‘Big Hero 6’ Director Talks Sequel, Key to Film’s Success

'Big Hero 6' Director Talks Sequel,

Oscar nominee “Big Hero 6” is on track this weekend to become the No. 3 all-time domestic earner for Walt Disney Animation Studios, passing the $218.9 million of “Beauty and the Beast” (after “Frozen” and “The Lion King”). One factor in the film’s success is the new approach at Disney Animation, says president Andrew Millstein, “which is about elevating storytelling and putting filmmakers at the center of the process.”

It sounds like a no-brainer for a film company to focus on filmmakers. But in the past, Disney Animation was often administrative-driven, with layers of notes from executives that dictated content and bogged down the creatives.

“Big Hero 6″ provides a one-two punch for the studio after last year’s “Frozen.” “Big Hero 6” boasts flashy work in the San Fransokyo setting and the action sequences, but the center of the film is the relationship between inflatable robot Baymax and tech prodigy Hiro. “It’s the absolute key to the film and the reason the film resonates with audiences,” “Big Hero 6” co-director Chris Williams says.

Williams and Don Hall, who both directed the film, are 20-year vets at Disney Animation, with many years’ experience on the storyboarding team.

When Ed Catmull and John Lasseter took the reins of Disney Animation in 2006, they initiated a culture shift. The key changes were to put an emphasis on the creative team and to make sure all the filmmakers were cooperative rather than competitive. So instead of the existing “bake-off,” where directors vied to get their projects made, they initiated a what’s called the Story Trust. Similar to Pixar’s Braintrust, it consists of 10-20 animation directors, writers and story artists who exchange notes, with the emphasis on collaboration.

“The change was about the Pixar team sharing ideas with us, sharing their key principles,” Millstein says. “‘Hero’ is one example of what we’ve learned over the years and our embracing some of the Pixar DNA.”

The screenwriters for “Hero” are Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson and Robert L. Baird, with Paul Briggs and Joe Mateo credited as head of story.

Baymax and Hiro are together for 80% of film, “So the Story Trust spent most of our time on their relationship,” says Williams. “The movie centers on loss, and so we all talked about our own experiences. We made ourselves vulnerable once the doors were closed, when we were in the sacred space of the storyroom.”

One of Catmull and Lasseter’s other contributions was to recognize and promote talent. Like animation greats Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, Disney Animation promoted Hall and Williams to directors because of their strength in storytelling. And the two directors were told that collaboration was paramount. “These are not new ideas, and there had been some lip service to those notions — but when John Lasseter and Ed Catmull came in, we’ve taken it to heart,” says Williams.

“Hero” has earned $505 million internationally, with several key territories still to launch. As for sequel plans, Williams says he and Hall haven’t had time to seriously discuss it. He’s glad there is “such a strong fanbase” for the film, and quotes Lasseter’s dictum: No sequel will ever get made unless the directors want one and feel strongly that there is a story that needs to be told.

“If it’s not a great story, it won’t be a great movie,” Williams emphasizes. “The crew deserves a great story. And we have expectations from the audience, who grew up with Disney animation. They deserve a great story too.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 7

Leave a Reply

7 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. MIKE says:

    NEW MOVEIO NEW BIG HERO 8 Quincy, MA / 92,271
    2. 11.2% Malden, MA / 59,450
    3. 9.3% Lexington, MA / 31,394
    4. 7.3% Brookline, MA / 58,732
    5. 7.0% Cochituate, MA / 6,569
    6. 6.8% Newton, MA / 85,146
    7. 6.2% Cambridge, MA / 105,162
    8. 5.8% North Amherst, MA / 6,819
    9. 5.7% Belmont, MA / 24,729
    10. 5.7% South Amherst, MA / 4,994
    11. 5.3% Winchester, MA / 21,374
    12. 5.3% Wellesley, MA / 27,982
    13. 4.3% Amherst Center, MA / 19,065
    14. 4.2% Cordaville, MA / 2,650
    15. 4.2% Braintree Town, MA / 35,744
    16. 4.0% Boston, MA / 617,594
    17. 3.5% Needham, MA / 28,886
    18. 3.3% Randolph, MA / 32,112
    19. 3.2% Waltham, MA / 60,632
    20. 3.1% Arlington, MA / 42,844
    21. 2.9% Somerville, MA / 75,754
    22. 2.9% Medford, MA / 56,173
    23. 2.8% Williamstown, MA / 4,325
    24. 2.8% West Concord, MA / 6,028
    25. 2.7% Northborough, MA / 6,167
    26. 2.6% Sharon, MA / 5,658
    27. 2.5% Andover, MA / 8,762
    28. 2.5% Watertown, MA / 31,915
    29. 2.2% Burlington, MA / 24,498
    30. 2.1% Milton, MA / 27,003
    31. 2.0% Framingham, MA / 68,318
    32. 1.8% Dover, MA / 2,265
    33. 1.7% Melrose, MA / 26,983
    34. 1.7% Woods Hole, MA / 781
    35. 1.6% Longmeadow, MA / 15,784
    36. 1.6% Reading, MA / 24,747
    37. 1.6% Deerfield, MA / 643
    38. 1.6% Belchertown, MA / 2,899
    39. 1.5% Devens, MA / 1,840
    40. 1.5% Westborough, MA / 4,045
    41. 1.5% Winchendon, MA / 4,213
    42. 1.4% Smith Mills, MA / 4,760
    43. 1.4% Stoneham, MA / 21,437
    44. 1.3% Medfield, MA / 6,483
    45. 1.2% Norton Center, MA / 2,671
    46. 1.2% Franklin Town, MA / 31,635
    47. 1.1% South Deerfield, MA / 1,880
    48. 1.1% Northampton, MA / 28,549
    49. 1.1% Wakefield, MA / 24,932
    49. 1.1% Millis-Clicquot, MA / 4,403
    51. 1.0% Woburn, MA / 38,120
    52. 1.0% Lynnfield, MA / 11,596
    52. 1.0% Boxford, MA / 2,339
    54. 1.0% Wilmington, MA / 22,325
    55. 0.9% Marlborough, MA / 38,499
    56. 0.9% Worcester, MA / 181,045
    57. 0.9% Mansfield Center, MA / 7,360
    57. 0.9% Maynard, MA / 10,106
    59. 0.9% Pinehurst, MA / 7,152
    60. 0.9% Seabrook, MA / 455
    60. 0.9% Norwood, MA / 28,602
    62. 0.9% Weymouth Town, MA / 53,743
    63. 0.8% Sturbridge, MA / 2,253
    63. 0.8% Wilbraham, MA / 3,915
    65. 0.8% Dedham, MA / 24,729
    66. 0.8% Petersham, MA / 243
    66. 0.8% Falmouth, MA / 3,799
    68. 0.7% Foxborough, MA / 5,625
    69. 0.7% Mashpee Neck, MA / 1,000
    70. 0.7% Littleton Common, MA / 2,789
    70. 0.7% Bliss Corner, MA / 5,280
    72. 0.7% South Ashburnham, MA / 1,062
    73. 0.6% Everett, MA / 41,667
    74. 0.6% Hudson, MA / 14,907
    75. 0.6% Revere, MA / 51,755
    75. 0.6% North Pembroke, MA / 3,292
    77. 0.6% Salem, MA / 41,340
    78. 0.6% Saugus, MA / 26,628
    79. 0.6% Holbrook, MA / 10,791
    80. 0.6% Lowell, MA / 106,519
    81. 0.5% Walpole, MA / 5,918
    82. 0.5% Hingham, MA / 5,650
    82. 0.5% Upton, MA / 3,013
    84. 0.5% Brockton, MA / 93,810
    85. 0.5% Sandwich, MA / 2,962
    86. 0.5% Methuen, MA / 47,255
    86. 0.5% West Springfield Town, MA / 28,391
    88. 0.5% North Falmouth, MA / 3,084
    89. 0.5% Hopedale, MA / 3,753
    89. 0.5% Pepperell, MA / 2,504
    91. 0.5% Hopkinton, MA / 2,550
    91. 0.5% Swampscott, MA / 13,787
    91. 0.5% Marshfield Hills, MA / 2,356
    94. 0.5% Bridgewater, MA / 7,841
    94. 0.5% Pocasset, MA / 2,851
    96. 0.5% Greenfield Town, MA / 17,456
    96. 0.5% Chelsea, MA / 35,177
    96. 0.5% Popponesset, MA / 220
    99. 0.4% Easthampton Town, MA / 16,053
    99. 0.4% Nahant, MA / 3,410
    101. 0.4% Ipswich, MA / 4,222
    102. 0.4% Newburyport, MA / 17,416
    102. 0.4% Scituate, MA / 5,245
    102. 0.4% Chatham, MA / 1,421
    102. 0.4% South Yarmouth, MA / 11,092
    102. 0.4% South Lancaster, MA / 1,894
    107. 0.4% Danvers, MA / 26,493
    107. 0.4% Attleboro, MA / 43,593
    109. 0.4% Topsfield, MA / 2,717
    109. 0.4% Great Barrington, MA / 2,231
    109. 0.4% Beverly, MA / 39,502
    112. 0.4% Buzzards Bay, MA / 3,859
    112. 0.4% Fiskdale, MA / 2,583
    112. 0.4% Duxbury, MA / 1,802
    115. 0.4% Peabody, MA / 51,251
    116. 0.4% West Yarmouth, MA / 6,012
    116. 0.4% East Harwich, MA / 4,872
    116. 0.4% Marblehead, MA / 19,808
    119. 0.4% Monument Beach, MA / 2,790
    119. 0.4% Palmer Town, MA / 12,140
    121. 0.4% Bellingham, MA / 4,854
    121. 0.4% West Chatham, MA / 1,410
    121. 0.4% Bourne, MA / 1,418
    121. 0.4% West Falmouth, MA / 1,738
    121. 0.4% Shelburne Falls, MA / 1,731
    126. 0.3% East Pepperell, MA / 2,059
    126. 0.3% Milford, MA / 25,055
    126. 0.3% Raynham Center, MA / 4,100
    129. 0.3% Barnstable Town, MA / 45,193
    129. 0.3% Sagamore, MA / 3,623
    129. 0.3% Rutland, MA / 2,111
    129. 0.3% Monson Center, MA / 2,107
    133. 0.3% Kingston, MA / 5,591
    133. 0.3% Agawam Town, MA / 28,438
    135. 0.3% Winthrop Town, MA / 17,497
    135. 0.3% Chicopee, MA / 55,298
    135. 0.3% Orleans, MA / 1,621
    138. 0.3% Fall River, MA / 88,857
    138. 0.3% Granby, MA / 1,368
    140. 0.3% Ayer, MA / 2,868
    140. 0.3% North Plymouth, MA / 3,600
    140. 0.3% West Brookfield, MA / 1,413
    140. 0.3% Pittsfield, MA / 44,737
    140. 0.3% Rockport, MA / 4,966
    145. 0.3% Lynn, MA / 90,329
    145. 0.3% Springfield, MA / 153,060
    145. 0.3% Haverhill, MA / 60,879
    148. 0.3% North Seekonk, MA / 2,643
    148. 0.3% Taunton, MA / 55,874
    148. 0.3% North Scituate, MA / 5,077
    148. 0.3% Hull, MA / 10,293
    148. 0.3% Yarmouth Port, MA / 5,320
    148. 0.3% Somerset, MA / 18,165
    154. 0.3% Oxford, MA / 6,103
    154. 0.3% Blandford, MA / 393
    154. 0.3% Leominster, MA / 40,759
    154. 0.3% Brewster, MA / 2,000
    158. 0.2% West Wareham, MA / 2,064
    158. 0.2% Lee, MA / 2,051
    158. 0.2% South Duxbury, MA / 3,360
    161. 0.2% Ware, MA / 6,170
    161. 0.2% East Falmouth, MA / 6,038
    161. 0.2% Westfield, MA / 41,094
    161. 0.2% New Bedford, MA / 95,072
    161. 0.2% Hatfield, MA / 1,318
    166. 0.2% North Adams, MA / 13,708
    166. 0.2% Harwich Center, MA / 1,798
    168. 0.2% Abington, MA / 15,985
    168. 0.2% Plymouth, MA / 7,494
    168. 0.2% Lawrence, MA / 76,377
    168. 0.2% Shirley, MA / 1,441
    168. 0.2% Gardner, MA / 20,228
    168. 0.2% Southbridge Town, MA / 16,719
    174. 0.2% Holyoke, MA / 39,880
    174. 0.2% Gloucester, MA / 28,789
    174. 0.2% Middleborough Center, MA / 7,319
    177. 0.2% North Lakeville, MA / 2,630
    177. 0.2% Provincetown, MA / 2,642
    177. 0.2% Nantucket, MA / 7,446
    177. 0.2% South Dennis, MA / 3,643
    181. 0.2% Groton, MA / 1,124
    181. 0.2% West Dennis, MA / 2,242
    183. 0.2% Dennis, MA / 2,407
    184. 0.2% Fitchburg, MA / 40,318
    185. 0.2% Webster, MA / 11,412
    186. 0.1% Weweantic, MA / 2,105
    186. 0.1% Mattapoisett Center, MA / 2,915
    186. 0.1% Marshfield, MA / 4,335
    186. 0.1% Amesbury Town, MA / 16,283
    186. 0.1% Hanson, MA / 2,118
    186. 0.1% Ocean Bluff-Brant Rock, MA / 4,970
    186. 0.1% Rowley, MA / 1,416
    186. 0.1% Vineyard Haven, MA / 2,114
    186. 0.1% Wareham Center, MA / 2,896
    195. 0.1% North Westport, MA / 4,571
    196. 0.1% East Douglas, MA / 2,557
    196. 0.1% Athol, MA / 8,265
    196. 0.1% Lenox, MA / 1,675
    199. 0.1% Lunenburg, MA / 1,760
    199. 0.1% Huntington, MA / 936
    199. 0.1% Turners Falls, MA / 4,470
    202. 0.1% Forestdale, MA / 4,099
    202. 0.1% Salisbury, MA / 4,869
    202. 0.1% Whitinsville, MA / 6,704
    202. 0.1% The Pinehills, MA / 955
    202. 0.1% East Sandwich, MA / 3,940
    207. 0.1% Adams, MA / 5,515
    207. 0.1% Housatonic, MA / 1,109
    209. 0.1% East Brookfield, MA / 1,323
    210. 0.1% Acushnet Center, MA / 3,073
    210. 0.1% Clinton, MA / 7,389
    210. 0.1% Holland, MA / 1,464
    213. 0.1% Onset, MA / 1,573
    213. 0.1% Teaticket, MA / 1,692
    213. 0.1% Dennis Port, MA / 3,162
    213. 0.1% North Eastham, MA / 1,806
    217. 0.1% Northwest Harwich, MA / 3,929
    217. 0.1% Spencer, MA / 5,700
    219. 0.0% North Brookfield, MA / 2,265
    219. 0.0% East Dennis, MA / 2,753
    219. 0.0% Ocean Grove, MA / 2,811
    219. 0.0% Green Harbor-Cedar Crest, MA / 2,609
    223. 0.0% Orange, MA / 4,018
    ATHO MA

  2. MIKE says:

    NEW MOVIE BIG HERO 7 SHUT movie finder IN Demographics of Massachusetts

  3. Really????? says:

    And yet Frozen can’t get a sequel, even though it is by far the highest grossing animated film in HISTORY.

    Sigh……

    • Coco Shabbir says:

      Alright, first off, Frozen doesn’t NEED a sequel. Stop trying to get a sequel for something that honestly does not need one. Frozen ended with a happy conclusion. MAYBE they could put out shorts like they did with Tangled about how Kristoff and Anna end up married or whatever, but it honestly ended in a good way and does not need an another movie.
      Secondly, the reason Frozen’s one of the highest grossing animated films ever is because it was advertised as something people hadn’t seen before from Disney. It was advertised as a story of two sisters and it focuses more on that kind of love rather than the love between a boy and a girl. At first this movie was meant to but just like any other Disney movie created. Elsa was meant to be a villain. A full blown villain. But after creating and hearing Idina sing Let It Go, they decided she wasn’t a villain, but someone who made the wrong decisions. And then they decided, what did these two characters even mean to each other and from there they were created to be sisters. It’s not a concept that hasn’t been done before, where the sister is the bad guy, but the idea of the villain themselves perceiving themselves as the bad guy the whole time and trying to stay away because of it is not something that has happened before. The idea that the “villain” herself has to break the curse. That the “villain” has to realize these things herself has never happened. The movie is mostly about Anna trying to get Elsa to come back home and Anna’s journey, but the story is literally about Elsa accepting who she is and that just because she’s different, it doesn’t mean she’s a bad person. And THAT is why this movie did so well. Because it’s a concept that hasn’t been tackled yet. By creating a new movie, you are ruining Frozen as it is. I completely understand if you want to see more of these characters, but creating a sequel would just pin someone else if not Elsa as the bad guy and that’s honestly not what the Frozen series needs.

    • therealeverton says:

      By far is an overstatement for a few reasons, but the same attitude exists. If there isn’t a good sequel for Frozen, don’t make a sequel.

      Just be patient.

  4. Reblogged this on World of Values and commented:
    “No sequel will ever get made unless the directors want one and feel strongly that there is a story that needs to be told. No sequel will ever get made unless the directors want one and feel strongly that there is a story that needs to be told.” Hopefully, with all that they had to cut out in order to center the film, Disney Animation will have enough left to be a platform for a sequel. I just wonder what it will be titled.

More Artisans News from Variety

Loading