing New ‘Frozen’ Short Oct. 23

A new animated short film based on the Olaf character from the “Frozen” movies will debut exclusively on Disney+ Oct. 23.

Once Upon a Snowman will explore the previously untold origins of Olaf, the snowman created by Queen Elsa in the original Frozen from 2013. What happened within the moments after Elsa created him as she was building her ice palace, and when Anna and Kristoff first meet him in the forest? And how did he learn to love Summer?

Actor Josh Gad once again returns to provide the voice of Olaf.

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The short from Walt Disney Animation Studios is co-directed by Trent Correy, animation supervisor of “Olaf” in 2019’s Frozen II, and Dan Abraham, the veteran story artist who boarded Olaf’s “When I Am Older” musical sequence in Frozen II.

“This is an idea that started to form when I was an animator on the first Frozen,” Correy said. “Dan Abraham and I are so grateful and excited to have had the opportunity to direct this short, working with our incredible colleagues at Walt Disney Animation Studios.”

‘Frozen II’ Theatrical Success Bodes Well for Home Entertainment

Walt Disney Animation Studios set a global opening weekend box office record with Frozen II, the sequel to the equally successful original Frozen from 2013.

That release went on to generate nearly $1.3 billion at the box office for Disney — the 15th largest worldwide theatrical tally in history — and help launch a global brand across theme parks, merchandise, cruise ships and ice shows.

Frozen II generated $350 million through Sunday, Nov. 24 and is on course to become Disney’s sixth billion-dollar movie in 2019 following a string of Marvel hits and live-action remakes.

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For home entertainment, the initial box office success of Frozen II could portend greener days for transactional retail, including packaged media and electronic sellthrough.

That’s because the 2014 home entertainment release of Frozen generated combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc sales of $335 million from more than 18 million discs, according to The-Numbers.com.

That’s more discs sold than the combined total for the next three years’ top-selling packaged-media releases: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Jurassic World (2015), Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016) and Moana (2017).

The electronic sellthrough release of Frozen also established a record for fastest-selling digital release of all time.

“If Frozen was happily ever after, then Frozen II is the day after happily ever after,” Jennifer Lee, who wrote and co-directed both films, said in a statement.