RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Touchstone

March 25

March 25, 1991 – Dick Tracy Wins Three Academy Awards

“Baby, you’re mine on a platter, I always get my man.”

On March 25, 1991, the 63rd Academy Awards were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. At this ceremony, the Touchstone Pictures film Dick Tracey, nominated for seven awards, walked away with three: Best Original Song for ”Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man),” awarded to Stephen Sondheim; Best Art Direction, awarded to Richard Sylbert for Art Direction and Rick Simpson for Set Direction; and Best Makeup for John Caglione Jr. and Doug Drexler.

Advertisements

October 24

October 24, 2006 – The Musical Sister Act Opens in California’s Pasadena Playhouse

“Masquerading as a nun named Mary Clarence, this Sister’s act will have you laughing and singing in the aisles.”

On October 24, 2006, the musical Sister Act began previews at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. It was based on the 1992 musical comedy film that was released by Touchstone Pictures, which is owned by Walt Disney Studios. The stage production featured original songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, along with the book provided by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner. The California cast included Dawnn Lewis as Deloris Van Cartier, Elizabeth Ward as Mother Superior, David Jennings as Eddie, Amy K. Murray as Sister Mary Patrick, Beth Malone as Sister Mary Robert, and Audrie Neenan as Sister Mary Lazarus. The California production closed on December 23, 2006; it would go on to open in the West End on June 2, 2009.

October 13

October 13, 1993 – The Nightmare Before Christmas has Initial Release in New York City

“In this town, we call home, everyone hail to the pumpkin song.”

On October 13, 1993, the Touchstone animated feature The Nightmare Before Christmas premiered in New York City. Based on the poem and associated sketches by filmmaker Tim Burton, the stop-motion animated film was brought to life by director Henry Sellick and composer Danny Elfman. The film would go on to be released nationwide on October 22, 1993. Considered a sleeper hit of 1993 (and becoming the 27th highest-grossing movie of the year), the film went on to be a cult classic, and being released multiple times to theaters, including a special 3D edition in limited release during the fall season.

March 12

March 12, 1993 – The Roger Rabbit Short Film Trail Mix-Up is Released to Theaters

TMU_1

“Have a nice lunch, boys. And remember, only you can prevent forest fires.”

On March 12, 1993, the Roger Rabbit short film Trail Mix-Up was released to theaters alongside A Far Off Place. It features the animated characters from the Touchstone-Spielberg collaboration Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and was produced at the Disney-MGM Studios. It was directed by Barry Cook, with story by Cook, Rob Minkoff, Mark Kausler, and Patrick A. Ventura. The short stars Charles Fleischer as Roger Rabbit, Kathleen Turner as Jessica Rabbit, April Winchell as Baby Herman’s mother and young Baby Herman, Lou Hirsch as Adult Baby Herman, Corey Burton as Droopy Dog, and Frank Welker as the Beaver and the Bear.

It’s a beautiful day at Yellowstain National Park, although the park itself is crowded and covered in litter. Roger Rabbit is carrying a giant load of supplies for Baby Herman and his mother, when he trips on a pinecone; luckily, everything lands in its proper place, save for the cookie jar, which breaks and causes Baby Herman to cry. Baby Herman’s mother gives Roger one more chance after his slip-up before deciding to go hunting, and leaves Baby Herman with Roger. Park Ranger Jessica shows up to help Roger, and distracts him while he tries to build a fire. In the end, he ends up blowing himself up. Roger then freaks out after seeing a bug, and destroys the forest with his super-duty bug spray. As Roger tries to find something for the pair to eat, Baby Herman is already climbing up a tree to play with a beehive. The branch he is on breaks, and the beehive lands squarely on Roger’s head. The bees then attack Roger, who lands in a lake he thinks is shark infested.

Baby Herman becomes enamored with a beaver, not noticing the danger he is in while following it

Baby Herman becomes enamored with a beaver, not noticing the danger he is in while following it

As Baby Herman follows after a fast-eating beaver, Roger tries to save him from a falling tree, but ends up getting squashed himself. He continues his chase of Baby Herman, and finds him getting caught in a sawmill. Baby Herman manages to escape getting chopped up, but the same cannot be said for Roger, who is able to put himself together to save the baby, only to end up riding down a dangerous log flume, and are joined by a fishing bear. As the quartet falls over a highly steep waterfall, Roger is able to use his ears to send them back up, only to fall again and land in the Old Predictable Geyser. The geyser erupts, sending the four flying out of the studio where the filming for the short film is taking place, and landing on Mount Rushmore, destroying it. Baby Herman yells at Roger about destroying a national monument, and when Roger places a makeshift flag in the ground, he ends up destroying the world on top of it all.

April 28

April 28, 2006 – The Touchstone Pictures Feature Film Stick It is Released to Theaters

vlcsnap-2013-04-28-08h40m28s199

“For someone who hates being judged, you’re one of the most judgmental people I’ve ever met.”

On April 28, 2006, the live-action feature film Stick It was released to theaters through Touchstone Pictures, an alternate film label of the Walt Disney Studios. The film was written and directed by Jessica Bendinger, and stars Missy Peregrym as Haley Graham, Jeff Bridges at Burt Vickerman, Vanessa Lengies as Joanne Charis, Maddy Curley as Mina Hoyt, Nikki SooHoo as Wei Wei Yong, Kellan Lutz as Frank, and John Patrick Amedori as Poot.

The film opens at construction site, with three kids playing in an empty pool, performing tricks with their bikes. Some skateboarders show up and challenge the three bikers for control of the pool. The skateboarder falls, and one of the bikers is able to perform some great moves, until they break through a window of one of the houses, and the alarm is accidentally set off, sending all of the kids on the run. The one who broke through the window is revealed to be 17-year-old Haley Graham, who is soon taken to court. Instead of jail, the judge give Haley two options that Haley’s father is willing to pay for: Texas Military Academy, or a place called VGA. Haley immediately picks the military academy, but the judge picks VGA.

Haley is sent to VGA, where she has a tense meeting with coach Burt Vickerman

Haley is sent to VGA, where she has a tense meeting with coach Burt Vickerman

She runs into her friends Frank and Poot, the other pair at the pool, who ask where she’s going. She lies and says she’s heading to juvie, and they give her a phone to keep in touch with them. VGA, however, is the Vickerman Gymnastics Academy, and it is revealed that Haley was a ­well-known gymnast, who walked out on the World’s Competition and cost USA the gold medal. Haley doesn’t take it seriously at all, and is taken by Burt Vickerman, the owner, to a separate gym to train. Haley and Vickerman don’t get along in the beginning, as Haley doesn’t respect him, and Vickerman won’t put up with her antics. Haley immediately makes enemies with Joanne Charis, a girl she used to compete with all the time, and the other gymnasts, who lock her out of the dorm, as they still have a grudge against her walking out at the World Competition.

Vickerman gives Haley an option: if she trains and wins the money at the Classic Competition, she can pay her restitution and go back to regular life. At first, she rebukes his offer, but then decides she wants out, and winning the money at the Classic is the only way, so she begins to train. Frank and Poot break into VGA to help Haley escape, but are soon caught by the moms of the other gymnasts. They have a brief reunion with Haley, but are soon sent away by Vickerman, as Haley needs to prepare for the Classic. After intense training, Vickerman announces to the gym who will be competing in the Classic, and Haley is angered to find she is not on the list. Vickerman then suggests that they have an in-house competition to determine who will go to the Classic. Wei-Wei wins the in-home, followed by Mina, with Haley coming in third. Joanne comes in as an alternate, and is furious. Fortunately for her, the fourth place winner gets injured, and Joanne goes to the Classic.

The team arrives at the Classic, where other gymnasts are not willing to give Haley a second chance

The team arrives at the Classic, where other gymnasts are not willing to give Haley a second chance

Everyone at the Classic gives Haley a less-than-friendly welcome, with one girl throwing her drink at her, saying, “That was for Worlds.” Haley tells Wei-Wei and Mina that they should push it instead of sticking to cookie-cutter routines. Vickerman is angry that Haley is upstaging his coaching with the other girls. Haley, however, follows her own advice, and soon shows up on the leader board. Joanne, however, psychs Mina and Wei-Wei out, convincing them that Haley has been telling them to push it so they will screw up and she will win the purse. Haley is soon distracted by her mother showing up, telling her that Vickerman doesn’t respect her and has her father paying him off to keep her at VGA, as no other gym wanted to take her. With everyone seemingly turning against her, Haley can’t take it anymore, and walks out of the competition after her beam routine, refusing to finish. When Vickerman tries to figure out why she’s leaving, he finds out the real reason Haley never finished Worlds: her mother was having an affair with her old coach, and she found out right before the floor competition at Worlds. Frank and Poot pick her up, and they drive away together.

Haley soon meets with the judge, and finds that Vickerman has written a letter to the judge, using the payments from her father to pay her restitution. She continues to hang out with Frank and Poot, but goes back to VGA to thank Vickerman. She decides to stay and take the gym to championships. When she convinces Vickerman to try trampolining again, he gets injured and leaves the girls alone. Frank and Poot show up, taking all the girls out for the evening. Poot scores with Joanne, and he invites her to prom. Joanne is ecstatic about going to prom, but her mother forbids it. Vickerman, however, tells Joanne’s mother that Joanne’s chances of getting to the Olympics are slim to none. Angered, Joanne’s mother pulls her out, but Joanne chooses to stay at VGA.

The judges are biased against Vickerman, as they believe his routines cause more injuries than winners

The judges are biased against Vickerman, as they believe his routines cause more injuries than winners

The National Competition arrives, and Haley tries to make amends for what happened at Worlds. Haley has a problem with what the judges say, as do many of the other contestants, as it’s “not about how well you do, it’s how well you follow their rules.” Although she doesn’t qualify for Worlds, Haley has a chance to compete at the individual events. Mina performs and dominates a difficult vault move, but is distraught that she got a deduction for a silly technicality – her bra strap was showing. The contestants are pissed, and Haley decides to take action against the biased judging: she pulls out her bra straps, and intentionally scratches the event finals. Joanne, in a rare act of kindness, decides to follow Haley’s lead, intentionally scratching. The competitors follow suit, making Mina the automatic winner of the vault event. Joanne then comes up with the idea that the competitors decide the winner of the events rather than the judges.

Wei-Wei gets ready for the beam routine, with the judges rather annoyed with their antics. Tricia Skilken, the winner of the all-around event, steps in and decides to compete, making Wei-Wei nervous, but she decides to give it her all, adding some break dancing moves to her routine. Haley is picked to win on the floor routine, up against Tricia, who is still angry at Haley for walking out at Worlds. Haley is about to go on the floor, when Vickerman pulls her aside and tells her that he is very proud to be her coach, and she shouldn’t dare hold back. This is all Haley wanted to hear, and she gives it her all on the floor routine. Inspired by the actions of the other gymnasts, and by the raw power exerted by Haley, Tricia decides to put aside her pride and scratch, making Haley the new Floor Champion. The film ends with Vickerman informing her that several colleges have looked to scout her for NCAA gymnastics.

October 29

October 29, 1993 – The Stop-Motion Animated Feature The Nightmare Before Christmas is Released to Theaters

“When I was working at Disney, I designed something that’s sort of the reverse of that. It’s like the Grinch in reverse, so to speak, about this character who finds Christmas and loves it and decides to try to do it himself.” – Tim Burton.

On October 29, 1993, the Tim Burton film The Nightmare Before Christmas was released to theaters, distributed under the Touchstone label. The idea for the film first began with a poem Burton created while working as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios in the early 80s. When Burton was re-hired, he asked for his treatment back, and it was returned along with his original concept sketches, which helped shape the look and tone of the overall film. The look of the film was also meant to be reminiscent of the illustrations of Ronald Searle and Edward Gorey. The film took three years to create, with the stop-motion done at 24 frames a second, and using 13 animators and more than 100 camera operators, puppet makers, set builders, and prop makers on 19 soundstages with 230 sets. The film was directed by Henry Selick, with screenplay by Caroline Thompson and Michael McDowell, music by Danny Elfman, and story by Tim Burton. It stars Chris Sarandon as Jack Skellington (with Danny Elfman providing his singing voice), Catherine O’Hara as Sally, William Hickey as Doctor Finklestein, and Ken Page as Oogie Boogie. The film was originally released under the Touchstone Banner, due to Disney’s fear that the film was too scary for children. After the film became a critical and financial success, the film was distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

The narrator introduces the place where holidays begin before the door opens to take the audience to Halloween Town

The film begins with a look at a forest with a circle of trees, with each tree decorated with a door representing a different holiday. The door for Halloween opens, with the residents of Halloween Town celebrating after another successful Halloween night. A rag-doll named Sally is among the residents watching the celebrations, but is quickly retrieved by her creator, Dr. Finklestein, although she is able to escape by unstitching her arm. Meanwhile, Jack Skellington, known as the Pumpkin King, leaves the celebration early, feeling melancholy and bored with Halloween. Sally, harboring a secret crush on Jack, watches him as he wanders through the graveyard, before she returns home to retrieve her arm.

Jack wanders away from Halloween Town through the night, and finds himself in a part of the forest he hasn’t seen before, in front of a tree with a Christmas tree design. Enchanted by this strange design, he opens the door and is sucked inside, falling into Christmas Town. Meanwhile, the Halloween Town residents are frantically looking for Jack. But just as Sally, hearing the alarms, finds a way to escape the doctor’s house, Jack returns with all of the items he’s taken from Christmas Town, and calls an emergency town meeting to discuss everything he’s seen. Although he tries to explain, the town doesn’t understand the “special kind of feeling in Christmas Land.”

After reading several books on Christmas, Jack decides to take a more scientific approach to understand the meaning of Christmas

That night, Jack is reading up on all the stories of Christmas he can find, and decides to use science to come up with a better explanation. He borrows equipment from Doctor Finklestein, and sequesters himself in his home, much to the worry of the town. Jack comes to the conclusion that he and the members of the town will take over Christmas. Sally has a terrifying vision of Jack’s Christmas, which she believes will only end in danger for him. She tries to warn him, but he reassures her that his Christmas will be just fine. Jack also runs into problems with Lock, Shock, and Barrel, Halloween Town’s finest trick-or-treaters, who also work for Oogie Boogie. They are tasked with kidnapping Santa Clause, and although they promise to leave Oogie Boogie out of it, they plan to give Santa to him instead of Jack.

The night before Christmas arrives, and Jack is ready to go out as Santa Clause. Sally tries to prevent him from heading out by covering Halloween Town with a thick fog, but Jack’s dog, Zero, has a glowing red nose to light the way, so Jack lifts off into the sky to claim Christmas as his own. Lock, Shock, and Barrel, capture Santa, are told to make him “comfortable,” which to them means taking him to Oogie Boogie. As Jack travels all around the world, his Christmas is considered an unmitigated disaster, with the military being mobilized to take the “imposter” down.

Jack finally embraces being the Pumpkin King, filled with a new vigor for the holiday of Halloween

When Sally tries to rescue Santa from Oogie Boogie, she is captured. The town, which has been watching Jack’s journey, sees Jack being shot down by cannon fire and announce that Jack has been blown to smithereens. Jack, still alive, begins to rethink what he’s done. Ashamed at the turmoil he’s caused, he realizes that he has a new zest for being the Pumpkin King, and heads back to Halloween Town, determined to set everything right. First he rescues Sally and Santa from Oogie Boogie, reducing the villain to nothing but a single bug, which Santa squishes. Santa quickly makes everything right, and gives Halloween Town a present of their first snowfall. Jack returns Sally’s affections, and the two hug in the snow-filled moonlight.

June 2

Posted on

June 2, 1989 – The Touchstone Film Dead Poets Society is Initially Released to Theaters

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

On June 2, 1989, the film Dead Poets Society was initially released to theaters, with a general release on June 9th. Distributed by Touchstone Pictures, it won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for Tom Schulman, who based it on his own life at a private school in Tennessee. It was directed by Peter Weir, and stars Robin Williams as John Keating, Robert Sean Leonard as Neal Perry, Ethan Hawke as Todd Anderson, and Josh Charles as Knox Overstreet.

Set in 1959, the movie starts with the beginning of Welton Academy’s traditional opening ceremony, where several of the main characters are seen carrying in banners with the titles “Tradition,” “Excellence,” and “Discipline.” The dean brags about the school’s achievements, calling it the best preparatory school in the United States. He then introduces the new teacher of the English department, Mr. John Keating, who has been teaching in London, and is an alumnus of Welton Academy. We then catch a glimpse of a few of the boys with their parents, and Neal Perry, one of the shining stars of the academy, meets Todd Anderson, his new roommate. Todd’s brother attended Welton, and Neal remarks, “Oh, so you’re that Anderson.”

Todd meets Neal and his friends for the first time as they talk about their study group

As Neal and Todd move into their room, Neal’s friends Knox Overstreet, Charlie Dalton, and Steven Meeks appear to talk about their summer and joke about their study group, to which they reluctantly add Richard Cameron, whom they describe as a “boot-licker.” Neal mentions Todd’s brother, who was valedictorian and national merit scholar, which seems to cause Todd some embarrassment. Neal’s father enters the room, and lets Neal know that he will be dropping the school yearbook from his extracurriculars. Neal argues that he’s the assistant editor, but his father will hear none of it, letting Neal know that after Neal graduates medical school and is on his own “then you can do what you damn well please.” Until then, he is to follow only his father’s orders. Neal acquiesces, but looks hurt that he has to give up the yearbook.

The first day of school shows the boys being loaded with what appears to be more work than they can handle, from science, to Latin, to trigonometry. When the boys get into English class, Mr. Keating enters whistling the 1812 Overture, and walks out of the room, to the astonishment of the class. When he tells them to follow, they are confused, but they finally leave. Keating takes them to the main lobby, where he teaches them about the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman, and that they may call him “O Captian! My Captain!” if they feel slightly more daring. He then teaches them one of the most important lessons in the film: carpe diem. “We are food for worms, lads,” he reminds them, explaining how life is too short.

Mr. Keating pulls his class close, explaining the powerful impact language has on life

During the next English class, Neal is asked to read the introduction, and Keating tells them that he can’t stand the introduction, equating it to American Bandstand: “Well, I like Byron, I give him a 42, but I can’t dance to it.” He then asks him to rip out the entire introduction. “In my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again,” he informs them. “You will learn to savor words and language. No matter what anybody tells you, words and language can change the world.”

The boys find Keating’s yearbook, and discover that he was a member of the Dead Poets Society, leaving them to wonder what that means. They approach and ask him what it was, and Keating is a bit hesitant, as he thinks the administration might not favor it. But explains that he and his friends would sit around letting the words of poetry “drip from their mouths like honey.” Neal is inspired to begin the society again, and with the help of Keating and his old poetry book, they decide to meet. Neal asks Todd to come, but Todd is very shy and declines. But Neal persists, and finally the boys sneak out, beginning the first meeting of the Dead Poets Society.

Although Neal is initially elated about discovering his passion, he becomes infuriated that the shy Todd seems to not be effected by anything Mr. Keating has to to say

The English classes continue, with Keating reading Shakespeare in humorous ways from imitating Marlon Brando and John Wayne, to having the students stand on his desk to see things in a new perspective. After class, Neal lets Todd know that he has finally decided what he wants to do with his life: he wants to become an actor. He decides to audition for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, screaming “Carpe Diem!” Neal then chews Todd out for not being stirred up by anything, thinking that Todd has not been affected by anything Mr. Keating has said. Todd argues that when Neal speaks, people listen, and he’s not like Neal. But Neal won’t take that for an answer, and is determined to stir up something in Todd.

Neal then announces he got the part of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and forges the letters of permission from his father and the dean. Todd slowly begins to discover a love of writing with Keating’s poetry assignment. Unfortunately, he was unable to come up with a poem he found acceptable to present. Keating pushes him out of his comfort zone, making him come up with a poem on the spot. Keating has finally reached him, and Todd is able to open up.

Charlie plays a prank at the assembly, pretending God has called to tell the Dean to admit women in the school

Things begin to go downhill for the Dead Poets Society, when Charlie publishes an article in the school paper in the club’s name to demand that their school go co-ed. He gets himself into trouble by pretending that God has called in the middle of an assembly, saying they should have girls at Welton. Charlie is then punished by getting paddled, but does not give up the members of the club.

Neal begins practices for the play, but comes back one night to find that his father has found out and is furious. He demands that Neal quit, although the play is the next night. “I made a great many sacrifices to get you here, Neal, and you will not let me down,” he warns his son. Neal tells him he will quit, but later that night, he goes to talk with Mr. Keating, who advises him to show his father what’s in his heart, where his passion lies, before opening night. Neal decides to stay with the play, lying to Mr. Keating, saying his father is letting him stay with the play.

Unable to live the life his father has decided for him, and unable to have a life of his own, Neal resorts to not living at all

Neal shines in the play as Puck, and his father walks in to see the performance, and Neal’s standing ovation. Infuriated by his son’s disobedience, he pulls his Neal out of school, taking him home and informing him that he will be enrolled in military school. Unable to live the life his father has decided for him anymore, Neal takes a gun from his father’s study late that night and shoots himself.

The mood at Welton is somber as they hear the news of Neal’s death. Todd is hysterical, blaming Neal’s father. Mr. Keating is also overcome with emotion when he hears the news, sitting at Neal’s desk and crying. At the request of Neal’s family, the school conducts an investigation as to why he took his life. Charlie accuses Cameron of telling the board of directors all about the club, and Cameron doesn’t deny it, as he wants to save his own skin by putting Mr. Keating on the line. When he tells the group that they should “let Keating fry,” Charlie loses it and punches Cameron, leading to Charlie’s immediate expulsion. When Todd is questioned by the school, they say that it was Mr. Keating’s actions that led to Neal’s death. Mr. Keating is then fired by the school.

Half of the class stands on their desks, showing their admiration for Mr. Keating, their Captain

The English class is taken over by the Dean, who wants them to read the introduction that they had all ripped out. As Mr. Keating leaves the classroom after collecting his personal belongings, Todd shoots up and admits the truth to Mr. Keating, who tells Todd that he understands. Todd isn’t done, as he gets up on his desk and calls, “O Captain! My Captain!” He is then followed by most of the class, including Knox, Pitts, and Meeks. With a smile, Mr. Keating thanks them, knowing he has made a difference in their lives.