The kids category is booming as the talents behind films that grossed a combined $2.88 billion in 2013 reveal the patience (years and years of work), peculiarities (Nic Cage as a caveman?) and problems that go with their fast-evolving medium.
"The thing that made me happiest on The Croods was we cast NicolasCage as the father," says Belson. "It always made me happy when I would read reviews and people would say, 'I started to forget after about five minutes that it was Nic Cage.' A lot of people already have a lot of opinions about Nic Cage, so I like that that disappears pretty quickly and you can just get lost in the character."
"I always want to move through Act 1 as fast as we can because the meat of the movie is Act 2," says the Epic director. "That's the reason there's a poster on the wall; that's the reason people are going. In the climax, action's always going to be gigantic, so that goes into production early because they have to make all this stuff, and it won't be ready on time. But nine times out of 10, you're going back to Act 1 to set stuff up that you need to make your ending work."
Photo by: Austin Hargrave
"What always amazes me is when a reviewer will comment, 'Clearly they took that from another film.' I always think: 'You just don't know the process. We don't move fast enough to steal,'" says Buck, director of Frozen.
The Despicable Me 2 producer on the number of animated films: "We're carrying -- all of us -- a legacy that needs to be protected. It is important for the overall health of the industry that going to an animated film continues to be something special, and I think all of us need to be cautious about how much production we put out there. The flip side of that is that the optimist in me says, if I look at any one of the films represented here today, I can say, 'Wow.' I see innovation and creativity, and so to me, as long as we continue as an industry to raise the bar, then the issue of the number of films becomes less important."
Photo by: Austin Hargrave
Monsters University's Scanlon on casting: "We usually start with the character on the page first -- we don't really have an actor in mind. We really try to develop who that character is and then maybe even start designing the look of the character, all before we find an actor."
“Our job as a director is sometimes literally to be a director of traffic and to keep that focus,” says Monsters University’s Scanlon. From left: Buck, Scanlon, Wedge, Belson and Meledandri were photographed Dec. 10 at Warwick in Los Angeles.
UPDATED: The sequel is pacing well ahead of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," which debuted to $54.8 million in August 2011; Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" soars at the specialty box office. Watch video