Chris Sanders removed from “American Dog” Director’s Chair

Cartoon Brew is reporting that Chris Sanders, director of "Lilo and Stitch", has been removed from his role as Director of "American Dog".

Having spoken to some people who are close to the production, the decision to separate Sanders from his "baby" most likely came from John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. Even though MEET THE ROBINSONS (scheduled for release in March 07) will be the first film released in the new Lasseter/Catmull era, it was in production long before they arrived and neither of the Pixar bosses will receive scrutiny for how it performs. AMERICAN DOG, on the other hand, has fallen clearly under their creative supervision, and they know that their first outing at Disney has to result in a high-quality, financially successful product.

"American Dog" was pretty much Sanders’ baby, so it must have gone seriously off path for the folks at Disney (read: Lasseter and Catmull) to remove him from its helm. Like Cartoon Brew, I’ve really been looking forward to this film. But mostly because I enjoyed the artistic direction it was taking and I had great faith in Sanders after seeing "Lilo and Stitch".

The orginal lead for the story came from the Newlywed in Dubai blog, which writes more about Chris Sanders as an animator and friend.

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About Ken Pellman

I was a Disneyland Cast Member for 15 years. Currently a freelance writer.
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3 Responses to Chris Sanders removed from “American Dog” Director’s Chair

  1. K says:

    I saw some parts of American Dog at Siggraph. The story is remarkably like “Cars”, namely a celebrity Dog who’s arrogant and spoiled but gets lost in small town America and is changed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the reason the movie was dumped was that it was basically a remake of the earlier Pixar film.

  2. Zikitoo Animation says:

    Likely, the reason Chris was let go is that the Pixar folks are cleaning house. You cant have two roosters in the hen house.

    Also Chris’s claim to fame, really is a poor standard for Disney and represents everything that was going wrong with the company in recent years, unless you think that a movie whose underlying premise and action all revolve around one alien trying to kill another one is suitable for small children. This movie starts out full of violence, and never gets better. Along the way we see bad family relations, destructive and manipulative behavior, and a pseudo-Barbie-like older sister. What’s to love in this movie? Are people so hard up for something to do they love a movie that glorifies violence and hyper-activity as beloved? This work epitomizes the decline of story.

  3. Mike says:

    His movie didn’t quite hit the mark, but it had more guts than any of the other Disney movies that were coming out around that time. Your perspective on Lilo and Stitch outlines what is wrong with animated features right now. Everything sounds and feels the same because we’re all making the same movie. How can you write an honest story if you’re not honest about what you’re saying? Bad family relations? Extremely light violence? Manipulative behavior? These things run rampant in our society, how can you say you shouldn’t show it to an audience? You choose to lie to them? Even the mildest form of censorship will suffocate a story before it even gets a chance to breath. Lilo and Stitch had some imagination, it just fell short in its execution.

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