CalArts alumni have dominated the box office news lately, including director Brad Bird’s (Film/Video BFA 76) Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which has earned more than $679 million worldwide since its December release, and co-creators John Lasseter (Film/Video BFA 79) and Andrew Stanton’s (Film/Video BFA 87) Toy Story 3 (2010), which has earned more than $415 million to date.
This past weekend, co-director Kyle Balda’s (Film/Video 93) The Lorax opened strong, making more than $70.2 million. According to Box Office Mojo, it was one of the best opening weekends ever for an animated movie and the best opening for a film this year.
The film is loosely based on the Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) children’s book of the same name about the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler. The release of the film coincided with the 108th birthday of Seuss, who died in 1991. The film maintained Seuss’ environmentalist, anti-corporate message, while injecting up-to-date humor with the help of recognizable, distinct vocal actors including Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift and Betty White.
Balda, who directed the film with Chris Renaud, worked as a layout supervisor on Despicable Me, an animator on Monstors, Inc. and a directing animator on Toy Story 2. He stopped by CalArts on Saturday (March 3) to speak to Film/Video students about his work.