Friday, April 11, 2008

$21.1 Million

Once again, for the second week in a row, Ratatouille dominated the international box office. According to Variety, the film pulled in an estimated $21.1 million playing on 3,416 screens in 34 territories.

Coming in at second place was the zombie splatter fest Resident Evil: Extinction, which earned $9.8 million. The Spanish film The Orphanage was hot on its heels with $8 million, while the number three film overseas happened to be The Heartbreak Kid, which only earned a measly $5.5 million.

Ratatouille's second weekend take was nearly that of the last three films combined. Only time will tell if it will be able to hold on to the number one spot three weekends in a row.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ratatouille DVD

Recently we were summoned to Pixar Animation Studios to take part in covering the Ratatouille DVD release (the film comes to Standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc November 6). Located in Emeryville, CA inside a 220, 000 square foot building, the press corps were eagerly greeted, signed in and then taken into the art deco office of Michael Venturini who served as the Directing Animator on the production.

Ratatouille, focuses on Remy, a rat with a gifted sense of smell and a most unusual dream for a rat: to cook in a gourmet restaurant. Undeterred by the obvious problem of trying to make it in the world's most rodent-phobic profession, not to mention his family's urgings to be satisfied with the usual trash-heap lifestyle, Remy's fantasies are filled with flambes and sautes. But when circumstances literally drop Remy into the Parisian restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau -- whose mantra "anyone can cook" has been Remy's life-long inspiration - he soon finds that being discovered in the kitchen can be alarmingly perilous if you've got whiskers and a tail.

Just as Remy's dreams look like they will go up in smoke, he finds the one thing he needs, a friend to believe in him: the restaurant's shy, outcast garbage boy who is about to be fired from his job. Now, with nothing left to lose, Remy and Linguini form the most improbable partnership - with Linguini's clumsy body channeling Remy's creative brains - that will turn Paris upside down, leading them both on an incredible journey of comical twists, emotional turns and the most unlikely of triumphs, which they could never have imagined without each other.

Venturini began our discussion by talking about how Remy and most of the main rats were designed from the ground up, and then the "rest of the rats were built off the character." The subject was quickly broached about what special features the upcoming DVD would have and Venturini was quite candid, "I don't know exactly." After this he discussed mixing aspects of human beings with aspects of animals across the spectrum of animation.

"With Remy's style we tried to find a compromise between rats and animation..." he stated. "It's similar to Finding Nemo, we still want them to be rats." After this he went on to talk about how they came up with the look of the rats. "We referenced rats, did animation tests, we go overboard! Once that's done we have an idea of where all of that falls." However, just because they were making a movie about rats didn't mean that they wanted them to really be rats. "Brad (Bird, Ratatouille Director) found as he was editing the movie that he pulled back from the ratisms as he called them." This led to a discussion of how you make rats cartoon characters that people want to watch. "We made sure you saw Remy washing his hands, not walking on all fours so his hands would be clean."

Initially, Ratatouille had Jan Pinkava as its Director. Then, about two thirds of the way into the pre-production process Brad Bird "inherited" the film. Venturini mentioned that one of the challenges on the film was the fact that a lot of the character animators didn't handle the food. So Venturini and his team would create an action of Remy stirring soup or something, and then "the effects department would propagate food into it."

After this Venturini was asked about Patton Oswalt, who voiced Remy, and how much of Oswalt informed the character. Apparently, they started by taking some sound files of Oswalt's stand up comedy routine and made animation tests out of that. Then they "went and saw him live... to get to know him and see how works." It was there that Venturini found the middle-ground between how much of the performance would be Remy and how much would come from Oswalt.

In creating Ratatouille did Venturini and the others do any special preparations in their renderings for the Blu-ray release? "I don't know that we did any special prep... but in the past the work has been dulled down. Now it's going to be seen in all its glory." He was then asked about what things we might be seeing? "You'd have to look really close."

It's interesting to note that as far as referencing other films for how the tone of Ratatouille should be, Brad Bird had Venturini and the others closely watch classic Disney movies like Bambi and Lady and the Tramp.

As we closed out the interview, Venturini talked about redoing scenes once the final film was complete. "Usually it's the first couple of sequences in the film that take the biggest hit. Once you get passed that, everybody's learning from everybody else." Lastly, what was the most disgusting thing about rats that he and his team learned that didn't make it anywhere near the film? "That rats leave a urine trail. To mark their territory."

Up next for Michael Venturini is the film after Pixar's next release, WALL E. When asked what that might be Venturini was closely guarded.

"It hasn't been announced so I can't really talk about it." He stated

After this discussion, we were taken into a room to meet with Ratatouille Production Designer Harley Jessup and Director of Photography/Lighting Sharon Calahan. Jessup was quick to point out to us that the look of the movie wasn't meant to "mimic reality, exactly. We're trying to make a caricature." However, there was a trip to Paris to make sure they got the look of the film correct. "We really liked the homogenous look of it," states Calahan. "The quality of life of Paris in October really has a unique feel to it." Harley Jessup concurs, "There's little bits of color sitting next to the buildings. You have a mix of cars from the 1950s to the present time. We looked at a lot of post-war movies. We were looking to do something new. We looked at live action films like Amelie." Jessup also took cameras with him on the trip and even photographed the food that was eaten.

Which led us to ask about the natural turn off of rats and food. "Oh yes," Jessup begins, "we have, almost to a hilarious extent, shown Remy washing his hands... to make it possible for the audience to accept that."

Will the DVD show any featurettes on Jessup and Calahan's design work? "I think so, Sharon does one on lighting." Jessup offered. "Especially on the Blu-ray," Calahan concurred. "I think there's a lot more. There's one on the score of Ratatouille." Calahan then discussed some extra preparations she did for the Blu-ray DVD. "I did a special color pass. It looks better than I hoped for. It's set brighter and it looks palpable, you get much more of a dynamic range." This led to the inevitable question about Blu-ray and HD-DVD taking over people's television sets and players. "We ask ourselves that all the time, I really don't know." Calahan said.

The subject then turned to some of the challenges that they faced in bringing this world to the big screen. "A big challenge was the scene of Remy and the running water, anytime your you're dealing with water it's difficult." Jessup stated. With all the hands that touch an animated movie, do these production designers recognize their work after all is said and done? "I'm the last one, so if it comes back to me it's a problem." Calahan laughed. What about the fine details? "I think it has to do with the process, the little setups that each chef would have." Jessup opined. "We knew it didn't have to be accurate but Brad Bird told us, 'I don't want to think about it but it really needs to be accurate so that a real chef would know.'"

Going back to the changing of Directors were either of them worried about the mid-stream switch from Jan Pinkava to Brad Bird? "I don't think it was a huge worry," Calahan offers, "everybody has so much faith in Brad." "When you've worked with a director, this kind of pulled at my heart when Jan left." Jessup stated. "This was getting on the same wavelength as a Director as fast as I could." Calahan went on to say, "The great thing was that Brad loved everything Jan had done. It was very comforting, there's a big stamp of Jan in this movie.

Then there were the little things like the light dimming when the character of Ego (voiced by Peter O'Toole) walked into the room. "We wanted it to feel like he was sucking the life out of the room." Calahan states. Jessup concurs, "Jan called him The Grim Eater."

Lastly, we talked about their involvement with bringing Ratatouille to DVD.

"We have our own in-house color corrector." Calahan said. "We've got software to simulate what it's going to look like. So I can pretty much see on screen what I'm going to get on film." She went on to say, "With the digital world that's the largest color space by far... I love playing in that. In the long flare up sequences, I just love cranking up those reds. DVD tends to be more blue green vs. HD." She then went on to talk about the current iPod version of the film. "I don't like that right now... it's doing this funny contrast thing. I think it could look better but it won't get pushed back, we'll just have to work harder."

They closed out by discussing their current projects. "I'm working on a short film for the WALL E DVD." Jessup said. As for Calahan, she's steeped in the next generation world of Blu-ray disc. "I'm working on releasing our DVDs for Blu-ray, I just did A Bug's Life. I did Toy Story 2 before it."

The final portion of our Pixar visit was the screening of the short film "Your Friend the Rat" with Writer and Story Supervisor Jim Capobianco. This short was quite interesting in that it was done in 2D, hand-drawn animation. The short features the stars of Ratatouille trying to educate the general public about rats and how we all should be nicer to them. It plays like a history lesson and in its break the rules, complete tossing out of space and time it very much resembles cartoons like Gerald McBoing Boing. Some of the tidbits offered up in this short are the facts that rats can enter your house through your toilet and they can also create 15,000 descendants in a year.

After this screening Capobianco talked about being inspired by "the old UPA and shorts. After telling us that while making this film he learned that rats cannot vomit, Capobianco gave us a slide show breaking down certain scenes from the short. He said the process "starts with detailed storyboards telling them what they would need to animate vs. what they wouldn't need to animate." They used programs like After Effects and Photoshop. Capobianco and his team would do the drawings on paper, shoot them into the computer and then the 8 animators would get to work putting it all together.

"On Blu-ray disc it looks amazing. You can see the paper textures, the brush strokes." He states. He then talked about some of the stop motion sequences in the film. "We have never done stop motion here at Pixar. We followed educational movies for the short's style... they are done cheaply so we could be cruder."

Ratatouille comes to Standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 6 from Walt Disney Video.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fresh news

• List Of The Winners Of The 21st Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards
• More Fire Starters Than Passionate Cooks On This Season's 'Top Chef'
• PETA Blasts Sharon Stone For Wearing Rat's Foot
• Oscars Become Coen Country As Brothers' 'No Country For Old Men' Wins Big
• Minute-By-Minute Account Of The 80th Academy Awards
• 'No Country For Old Men' Wins Academy Awards With Four Oscars, Full Winners List
• Europe Storms Early Oscar Wins
• 'The Golden Age,' 'Ratatouille' Early Oscar Winners
• Who Will Win An Academy Award? Check Our Oscar Preview For Our Predictions
• Lewis Black Puts Pop Culture On Trial In 'Lewis Black's Root Of All Evil'
• Point/Counterpoint: Should There Be A Separate Comedic Category For The Academy Awards?
• 'Atonement' Triumphs At BAFTAs
• 'Ratatouille' Cleans Plate With 10 Annie Awards
• Oscars 'Loser' Up For 20th Award
• D'OH!, No Oscar Nominations For 'The Simpsons'
• The Complete List Of 80th Annual Academy Award Nominations Is Announced
• 'Ratatouille' And 'Once' Take Top Honors In Golden Tomato Awards
• Oscar Favorites Lead PGA Nominations
• 'No Country For Old Men' And 'Atonement' Lead BAFTA Nominations
• Which Animated Films Will Be Nominated For An Oscar?
• 'Sweeney Todd' Wins Two Golden Globe Awards; See Full List Of Winners
• Golden Globes Ceremony May Be Cancelled But We Still Have Our Predictions
• 'No Country For Old Men' Wins Big At Critics' Choice Awards
• WENN 2007 Movie Poll- The Nice List
• 'No Country For Old Men,' 'Juno' Win Satellite Awards
• 'There Will Be Blood' Makes American Film Institute's Top 10 List
• List Of Nominations For The 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards
• 'Into The Wild' Receives Leading 7 Nominations From Broadcast Film Critics Association
• 'No Country for Old Men' Dominates DC Film Critics Awards
• LA Critics Pick 'There Will Be Blood' As The Year's Best Film
• National Board Of Review: 'No Country For Old Men,' Best Film Of 2007
• 'Ratatouille' Leads Annie Awards With 13 Nominations
• Fascinating Facts
• Starpulse's 'Holiday Survival Movie Guide'
• Bollywood Beats Tom Cruise At International Box Office
• New Movies On DVD, Nov. 6
• 'Ratatouille' Still Tops Int'l Charts
• 'Ratatouille' Remains World's Number-One Film
• 'Ratatouille' Tops Global Box-Office Chart
• Hollywood On A High: Movie Studios Bask In Blockbuster Summer
• The Bourne Ultimatum Tops Global Box-Office Chart
• 'The Simpsons' Continue To Sit Atop Global Box-Office
• Ratatouille Breaks French Record
• Woo Hoo! "The Simpsons Movie" Takes Box Office Top Spot
• 'Chuck & Larry' Has Box-Office Edge With $34.8 Million Debut
• 'Harry Potter' Works More Magic With $77.4 Million Opening Weekend
• Old School, Inc.: Beneath Pixar's Digital Dazzle Lies Reverence For The Past
• 'Transformers' Morphs Into Money Machine With $67.6 Million Debut
• Hollywood's Big Summer Turns Ho-Hum As Movie Attendance Drags
• 'Ratatouille' Rules Weekend Box Office With $47.2 Million Debut
• Pixar Perfectionists Cook Up 'Ratatouille' As Latest Animated Concoction
• 'Ratatouille' Is A Visually Marvelous, Surprisingly Sophisticated Dish
• Opening June 29: Ratatouille
• 'Incredibles' Creator Brad Bird Puts The 'Rat' In Pixar's New 'Ratatouille'
• On The Net: Tracking Summer Blockbusters With Box-Office Obsessed Web Sites
• 'Spidey,' 'Shrek,' 'Pirates' May Put Hollywood On Record Course At The Box Office

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Disney-Pixar Announces

Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille has been captivating audiences across the country since it debuted as the #1 comedy last weekend. But now Disney and Pixar are giving audiences everywhere a reason to look even closer at the movie because there are a few hidden details and inside jokes that can only be found by the keen observer. Some of these hidden treasures have become a tradition for Pixar Animation Studios, such as the Pizza Planet Truck which has appeared in nearly every Pixar film since it made its debut in 1995's Toy Story, while others are a unique insider's view into the world of the filmmakers of Ratatouille.

A few of these gems are listed here, but audiences will have to see Ratatouille for themselves to find some of these and many more.

* The Pizza Planet Truck, which first made an appearance in Toy Story, has made a cameo in nearly every Pixar film. For example, the truck can be seen whizzing by when the tank gang is escaping from the dentist's office in Finding Nemo. In Ratatouille, the infamous Pizza Planet Truck can be seen on a bridge over the Seine during the scene in which Skinner is chasing Remy.
* The number A113, which refers to Brad Bird and John Lasseter's former classroom at CalArts, makes an appearance in every Pixar film. For example, A113 can be seen in Cars on the train that McQueen narrowly misses when he first loses Mack and exits onto Route 66. A113 also appears in Ratatouille, but you'll have to look carefully for yourself to find it.
* Pixar's official "Good Luck Charm," actor John Ratzenberger makes another appearance in Ratatouille as the head waiter, Mustafa. John's voice has appeared in every Pixar movie including as Hamm the piggy bank in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, PT Flea in A Bug's Life, The Underminer in The Incredibles, and Mack the truck in Cars.
* Mabel's living room has several framed photos depicting Mabel and her late husband as members of the French resistance during WWII. This might explain how Mabel learned to use a shotgun.
* The character Bomb Voyage from The Incredibles makes two appearances in Ratatouille. He appears as a mime on the bridge by Notre Dame when Linguini and Colette skate past (see the attached photo). Bomb Voyage's second appearance is the front-page headline and photo on the newspaper Colette is reading with the Solene Le Claire review.
* Restaurant critic Anton Ego's (voice of Peter O'Toole) office is shaped like a coffin to reinforce the idea that a bad review from Ego can be the "death" of a restaurant.
* There were 372 graphics created that appear on food labels, boxes, street signs, posters, and businesses. Many of these graphics are named after Ratatouille crew members.
* Lasseter Cabernet Sauvignon is named for executive producer John Lasseter
* Chateau-Bird Champagne named for director Brad Bird
* Chateau-Jessup Pauillac Medoc named for production designer Harley Jessup
* Colette rides a "Calahan" branded motorcycle, named after Sharon Calahan, the director of photography/lighting.
* The "Bouchiba" brand spaghetti Linguini cooks with in his apartment is named for animator Bolhem Bouchiba.
* The "Bradford" mixer in the kitchen is named for producer Brad Lewis
* The "Susman" brand olive oil is named for associate producer Galyn Susman.
* "Bar Des 7 Chanceux" is a storefront seen on the streets of Paris. It is named for the "Lucky 7 Lounge," a homemade secret lounge inside Pixar Animation Studios.

Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille debuted in theaters nationwide on July 29 to wide critical acclaim and the #1 box office slot. The film is currently playing in theaters nationwide.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar have provided us with a brand new video of their upcoming podcast exploring the development process of creating the characters in their upcoming animated-adventure, Ratatouille.

The video clip, "Getting into Character", features behind-the-scenes interviews with the Pixar crew who developed the characters, as well as test-animation sequences and discussions on how real rats were studied to create the lifelike movement in the film.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt sits down to talk about playing a rat, researching expensive food and letting unknowing audiences what a Ratatouille is

As part of our recent visit to the Pixar edit bay, actor Patton Oswalt (The King of Queens, Reno 911!), stand up comedian and seasoned animation personality (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, SpongeBob SquarePants) sat down with MovieWeb to talk about playing a rat, expensive food and finally answering Hollywood's most burning question: What is a "Ratatouille?"

So the footage I saw yesterday was awesome.

Patton Oswalt: Oh you went to Emmeryville? Oh it's so awesome.

That place seems some kind of magical.

Patton Oswalt: It's SO AWESOME. It's like this justice league of artisans and the best of everyone in their field all together. And then when they're saw they had life sculpture classes and computer classes and the writers learn what the computer guys do and the computer guys learn..they don't believe in that Asperger Syndrome specialization. They like everyone to be kind of connected and be like "Oh well that works because of ..." I just love it!

How did you get involved in this project?

Patton Oswalt: Absolute pure luck. I was brought up to maybe read for one of the chefs or one of the rats and got to talkin to Brad Bird about what the project was. And it's about a rat being chef. And I'm a big foodie, so I'm just started "Oh my god! I follow celebrity chefs and restaurants and know what their doing" and they saw that THAT passion is what Remy has. So we'll just put him in that.

Did they approach you from seeing you previous voice work?

Patton Oswalt: Well, Brad Bird was a fan of my first comedy CD and they've all seen my standup. And they all played my CD for the Disney people and said "this is the guy."

So your standup led into this...

Patton Oswalt: Yes, my standup and my passion for food. Came together perfectly.

Speaking of "passion for food," Pixar did a lot of research on French Restaurants...

Patton Oswalt: Yeah, "research. " I know one of their producers did an apprenticeship at the French Laundry...they took me to the French Laundry in Yountville. I'm gonna do an apprenticeship in April or May and literally be a kitchen help and learn how they go thru their dinners.

All because this interested you so much?

Patton Oswalt: I take a lot of cooking classes in LA at a place called The New School and get to see how some of the top guys work.

How much improv was allowed in voice recording?

Patton Oswalt: They said I could do stuff that I wanted. But they spent so much time on the script and story and character and it's so solid that I was just more excited about rendering what was there and delivering that. Every now and then they were like "if you want to add something there go for it" or I would do a different take just to try it a totally different way, like if my attitude was different." And a couple of those got in, but for the most part, the script is so good. I just read it. But they let me bring my kind of stuttering. Especially when Remy gets frustrated, you'll see that he tries to say something but gets stuck in the middle of it cause nobody is listening to him.

Now they really micromanage characters. How do they keep it organic while micro managing every little nuance.

Patton Oswalt: Because it's the same way as improv. Great improv comes from people knowing the script and the scene and their actors so well that it doesn't come from just making it up. They really know EVERYTHING and that way they can go off road and then they can come back into the road. So it gives them that freedom. So, when you're so sunk into that character and know who he really is you're free to go "here's what he would do."

When I was doing some of the video game stuff, I remember I had a producer on the phone and, at that point I had done most of the movie, and I said "Remy wouldn't do this. He's into good food." He wouldn't just say "grab anything and put it on here!" He would be picky about things. There's a part of one of the video games where food is falling and the point of this game is to grab as much as possible. Well I don't want to sound like a dick, but this should be about "all this food is falling but he's only trying to grab the good stuff and let the stuff that doesn't matter fall to the wayside. And they said "ya that's true."

So they took note and changed?

Patton Oswalt: Ya, they changed the game. Which actually, they also said it makes it a better video game. Because if you just mindlessly grab anything that falls, there's no challenge. If you pick-and-ignore, that's a much more fun game.

So how did you prepare and learn all these micro managed nuances of Remy?

Patton Oswalt: I wish I could say I did the Robert De Niro thing where I wore a Rat suit and lived in a trash can, but really, the energy up at Pixar is so infectious and fun and everyone is so excited that I prepared by just showing up and talking with Brad and laughing about stuff. Then we'd just get right into the script and trust he'd take me where to go. And he did. As an actor it made me feel really secure. They're gonna get something great out of me even if I don't where it's gonna come from.

Speaking of which, what is Brad Bird like as a director?

Patton Oswalt: He is a guy who is very excited to see his own movie. Because of that, you are excited to make the movie really good. I'm an animation geek, I know all his work. I've been into him since the The Simpsons, I love The Iron Giant, I love The Incredibles. To me, it's like working with a Martin Scorsese or a Woody Allen or an Albert Brooks. I want to impress him. I don't want to come in an say "it's good enough, who cares."

How long did the voice recording take?

Patton Oswalt: I feel like it's still going on. I might have to do more stuff coming up. They're always tweaking, tweaking. It's not like it was just one session, there was a whole bunch, probably just under a year, of recording. Not everyday. They figure out scenes then have me come back and do some more.

Did they give you character designs and movements before you were cast?

Patton Oswalt: No, I went up and saw how the character was drawn, but then the animators came and saw me. I did a talk at Pixar and they filmed that. And they went and saw me do stand up and that's how they got the character. They saw how I talk, saw how I move and that's what they animated. Same thing w/ Dennehy and all the actors. There's elements of their acting. Like Ian Holm as Skinner has the great, glaring, intense thing seen in his character. Dennehy has the big papa bear "Hey, how ya doin?!" while I'm this frustrated guy. You'll see there are scenes where I'm not even talking but I see the movements and say "oh, that's what I do."

So they even studied you for scenes with no dialog?

Patton Oswalt: It's what they'd do at Warner Brothers for Termite Terrace, the old Bugs Bunny movies. They would film each other doing stuff, like if there was a scene where someone hits you with a huge hammer or a pipe. Because even though you do it cartoony, it's still realistic. And anatomically correct, but funny.

You've done a lot of work in general, but specifically you've done a fair amount of animation work, ie. Cartoon network stuff. How is Pixar different?

Patton Oswalt: The stuff with Pixar that's different from the other projects, I'm not involved in. When it comes down to it, Brad is a classic animation genius. It's a guy in a booth and you have to get a good performance out of him. Just like when I do Aqua Teen or Kim Possible or SpongeBob SquarePants. He knows ways to get a specific performance out of you.

Any specific, crazy examples of Brad getting this performance out of you?

Patton Oswalt: There isn't anything specific or crazy, but it's the little details. When I first see my dad again and I give him a hug, Brad came in and hugged me while reading because (simulates being hugged tightly) "You sound different when hugged." What's really striking is the little tiny details that nobody thinks about. Charles Schultz wrote an introduction to that Calvin and Hobbes collection saying "Bill Watterson really knows how to draw bedside tables really well and shoes and splashes of water, and none of this sounds important, but in a comic strip they're crucial. Because nobody even notices them, but they're there and they're characters too and they make the scene." So all these little touches, they are what makes the scene, makes the character, brings the emotion to it. And Brad is aware of all off those.

So for those who don't now, what does the title mean?

Patton Oswalt: Well, Ratatouille is very famous french dish, it's like a stew and they're just doing a take on it cause it's about a rat.

Ratatouille hits theaters June 29th and Bird assures us that it'll be good despite the fact that it's one of the only summer movies that's not a sequel. "Just think of it as the prequel to the sequel!"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Big Cheese Tour

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios will celebrate this summer's most original animated-comedy, Ratatouille, by bringing a mouthwatering experience to cities across the country with "The Big Cheese Tour" it was announced by Jim Gallagher, President of Buena Vista Pictures Marketing. The tour will kick off today, May 11, 2007, at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL and continue to cross the country stopping at many events and major food festivals throughout the summer.

Inspired by Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille, a hilarious comedy about a rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a great French chef, the interactive experience will be highlighted by a thrilling "Big Cheese Slide" which will give kids an exciting ride down a 25' wedge of cheese. Audiences will also be treated to a special sneak peek at Ratatouille inside the 30' state-of-the-art "Eiffel Tower Digital Theater." A Center Stage area features daily cooking demonstrations with a real chef featuring Tasty Treats and Healthy Snacks for busy families as well as daily shows featuring Ratatouille Video Game demonstrations, radio promotions and an inside look at how the animation for Ratatouille was created. Tour goers will also be able to see multiple making-of pieces at various kiosks.

The tour is being supported by a fantastic lineup of promotional partners. Tour goers can interact with Intel Corporation's roaming ambassador chefs, equipped with Intel Centrino Duo processor technology-based laptops using Intel Core 2 Duo processors, where they can take photos with the Ratatouille characters superimposed into the picture, play an interactive game or register for a chance to win an array of prizes. The tour chefs will feature recipes from the General Mills' portfolio of brands and attendees will be able to sample Chocolate Chex cereal as available. Samsung is providing all of the appliances on stage and plasma screens throughout the tour. THQ will provide video game demonstration kiosks where consumers get a chance to sample the latest game.

"Ratatouille is the one truly original comedy this summer and we are very excited to let families all over the country get a unique and up close flavor for the film's humor, exciting Parisian backdrop and its wonderful characters through the 'Big Cheese Tour' experience," commented Jim Gallagher, President of Buena Vista Pictures Marketing. "Besides, who wouldn't want to slide down a 25' wedge of cheese?" he joked.

"This experience promises to bring the magic and excitement of Ratatouille to families across the country," promises Eddie Newquist, President of The Becker Group's Creative Studio, who designed and is managing the touring experience. "Guests will feel like they stepped into the world of Ratatouille."

Directed by Academy Award®-winner Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Ratatouille is the hilarious tale of a rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a great chef despite his family's wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When fate places Remy in the city of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unwanted visitor in the kitchen at one of Paris' most exclusive restaurants, Remy forms an unlikely partnership with Linguini, the garbage boy, who inadvertently discovers Remy's amazing talents. They strike a deal, ultimately setting into motion a hilarious and exciting chain of extraordinary events that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down. Ratatouille opens in theaters nationwide on June 29, 2007.
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