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A Bug's Life 3D Re Release

A Bug's Life 3D Re Release >>>

The film was initially inspired by Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper.[3][4] Production began shortly after the release of Toy Story in 1995. The screenplay was penned by Stanton and comedy writers Donald McEnery and Bob Shaw from a story by Lasseter, Stanton, and Joe Ranft. The ants in the film were redesigned to be more appealing, and Pixar's animation unit employed technical innovations in computer animation. Randy Newman composed the music for the film. During production, a controversial public feud erupted between Steve Jobs and Lasseter of Pixar and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg due to the parallel production of his similar film Antz, which was released the same year.

The film was released on November 20, 1998, received positive reviews and grossed $363 million at the box office. It was the first film to be digitally transferred frame-by-frame and released on DVD, and has been released multiple times on home video.

After the Circus Bugs distract the grasshoppers long enough to rescue the Queen, Flik deploys the bird. It initially fools the grasshoppers, but P.T., who is also fooled, sets the bird on fire. Realizing the deception, Hopper has Flik publicly beaten to teach the ants a lesson, proclaiming that the ants are lowly life forms who live to serve the grasshoppers. Flik asserts that Hopper actually fears the colony, because he has always known what they are capable of. This inspires the ants and the Circus Bugs to fight back against the grasshoppers, driving all but Hopper away.

The transition from treatment to storyboards took on an extra layer of complexity due to the profusion of storylines. Where Toy Story focused heavily on Woody and Buzz, with the other toys serving mostly as sidekicks, A Bug's Life required in-depth storytelling for several major groups of characters.[13] Character design also presented a new challenge, in that the designers had to make ants appear likable. Although the animators and the art department studied insects more closely, natural realism would give way to the film's larger needs.[14] The team took out mandibles and designed the ants to stand upright, replacing their normal six legs with two arms and two legs. The grasshoppers, in contrast, received a pair of extra appendages to appear less attractive.[14] The story's scale also required software engineers to accommodate new demands. Among these was the need to handle shots with crowds of ants.[14] The film would include more than 400 such shots in the ant colony, some with as many as 800. It was impractical for animators to control them individually, but neither could the ants remain static for even a moment without appearing lifeless, or move identically. Bill Reeves, one of the film's two supervising technical directors, dealt with the quandary by leading the development of software for autonomous ants.[14] The animators would only animate four or five groups of about eight individual "universal ants". Each one of these "universal ants" would later be randomly distributed throughout the digital set. The program also allowed each ant to be automatically modified in subtle ways (e.g. different color of eye or skin, different heights, different weights, etc.). This ensured that no two ants were the same.[18] It was partly based on Reeves's invention of particle systems a decade and a half earlier, which had let animators use masses of self-guided particles to create effects like swirling dust and snow.[15]

It was clear that Lasseter and Jobs believed that the idea was stolen by Katzenberg.[8][20] Katzenberg had stayed in touch with Lasseter after the acrimonious Disney split, often calling to check up. In October 1995, when Lasseter was overseeing postproduction work on Toy Story at the Universal lot's Technicolor facility in Universal City, where DreamWorks was also located, he called Katzenberg and dropped by with Stanton.[20][24] When Katzenberg asked what they were doing next, Lasseter described what would become A Bug's Life in detail. Lasseter respected Katzenberg's judgment and felt comfortable using him as a sounding board for creative ideas.[24] Lasseter had high hopes for Toy Story, and he was telling friends throughout the tight-knit computer-animation business to get cracking on their own films. "If this hits, it's going to be like space movies after Star Wars" for computer animation companies, he told various friends.[8] "I should have been wary," Lasseter later recalled. "Jeffrey kept asking questions about when it would be released."[20]

When the trades indicated production on Antz, Lasseter, feeling betrayed, called Katzenberg and asked him bluntly if it were true, who in turn asked him where he had heard the rumor. Lasseter asked again, and Katzenberg admitted it was true. Lasseter raised his voice and would not believe Katzenberg's story that a development director had pitched him the idea long ago. Katzenberg claimed Antz came from a 1991 story pitch by Tim Johnson that was related to Katzenberg in October 1994.[8] Another source gives Nina Jacobson, one of Katzenberg's executives, as the person responsible for the Antz pitch.[22] Lasseter, who normally did not use profane language, cursed at Katzenberg and hung up the phone.[25] Lasseter recalled that Katzenberg began explaining that Disney was "out to get him" and that he realized that he was just cannon fodder in Katzenberg's fight with Disney.[8][22] For his part, Katzenberg believed he was the victim of a conspiracy: Eisner had decided not to pay him his contract-required bonus, convincing Disney's board not to give him anything.[22] Katzenberg was further angered by the fact that Eisner scheduled Bugs to open the same week as The Prince of Egypt, which was then intended to be DreamWorks' first animated release.[22][25] Lasseter grimly relayed the news to Pixar employees but kept morale high. Privately, Lasseter told other Pixar executives that he and Stanton felt terribly let down by Katzenberg.[22]

Katzenberg moved the opening of Antz from spring 1999 to October 1998 to compete with Pixar's release.[22][26] David Price writes in his 2008 book The Pixar Touch that a rumor, "never confirmed", was that Katzenberg had given PDI "rich financial incentives to induce them to whatever it would take to have Antz ready first, despite Pixar's head start".[22][25] Jobs was furious and called Katzenberg and began yelling. Katzenberg made an offer: He would delay production of Antz if Jobs and Disney would move A Bug's Life so that it did not compete with The Prince of Egypt. Jobs believed it "a blatant extortion attempt" and would not go for it, explaining that there was nothing he could do to convince Disney to change the date.[8][25] Katzenberg casually responded that Jobs himself had taught him how to conduct similar business long ago, explaining that Jobs had come to Pixar's rescue by making the deal for Toy Story, as Pixar was near bankruptcy at that time.[15] "I was the one guy there for you back then, and now you're allowing them to use you to screw me," Katzenberg said.[25] He suggested that if Jobs wanted to, he could simply slow down production on A Bug's Life without telling Disney. If he did, Katzenberg said, he would put Antz on hold.[8] Lasseter also claimed Katzenberg had phoned him with the proposition, but Katzenberg denied these charges later.[17]

As the release dates for both films approached, Disney executives concluded that Pixar should keep silent on the DreamWorks battle. Regardless, Lasseter publicly dismissed Antz as a "schlock version" of A Bug's Life.[19] Lasseter, who claimed to have never seen Antz, told others that if DreamWorks and PDI had made the film about anything other than insects, he would have closed Pixar for the day so the entire company could go see it.[8][23] Jobs and Katzenberg would not back down and the rivaling ant films provoked a press frenzy. "The bad guys rarely win," Jobs told the Los Angeles Times. In response, DreamWorks' head of marketing Terry Press suggested, "Steve Jobs should take a pill."[25] Despite the successful box office performance of both Antz and A Bug's Life, tensions would remain high between Jobs and Katzenberg for many years. According to Jobs, Katzenberg came to Jobs after the success of Shrek (2001) and insisted he had never heard the pitch for A Bug's Life, reasoning that his settlement with Disney would have given him a share of the profits if that were so.[27] Although the contention left all parties estranged, Pixar and PDI employees kept up the old friendships that had arisen from spending a long time together in computer animation.[17]

The film's score was composed and conducted by Randy Newman. Walt Disney Records released the soundtrack on October 27, 1998.[28] The album's first track is a song called "The Time of Your Life" written and performed by Newman, while all the other 19 tracks are orchestral cues. Although the album was out of print physically in the United States during the 2000s, in June 2018 Universal Music Japan announced that a re-mastered edition would be released on October 3, 2018, along with other soundtrack albums from the Walt Disney Records pre-2018 catalogue. The album is also available for purchase on iTunes. The time duration is 47 minutes and 32 seconds.[29] Out of five stars, AllMusic,[28] Empire Online,[30] and Film Tracks rated the album three stars.[31] Movie Wave rated it four and a half.[32] The score won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition.[29]

A few weeks into the film's theatrical release, new outtakes were added to the theatrical prints.[33] Because the film is animated, no actual outtakes exist; they are animated specifically for the outtakes sequence.

A Bug's Life was the first home video release to be entirely created using a digital transfer. Every frame of animation was converted from the film's computer data, as opposed to the standard analog film-to-videotape transfer process. This allowed for the film's DVD release to retain its original 2.35:1 widescreen format.[37][38] The DVD was released on April 20, 1999, alongside a VHS release which was presented in a standard 1.33:1 "fullscreen" format. The film's fullscreen transfer was performed by entirely "reframing" the film shot by shot; more than half of the film's footage was modified by Pixar animators to fit within the film's aspect ratio. Several characters and objects were moved closer together to avoid being cut out of frame.[37] The film's VHS release was the best-selling VHS in the United Kingdom, with 1.76 million units sold by the end of the year.[39] On August 1, 2000, these editions were re-released on VHS and DVD under the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection banner.[40] 59ce067264


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