Monday, February 4, 2008

News - 02/04/08...

Iron Man Super Bowl Spot & Site Online!

Paramount Pictures has brought online the new Super Bowl spot for Iron Man at the new official website! You can watch it by going to the video section. The site also now includes new photos and downloads!

Directed by Jon Favreau, the anticipated movie hits theaters on May 2. Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Shaun Toub star.

Click here for IRON MAN Spot!!!

Super Bowl TV Spots!



The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

'Ben 10: Alien Forces' Animation on Cartoon Network

In the next chapter of Cartoon Network's wildly popular science fiction adventure story comes 'Ben 10: Alien Forces.' Taking place five years in the future, Ben is fifteen, and once again takes up the Omnitrix to fight a whole new battle. Teaming up with a variety of new heroes in his struggle against a new foe, Ben is going to need all the help he can get... including the ten new aliens he can transform into.

India Animation News: Kahani World

Canada-India animation group Kahani World, Inc. develops India-themed intellectual properties and prepares them for production as well as an anticipated international release. Taking advantage of a perceived, burgeoning landscape for India cartoons, Kahani World is co-producing several interesting titles. Their most unique and ambitious of these is 'The Secrets of the Seven Sounds,' an epic adventure tale based on Indian mythos, co-produced with Virgin Comics, LLC.

Rocket Fish Animates “Panda” Bowl Spot

Rocket Fish, a new company formed by Animation Magazine founder Terry Thoren, was tapped by producers Geoff Callan and Daniel Grace of boutique advertising and branding agency Creative:Mint to co-produce a series of animated commercials for client One of the spots, titled “Panda,” is scheduled to air Sunday on FOX during the third quarter of the Super Bowl.

Promoting sales generation website, the retro-styled spot has a chubby panda named Ling Ling in fear of going out of business because he has no sales. His shrew of a wife refuses to go back to the zoo, so she places an emergency call to the Panda Psychic, who reveals that there is only one answer— Armed with 100 free sales leads, Ling Ling's business prospers and he even gets to buy a brand new bamboo car.

“Salesgenie gave us witty scripts and allowed us the freedom to create,” says director/designer Mike Milo, who worked closely with art director Michael Bruza. “[They] wanted the spots to be retro and edgy, so I tried to give them the style of early UPA and Hanna-Barbera. It seemed to fit nicely.”

“The commercial was animated entirely in Flash at the Rocket Fish studios using a combination of symbol-based animation and hand-drawn art animated on Cintiq Backgrounds,” adds Thoren, who served as exec producer on the spot. “The images were textured to give them a painterly feel and rendered digitally. Character Designs, model sheets and props were done on a Tablet PC, making the entire spot 'green.' No trees were hurt making this film!”

Thoren was the only CEO of Klasky Csupo, where he built advertising unit Ka-Chew and oversaw the production of 400 hours of animation including the popular series Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. His latest venture, Rocket Fish Studios is dedicated to bringing cost effective, creator-driven animated entertainment to the advertising industry from state-of-the art animation studios in Burbank and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. More information on the company can be found at

New Superbeasto Pics Emerge

The sparse world of animation for adults is about to get a swift kick in the pants with the upcoming release of Rob Zombie’s The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, a direct-to-video feature being distributed by Starz Media’s Anchor Bay. Zombie has released seven new images from the eagerly awaited flick, which is nearing completion but doesn’t yet have a street date.

Based on Zombie’s limited-run Spookshow International comic book, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto will follow the adventures of an over-the-hill masked wrestler who now fights crime as a secret agent. El Superbeasto has more interest in strippers than adventure, but still manages to get involved with murdering super-intelligent gorillas, Liverpudlian zombies and manic depressive, mad scientist Dr. Satan, voiced by Oscar-nominated actor Paul Giamatti. The voice cast also includes scream queen Sheri Moon Zombie (Devil’s Rejects, House of 1,000 Corpses) as Suzie X, El Superbeasto’s sexy super-spy sister, stand-up comedian Tom Papa (The Life Coach, Analyze That) as El Superbeasto and Brian Posehn (The Sarah Silverman Program, Just Shoot Me) as a robot named Murray.

Zombie wrote the story for the movie and is serving as exec producer. Starz Media’s Film Roman, the studio behind The Simpsons and other hit shows, is doing the animation. The new screenshots can be seen in the “Pics” section at the El Superbeasto MySpace page.

Caballeros Ride to DVD

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has announced that it will release a pair of Academy Award-nominated, south-of-the-border animated movies on DVD for the first time. The Classic Caballeros Collection: Saludos Amigos/Three Caballeros will hit disc on April 29, just in time for fans to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Donald, Goofy and Walt Disney himself. Disney travels with some of his most famous animated characters to South America and Mexico to experience the music, beauty and excitement of Latin America.

In Saludos Amigos, Walt and his team of artists, musicians, writers and animators present four whimsical animated escapades as they travel to fun and exciting places spanning the Bolivian Andes to the Argentine pampas. The film earned three Academy Award nominations in 1943, including Best Musical Score, Best Sound and Best Original Song.

Donald takes a fantastic journey through colorful lands with his friends Joe Carioca and Panchito in The Three Caballeros. Featuring lighthearted dance sequences and lively music, this blend of live action and classic Disney animation received two Academy Award nominations for Best Musical Score and Best Sound Recording.

Bonus features on the DVD will include the featurette South of the Border with Disney, which invites viewers to tag along with Walt and friends on a tour of Latin America. Fans will also get an interview with Walt Disney and the Donald Duck cartoon shorts Don Donald and Contrary Condor. The release will carry a suggested retail price of $19.99/

Disney signs CEO Robert Iger to new five year contract

Variety reports that Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Co. has signed a new five year contract with the company. Iger will continue as the president and CEO of the Walt Disney Co. through 2013, extending an initial contract which would have expired September 30, 2010. Move is attributed to the record earnings Disney has reported since Iger initially took the post as CEO in 2005. He also oversaw the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios in 2006, as part of a move to boost Disney’s brand in the family arena.

Microsoft Places Bid To Buy Yahoo!

News hit today that Microsoft is making a play to buy Yahoo Inc. for $44.6 billion in cash and stocks. The unsolicited bid, in the words of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, would make the firm a "comfortable" #2 next to leader Google. The deal works out to $31 per share, which is 62% greater than Yahoo's current stock price.

In THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, a Yahoo spokesman was quoted as saying that the company's board would "evaluate this proposal carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo's strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders."

Yahoo has been struggling of late, with its stock price reaching a four-year low recently. Just this week, the Internet icon announced that it was laying off more than 1,000 employees, which is about 7% of its workforce.

Web Toons You Need to See 2008

The AWN Media Center brain trust of Rick DeMott and Mo Whelan have scoured the Net looking for a collection of Web animation from 2007 that we feel needs to be seen. Witness what special treats we have found.

Animation World Magazine by Arthur Metcalf

An impressive young talent who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting since moving out to NY is Arthur Metcalf. A self-taught animator, his first short, Fantaisie in Bubblewrap (2007) has become an audience favorite at the few festivals it has played at so far. Today, Metcalf released a new one-minute hand-drawn cartoon exclusively online,, starring Kitteh and Puppeh. Watch it below. The humor derives from the seemingly indefatigable lolcatz, but even if you’re becoming worn out from that meme, the cute kitty really sells the piece. The cat’s typing skills and two-pawed mouse usage garnered a good laugh from me because it’s so skillfully and humorously animated. More about Arthur Metcalf at His experimental “holiday card” on YouTube is also worth a view.

FLIP #10

There are a lot of good things in latest issue of Steve Moore’s online animation magazine, but the best may be Nancy Beiman’s recollections of working with Jack Zander. Flip #10 is now up. Go!

Animated Views Interviews Disney Animator Floyd Norman has interviewed veteran Disney animator Floyd Norman, who began working with the studio in the mid-1950's and has worked on movies ranging from Sleeping Beauty to The Jungle Book to The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Monsters Inc. The interview spans Norman's entire career, and also touches on his recent naming as a Disney Legend.

Screenwriters Fergus and Ostby on Iron Man has posted an interview with Iron Man screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby about what we can expect. Here's a clip:

"John wanted it to be more fun," Fergus says. "He didn't want it to be Batman, where he's skulking around, or Jason Bourne and all these angst-ridden heroes. So's [Tony Stark], but he's also a party animal, he's fun, and he deals with his issues by being extroverted, not staying at home, skulking in the mirror."

Much more here!

James Vanderbilt on Writing Spider-Man 4 says that in a new interview at, Zodiac screenwriter James Vanderbilt talked about coming on board to write Spider-Man 4.

"I went in on that. I really loved the films," Vanderbilt said. "It's sort of an odd process because you're sitting down with the people who made the first three and going, 'Well let me tell you what to do.'

"But I was lucky enough that they were interested in me and I'm a huge fan of those movies, so we closed that up right before the strike. Once the strike's over I get to go to work," he added.

No release date has been set for the fourth installment.

Wanted Super Bowl Spot Already Online!

Yahoo! Movies has already posted online the Super Bowl spot for Universal Pictures' Wanted, starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Common and Angelina Jolie. Based upon Mark Millar's explosive graphic novel series and helmed by stunning visualist director Timur Bekmambetov, the action-thriller opens in theaters on June 27.

Go here to watch the spot!

New Incredible Hulk Bust Bank

Superhero Times has posted a photo of an upcoming Hulk Bust Bank, which is part of a new line of products from The Incredible Hulk movie that will debut at the New York Toy Fair taking place from February 17 - 20.

Click here to check it out!

“It’s Mine”

Not only was it a great Super Bowl game, but Coca-Cola scored a touchdown with a terrific animation-related commercial titled “It’s Mine,” starring Underdog, Stewie from Family Guy, and, well, you’ll just have to watch to see the third character. Everything about this spot just works: an unlikely mash-up of cartoon characters, a complete story told in one minute with a sweet feel-good ending, and funny filmmaking throughout (even the shot selections are humorous).

Credits for the spot, which mixes live and CG, can be found at Duncan’s TV Ad Land, and an in-depth analysis of the commercial can be found in this blog post by Richard Buran. But before you go any further, watch it below.

Exclusive Photos: Mach 5 and Bumblebee roll into Detroit Auto Show

Comics2Film's own Edward Goodsmith rolled into the 2008 North American International Auto Show
in Detroit and hob-knobbed with celebrity cars.

Up on the catwalk promoting
'Speed Racer' is the fabulous Mach 5.

And returning to the motor city is Bumblebee from 'Transformers'.

Rubik the Amazing Cube

One of the silliest cartoon shows ever contrived by network executives and foist upon kids, back in those deep dark days of network Saturday mornings, was based on the toy Rubik’s Cube.

At long last, a fan website devoted to Ruby Spears 1983 ABC series Rubik the Amazing Cube is here — with everything you ever wanted to know about the show, including episode guides, character profiles and, should it ever be forgotten, clips of the show itself.

Shout! Factory Plans to release a Bump in the Night; Complete Series to DVD In 2008!

Shout! Factory has made it known, that they are planning to release to DVD a Complete Collection of the "Bump in the Night" animated series. Shout! most likely will be releasing Bump in the Night: The Complete Series on a multi-disc set, with extras, but Shout! hasn't decided what they will be yet. As well as the true DVD release date, it looks like a 2008 late Fall release is planned but still to early to say, and nothing this far is written in stone. So please stay tooned and as soon as I hear more I will pass it right on.

New York Comic Con Unveils Theater

The New York Comic Con has announced that the special events hall will be the theater for the duration of this year's convention between April 18 - 20, 2008, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The theater will be the center for the con's biggest events, performances, and premieres. Programming for the theater has not been fully detailed yet, but will include two offerings from New Line Cinema.

Read the full press release

No joke, man: Bart's voice gives Scientology $10M

The voice of Bart Simpson has earned the Church of Scientology's "Patron Laureate Award" for donating $10 million in 2007, according to Impact magazine, the church's in-house publication.

Nancy Cartwright, 50, provides the voice of Bart, Todd Flanders, Ralph Wiggum and Nelson Muntz on the long-running Fox hit sitcom
The Simpsons.

The enormous donation is almost double her annual paycheck for working on The Simpsons.

It's also twice the $5 million that Kirstie Alley donated last year, and double the amount that Scientology's top celebrity adherent, Tom Cruise, has donated over the last four years. According to Impact magazine, Alley picked up the Diamond Meritorious Award.

In comparison, John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston donated only $1 million each to the church in 2007 and were given the Gold Meritorious Award. Priscilla Presley was handed the Patron Award for contributing $50,000 from the Elvis estate.

The prizes were handed out last summer at a top-secret ceremony, according to the church magazine.

Anger unbottled after ruling against NZ soda ad

A director of New Zealand firm Charlie's Soda has urged an overhaul of TV advertising rules after a complaint against a cartoon commercial was upheld last week.

The Advertising Standards Authority deemed the ad -- depicting two young boys spying on a woman sunbathing nude in her backyard before cutting to the boys squeezing lemons to make lemonade -- indecent. The ad used sexual appeal to sell an unrelated product, the authority ruled, adding that it did not meet the required sense of social responsibility.

But TV personality Marc Ellis said that the ad used the same "innocent humor" as such award-winning cartoon sitcoms as
The Simpsons, Family Guy
and Bro' Town.

"This ruling is ridiculous and another nail in the coffin for the majority," said Ellis, a director of the firm. "It is political correctness gone mad when a tiny minority can dictate that such a fun and innocent cartoon commercial could be found offensive."

In its submission to the ASA, Charlie's recognized that the ad might not be suitable for children and had moved its airtime to adults-only slots. The ASA acknowledged that Charlie's had done this, but still found the ad in contravention of three separate broadcasting principles.

Charlie's realized that not everyone would share its sense of humor and that people have the right to voice their opinions, Ellis said.

"However, we need to look closely at the absurd and confused regulations which can see an ad approved for television and then subsequently have that approval withdrawn because just eight out of four million New Zealanders have complained," he said. "Not only does this decision have a big economic cost to Charlie's, but it allows an embittered bunch of naysayers to dictate terms to everyone else."

Ellis said that the ad appeared after the 6 p.m. news, which depicted "bloodied bodies in Baghdad, naked body-painted women parading at Christchurch Cup Day, and security camera footage of a schoolboy being kicked senseless by his peers.

"It appeared after
The Simpsons, with Bart's butt crack, Homer naked and drunk, Barney Gumble drinking beer from an ashtray, and Itchy killing Scratchy in 11 different ways."

Most New Zealanders saw the commercial as it was intended to be viewed -- as "a charming and amusing reflection of the way life used to be," Ellis said.

The complainant called the commercial "crude" and "sexual."

"It was not cute, funny or entertaining," he said. "Making a point of focusing on the woman's barely hidden breast, then the boys simultaneously squeezing/rotating lemons... is a very crude sexual innuendo."

Charlie's Group Ltd. said in its submission to the ASA that some people might "not get" the advertisement. However, "on reflection," it was not suitable for children, it admitted. The company then raised the commercial's broadcast time to Adults Only (AO).

However, the company said that the commercial had "humorous elements." It also defended its use of a nude character, as she was "decently covered" at all times.

The country's Television Commercials Approvals Bureau defended the commercial, too.

"The depiction of hands squeezing lemons could perhaps be seen as provocative, but only due to assumptions made by the viewer's imagination," said the bureau, the professional body to which advertisers must pay a fee to gain a certification in order for their ads to be broadcast.

Spider-Man spin-off in the works reports that Eddie Brock is getting his own film.

If there’s one thing I don’t want to see it’s, well, a spin-off of
“Spider-Man 3” – undoubtedly 2007’s most disappointing movie. Unless, of course, Marvel are planning to ditch Topher Grace and reboot the ‘Venom’ character for the spin-off?

Nobody knows – what is known is that Marvel are currently out to writers and we should have some kind of official announcement shortly, I'm assuming.

STAR WARS ANIMATED Film... this September... Theatrically?

According to the highly reliable folks at Action-Figure.Com, it seems that in the UK, at least, the first 3 episodes of Lucasfilm's animated CLONE WARS - will get theatrical distribution of the 90 minute film. Will the U.S. get the same treatment? God, I hope so. That'd rule! I could imagine Lucas doing this for Digital Theaters only - plus earning some extra coin.

British-Canadian actor Barry Morse dead at 89

Barry Morse, once described by the Toronto Star as "one of Canada and Britain's most versatile and compelling actors," died Saturday at 89, according to the actor's Web site.

The place and cause of death was not immediately announced.

Born Herbert Morse in London's East End on June 10, 1918, he was probably best known to North Americans as Lt. Gerard, the ever-vigilant pursuer of wrongly accused Dr. Richard Kimball (David Janssen) in
The Fugitive, and Prof. Victor Bergman in Space: 1999 with Barbara Bain and Martin Landau. His role in The Fugitive won him the jocular nickname "The most hated man in America."

He had the title role in
The Railway Dragon (1991) and The Birthday Dragon (1992), two half-hour cartoon specials from Lacewood Productions. The first was nominated for a Gemini Award for best animated program or series; the second was nominated for a CableACE for animated programming special or series.

Morse played over 3,000 roles on the stage, screen and radio in a career spanning over six decades, according to one journalist's estimate.

One memorable guest appearance was in The Outer Limits episode "Controlled Experiment," when he starred with Carroll O'Connor and Grace Lee Whitney. This episode was shot as a pilot for a proposed series starring O'Connor and Morse as two Martians sent to Earth to examine human life and experiences. CBS opted for My Favorite Martian instead.

The 5'10" actor was sometimes called the "CBC Test Pattern" due to his frequency on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation programming. A five-time winner of Canada's Best Television Actor award, he was the former artistic director of the Shaw Festival of Canada.

Born in London, England to a cockney family, Morse was a 15-year-old school dropout and errand boy when he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Famed actress Dame Sybil Thorndike was one of several notables who reviewed his audition and later told Morse that they had found his presentation to be "curiously touching." At this time, he was the youngest student ever to enter RADA.

He wrapped up his work in RADA by starring in the title role of King Henry V, a Royal Command Performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, patrons of the Academy, and also won their coveted radio-acting award.

Morse followed with runs in London's West End and in theatrical productions throughout the United Kingdom, as well as appearing on the BBC’s earliest live television broadcasts, beginning in 1937. He made his West End debut in a play called School for Slavery, and with Crisis in Heaven, directed by John Gielgud. He continued working in many plays, on the West End and throughout England, including The Assassin by Irwin Shaw, in which he created the leading role and received great critical acclaim. He started his movie career playing stooge to the wry and dyspeptic comedian Will Hay in The Goose Steps Out.

He married fellow actress Sydney Sturgess on March 26, 1939 after a two-month courtship following their introduction while working together in a repertory theatre company in Peterborough, England. Two children followed: daughter Melanie in 1945 and son Hayward in 1947. Morse and his wife relocated the family to Canada in 1951, working in live theatre and on CBC Radio, as well as acting in the premiere television broadcasts of CBC Television from Montreal.

When the fledgling Canadian television service started regular broadcasting from their new radio and TV headquarters in Toronto, the family settled there. Morse devoted time to performing and producing the landmark half-hour CBC Radio series A Touch of Greasepaint and later, Barry Morse Presents on television, among others. Greasepaint, which ran for 14 years, explored the experience of actors through the ages and served as a rough draft for his touring one-man show, Merely Players.

His theatrical background included work in the United States, Canada, Australia and Britain. He performed on Broadway in Hide and Seek, Salad Days, and the lead of Frederick William Rolfe in Hadrian VII for six months. He directed the historic Broadway debut of Staircase starring Eli Wallach and Milo O’Shea, which stands as Broadway’s first depiction of homosexual men in a serious way. Starting in 1984, he traveled the English-speaking world performing his one-man show Merely Players, vignettes of actors from Elizabethan times to the present. His most recent stage performance was in Bernard and Bosie: A Most Unlikely Friendship in 2004. Other productions include Sleuth, Man and Superman, The Caretaker and The Voice of the Turtle. He performed every play of William Shakespeare and all of the plays of George Bernard Shaw.

Other series starring roles included The Adventurer and The Zoo Gang. He also appeared in some of the most popular mini-series, including The Golden Bowl, The Martian Chronicles, Whoops Apocalypse, Sadat, A Woman of Substance, The Winds of War, Master of the Game, War and Remembrance, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story and Waking the Dead. His most recent project was the TV mini-series Icon, starring Patrick Swayze, based on the best-selling book by Frederick Forsyth.

He long supported a number of charitable organizations, including the Toronto-based Performing Arts Lodges of Canada, the Royal Theatrical Fund, the London Shakespeare Workout Prison Project, Actors' Fund of Canada, The Samaritans, BookPALS, and Parkinson's disease treatment and research. The Parkinson's cause holds a special place in Morse's heart, as his wife of more than 60 years, Sydney, was diagnosed and ultimately succumbed to the illness in 1999 after a 14- year battle with the disease. For the past two decades, he worked tirelessly in the United States, Canada and Britain to raise both funds and awareness of the disease.

"In a lifetime of pulling faces and making noises for a living, I've come to believe that despite all the clich├ęs and the fallacies written and spoken about our trade, there really is no business like show business," Morse once said.

He was the president of The Shaw Society of England, founded in 1941 to promote interest in the life and works of George Bernard Shaw.

Barry Morse and his wife had three children: Hayward Morse, Melanie Morse MacQuarrie -- both actors -- and Barry Richard Charles Morse. Melanie Morse MacQuarrie died in 2005.

Fresh Start for Teen Surfer Toon

Fresh Animation has begun production on
Stoked, a new animated sitcom about five teen surfers in western Canada, KidScreen reports. The show will air on Teletoon beginning in 2009.

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