Five Fun Facts About Disney's "Planes: Fire & Rescue"
When "Planes" came out in 2013, it was announced as a trilogy of films that would follow the adventures of Dusty, a lovable plane who is, ironically, afraid of heights. Though the third film in the trilogy has yet to be announced, the sequel "Planes: Fire & Rescue" is set to hit theaters for some high-flying fun. Here are a few fun facts to get appetites whetted before the release.
The Films Were Originally Supposed to Go Straight to Video
DisneyToon Studios is an offshoot of parent company Disney, one that almost exclusively produces straight-to-video fare. Up until 2008, DisneyToon films were often sequels or holiday-specific specials to Disney films that had a theatrical release years earlier, such as "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" and "The Return of Jafar," both based on "Aladdin." In 2008, Disney announced that DisneyToon would start focusing on brand new movies that would still go directly to video. Soon after, work began on "Planes," with work on "Planes: Fire & Rescue" commencing just six months later.
The original plan for all three "Planes" films was for them to be released onto DVD and Blu-ray only, but that plan was scrapped after Disney executives viewed some completed scenes from "Planes." They were impressed with the work being done by the animation team and felt like they could earn more money by giving it a box office release. Their gamble paid off as "Planes" earned over $220 million worldwide, with "Planes: Fire & Rescue" expected to take in a similar sum.
The Film's Premise is Based on Real History
Dusty (Dane Cook) is a cropduster plane who spent the entire first film learning to get over his fear of heights and racing. At the beginning of "Planes: Fire & Rescue," his engine breaks down to the point where he will likely never race again. He decides to join a fire and rescue team to help put out wildfires. In real life, cropdusters were some of the first planes to ever be used to fight fires in the air. In 1955, several owners of these versatile little planes realized that they could refit parts of the aircraft to hold water instead of pesticides, allowing them to douse fires from the air. Since the producers of the film wanted to have Dusty do something completely different in the sequel, they decided to pay homage to the past and have him become a firefighter.
Production of the Film Took Four Years
Just six short months after production on "Planes" started, producers began working on the sequel. This is actually normal for animated films, which take a notoriously long time to create. Even as technology improves and makes certain types of animation easier, cartoons are still a long-term project. The crew also took a full year just researching fire and rescue teams, which added to the total time needed to finish the movie.
Filmmakers Worked Closely with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Producers wanted to get as much accuracy into the film as possible, so they were in frequent contact with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. By working with actual fire and rescue personnel and smokejumpers (people who parachute into a fire in its early stages to prevent it from getting bigger), they were able to make it as realistic as possible. Many little details were added as a result of this, including the use of a dispatcher, forklifts and super scoopers (a special type of amphibious airplane).
Yellowstone National Park Inspired Some Parts of the Film
In addition to being inspired by history, producers of the film also drew inspiration from national parks, particularly Yellowstone. The Grand Fusel Lodge in the film is mirrored after famous geyser Old Faithful, with a crew from DisneyToon actually being dispatched to Yellowstone to do research. Park rangers from both Yellowstone and Yosemite gave the crew notes to help them improve the film.
Brad Paisley Makes His Movie Debut
Country singer Brad Paisley is best known for his music, but he has flirted with Hollywood in the past. He has appeared on several television shows, including "King of the Hill" and "Two and a Half Men" among others. "Planes: Fire & Rescue" marks his film debut as a pickup truck named Bubba. He also contributed to the film's soundtrack.
"Planes: Fire & Rescue" also stars Julie Bowen, Hal Holbrook, Anne Meara, Ed Harris, Teri Hatcher and Stacy Keach among a long list of big-name actors. It is scheduled for release in the Unites States on July 18, 2014.