Regina’s director of Ice Age evolution

His latest film has grossed over $800 million worldwide, but you probably won’t find Michael Thurmeier toasting his accomplishments at Hollywood parties or celebrating Christmas on a beach in Belize.

In this film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox

TORONTO — His latest film has grossed over $800 million worldwide, but you probably won’t find Michael Thurmeier toasting his accomplishments at Hollywood parties or celebrating Christmas on a beach in Belize.

The Regina-born director says he usually spends the winter holidays visiting family in Saskatchewan or Manitoba. And as for his success, he’s at a bit of a loss to explain the boffo box office of Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which came out Tuesday on DVD.

“(It) did really, outlandishly well, internationally,” Thurmeier said during a recent publicity stop in Toronto.

“It’s sort of shocking to everybody. … Feedback from what we hear outside the U.S. is that the family themes play really strong, particularly in Latin America, where family is hugely important.”

The franchise, about a motley group of prehistoric creatures, is the brainchild of Connecticut-based, Fox-owned, Blue Sky Studios and features the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary.

Thurmeier, 34, was hired by Blue Sky right out of Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont. He toiled away as an animator on the first Ice Age, which came out in 2002, and took on some supervising duties for Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, released in 2006.

Thurmeier received an Oscar nomination for the 2006 short film No Time for Nuts and, following that, he and Carlos Saldanha — who helmed the second Ice Age — took on co-directing duties for Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

The experience of directing a full-length feature gave Thurmeier a new perspective.

“When you’re in the trenches as an animator, it’s very easy to look at how the film is going and go: ‘Oh, we need to do this,’ ‘I would do that differently,”’ he said.

“It’s so daunting when all of a sudden you’re part of the team that’s responsible for absolutely every decision creatively and I had such a broader picture of the whole production and all the details and the difficulties that go into it.

“The flip side of it is it’s incredibly satisfying and you can see your ideas really up on the screen.”

Having young daughters (his girls are ages two and four) has also shaped what he puts on the screen. Thurmeier said he’s careful that the tone and style of his films aren’t too scary for young audiences. And he’s noticed a dearth of “cool movies” for girls, something he hopes to rectify.

Ice Age 3 was theatrically released in 3D, and the director said grappling with the technology was “an insane learning curve.”

But he acknowledges that the format is a way to bring audiences into theatres and give them an experience they can’t get at home.

As for whether there will be an Ice Age 4, Thurmeier is coy, while suggesting that the success of the latest film (it’s one of the top-grossing releases of the year) would make a sequel a no-brainer.

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month