Disney's 'Big Hero 6' shapes superheroes from robotics and anime

Tue Nov 4, 2014 8:03am EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The newest Marvel superhero to reach the big screen does not have the rugged good looks of Iron Man, the muscular physique of Captain America or a cape and hammer like Thor.

But that is not stopping Walt Disney Co's Disney Animation from hoping that Baymax, the inflatable oversized waddling robot of upcoming film "Big Hero 6," becomes the studio's very own "Iron Man" and launches a new animated superhero world.

The Disney Animation studio is coming off the smash Oscar-winning hit "Frozen," a tale of two princesses that became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time with $1.3 billion in global ticket sales. Now it hopes to find success with Friday's release of "Big Hero 6," a film based on a little-known Marvel comic book of the same name.

"Iron Man" helped "turn the ship as far as people taking a chance into science fiction and fantasy," said Don Hall, who co-directed "Big Hero 6" with Chris Williams.

Tapping into the growing technology scene and young innovators, Williams said he hoped audiences would connect with a new band of superheroes comprised of smart tech nerds who harness their scientific knowledge, led by teen prodigy Hiro.

And then there is Baymax, a childlike, huggable healthcare robot inspired by a vinyl robotic arm the directors saw at Carnegie Mellon's research labs.

"Young people form robotics teams these days," said Williams. "There does feel like there's a renewed or growing interest in the young engineering side."

"Big Hero 6" is expected to generate $53 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over its opening weekend, according to Boxoffice.com.   Continued...

Directors of the animated movie "Big Hero 6" Don Hall (R) and Chris Williams pose for a portrait at Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California September 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni