Exclusive: Don Hahn on His Disney Animation 3D Projects

ComingSoon.net just got off the phone with director/producer Don Hahn after having a great interview with him about his new documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty, all about the amazing run of films that Disney Animation had between 1984 and 1994 beginning with The Little Mermaid and culminating with The Lion King, while the company faced internal conflicts between powerful individuals like Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Eisner and Roy Disney.

Having produced Disney’s award-winning classic Beauty and the Beast, we asked Hahn for a status update on the plan to convert the 2D animated musical to 3D for release in 2011, the film’s 20th Anniversary.

“We just finished it a couple weeks ago, it’s spectacular,” he told us. “I think it’s one of the benefits of doing ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on CAPS, the animation computer system, was that all the artwork was stored on levels, so that we could go back and dimensionalize it, turn it into a 3D movie. I can’t say it was easy, but with a lot of help from Pixar, and a lot of brainy software writers, we were able to create some software that was able to help us convert it into a 3D film.”

He even commented on the chances of seeing some of the other movies featured in his documentary being converted to 3D for theatrical re-releases in the future. “Obviously, 3D is a huge deal these days, and if ‘Beauty and the Beast’ works, which it does. It’s glorious in 3D, I think we’ll probably take some of the other premium titles and turn them into 3D as well.”

Other than the Beauty and the Beast conversion and the upcoming Disneynature film Oceans, Hahn has been actively involved with producing Tim Burton’s next stop-motion animated film Frankenweenie, also planned for release in 2011. As had been mentioned when the project was first announced, it will also be in 3D, although they still haven’t decided how much of it will be filmed in 3D (as Henry Selick did with Coraline) and how much will be converted after the fact (like with Burton’s blockbuster hit Alice in Wonderland).

Look for our full interview with Hahn before Waking Sleeping Beauty opens in select cities on Friday, March 26.

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