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  • Writer's pictureTHAheadline (Thai Lee)

Disney's ZOOTOPIA Press Day

Disney's Zootopia comes to DVD June 7

Zootopia is coming! Zootopia is DVD and digital download that is.

After a whopping $971.7 million at the box office, the Walt Disney Animation, Zootopia will be hitting shelves next month. In advance of the movie's June 7 street date, press were able to spend the day with filmmakers followed by a bonus feature presentation, drawing lesson and a recording booth experience.

The film is based on a self-determined bunny named, Officer Judy Hopps, the first bunny on Zootopia’s police force. As she jumps at the chance to crack her first case, she ends up partnering with a scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde to solve the mystery. It’s big fun for all shapes and species.

With the film coming to DVD, viewers will be able to enjoy the vibrant world of Zootopia and reunite with their favorite characters, and discover an amazing lineup of bonus features.

Speaking of favorite characters, at the Zootopia Press Day, our very own Thai Lee had the opportunity to meet her favorite character, Flash. In the movie, Flash is the fastest sloth working at the DMV (Department of Mammal Vehicles). Walt Disney Animation Studios' Raymond Persi is the voice of Flash. Persi is an Emmy Award winning director (for the 2006 "Simpsons" Episode: "The Seemingly Never-ending Story"), and has been a key player on the story team at Walt Disney Animation since 2011. During Press Day, Persi shared the story process of Zootopia and how he got the chance to be the voice of the slow-talking sloth, Flash.

Following the meeting with Flash, press entered the recording studio where all the recording magic for Zootopia took place and were able to do voice-overs of the arctic shrew characters, Fru Fru and Mr. Big. Assisting the press was Paul McGrath, original dialogue mixer of Zootopia's sound department.

After the recording booth experience, press then met with Renato dos Anjos (Head of Animations) and Chad Sellers (Animation Supervisor). Both brought the uniqueness to each animal in the movie. In order to create something, one must become inspired. They each pulled their inspiration from the animated animal-themed movie, Robin Hood.

"We did not want to copy Robin Hood, so we decided early on that our inspiration would really come from life. We went to different facilities around town and all the way to Florida at Disney's Animated Studios where they showed us different animals where we learned a lot," said dos Anjos.

He and many other animators traveled to Kenya for 11 nights to see wildlife in their natural habitat, which also helped spark inspiration for Zootopia. Renato dos Anjos shared what he learned while in Kenya. Instead of trying to make the characters seem believable, he dicussed how going on the trip added another layer to the film for the animal like behaviors.

"Being in Kenya definitely changed my perception of the film. Seeing the animals up close is very different. They are not in any enclosures, there were no restrictions and we were able to interact with different species which gave us a different perspective from the way they walk, to the movement of their heads. Every animal is very different," he said.

Filmmakers Rich Moore, Byron Howard & Clark Spencer  Photo by: Thai Lee

As the day came to an end, press met with filmmakers Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer for a Q&A and drawing lesson of the Zootopia character, Judy Hopps.

Animation Director, Byron Howard shared with press how the idea of predator vs. prey came about for the film.

"The idea of predator and prey came from a trip we took to Africa. We were literally 20 feet away from a watering hole where we saw predator and prey come together, drinking together and not eating each other. Then we thought, that is a really interesting thing that we have never seen before with an animal movie, where we have two different groups who don't always see eye to eye, who need different things and have to live together and understand each other," said Byron Howard.

It has been noted that Zootopia has touched on the many racial issues in today's society without even trying. Luckily, animations have the ability to talk about sensitive subject matters that live action cannot. The film highlighting those issues was a plus because it was kid friendly and did not come off as preaching. Being able to spread that message was humbling for Rich Moore.

"It is very, very humbling to be a part of a film that has created conversation and began the conversation about empathy and fear, and why one group looks at another differently. I am glad that in a world right now that is so loud with a rancor of fear, it is very nice that a little animated film can rise above that and say, 'well, what about this way?' I am proud of that. I am glad this movie exists. It is a bit of an antidote," said Moore.

Disney's Zootopia comes home on Blu-ray and Digital HD on June 7. Be sure to get your paws on it and enjoy this hilarious, adventure-filled action, with tons of bonus extras that take you deeper into the world of Zootopia. For more on Zootopia, visit:

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