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Good Morning Hollywood, July 14: Picking Pixar’s Brain

A BlackBerry causes problems at Starz, while the Pixar braintrust freelances for Disney

AWARDS BEAT

In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, a BlackBerry causes problems at Starz, while the Pixar braintrust freelances for Disney.

Oops.  It turns out that Overture’s Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett resigned last week on the heels of a goof by Chris Albrecht, president of Overture’s parent company Starz.  While on vacation in Majorca, Albrecht used his BlackBerry to write an email suggesting that the company look into removing the pair … and then accidentally sent it not to the two senior executives who were the intended recipients, but to 400 Starz employees, including McGurk and Rosett.  Both of whom promptly resigned.  Claudia Eller and Ben Fritz have the story, which a Starz spokesperson confirmed – adding that Albrecht and the company immediately apologized.  (Company Town)

 LegacyThe development process at Pixar has become the stuff of legend, with each of the studio’s filmmakers regularly showing their work to a small panel of top colleagues – John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Ed Catmull, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, recent addition Michael Arndt – for input and suggestions.  And now it turns out that Pixar’s parent company, Disney, may be availing itself of the remarkably successful braintrust as well: Nicole Sperling reports that in March, the makers of “Tron: Legacy” took a rough cut of their film to Emeryville to screen it for the Pixar group so that planned reshoots could incorporate any of the animation gurus’ suggestions.  (Bird and Arndt reportedly did script work as well.) Now that word is out, Pixar may have to beat away a long line of supplicants seeking to borrow a little of the company’s magic touch.   (Entertainment Weekly)

Speaking of Pixar, is the company ready to embrace 3D for more than just the “Toy Story” movies?  Adam Quigley thinks it might be, based on comments from the studio’s stereoscopic imaging supervisor, Bob Whitehill, who says that “Ratatouille” is a current candidate for 3D conversion.  (The process is far easier for a computer-animated film, where it simply involves rendering a second “eye” in a three-dimensional space that already exists in the computer, than it is for a live-action film.)  Director Brad Bird, says Whitehill, is open to subtle changes and reframings that would take advantage of the technology.  On the other hand, he argues (and I agree) that none of Pixar’s movies need 3D.  The Pixar short that precedes “Toy Story 3” in theaters,  “Day & Night,” is the most brilliant use of 3D I’ve ever seen, but the process is irrelevant to the studio’s features.  (SlashFilm

Elisabeth Rappe wonders if fans are getting fed up with Marvel Studios, but can’t predict what’ll set off the aficionados of comic and superhero movies.  Not long ago, she says, the fans didn’t care if the Incredible Hulk every showed up in another movie; now they’re suddenly up in arms because Marvel is casting someone other than Edward Norton, whose first turn at the character met a lukewarm reaction.  “It’s madness,” she says.  “It’s chaos.”  But on the eve of Comic-Con, she thinks this too shall pass, and before long the fanboys (and fangirls) will be back on Team Marvel.  (Cinematical)

Rex Reed joins the anti-“Inception” crowd, except that he goes several steps further than the couple of critics who’ve also panned the film: Reed really, really hates every single thing about it, plus he hates every other movie Christopher Nolan has made (even “The Dark Knight”), plus he actually says the director has “scrambled eggs for brains.”  His headline is “Can Someone Please Explain Inception to Me?,” but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone waste their time trying.  (The New York Observer)