Thursday, July 26 2018 12:16

Beyond the Hundred Acre Wood: Winnie the Pooh, Infinity Stones and a Quest to Break the Internet...

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Winnie the Pooh is a very important character around these parts. Sure, my wife and I grew up on the famous stories from A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard, but there's also a connection that's a little more recent. Back in August of 2009, we were living in a one-bedroom apartment in northern Illinois when the birth of our first daughter took place on the exact date of our 10th wedding anniversary. That bedroom was unusually spacious, the same length as our living room and kitchen combined, and thus it became half-nursery, with the decor themed as "Classic Pooh." Nine months later, we bought the house that would become "Rock Father HQ," and soon after little Addie would discover a particular depiction of that silly little bear in the form of a stuffed animal that I'd bought for my wife many years before... Poopsie Bear. Nine years later, we have two daughters who love the stories from the Hundred Acre Wood, but it's still Addie who's been enchanted by them. Poopsie is still her most prized possession and companion, and above her bed hangs one reminder of that nursery in the apartment where it all began: a picture of Piglet and Pooh. This is why my next adventure in Los Angeles is so special, and why walking the red carpet at the World Premiere of Disney's Christopher Robin is something that I'd quietly hoped for since the film was first announced.

This week, I will embark on my latest adventure with The Walt Disney Company - my 10th trip on Mickey's dime (disclosure and all) - as part of a that will work on promotion for the theatrical launch of Christopher Robin (#ChristopherRobinEvent), along with the in-home release of Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War (#InfintyWarBluRay) while gearing-up for the November release of Ralph Breaks the Internet (#RalphBreaksTheInternetEvent), the 57th feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios

In Disney’s heartwarming live action adventure, the young boy who shared countless adventures with his stuffed animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood has grown up and lost sight of what’s important in life. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin rediscover the joys of family life, the value of friendship and to appreciate the simple pleasure in life once again.

As part of this week's journey, our group will actually see Christopher Robin twice - once on the Disney lot, and again following the red carpet. But we'll also stop by the film's press junket for a visit and chat with Director Marc Forster, along with Obi-Wan Kenobi  Ewan McGregor (Christopher Robin), Hayley Atwell (Evelyn Robin), Bronte Carmichael (Madeline Robin) and voice acting legend Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh and Tigger).

Poopsie Bear

Jumping back into the world of Marvel (check out my recent Mavrel Studios tour over at The Pop Insider), I'll get to pick-up where I left off with Avengers: Infinity War. I was there for the theatrical launch, having taken a walk down the purple carpet at the World Premiere, and now it's time to usher in the in-home release (get full details on the Digital and Blu-ray editions here). As part of the experience, we'll stop by Madame Tussauds Hollywood to catch up with Executive Producer Trinh Tran and to make some wax Infinity Gauntlets. Sorry, Thanos - you have your own!

Finally, we'll be looking ahead to Ralph Breaks the Internet, the much-anticipated sequel to Wreck-It Ralph. We'll talk with Director Rich Moore, Director/Writer Phil Johnston and Producer Clark Spencer, along with Matthias Lechner (Art Director, environments), Larry Wu (Head of Environments), Ernie Petti (Technical Supervisor), Cory Loftis (Production Designer), Dave Komorowski (Head of Characters and Technical Animation), Renato dos Anjos (Head of Animation), Moe El-Ali (Crowds’ Supervisor), Josie Trinidad (Head of Story), Jason Hand (Story Artist) and Natalie Nourigat (Story Artist), Co-writer Pamela Ribon, Ami Thompson (Art Director, characters) and Kira Lehtomaki (Head of Animation) for a deep-dive behind-the-scenes on Ralph's journey into the living, breathing world of the internet.

As always, should any friends of The Rock Father have questions for any of the folks I'll be meeting with, by all means let me know and I'll do my best to bring back some answers!


Walt Disney Studios' Christopher Robin opens in theaters everywhere on August 3, 2018. Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War is coming home Digitally on July 31 and on Blu-ray on Aug. 14. Walt Disney Animation Studios' Ralph Breaks the Internet is out November 21st! 

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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