Saturday, February 2, 2008

News - 02/02/08...

Galaxy Rangers Video

Friday I told you about the release of the first 32 Episodes of the 1980's syndicated series the "Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers" on DVD. I found this the other day, and thought it was kinda cool. Enjoy...

Here's the opening for the show...

Toshio Suzuki steps down as Studio Ghibli President

AnimeNewsNetwork reports that Toshio Suzuki has stepped down as Studio Ghibli president and will be replaced by Koji Hoshino who was the former president of Walt Disney Japan. Suzuki will remain as a board director and producer for Studio Ghibli films. Hoshino started working for Ghibli in 1996 after Disney started releasing Ghibli filims on home videos and DVDs in Japan. He also served as an executive producer on Ghibli films Spirited Away and The Cat Returns.

SCI FI Finds Sanctuary

The green screen style of filmmaking popularized by the hits Sin City and 300 is making its way to the small screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sci Fi Channel has given the green light to Sanctuary, a series that will combine live actors with CG environments and visual effects. The network has ordered 13 episodes of the novel show, which began life as an HD web series created by Stargate SG-1 writer-producer Damian Kindler.

Sanctuary will star Stargate SG-1’s Amanda Tapping as Dr. Helen Magnus, and Robin Dunne (Navy NCIS) will play her young protege, Will Zimmerman. Together, they will travel the globe to track down, aid and protect strange creatures that walk the earth.

Tapping and Kindler are exec producing the television series with Stargate SG-1 producer/director Martin Wood, who helmed the webisodes, and writer/producer Sam Eagan (Masters of Science Fiction, Jeramiah). SCI FI had apparently been looking for a project that could be shot mostly against green screens and was impressed with what Kindler, Wood and Tapping were able to accomplish on a web budget. Approximately 90% of the show’s sets will be created digitally.

Some of the footage from the webisodes will be reused for the series, which will kick off with a new two-hour premiere episode. The recycled parts are reportedly being retooled to feature enhanced CG backgrounds and other visual effects more worthy of television. An air date has not yet been set.

Garden of Sinners Reaps Japanese Coin

Daily Variety reports that the animated movie Kara no Kyokai—Garden of Sinners, based on a popular web comic, has been a blockbuster at Theater Shinjuku in Japan. Produced by Sony Music Group subsidiary Aniplex, the film debuted with late-night screenings on Dec. 1 and has sold approximately 19,137 tickets in its first four weeks. The late shows yielded long lines and standing-room-only crowds, prompting the theater to begin running morning screenings as well.

Garden is the first in a planned series of seven films based on the comics by author Kinoko Nasu and illustrator Takeshi Takeuchi. The manga stories about a monster-hunting girl who awakes from a two-year coma with the ability to see impending death debuted online in 1998, and were later published by Kodansha as a best-selling graphic novel. Kodansha is co-producing the animated films with Aniplex and animation studios Notes and ufotable.

The second episode in the animated series opened at Theater Shinjuku on Dec. 29 and sold out in minutes. The installments are also enjoying morning and evening screenings at Theater Daiya in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district.

Iron Man Super Bowl Spot Screenshot! has your first look at a screenshot from the Iron Man Super Bowl spot which airs on Sunday. The image features Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) testing his tricked out new Iron Man tech.

Click here to check it out! Iron Man hits theaters on May 2.

Jon Favreau says 'Iron Man' is locked, looks forward to 'Avengers'

'Iron Man' director Jon Favreau was on hand for a press conference for 'Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show' and answered a few questions about his movie and the planned 'Avengers' movie.

The director said that 'Iron Man' is "locked", although they're still adding F/X shots as they "come out of the oven."

Favreau admits that typical summer blockbusters don't need a great story or acting to thrive at the box office, as long as they deliver the F/X thrills. With 'Iron Man' he was committed to delivering the whole package.

"It was really the most creative freedom that I can remember having... It works, and it is a very, very good movie... Though, people's expectations are changing because [people] are expecting an experience; they aren't expecting quality and can have a good time without having a great movie. If you can deliver a great movie on top of something that is fun to watch, then I think you can exceed expectations."

As fans well know by now, the movie lays the ground work for Marvel's heroes to be assembled in one film.

"Since The Avengers has The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man, they still have to make a few more movies. I think they would want to get a chapter in on each of the heroes before they combine them. But I think it is very smart that they are thinking of cross-pollinating between different characters," the director said, adding that the movies will now emulate the shared-universe feeling of the comics.

Read the full story here.

Ratatouille, At World's End, Oktapodi Take Top Honors at Imagina

The big winners in Media & Ent. at the Imagina Awards 2008, announced Thursday at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, were RATATOUILLE for Best Feature, OKTAPODI from Gobelins l'Ecole for Best Animation, DJI VOU VEU VOLTI (I LOVE YOU) from Belgium for Best Short, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END for Best Special Effects, Smirnoff SEA for Best Commercial, Harmonix ROCK BAND for Best Videogame and CAMERA OBSCURA of Supinfocom Valenciennes took the Jury Special Prize.

The Media & Ent. winners were:

* Best Animation


Direction: Julien Bocabeille; FX Chanioux; Olivier Delabarre; Thierry Marchand; Quentin Marmier; Emud Mokhberi
Production: Gobelins l'Ecole de l'Image
Post-production: Gobelins l'Ecole de l'Image
Distribution: Talantis Films
Type: School-University
Country: France

* Best Commercial

Smirnoff - SEA

Direction: Daniel Klienman
Production: Rattling Stick
Post-production: Framestore CFC
Distribution: JWT
Type: Studio
Country: United Kingdom

* Best Feature


Direction: Brad Bird
Production: Disney-Pixar; Producer: Brad Lewis
Post-production: Disney / Pixar
Distribution: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (France)
Type: Studio
Country: US

* Best School-University


Direction: FX Bologna; Theophile Bondoux; Lyonel Charmette; Vincent Le Ster
Production: Supinfocom Arles
Post-production: Supinfocom Arles
Distribution: Premium Films
Type: School-University
Country: France

* Best Short Film


Direction: Feroumont Benoit
Production: La Parti Production; Walking the Dog
Post-production: Monsieur Albert; Studio Alea Jacta
Distribution: la Big Family
Type: Independent
Country: Belgium

* Best Special Effects


Direction: Gore Verbinski
Production: Walt Disney Pictures in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Post-production: Walt Disney Pictures in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Distribution: Disney / Buena Vista International (France)
Type: Studio
Country: US

* Best Video Clip

Chemical Brothers - SALMON DANCE

Direction: Dom & Nic
Production: Factory Films
Post-production: Framestore CFC
Distribution: The Chemical Brothers
Type: Studio
Country: UK

* Best Videogame


Direction: Pete Candeland
Production: Anna Lord
Post-production - Distribution: Passion Pictures
Type: Studio/Media
Country: UK

* Jury Special Prize


Direction: Matthieu Buchalski; Jean-Michel Drechsler; Thierry Onillon
Production: Supinfocom Valenciennes
Post-production: Supinfocom Valenciennes
Distribution: Premium Films
Type: School-University/Media
Country: France

Coolabi Brings Poppy Cat to Nick Jr.

Leading children's television producer Coolabi Productions Ltd. today announced the commission of new animated series POPPY CAT, based on the popular books by Lara Jones, for Nickelodeon U.K.'s preschool channel Nick Jr.

The 52x11 animated series is Coolabi's first original commission for Nickelodeon, although two series of Coolabi's hit animation KING ARTHUR'S DISASTERS were picked up last year by Nick Jr., where they found a strong fan-base. Due to air in late 2009, the animated series will use a multi-plane technique to mirror the pop-up feel of the books.

Since being published in 2002, the books about the inquisitive, excitable, and energetic title character have sold over 1.7 million copies in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Production Start for "Pearlie"

Nelvana and Sticky Pictures have started production on Pearlie, an animated comedy based on a series of books by Australian journalist/comedienne Wendy Harmer, c21 Media reports. The series, about a glamorous fairy who works as the official caretaker of a downtown park, will be ready to air in 2009.

HIT Closes Clothes Deal for "Fifi"

Clothing manufacturers One of the Boys and Adorable Kids Sleepwear have licensed rights to Fifi and the Flowertots. The product lines, which will include sportswear, long and short-sleeved shirts and sets, sweatshirts, sweaters, pajamas and loungewear, will hit retail stores this fall.

"Strawberry Shortcake" DVD Due in March

DIC and Fox Home Entertainment will release Strawberry Shortcake: Big Country Fun to DVD on March 4, the companies announced yesterday. The DVD, which sets Strawberry and her friends to working on a dude ranch, will come in English stereo with English and Spanish subtitles; extras include a music video. It will retail for $14.98.

"Blue Harvest," "Simpsons" Hold Up on Sales Chart

Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest dropped from second place to fifth in DVD sales during its second week in release, and The Simpsons Movie slipped from eighth to ninth place, Video Business Online reports. Both DVDs disappeared from the list of top twenty rentals.

Ratatouille dropped from fifteenth place to nineteenth place in sales.

Greatest American Hero filming in July!

They've been trying to get a “Greatest American Hero” up for, well, longer than Alan Tudyk's been talking up a “Serenity” sequel. Today, we got confirmed that the film version of the classic 80s TV series is finally on track for a July start.

A casting call is being e-blasted around Tinseltown's top agents at the moment, alerting interested parties that the film's director, Stephen Herek (“Dead Like Me”, “The Mighty Ducks”) is in need of a Ralph Hinkley (played in the series by William Katt) and Bill Maxwell (played in the series by Robert Culp).

Penned by Chris Matheson and Ryan Rowe, “Hero” is based on the classic TV show about Ralph Hinkley, a high school teacher. He is a good, decent, likeable guy who is selected by aliens to defend the Earth against Harvey Lundy, a remarkably dislikeable high school teacher who is the representative of a group of intergalactic strip-miners. But he doesn't have to fight Lundy alone - he's got a superhero suit that gives him super powers.

The casting breakdown for Hinkley says he's “29-39, an all-around good guy, with boyish handsome good looks, smart, decent, honorable and resilient, Ralph is a high school history teacher in Tempe, Arizona, a bachelor who hasn't yet found the right girl. Selected by a bunch of aliens as the perfect hero to champion the rights of humankind against an evil nemesis, Ralph gets a superhero suit and a rather gruff squire in the form of FBI agent Bill Maxwell - neither of which yield easily to his control. Stuck inside the suit while awaiting for a duel-to-the-death challenge from his sinister opponent, Harve Lundy, Ralph proves to be honest, upright, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent as he prepares himself to do or die, without losing his Eagle Scout-ish honor or his suit in the process. Oh, and he gets a girlfriend along the way.”

Producers want “names” for the roles of Hinkley and Maxwell.

The film will shoot in Arizona.

The Random Spiel...

- New one-sheet for Prince Caspian

- Script reviews is out for G.I. Joe.

- Producer Frank Marshall confirms that "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is essentially locked, editing is over and scoring is about to get underway.

- Steven Spielberg may direct the seventh Harry Potter film according to Richard Griffiths who plays Vernon.

- An early test screening review of the upcoming "Get Smart".

- Scary thought - "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" is currently ranked #4 on list of top pre-sale films of all time quite literally between "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "The Matrix Reloaded".

- Now THIS is how you do a movie promotional stunt - a water and light effect creating a giant sea monster in Tokyo Bay to promote "The Water Horse".

- Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment has inked a licensing deal with online virtual world Habbo. This will enable the studio to create and sell virtual goods based off its slate of films starting with "The Spiderwick Chronicles," "Beowulf" and "Mean Girls."

- New artwork shows off the gaseous spirit reader character Johann in the upcoming "Hellboy II: The Golden Army".

- Warner Bros. Pictures has posted a memorial page to Heath Ledger on the official "The Dark Knight" site.

- Both the "Transformers" movie and The Simpsons are getting their own theme park ride according to IESB.Net and TV.Com.

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