First Sundance opened with Mary and Max and now Up will open Cannes! Apparently it’s a animation world! It was just announced today by Disney/Pixar’s that the new summer 3-D animation Up, directed by Pete Docter, will premiere as the opening night movie at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. This will be the first time that either a Disney movie or an animated film have opened the festival, which is known for showing the the best of the best.

I guess that Cannes is showing that they’re not blind to the changes in the industry. Who said that you can’t be pretigious and have a sense of what’s going on in the world!? (Oh yeah, that was the Oscars)

The movie is about 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America, and unknowingly brings a 9-year-old Wilderness Explorere with him.

In response to the announcement, Disney chairman Dick Cook had this to say:

“It’s a great honor for The Walt Disney Studios, and our incredibly talented cast members at Pixar Animation Studios, to have ‘UP’ selected as the first animated feature to ever open the Cannes Film Festival. Adding to this historic milestone, ‘UP’ is also the first digital 3D film, and the first Disney film selected for the coveted opening night slot at Cannes. We are so proud of this terrific movie, and can’t wait to share it with the filmmaking community and festival-goers on Wednesday, May 13, and the rest of the world starting on May 29th.”

John Lasseter, the Chief Creative Officer for Disney and Pixar Animation Studios added:

“We are absolutely thrilled that the Cannes Film Festival has chosen ‘UP’ to be its prestigious opening night offering. This is a huge step for animation, and further supports our belief that a great animated film is simply a great film. Pete Docter, the director of ‘UP,’ and the amazing team of artists, animators, technicians, and storytellers at Pixar have worked so hard to create a great motion picture that is impressively fresh, funny, and powerfully emotional.”

Opening night takes place on Wednesday, May 13, and I’m sure Disney can’t wait for their grand premiere. I personally like that people are finally recognizing that animation is as valid an art form as any live-animation film.

What do you think? Is Up, up to Cannes level?