“The Good Dinosaur” Ready to Stomp Big Screen Competition With Eye-Popping Animation

By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Film & Production

November 24, 2015

The weather is getting colder and the holidays are approaching. It can only mean one thing—time to hit the cinema for winter blockbusters. And while “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Spectre,” and “The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2” provide entertainment for the more mature crew , Disney Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” promises a family-friendly glimpse into a world where dinosaurs never ceased to exist.

The story focuses on Arlo, an Apatosaurus who befriends human Spot and while learning to face—and overcome—his fears. Actors Frances McDormand, Raymond Ochoa, Anna Paquin, and Sam Elliott are among the star-studded cast providing voices for the characters.

Dino-Sized Path to the Big Screen
“The Good Dinosaur” was in production for nearly six years. It was originally scheduled to premiere in November 2013 but was postponed while the movie was significantly retooled.

The new team was given 21 months to rework the movie—a significantly difficult deadline to achieve given that most animated films take years to make. According to Screen Crush, “Inside Out” took four and a half years to complete—from concept to finished product.

Upping the Animation Ante: Meeting Audience Expectations
Disney Pixar is noted for its animation artistry, leading audiences to expect more realistic animation with every new movie. To meet these expectations and provide a new look, animators decided to place cartoony Arlo and Spot against vivid, realistic backgrounds.

Mike Sampson of Screen Crush, in an article about the making of “The Good Dinosaur,” notes that the design team “downloaded United States Geological Survey satellite photos of 65,000 square miles of the northwest. When inputted into their computers, this gave them a 3D environment that could look out over 50 miles in the distance, important because [the director] wanted the cartoony Arlo to feel and look lost among the setting.”

In an interview with EW, first time feature director Peter Sohn confirms the choice to use stunning realism for the backgrounds, adding that they play a key role in the storytelling. “[Arlo’s] big issue is that he’s afraid of everything, and he isn’t capable. When he’s in front of these natural backgrounds, it’s important that he feels outside of that.”

Big Expectations at the Box Office
Box office predictions for “The Good Dinosaur’s” opening weekend are currently $90 million, with a projected total gross range of $250 - $400 million. While that falls short of mega hit “Frozen’s” worldwide gross of nearly $1.3 billion, it puts it in good company with “Toy Story,” “Happy Feet,” and “Penguins of Madagascar.”

Congratulations to our graduates who worked on the film. If you’re a grad who was part of “The Good Dinosaur” team, let us know!


Jonathan Pytko, 2002 graduate of The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Bachelor of Science, Media Arts & Animation

The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale is one of The Art Institutes, a system of over 50 schools throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, 1799 SE 17h Street, Fort Lauderdale FL 33316-3013. © 2015 The Art Institutes.  All rights reserved. Our email address is

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By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Film & Production

November 24, 2015

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