VisitScotland boss says Disney film can help Scotland

Still from new Pixar film Brave. Pic: Disney/Pixar Brave's characters include Lord Dingwall voiced by Robbie Coltrane

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A new Disney/Pixar film set in the Scottish Highlands could help boost tourism during difficult trading times, a VisitScotland boss has said.

Brave, which has characters voiced by Scots including Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson, is to be released in August 2012.

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said it would be shown in 72 countries and dubbed into several languages.

He said it would give Scotland and the Highlands specifically huge exposure.

Formerly called The Bear and the Bow, Brave tells the story of Merida, an impetuous girl who defies an age-old custom and inadvertently unleashes chaos, forcing her to discover the meaning of true bravery before it is too late.

Scots actress Kelly Macdonald provides the voice for Merida, and Robbie Coltrane voices a lord called Dingwall - the name of a town in Ross-shire in the Highlands.

Brave versus Braveheart

Still from new Pixar film Brave. Pic: Disney/Pixar
  • Brave: Released - 2012. Stars - Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane and Craig Ferguson. Quote: "It stands 12ft tall, with razor sharp claws. It's hide littered with the weapons of fallen warriors. His face scarred with one dead eye. I drew my sword and..."
  • Braveheart: Released - 1995. Starred - Mel Gibson, Brian Cox, James Cosmo and Sophie Marceau. Quote: "Would you be willin' to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom."

Brave follows this year's release of an animated short about the Loch Ness Monster that was attached to Disney's latest Winnie the Pooh film.

Disney said The Ballad of Nessie was set in the "bonny blue Highlands" and saw the monster's home targeted by a "greedy land developer" called MacFroogle.

Mr Cantlay said he expected the new Disney/Pixar to give Scotland even bigger exposure than Mel Gibson's Braveheart amid challenging times for the tourism industry.

He said: "It's been a tough trading environment for anyone in tourism, for anyone in any business frankly.

"But Scotland, and the Highlands and Islands in particular, have been remarkably resilient when you consider how really, really tough tourism is around the world."

VisitScotland has dubbed 2012 to 2014 the Winning Years, starting with 2012's Year of Creative Scotland and the London Olympics.

In 2013, the organisation will be helping to mark the Year of Natural Scotland and in 2014 the Commonwealth Games will take place in Glasgow.

Mr Cantlay said: "Of course we will have this next movie from Disney - Brave.

"It portrays a rugged, mystic, magical Scotland in a way never seen before across the world.

"This is a Disney. At the box office it's reckoned it is going to be several folds bigger than the likes of Braveheart, a movie people still talk about today."

At the global box office, Braveheart only took 50% of Pixars' lowest-earning film, according to BBC Entertainment's database.

World-wide Braveheart earned $75,609,945.

Earnings of Pixar films, in order from latest to oldest, were: Cars 2 $191,452,396; Toy Story 3 $415,004,880; Up $293,004,164; Wall-E $223,808,164; Ratatouille $206,445,654; Cars $244,082,982; The Incredibles $261,441,092; Finding Nemo $339,714,978; Monsters, Inc $255,873,250; Toy Story 2 $245,852,179; A Bug's Life $162,798,565 and Toy Story $191,796,233.

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