It's raining catty and dogs at Disney movie showcase
"I want to introduce you to two old dogs," Cook deadpanned. "No, I'm not talking about Bob and Harvey Weinstein," he said in introducing clips from Disney's Thanksgiving release, "Old Dogs," starring Robin Williams and John Travolta.
Cook's reference to the Miramax Films co-founding brothers, who had a well-publicized falling-out with their corporate parent, Disney, was not lost on the insider crowd of about 2,000 industry executives, theater owners and journalists who are attending the all-day event to see the new lineup, which was heavy on the dog theme.
The diminutive live-action star of Disney's Oct. 3 release, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," made a rare and unscripted appearance onstage, provoking a Taco Bell quip from Cook. Stealing the show, however, was Disney's top dog, "Bolt," the studio's first animation project entirely revamped and overseen by Pixar Animation Studio's power duo, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull.
Disney showed the film, featuring the voice talents of Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, for the first time in its entirety. The crowd, donning 3-D glasses, gave the movie a warm reception.
Speaking of 3-D -- the technology that some in Hollywood think will lure people away from their big-screen TVs and back into theaters -- Cook made reference to several filmmakers who were at its forefront, including James Cameron and Bob Zemekis. He took a swat at his former boss, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who now runs Disney Animation rival DreamWorks Animation.
"These industry leaders, AND Jeffrey Katzenberg," said Cook, have been pioneers in the field, and he remarked that he read somewhere that Katzenberg was planning to release his first 3-D movie sometime soon.
So far, Cook's presentation has been heavy on sizzle and light on the steak. The only news nuggets are that between now and the summer of 2011, when Disney releases "Cars 2," the studio will try to keep the popular Pixar characters in front of a new generation of budding gear-heads by releasing a series of animated shorts called -- wait for it -- Cars Toon.
--Claudia Eller and Dawn C. Chmielewski
Photo: Cook (Guatam Singh/AP); chihuahuas (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)