‘Inside Out’: Pixar’s Brainy Family Flick Dazzles at CinemaCon

CinemaCon 2014: The bad news? Theater owners have to wait more than a year

An extended look at “Inside Out,” Pixar Animation’s ambitious next outing set largely inside the brain of a young girl won  a rapturous response at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Directed by “Up” maestro Pete Docter, the film looked fresh, funny and blazingly original. Its concept may sound esoteric. Its execution is anything but.

“Inside Out” centers on a young girl struggling with her family’s move to a new city, told through the emotions in her brain. Fear, sadness, joy, disgust and anger are the main characters in the story. Joy is played by Amy Poheler, Mindy Kaling portrays disgust, anger is captured by Lewis Black, fear is voiced by Bill Hader, sadness essayed by Phyllis Smith of “The Office.”

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The footage screened for  exhibitors featured a tense family dinner in which the girl, upset over a move across the country, struggles to respond to her parents’ questions about her day at school. Inside Dad’s brain, a response team prepares to “put his foot down.”

Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief, introduced the movie with fanfare, calling it “an extraordinarily imaginative film that takes you deep inside the mind.”

The film goes back and forth between the mom, the dad and the daughter, flitting between their external reactions and the way that their emotions respond in side their brains. The five emotions are hilariously depicted manning controls rooms that call to mind the bridge on “Star Trek.”

“Quality is the best business plan,” Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios Chairman, said, quoting Pixar chief John Lasseter.

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The only bad news is that audiences will have to wait for it. “Inside Out” doesn’t hit theaters until June 19, 2015 and delays on “The Good Dinosaur” means that exhibitors won’t have a Pixar release this year, leaving a gaping hole in a summer that is already looking animation deprived.

He noted that high standards prompted Pixar to push the release of “The Good Dinosaur” back by more than a year. As for “Inside Out,” the whole thing sounds crazy, out there and difficult to grasp. But if the past is any guide, that’s usually Pixar’s great gift.