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“Frankenweenie” touring exhibit electrifies San Diego Comic-Con as Disney producer Don Hahn explains its origins

“Frankenweenie” touring exhibit electrifies San Diego Comic-Con as Disney producer Don Hahn explains its origins

The touring exhibition of “Frankenweenie” sets and props has made a stop at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, devoting a large convention floor booth to showing off the incredibly detailed artwork created for director Tim Burton’s latest film.

On SDCC preview night, executive producer Don Hahn was on hand to chat with attendees and press as they made their way through this extensive first-look at “Frankenweenie,” a project that has circulated around Burton’s brain since his early days as a Disney animator in the 1980s. While browsing the exhibit, I asked Hahn why the new stop motion film has now “come to life” and what it means to finally be showing it off to the public at Comic-Con, a few months before it hits theaters, but years after work began on it.


“Frankenweenie” exhibit tour with executive producer Don Hahn


Frankenweenie touring exhibit

The “Frankenweenie” exhibit is set up in four segments, the first of which shows off some of Burton’s original concept sketches, moving into firmer design and costuming, and ultimately featuring a variety of sculpted character figures and parts.

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Though these individual pieces are an impressive way to look into the stop motion animation process used in “Frankenweenie,” the fully dressed sets with posed characters seem so lifelike that they could move at any time – though they never do. A kitchen setting features the film’s main characters. Though behind glass, fans can still get close enough to see the fine details added to each figure and on all the miniature set pieces. “Frankenweenie” is shot in 3D, so careful attention to detail was necessary.

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

The classroom scene shown in the exhibit is the most striking, as it features more characters than any other, seemingly in mid-conversation. Expressions on each of the character’s faces instantly convey emotion, even in these still figures. And like in the kitchen setting, a high level of detail remains constant throughout. Photos are allowed and encouraged, with each snap resulting in an image that could easily be mistaken for a frame from the film.

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

A home laboratory is the final setting on display in the exhibit, featuring switches that allow fans to turn on and off lighting throughout the scene. This scene feels the most “Frankenweenie” of the three.

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Fans of all backgrounds are eager to see these “Frankenweenie” pieces in person. Longtime Walt Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter paid a visit on Comic-Con preview night to see what’s in store for Disneyland’s future, as this exhibit will be heading to Anaheim after Comic-Con concludes.

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

Naturally, plenty of pieces of merchandise are on display to support “Frankenweenie,” though none is available for sale in this part of Comic-Con. Merchandise includes plushes…

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

…action figures…

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

…plushes…

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

…clothing…

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

…and more plushes.

Frankenweenie touring exhibit

The “Frankenweenie” exhibit has been touring worldwide and will continue to be on display throughout the duration of the San Diego Comic-Con before finding a home somewhere inside a Disneyland theme park, though no one at the booth seemed to know exactly where just yet. But fans of Tim Burton and/or animation should not miss a chance to see these works of art up close to appreciate the detail and careful craftsmanship that has gone into creating Disney’s upcoming film, due out in US theaters on October 5, 2012.

More photos of the “Frankenweenie” touring exhibit at San Diego Comic-Con:


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