In Strike News...
January 22, 2008: The WGA has officially dropped its demand that it be given jurisdiction over reality and animation writing, The Hollywood Reporter says. The guild says it is dropping this demand to "make absolutely clear [its] commitment to bringing a speedy conclusion to negotiations." It did say it would continue organizing efforts intended to bring writers in those genres within its representation. The news comes as the WGA and studio chiefs say they will hold informal talks aimed at restarting contract negotiations.
Pink Panther and Friends Vol. 6: "The Inspector" Announced
The sixth volume of The Pink Panther and Friends: Classic Cartoon Collection will feature 17 "The Inspector" cartoons. The shorts included, with years and directors, are:
-The Great DeGaulle Stone Operation (Freleng, 1965)
-Reaux, Reaux, Reaux Your Boat (Chiniquy, 1966)
-Napoleon Blown-Aparte (Chiniquy, 1966)
-Cirrhosis of the Louvre (Chiniquy, 1966)
-Plastered in Paris (Chiniquy, 1966)
-Cock-A-Doodle Deux Deux (McKimson, 1966)
-Ape Suzette (Chiniquy, 1966)
-Pique Poquette of Paris (Singer, 1966)
-Sicque! Sicque! Sicque! (Singer, 1966)
-That's No Lady - That's Notre Dame (Singer, 1966)
-Unsafe and Seine (Singer, 1966)
-Toulouse La Trick (McKimson, 1966)
-Sacre Bleu Cross (Chiniquy, 1967)
-Le Quiet Squad (McKimson, 1967)
-Bomb Voyage (McKimson, 1967)
-Le Pig-Al Patrol (Chiniquy, 1967)
-Le Bowser Bagger (Chiniquy, 1967)
The one-disc release will be available on 3/4/08 for $14.98.
VIZ to Showcase Animated Properties at 2008 NATPE Conference Jan 28-31, 2008
VIZ Media has announced that it will be showcasing a variety of its anime properties at the 2008 National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Conference and Exhibition, which runs from January 28-31, 2008, in Las Vegas, NV. According to the press release, "the NATPE conference develops and nurtures opportunities, both commercial and educational, for the buying, selling and sharing of content and ideas." Properties to be showcased will include Naruto, Death Note, Nana, Buso Renkin, Hunter X Hunter, Naoki Urusawa's Monster, Honey & Clover, and Bleach.
"Avatar: The Last Airbender" Book 3 Vol. 3 Announced
The third volume of Avatar: The Last Airbender's third season has been announced by Nick and Paramount. It will contain these five episodes:
-The Day of the Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse
-The Western Air Temple
-The Firebending Masters
-The Boiling Rock: Part 1
-The Boiling Rock: Part 2
The DVD will be released on 5/6/08 for $16.99.
Second Season of Black Lagoon in Canada
Anime News Network and Zannen, Canada report that Black Lagoon: Second Barrage, the second season of the gunslinger anime, is airing on G4TechTV Canada, Fridays at 8:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. PST with a repeat at 11:30 p.m. EST/8:30pm PST. The first season was released on DVD in North America before Geneon ceased their distribution operations.
Japanese Release of New Eva Movie Scheduled
According to Anime Nation and AV Watch King Records announced that the 2007 Evangelion Shin Gekijouban: Jou (Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone) animated motion picture will be released on Japanese DVD in April. The film will be released in a special edition double disc package on April 25, retailing at 5,985 yen, followed by a single disc standard release on May 21, retailing at 4,935 yen. King Records has formally stated that there are presently no plans for an HD DVD or Blu-ray version of the film.
Site Updated For Oshii's Next
Production I.G's as post an English description of Mamoru Oshii's Sky Crawlers
The film is based on a popular five-part novel by a best-seller writer, Mori Hiroshi, who enjoys enthusiastic support from younger generations and has sold over 8 million copies of his works in total. The story unfolds in another 'possible' modern age. The main characters are youngsters called "Kildren", who are destined to live eternally in their adolescence. The Kildren are conscious that every day could be the last, because they fight a "war as entertainment" organized and operated by adults. But as they embrace the reality they are faced with, they live their day-to-day lives to the full.
After reading the novel, Director Oshii praised it as "a work that should be made into a movie for young people now." Clothing, food and housing are in abundance in our modern society, and yet we carry an unfulfilled vacuum in our hearts. "It is time to face this new perception to our existence through the Kildren, who live indefinitely in eternal adolescence, and this theme should be dealt with now," claims Oshii earnestly. The author Mori regards his novel, The Sky Crawlers "as the most difficult among all of my works for film adaptation." However, Mori declared himself "surprised and relieved at the same time to know the director was going to be Mamoru Oshii," and gave his immediate consent.
Release Date in Japan: Summer 2008
Original Novel: Mori Hiroshi (Chuokoron-Shinsha)
Screenplay: Chihiro Ito
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Character Designer/Key Animation Director: Tetsuya Nishio
Mechanical Designer: Atsushi Takeuchi
Art Director: Kazuo Nagai
Music: Kenji Kawai
Animation Production: Production I.G
Produced by: The Sky Crawlers Production Committee
Distributed in Japan by: Warner Entertainment Japan
Based on the novel by
Mori Hiroshi (published in Japan by Chuokoron-Shinsha)
Character Designer/Key Animation Director:
Seiji Okuda, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa
© MORI Hiroshi / The Sky Crawlers Production Committee
Worth Checking Out
Free, sample episodes of anime on Amazon's Unbox
ICV2 talks to FUNimation's Gen Fukunaga about the state of anime here
Nakazawa Keiji (Barefoot Gen) interviewed
a geek by any other name reports from Dark Horse at Powells
Ghibli World on Ghibli on Blu Ray
Via Brik's Haus Anime Blog
Revoltech's Star Scream and Rodimus Prime and their Gurren Lagann
Production I.G's The Making of XX: Interview with Junichi Fujisaku (4)
LA Times talks to TOKYOPOP's Stu Levy aka DJ Milky.
Episode 58 of the ANIME TODAY podcast (find it on iTunes), features an interview with Zac Bertschy – executive editor of Anime News Network (AnimeNewsNetwork.com) and managing editor of Protoculture Addicts. In this new interview, Bertschy takes a look back at the successes and surprises of 2007, experiments in packaging and distribution, the differences between what series are popular with Japanese and Western fans, and the issues and challenges facing the North American anime industry in 2008.
AniPages Daily on Best of Ottawa 2007 and Animation from father to child
From ComiPress Fujiko Fujio (A) Talks about Life at Tokiwa-so
Via An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla, Ultraman Exhibition–Operation Roppongi Sky
Japanator posts a number of visual mash-ups of anime here
Via Comics Worth Reading, TOKYOPOP has launched a prose contest for The Dreaming.
The Gihren's Greed: Menace Of Axis site opens
Via Twitch, photos of the live action Blood: The Last Vampire
and, a trailer for Filipino giant robot film Resiklo
Zoic Animates Terminator
One of the driving forces behind the successful new FOX action series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, visual effects outfit Zoic Studios was charged with creating more than 400 vfx shots for the pilot and between 25 and 100 shots per episode. While some feats of digital trickery are designed to go unnoticed by audiences, others, including the photorealistic Terminator T-888 character, help bring the thrills of the feature film franchise to the small screen.
Zoic has been creating visual effects for such hit TV shows as CSI, Eureka, Pushing Daisies, Cold Case and Criminal Minds, but Terminator presented the shop with an exciting new challenge. VFX Supervisor Jim Lima was responsible for designing the digital elements of the show, working hand-in-hand with series creators to design the new model of terminator.
“The Terminator is a highly articulate and complex 3D character with as many parts as there are in the human skeletal structure,” says Lima. “And, like any creature, he has a ‘life’ history. The T-888's are also characters that perform as an actor would, driving the narrative forward. Creating this has been a true creative challenge and completely satisfying endeavor.”
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles stars Lena Headey (300) as Sarah Connor, who has decided to stop running and go on the offensive against an ever-evolving technological enemy bent on destroying her son, and perhaps the world. Produced by C2 Pictures in association with Warner Bros. Television, the show airs Mondays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on FOX.
Warcraft Takes 10 Million Prisoners
Blizzard Ent. Inc. announced today that subscribership for its massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft has passed the 10 million mark worldwide since debuting in November of 2004. Geographically, the number breaks down to approximately two million subscribers in Europe, more than 2.5 million in North America, and about 5.5 million in Asia. The game is currently available in seven languages, with a Russian version in development and scheduled for release later this year.
“It’s very gratifying to see gamers around the world continuing to show such enthusiasm and support for World of Warcraft,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Ent. “We’re always pleased to welcome new players to the game, and we’re looking forward to sharing the next major content update with the entire community in the months ahead.”
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, the first expansion pack for the game, was the best-selling PC game of 2007 in both North America and Europe, and holds the record for fastest-selling PC game of all time, with nearly 2.4 million copies sold in its first 24 hours of availability. Development is underway on World of Warcraft’s second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, which was unveiled at the company’s BlizzCon gaming festival in August of 2007. For more information on World of Warcraft, The Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King, go to the official website at world of warcraft.com
101 Dalmatians run loose at the El Capitan
From now until January 30, Disney’s El Capitan Theatre is screening One Hundred and One Dalmatians leading up to its Platinum Edition DVD release on March 4. The new Goofy short How to Hook Up Your Home Theater accompanies the classic film. Read on for pictures from the opening night which featured a panel moderated by Leonard Maltin:
The marquee lights up Hollywood Blvd.
Disney’s Soda Fountain and Studio Store next door gets into the Dalmatian theme
L to R: Alice Davis, Blaine Gibson, Lisa Davis, Eric Goldberg, Leonard Maltin
Paul Dini on Contemporary Animated Films
Do you hate the pedestrian state of storytelling in today’s animated features? Probably not as much as Paul Dini does. Dini, best known for writing on the animated Batman and Superman TV show, has posted a long essay on his blog tearing apart the contrivances of contemporary animated features. An excerpt from Dini’s rant:
“Your primary objective as a modern animation feature storyteller is to get the audience members emotionally charged (i.e., distracted from logic gaps and not thinking too much) so they will be ready for your big finale. This usually consists of the hero defeating the villain (almost always by some initial violent action of the villain that the hero has “cleverly” used to boomerang back on the bad guy; real heroes never being allowed to slay dragons on their own these days) and the villain falling to their death from a great height, the only acceptable way for a baddie to meet their end in a cartoon (Gaston, Frollo, the bear in “The Fox & The Hound,” Scar, the poacher in “Rescuers II”, anyone notice a trend here?). If the villain can trip over the edge while trying to get in one last cowardly stab at the hero, so much the better. The demise of the bad guy puts everyone in a good mood, so the sidekicks fire up the juke box, or strike up the band, or simply break into song, and while the hero and heroine share a modest kiss, everyone rocks out over the end credits.”
Preston Blair Swipes
Nothing hits the spot after a hard’s day work like seeing a few good Preston Blair swipes. Reader John Luciano writes, “I never get tired of seeing Preston Blair swipes! I’ve been meaning to take a picture of a pet rescue sticker that’s been on my apartment door since I moved in.”
And just to show that stealing from Preston Blair is not an activity limited to Americans, Danny Wall sends us a gem from Japan—a cardboard popcorn container full of PB swipes. Danny writes, “Although why use that little donkey? Personally, I never liked that character, although I am guilty for using that lion for my senior class’s high school mascot.”
More Preston Blair swipes here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Wolverine and the X-Men Slashes Its Way to NATPE
Bender Media Services, the newly created distribution company specializing in television sales to Latin America, will introduce its diverse slate of animated, entertainment, lifestyle and documentary programs to Latin American broadcasters at NATPE 2008, it was announced today by Susan Bender, President/CEO of Bender Media Services.
For animation, the firm will be offering WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. This series centers around the most popular member of the X-Men -- Wolverine. With action and a sense of humor, the series reveals Wolverine as a complex and mysterious leader among the most famous Marvel characters including Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Rogue, Mystique and special guest appearances from Marvel favorites such as The Hulk. The story brings the familiar themes of the mutants' struggle to co-exist with bigoted humans, all in the name of saving world civilization. Twenty-six 30-minute episodes will be presented to buyers at the market.
At NATPE 2008, Bender Media Services will be located in suite 7907 at THE Hotel.
Headquartered in New York, Bender Media Services represents the Latin American distribution of television producers in all key programming categories, including Lifestyle, Entertainment, Reality, Extreme Sports, Beauty & Adventure, and Animation.
Breakthrough Brings Atomic & Flamingo Back to NATPE
Breakthrough Entertainment heads to NATPE with new episodes of some of their returning highly rated, hit television series. The announcement was made today by Tanya Kelen, Head of Distribution, Breakthrough Ent. Inc.
ATOMIC BETTY (78x30) and (1x60 Christmas Special) is an action-adventure comedy series that follows Betty, the sweet and brainy girl next door, who, when the galaxy beckons, becomes, "Atomic Betty, Galactic Guardian and Defender of the Cosmos." Along with her faithful crew, she defends the galaxy from evil super-villain Maximus I.Q. ATOMIC BETTY is a Canada/France co-production of Breakthrough Animation, Atomic Cartoons and TeleImages Kids. The series has been licensed worldwide to major broadcasters in over 125 territories. Season 3 available now.
In CAPTAIN FLAMINGO (52x30), Milo Powell, dressed in a terrycloth cape with pink headgear, saves the day as Captain Flamingo, fighter for truth, freedom and justice for kids everywhere. Armed with a backpack of novelty store items and best pal Lizbeth, Captain Flamingo helps kids navigate through grown-up rules. CAPTAIN FLAMINGO is a co-production of Breakthrough Animation, Heroic Film Co., Atomic Cartoons and PASI Animation. It's a YTV Canada original production. Season 3 available now.
At NATPE 2008, Breakthrough Ent. will be located at booth #1129.
Toronto-based Breakthrough Ent. Inc. is the distribution arm for Breakthrough Films & Television, Breakthrough Animation and Partners in Motion. As one of Canada's largest television distribution companies BEI has licensed programs to major broadcasters in over 200 territories. With a catalogue of over 2,100 half-hours of programming, BEI not only focuses on distribution, but also worldwide pre-sales, co-productions and acquisitions. On the Web, the company is located at www.breakthroughfilms.com.
Fifi and the Flowertots Takes Root in Canada
Leading preschool entertainment producer HIT Ent., on behalf of Chapman Ent., has made arrangements with major Canadian television, toy and apparel companies to bring the international hit series FIFI AND THE FLOWERTOTS to Canada for the first time.
Starting Feb. 25th, FIFI will air on Canada's Treehouse Monday through Friday and will be featured prominently on Treehouse's website (treehousetv.com) with games and activities.
Additionally, HIT has selected Danawares to be the Master Toy licensee for FIFI in Canada. Under the multi-year master toy deal, Danawares would develop, manufacture and market a full line of products including playsets, plush, puzzles, games and role-play items for launch in fall 2008.
At the same time, One of the Boys will launch a full line of FIFI apparel, also scheduled for launch in fall 2008, that will include sportswear, long and short-sleeved shirts and sets, sweatshirts, sweaters and more in a complete range of preschool sizes. Adorable Kids Sleepwear has been tapped to design and market Fifi sleepwear, including pajamas and loungewear in sizes 0 to 16 for launch in tandem with the clothing line.
FIFI AND THE FLOWERTOTS is a stop-motion animated series that follows Fifi, a forget-me-not who forgets a lot, and her group of little Flowertot friends as they go about their lives in Flowertot Garden. There are always things to make, cakes to bake, games to play, problems to solve, and many adventures to be had in Fifi's organic garden that is always blooming.
Yenny To Be a Series
Spain-based animation producer Black Maria has added YENNY, a new animated comedy-adventure series for teenagers, to its slate of projects. Based on an Internet comic strip by David Alvarez that was adopted by Universal Press Syndicate for digital distribution, YENNY follows the adventures of a big-footed Boricua girl. Alvarez is working together with Black Maria's creative directors in the graphic development of the series, which will follow the original storylines of the comic strips.
Black Maria hopes to assemble an international group of experienced American and European scriptwriters to work under Alvarez and producer/director Fernando Carrion and is looking for co-production partners and financial investors. The company plans to begin production by fall 2008.
The project website (www.blackmaria.es/projects), including production details, full info about the series and the characters, and a Flash games gallery featuring YENNY and her friends, will be completed soon. More information is also available at yennycomics.com.
Lewis, Gallo Join "Metropia"
Juliette Lewis and Vincent Gallo are joining the voice cast of Metropia, Variety reports. The Swedish live-action/animation hybrid, a futuristic film about a world that has run out of oil, is aiming for a spring 2009 completion date.
Dalmations No Longer Wobbles
Film critic Leonard Maltin told SCI FI Wire that Disney's 1961 animated film 101 Dalmatians has been corrected to fix wobbly animation for the upcoming DVD release.
"Even when the film was released, the new form of animation had some jitters in it, and that had been corrected now," Maltin said in an interview before a preview of the new print in Hollywood last week. "It's in far better shape."
The new version of the movie will screen theatrically at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre through Jan. 30.
To fix the animation, technicians pored over nearly four miles of film, correcting 104,000 frames of the hand-drawn animation.
Last week, Maltin led a star-studded panel at the new print's premiere, which included Lisa Davis (the voice of Anita), animator Blaine Gibson, Disney legend Alice Davis (wife of animation great and Cruella De Vil creator Marc Davis) and animator Eric Goldberg (Pocahontas).
The audience include June Foray (the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel), Margaret Kerry (Peter Pan's Tinker Bell) and the family of Frank Thomas, one of the "nine old men" of Disney classic animators.
The panel screened behind-the-scenes footage and revealed secrets about the making of the dog film, which was remade into a live action movie in 1996 with Glenn Close and Jeff Daniels.
"The animation in this looks so beautiful, especially the city scenes around London," Davis said. "And when we all were originally talking about the voice of Cruella De Vil, it was supposed to be more of a Zsa Zsa Gabor-kind of voice."
Maltin described the film as "a contemporary story, not a classic fairy tale. And the look is so different. It was the first contemporary Disney animated film where the characters were really stylized, angular, not rounded or cute. There was a very kind of rough, almost sketchy quality visually that made it look very modern."
The 101 Dalmatians: Platinum Edition two-disc DVD debuts on March 4 and includes songs that were deleted from the film, an interactive game with a virtual puppy, behind-the-scenes featurettes and an in-depth look at the personal correspondence between Walt Disney and Dodie Smith, the author of the original novel.
Easter Eggs Abound In Cloverfield
The mysteries surrounding Cloverfield do not stop with the film's release on Jan. 18: according to director Matt Reeves, there are little Easter eggs scattered throughout the film itself. That's in addition to the viral marketing elements all over the Internet that provide hints about the history of the monster that destroys New York City. (There are spoilers ahead!)
For example, after the credits roll audiences can hear some static-y noise, followed by a few indistinguishable words. Reeves, who actually spoke those words, coyly refused to reveal what he said.
"I can't tell you that," he said during an interview with reporters on opening day. "At the end of the thing we were doing the mix. We were just about done. We'd mixed all of that great music and I turned to [co-producer] Bryan [Burk], and we said, 'Let's just do one more little thing.' There was a thing in teaser trailer where I'd jumped up to the mike and said, 'I saw it! It's alive! It's huge!' And that all got turned into people thinking we were doing Voltron, because I speak so quickly that they thought I said, 'It's a lion. It's huge.' But I actually said, 'It's alive.'"
Some enterprising fans have decoded the message (SPOILER: he says what sounds like "It's still alive!" played backwards).
"I apparently have some diction and enunciation problems," Reeves added.
There have also been rumors that there's something--perhaps a creature in the water--in the last shot featuring Rob (Michael Stahl-David) and Beth (Odette Yustman) in pre-attack happier times at Coney Island. Again, Reeves played it coy.
"Is there a creature?" he asked rhetorically. "I will tell you, there is something in that shot as well. There is something. You have to look at that shot. There is something going on in that shot. Whether or not it's a creature or something else ?"
Reeves added: "The thing about that shot is that almost nobody sees the shot, but once you see the shot and the thing in it, you'll never stop seeing it." Cloverfield is in theaters now.