Monday, May 19, 2008

News - 05/19/08...

'Prince Caspian' pushes 'Iron Man' off throne

"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" dethroned "Iron Man" as ruler at the box office, pulling down $56.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Walt Disney Co.'s action sequel took in less domestically in its opening weekend than "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," which sold $65.6 million in North America in its debut weekend in December 2005. "Caspian" also raked in $20.7 million overseas.

But Disney expects the PG-rated movie, based on the C.S. Lewis fantasy series, to ride high through the coming Memorial Day weekend. The first "Narnia" tale grossed $745 million worldwide over its theatrical run.

"This is a film that we think is going to play all summer long and it's got nothing but school holidays in front of it," said Mark Zoradi, president of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Group.

Disney is in pre-production on the third of the series, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader," set for release in the summer of 2010.

Marvel Studios' "Iron Man" slipped to second place after two weeks at No. 1 with $31.2 million, bringing its domestic total to $222.5 million.

Paul Dergarabedian, president of tracking firm Media By Numbers LLC, said the flawed superhero flick is holding its appeal better than "Spider-Man 3" did the previous May.

"'Iron Man' continues to hold very well," he said. "It's definitely cutting into audiences across the board."

The 20th Century Fox comedy "What Happens in Vegas," starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, came in third, with $13.9 million in its second weekend. Its domestic total reached $40.3 million, well above its $35 million budget.

"It's clearly the comedy, non-family movie in the marketplace right now," said Chris Aronson, a Fox senior vice president.

Warner Bros.' disappointing "Speed Racer" slowed to $7.6 million for fourth place, driving in $29.8 million over two weeks.

The studio said it was not ready to call it game over on the Wachowski brothers movie, which cost $120 million to make.

Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.' executive vice president of distribution, said next weekend was "do or die" for the movie.

Overture Films' acclaimed drama, "The Visitor," crept into 10th place at the box office with $687,000.

The distributor picked up the indie film, about a professor who discovers a couple living in his little-used New York apartment, at the Toronto Film Festival for a reported $1 million. It has grossed $3.4 million so far.

"It's good to know that you don't have to have special effects in your movie to make money," said Overture Films' senior vice president Adam Keen.

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which received a somewhat ho-hum reaction at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, whips its way into theaters on Thursday.





Sony Getting Ready To Spin SPIDER-MAN 4 (and 5)??

A "trusty" source for Cinematical contacted them with some interesting news about forthcoming SPIDER-MAN films:

Apparently, in the last few weeks, James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) has turned in a working draft of Spider-Man 4 to the studio. However, according to our source, "his story arc has encompassed two films, making Spider-Man 5 shootable at the same time. The studio saw dollar signs and is in the process of reworking his deal to snatch up the story arc."

...says THIS ARTICLE at Cinematical.

Still no word on who'll direct, although Raimi hasn't completely discounted the notion & has a somewhat clearer slate now that Del Toro has been announced as director of THE HOBBIT films (Raimi was seen as a front runner for some time).





Official The Incredible Hulk Site Updated!

Universal Pictures and Marvel Studios have updated the official website for The Incredible Hulk with a cool new Flash intro and much more, ranging from videos (including a better version of 'Trailer 3'), downloads such as wallpapers and icons, photos, etc. You can check out the new site here!

Opening June 13, the Louis Leterrier-directed action-thriller stars Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell and William Hurt.





Third TV Spot for The Dark Knight

The third TV spot for Warner Bros.' The Dark Knight has aired on TV and can now be watched online here!

Opening in conventional theaters and IMAX on July 18, the Christopher Nolan-directed sequel stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.





Exclusive: The New Hellboy II One-Sheet!

Superhero Hype!, ComingSoon.net and ShockTillYouDrop.com are today exclusively debuting the new one-sheet for writer/director Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army, hitting theaters on July 11.

In the sequel, an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic is broken, and hell on Earth is ready to erupt. A ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures. Now, it's up to the planet's toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. He may be red. He may be horned. He may be misunderstood. But when you need the job done right, it's time to call in Hellboy (Ron Perlman).

Along with his expanding team in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development--pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair), aquatic empath Abe (Doug Jones) and protoplasmic mystic Johann--the BPRD will travel between the surface strata and the unseen magical one, where creatures of fantasy become corporeal. And Hellboy, a creature of two worlds who's accepted by neither, must choose between the life he knows and an unknown destiny that beckons him.




















Fox Unveils New SF Strategy

Fringe and Dollhouse, the two new genre shows that Fox will add to its schedule during the 2008-'09 season, will be the beneficiaries of an experimental strategy called "Remote-Free TV," the network announced during its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York on May 15.

Fringe, the J.J. Abrams-produced series set to kick off with a two-hour premiere on Aug. 26, and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, which will debut in midseason, will both air with fewer commercials and fewer promotional spots for other Fox shows.

"It's a simple concept and potentially revolutionary," Fox entertainment chairman Peter Liguori said during the presentation. "We're going to have less commercials, less promotional time and less reason for viewers to use the remote. We're going to redefine the viewing experience."

Liguori added: "Some people might think this is a scary financial prospect. We really see it as an investment. We need to give viewers a new reason to come to broadcast TV.”

Additionally, Fox revealed that Fringe will be filmed in New York and announced that it will air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following House, in the fall. In early 2009, it will follow the juggernaut American Idol.

Also on the fall schedule is the returning SF series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which will air on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. When it premieres early next year, Dollhouse will take over the Terminator timeslot.

The network briefly mentioned Boldly Going Nowhere, an SF sitcom spoof that is in development from the team behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. No pilot has been filmed yet.

The network made no mention of Virtuality, an SF pilot that Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor (SCI FI Channel's Battlestar Galactica) are developing.






Scooby-Doo is back!

Scooby Dooby Doo! Have we got a Prequel for You!

Not content with rebooting the Batman franchise, Warner Bros are rewinding back time on the Scooby Gang.

Brian Levant (The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas”, “Are We There Yet?”) has signed to direct a new “Scooby-Doo” film – a telemovie prequel to the two “Scooby-Doo” films of previous years.

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr will be sitting this one out. A nation-wide casting call is now underway to find the new Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy.

In this new pic, Daphne’s a mystery writer inspired by Murder She Wrote; Fred’s a football player with a penchant for jigsaw puzzles who decides to try out for the school paper, his idol is footballer turned supreme court justice Bryan ‘Whizzer’ White; Shaggy is as daft as ever and not doing so well at school; and Velma (who I hear might be Asian in the new film) is a teen U.S ambassador for World Hunger.

Assumingly, they all apply for jobs at the school paper – for different reasons – and end up solving their first mystery…. Whatever that may be.

If there’s one thing the “Scooby Doo” films got right is the cast: Matthew Lillard and Linda Cardellini, as Shaggy and Velma, respectively, were perfect. Here’s hoping Warners find themselves some satisfactory surrogates…

Production begins in August in Vancouver.






New Joker Banner for The Dark Knight!

Batman-on-Film.com has debuted the excellent new Joker banner for The Dark Knight, opening in conventional theaters and IMAX on July 18. You can view the full banner by clicking the image below!






















Cloverfield Sequel Not Certain?

J.J. Abrams, co-producer of the hit monster film Cloverfield, said that a sequel may or may not happen and revealed that he's more inclined to do something with his Cloverfield partners, writer Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves, other than a follow-up.

"We're talking about it," Abrams said of Cloverfield 2 during an interview at the Fox upfront presentation for advertisers in New York on May 15, where he was promoting his upcoming SF TV series Fringe. "But the truth is there's another idea that I'd rather do with the same people than do a sequel. It's a whole new thing."

Abrams added, "So my dream is to work with [Goddard and Reeves] again, but do something that's [new]. Having said that, Drew and Matt both, separately, have really good ideas for what [Cloverfield 2] could be. So I don't know. We'll see. I know the studio wants it."





Anime Event News

Anime Expo 2008, held July 3-6, 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA, announced that Masahiro Ando will attend as a Guest of Honor. Masahiro Ando has worked with BONES and been involved with COWBOY BEBOP: KNOCKIN" ON HEAVEN"S DOOR, JIN-ROH, METROPOLIS and GHOST IN THE SHELL. He has also worked on the storyboard and production of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST (TV/Film).

Radical Publishing will be hosting Yoshitaka Amano, best known for Final Fantasy and Vampire Hunter D illustrations, at this summer's San Diego Comic Con, where the airtsist will be promoting Mateki: The Magic Flute.
















Mr. Ando's current work includes his debut as the director of SWORD OF THE STRANGER-a historical action animation set in feudal Japan five hundred years ago revolving around the friendship between two people with tragic pasts, a fiercely powerful warrior "No Name" (Ronin) who has vowed to give up his sword and a "boy" who has lost his parents and has a contract out on his life.
















Baltimore's Otakon announced that veteran ADR director and voice actor Richard Epcar and actor Ellyn Stern will appear as guests at Otakon 2008. Epcar is probably best known as the voice of Batou on the English dub of GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX; his wife, Stern, recently voiced Ichigo's mother, Masaki Kurosaki, in BLEACH.

A behind the scenes of Madhouse's opening animation for the event is online.

Anime Festival Orlando is offering fans a chance to win two weekend passes to its convention being held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort from August 14 – 17, 2008 by uploading YouTube clips with the theme "How Do You Plan To Get To AFO?" Vignettes must be three minutes or less, "PG" rated and uploaded to YouTube by the deadline of 11:59pm on June 30, 2008.

The winner of the AFO9 YouTube Contest will receive two 3-day membership passes to AFO9 with the "Passport to Orlandia" upgrade, two vintage AFO t-shirts as well as a $50.00 Visa Gift card.

National CineMedia’s Fathom will present BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY in more than 300 theatres across the country on June 11th and 12th at 7:30 p.m. local time.

Tickets for this special anime event (which has been dubbed in English for American audiences) are available at presenting theatre box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com. For a complete list of theatre locations and prices, please visit the BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY event details page (theatres are subject to change).
















There are direct hints that Viz will be hosting Bleach creator Kubo Tite in the US.




As part of the VIZ/Fathom two day screening of the live action Death Note, VIZ is partnering with Hot Topic to offer customers who purchase a DEATH NOTE t-shirt or DVD in select Hot Topic stores to receive a free ticket to attend the film event. For more information of the offer, see here.

The live-action film will screen at 7:30 pm on May 20 and 21 in 300 cities nationwide. More information can be seen at www.deathnotefilms.com.



















Worth Checking Out

The Anime World Order podcast an audio interview with anime director Noboru Ishiguro, whose works include Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers) as well as Superdimensional Fortress Macross (part of which became Robotech).

Patrick Macias interviews Stan Lee on this manga project. Also from Macias, Sex and Death in Shizuoka: Profit from Violence

Okazu features an interview with translator Anastasia Moreno

Ronald Kelts (Japanamerica) looks at the history of Speed Racer More here

DMP's Speed Racer Manga preview site.

AniPages Daily continues their indepth look at kaiba

Kaiju Shakedown samples the guro (gruesome) tradition in pencil-stabs-eye

on a related note, a Franch, video interview with one of the masters of the form, Suehiro Maruo

Ten Mistakes You Will Probably Make in Japan

JP Meyer on the authorial intent of Gonzo's Romeo x Juliet

Iwa ni Hana on Voice-acting and the dearth of iconic characters

Let's Anime on the 90's Tetsujin 28/Gigantor revival

Cartoon Brew and animation director Mark Mayerson contemplate the lure of live action

The official site for Super Robot Wars has screenshots

Journalista talks piracy

The Magic Box collections more screenshots here. the site also has Mobile Suit Gundam Operation Troy shots here

A cool Afro Samurai fan film




Right Stuf has posted a previewing of their upcoming release of school drama MARIA WATCHES OVER US (Maria-sama ga Miteru aka MaraMite) on their official site at mariasama.rightstuf.com/

Yakult Swallows show off their Astro Boy pride

Evangelion themed resteraunt menu items and Golgo 13 gum

Finally, if you found a copy of the Devil May Cry anime and you've been holding out hopes of redeeming the offer for a case, check out the fulfillment page.






MyToons.com Invites Animators to "MonsterJam"

MyToons.com will be co-sponsoring "MonsterJam," an animation contest for 10-second animated films featuring monsters. Animators have until May 30, 2008, to submit their entries, which will be screened in June at the Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS) Summer Showcase at the National Film Board Cinema in Toronto.

For full information on how to submit films, read the full press release here.






Waltz with Bashir, An Animated War Documentary

While DreamWorks debuted its umpteenth cookie-cutter ‘hip’ animal comedy, Kung Fu Panda, at the Cannes Film Festival this past week, it’s another animated feature that’s been making big waves at the French festival, one that actually uses to its advantage the art form’s vast potential. Waltz with Bashir is only the second animated feature ever produced in Israel. Directed and written by Ari Folman, it is a documentary about the 1982 massacre at the Shatila and Sabra Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, recounted through first-hand accounts from soldiers who participated in the war. The film, which incorporates a medley of cel, Flash, CG and live-action, has been gaining raves since its debut including write-ups in Cinematical, NY Times and Time magazine. GreenCine also has a nice roundup of coverage for the film. What the film may lack in the animation quality and polish that we are accustomed to in stateside features, it seems to make up for with its ambition and dedication towards using the medium to create something that is actually meaningful and relevant to our times. Below is the film trailer followed by an excerpt from the film.




(thanks cartoonbrew)





"KRAZY!" Vancouver exhibition shows anime, comics

Non-stop screenings of Japanese anime will be offered at a major Vancouver Art Gallery show that opens Saturday and runs until September 7.

"KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art" will showcase Disney storyboards, as well as such works as Super Dimension Fortress Macross by animation director Ichiro Itano.

"KRAZY!" is a rare opportunity to see artworks that have shaped the history of contemporary visual culture, including Lotte Reiniger's 1926 The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the first feature-length animated cartoon.

The exhibit covers 20,000 square feet on two floors. It took three years to assemble all the works.

From noon to 8 p.m. today (Friday, May 16) and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 17, a complimentary screening of highlights from eight animated films featured in the exhibition will take place outdoors on the Vancouver Art Gallery's Georgia Street Plaza.

The screening will show excerpts from Gertie the Dinosaur (1915), The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Gerald McBoing Boing (1950), Black Hula and Akira (both 1988), Wallace & Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (1993), and Over the Hedge and Paprika (both 2006).

Animator and feature film director Tim Johnson is the curator for animated cartoons. He made his feature-length directorial debut in 1998 with DreamWorks' first computer- animated feature, Antz (1998), starring the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone and Sylvester Stallone. His most recent film, Over the Hedge, was both a critical and commercial success, and further solidified Johnson's reputation as one of the preeminent animation directors in Hollywood.

Johnson also directed the animated action adventure Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003). In 1995, he directed the now famous segment "Homer3" from The Simpsons Halloween special Treehouse of Horror VI, taking Homer into the third dimension for the first time. The episode, a favorite of The Simpsons fans, has become a classic to animation devotees.

The exhibition takes viewers through ever-changing gallery environments, including a mini-theatre for viewing animated cartoons and anime.

"This is definitely part of a large field of visual culture that surrounds us and we're engaged with hundreds and hundreds of times every day," said curator Bruce Grenville. "And all the artists here -- that sense of awareness of the history that they're participating in is very strong in their work and they really push that forward," he said.

Anime is an distinctive art form, Grenville said.

"It's a massive industry with a tremendous history that parallels the Western one, but with an entirely different set of goals and values. The animation is outstanding, and it has a depth and compositional feel of someone working from many different perspectives."

Grenville rounded up experts in animation, anime and other fields to choose their best work.

"It's not a kids' show. The language is complicated. The visuals are complicated. The characters themselves and who they constitute are complicated," he said.

"It's not just for children, but it doesn't mean children are excluded from it, either. It means they need to be brought to it," he said.

Johnson will be one of the speakers in the Vancouver Art Gallery lecture series "KRAZYTalk!: Industry Giants," organized in conjunction with the gallery's exhibition. He'll appear Thursday, May 29 at the Centre for Digital Media, Great Northern Way Campus.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, filmmaker and artist Marv Newland will give a talk in the gallery. Newland, featured in the exhibit, presents a history of animation in Vancouver.

Also in the gallery, Asian studies scholar Kaori Yoshida will give a public talk Thursday, June 19 on "Techno Orientalism," exploring anime, manga and comics.

"KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art" includes works by Moyoco Anno, Lynda Barry, Marcel Broodthaers, Chester Brown, Cao Fei, Milt Gross, Pierre Huyghe, Ichiro Itano, Tim Johnson, Yoko Kanno, Satoshi Kon, Harvey Kurtzman, John Lasseter, Roy Lichtenstein, Christian Marclay, Winsor McCay, Sid Meier, Shigeru Miyamoto, Junko Mizuno, Mamoru Nagano, Claes Oldenburg, Mamoru Oshii, Katsuhiro Otomo, Nick Park, Raymond Pettibon, Seth, Iwatani Toru, Chris Ware, Masaaki Yuasa and many more.

The exhibition travels to New York next March.







Animation Show Vol. 3 Bound for Disc

Another collection of shorts from Mike Judge’s and Don Hertzfeldt’s touring theatrical showcase known as The Animation Show will be available on DVD on June 3. The Animation Show: Volume 3 from MTV Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment features some of the latest works from Judge and Hertzfeldt, as well as such respected independent animators as Bill Plympton, Joanna Quinn and PES.

Films included in The Animation Show: Volume 3 are Opening Remarks by Mike Judge, Rabbit by Run Wrake, City Paradise by Gaëlle Denis, Everything Will Be OK by Don Hertzfeldt, Collision by Max Hattler, Astronauts by Matthew Walker, Carlitopolis by Nieto, No Room For Gerold by Daniel Nocke, Guide Dog by Bill Plympton, One D by Mike Grimshaw, Tyger by Guilherme Marcondes, Learn Self Defense by Chris Harding, Shuteye Hotel by Bill Plympton, Dreams and Desires by Joanna Quinn, Game Over by PES, Abigail by Tony Comely and Versus by Francois Caffiaux, Romain Noel and Thomas Salas. Special features include an interview with Denis on his award-winning City Paradise, an animatic for Comely’s Abigail, an interview with Quinn on Dreams and Desires and full-length text interviews with all the filmmakers.

Before buying the disc, interested parties can catch a half-hour preview on MTV2. Airing on Monday, June 2 at 9 p.m., the special will be hosted by Beavis and Butt-Head, who will help throw a spotlight on some of the best shorts from The Animation Show: Volume 3. Judge also announced that he is set to launch the 2008 edition of The Animation Show in June. For more information, go to www.animationshow.com.





Totally Spies! Movie Coming

France’s Marathon Media is bringing its animated TV series Totally Spies! to the big screen, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Co-produced by Orange’s Studio 37, the $12 million movie will feature a blend of 2D and 3D animation to explore how three teenage girls from Beverly Hills accidentally became international secret agents.

Totally Spies! The Movie is being described as “Clueless meets James Bond” as Groupe Un works to drum up international sales at the Cannes film market. The pic has already been pre-sold to films de l'Elysee in Benelux, Mikado in Italy and SPI in Eastern Europe. Mars Distribution plans to release the film in France in the summer of 2009.

The highest-rated animated series on France’s TF1, Totally Spies! is also a hit around the world. It airs in more than 166 territories and has built a strong fan base over five seasons. In 2005, Clover, Alex and Sam made their feature-length debut in a made-for-TV movie titled Totally Spies: Evil Promotion Much?, which aired in the U.S. on Cartoon Network.

This new movie is the first theatrical release for Marathon, which reportedly has two other features in development. Studio 37 is backing a feature film based on the hip-hop animated TV series Les Lascars (Round da Way) from Millimages. The movie is slated to debut in French theaters in May of 2009.





Bickford’s Prometheus’ Garden on DVD

In the world of animation, Bruce Bickford is a true original. The independent filmmaker’s work in clay is a mash–up of irrepressible childish exuberance and adult desires and insecurities. What unfolds on screen is essentially pure imagination unhindered by a need for acceptance or artistic perfectionism. His genius is best displayed in scenes where the clay figures and landscapes are constantly morphing into other characters and objects. That’s when it goes from “I could do that” to “how on earth did he do that?”

Bickford is best known for his collaborations with indie rocker Frank Zappa, which yielded such psychedelic ’70s productions as Dub Room Special, Baby Snakes and The Amazing Mr. Bickford. In 1988, he produced Prometheus’ Garden, a 28-minute film based on the Greek myth about a Titan who created the first mortals from clay and stole fire from the gods. This is the first project over which he had complete creative control and the result is a bizarre and mesmerizing vision that is certainly not for everyone, but a nice addition to any collection of alternative animation. It’s now available on DVD for the first time.

Bonus features on the DVD include a commentary track by Bickford and the documentary featurette Luck of a Foghorn. Directed by Brett Ingram, the 28-minute doc explores the creative process behind the making of Prometheus’ Garden, interweaving Bickford’s animation with outtakes, home movies and interviews. Ingram also directed Monster Road, an award-winning documentary on Bickford and the life experiences that shaped his unique art.

Prometheus’ Garden and Monster Road are both available from Bright Eye Pictures (www.brettingram.org) and retail for $22.95. Sales directly support Bickford in his struggle to continue creating films by modest means. Watch a clip from Prometheus’ Garden and the trailer for Monster Road on AniMagTV.





Kung Fu Panda auctions on eBay

DreamWorks is now auctioning movie premiere tickets and a private screening of their upcoming film Kung Fu Panda on eBay to benefit Conservation International and “help pandas in the wild.”





Positive buzz on Kung Fu Panda coming out of Cannes

Reviews of DreamWorks’ June 6th offering are pouring in following Kung Fu Panda’s world premiere Thursday in Cannes. Kirk Honeycutt at the Hollywood Reporter calls the film “a martial arts masterpiece” (the stunning fight sequences in the film were choreographed by animation veteran Rodolphe Guenoden), adding that “although it’s aimed primarily at youngsters, Kung Fu Panda embraces humor that plays well across age groups and nationalities. Certainly the sustained applause at its Cannes Film Festival world premiere here bodes well for international box office success.” Meanwhile, Variety’s Todd McCarthy was less thrilled with the film which he describes as “a nice looking but heavily formulaic DreamWorks animation entry,” as was Lou Lumenick’s NY Post who found the film “very conventional and (…) aimed strictly at kids.” However Time calls it “cunning visual art and ultra-satisfying entertainment” and IGN a “delightful family film.” Cinematical gives the film polite applause, noting that Kung Fu Panda may be on the higher edge of the middle rank of computer-animated films, but it’ll still provide your kids with a fairly respectable mix of action, amazement and amusement.” Britain’s Screen International rounds up the reviews describing Kung Fu Panda as “warm and very likable Hollywood fare.”





Is Waltz With Bashir the new Persepolis?

According to the New York Post, “the animated film generating the most buzz at the Cannes Film Festival is not Kung Fu Panda but rather Waltz With Bashir, “an unconventional documentary by Israel’s Ari Folman that combines flash animation, traditional hand drawing and computer-generated images. The animation was based on video interviews Folman shot of himself and other former Israeli soldiers who were stationed in Lebanon, where Christian militia members opened fire on Palestinian refugee camps in 1981.” Click here for more information on the animated documentary.





Interview with Ice Age character designer Peter DeSève

French site Inter-Activities posted an interesting interview with the character designer of all three Ice Age movies, Peter DeSève. The three time Annie Award nominee also worked on Disney’s Mulan and Hunchback of Notre Dame.





Michael Crawford and Peter Gabriel songs featured in Wall•E

Amazon posted cover artwork and a track listing for Wall•E’s June 27th soundtrack. The CD will feature no less than 38 tracks with score by Thomas Newman and 5 songs: Put On Your Sunday Clothes and It Only Takes a Moment, both from the movie Hello Dolly and performed by Michael Crawford; La Vie En Rose performed by Louis Armstrong; as well as two new songs by Peter Gabriel entitled Down To Earth and Horizon.






Tyrese Talks A-Team, Transformers 2 and Luke Cage!

Model-turned-actor Tyrese Gibson may have been a supporting player in last year's mega-hit Transformers, but he's using the heat the film lent him to transform himself – namely into a major movie star. We caught up with Tyrese on the set of his currently-shooting film Legion and got the scoop on a slew of his upcoming projects.

Along with return trips to the "Transformers" and "Fast and Furious" franchises, Tyrese also has his sights set on filling the shoes of not one but two of the toughest African-American action icons: Mr. T and Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.

ComingSoon.net/Superhero Hype!: How has your career changed since "Transformers"? What's been going on?
Tyrese Gibson: There's a lot going on: "A-Team." "Transformers." "Fast and Furious 4." These are all the things that are kind of in motion and so I'm really excited that I'm getting to do some rock star type roles and be fun and be heavily associated to these genres, big huge box office mojo joints.

CS/SHH!: When does "The A-Team" start shooting?
Gibson: They're still doing a lot of rewrites on the script. I haven't officially signed on, but I'm just playing Double Dutch.

CS/SHH!: Are you practicing with the chains in the mirror?
Gibson: He's going to be a little different. We might keep the Mohawk, but we're not going into no forty thousand chains. We're going to 2009 Mr. BA.

CS/SHH!: You'll also be back for "Transformers 2" – How will your character evolve?
Gibson: Well, I can't spill any of the beans though that was a smooth transition. But I just talked to Shia [LaBeouf] and left Jon Voight [a message] about fifteen minutes ago. I'm excited. Michael Bay is really going to try and up the ante on round two and take it to a whole other level. I can't go into any detail, but it's going to be some real one-of-a-kind things going on in this movie that no one has ever visually seen in their life. Michael Bay is really fired up and trying to outdo what he did on the first round and I'm just honored to be a part of it.

CS/SHH!: How serious will your involvement with "Fast and Furious" be?
Gibson: The "Fast and Furious" thing for me is going to be like a cameo where I kind of reprise my Roman Pierce situation kind of like what Vin Diesel did in "Fast and Furious 3." They're bringing me back for that, and as far as "The A-Team" it's Double Dutch. As soon as they get the script done we should be rolling and hopefully my schedule will allow me to get them all done at the same time. Those are things that are definitely in the future.

CS/SHH!: Is there a comic book superhero in your future perhaps too – namely Luke Cage?
Gibson: You've been reading some things. I don't know, man. We'll see.

CS/SHH!: If that was offered is it something that you would be excited about?
Gibson: Luke Cage. They're still tweaking the script and all I will say on that is if that slot eventually opens up I'll probably be that guy to come in there and bring that man to life and have a little fun. I have to do a lot of bench pressing. Luke Cage is a lot to live up to, but like I said I'm not officially signed on yet, but they definitely have me in mind. Mr. Avi Arad – love him.

In related news, IGN got to talk to Transformers 2 writer Roberto Orci, who revealed that Soundwave will be present. Here's a clip from the interview:

We want to follow some of our lead characters which we thought were so successful. Shia's character; where is he two years later? His girlfriend, where is she two years later? But for fans, I guess I'll address this more for the fans, because I think if you didn't know Transformers at all and you came in and you liked the first movie, you'll like the second one. However, some of the die hard fans, which we were a member of that group, felt, well, maybe it's a little light. Maybe it wasn't science fictiony enough. And I think the second one will deliver on a true Transformers story. You know, the first one, we had a limited budget for what it was. Every second of Transformer time is a million dollars or whatever the heck it is, so this time, because we were able to prove through the whole thing that it's a viable live-action movie, we have a little more freedom this time to actually learn about the Transformers, see them, hear them. It's a better balance between the humans and the Transformers.

The Morning Call has an update on what is going to go down in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania:

Try to imagine giant, extraterrestrial robots disguised as tractor-trailers on Route 22 or camouflaged among the towering Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces.

A film crew from
''Transformers 2'' will bring those shape-shifting robots to life in south Bethlehem next month for a movie scene in front of the iconic furnaces.

Of course, no one will see the robots because they're computer-generated. But anyone will be able to see the action at the old Steel site as the filmmakers transform it into a fictional Chinese city populated by people from the Lehigh Valley.


More on that at the link above. And last but not least, Jonah Hill responded to the rumors that he was in talks for a role in Transformers 2. You can check out his response here.






3 TV Spots for The Incredible Hulk Online

Universal Pictures has revealed three new TV spots for The Incredible Hulk, opening in theaters on June 13. Directed by Louis Leterrier, the action-thriller stars Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell and William Hurt.

You can watch the TV spots here!






1970s voice of Schroeder runs for school board

Good grief! The voice of Schroeder in a Peanuts film and three cartoon TV specials is challenging the incumbent on Nevada's Douglas Country School Board.

Greg Felton, a former director of international trade for Hewlett-Packard Co., voiced the Beethoven-loving pianist in the 1977 movie Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. He had the same role in the Mendelson-Melendez specials Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975), as well as It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown and Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown (both 1976).

In real life, the former voice of Schroeder has three children, one in each of the schools in the Lake Tahoe portion of the school district. He filed by Friday's deadline to challenge incumbent Cindy Trigg -- the school board's vice-president -- in Area 3.

"I believe that, if possible, our board should be made up of people with a stake in the game," Felton told the Gardnerville Record-Courier.

Felton is an outspoken critic of his board's handling of the closing of Kingsbury Middle School. He's also concerned about elevated radon levels at Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

"Many parents, and I'm among them, have been frustrated trying to handle issues through the incumbent," said Felton. "In some areas, she has considered her own views more valid and important than those of her constituents."

If elected, the former Schroeder said, he'll be committed to his constituents' concerns and beliefs.

"I'm not afraid to represent their issues even if potentially unpopular," Felton said. "I have three children in the school district, currently one in each of the three Lake schools. I believe that, if possible, our board should be made up of people with a stake in the game."






Briefly: Rough Draft Studios Featured on Apple.com

Apple.com has a profile piece about Rough Draft Studios, the 2D and 3D animation company based out of Glendale, CA and Seoul, South Korea, and which has worked on numerous projects in the last seventeen years (and which uses Intel Macs for their productions). Also included in the article is a demo reel .





"Wired" on Animated Subway Advertisements

Wired magazine has taken a look at animated advertisements placed in subway tunnels, which consist of LED strips that light up as a train passes by, forming an animated video to the passengers inside. The article examines the advertising revenues that a mass transit system can gather from the ads, and notes how Sidetrack Technologies can control the ad content via the Internet. Videos are also available of the ads in action in the New York/New Jersey PATH system, the San Francisco Bay BART system, and the Beijing subway.





‘Robots?? Zombie Slaves??’ A New 2.5-Minute Trailer For Joss Whedon’s DOLLHOUSE!!

Joss Whedon invites you into a world not far from our own!!







‘Stains??’ A New 3.5-Minute Trailer For J.J. Abrams’ FRINGE!!

What if somebody at ABC said, “Y’know, David Lynch is a f'ing genius. Maybe we should give his show a year in a decent timeslot and see what happens.”

What if someone at Fox said, “Y’know, what would happen if Scully started remembering all the crazy s#@t she saw in the previous episode every week?”

What if somebody at ABC said, “Y’know, J.J., instead of exploring Sydney’s relationship with her boring f'ing half-sister for two seasons, how about digging a little deeper into this Milo Rambaldi business?”







MGM to Bring Back Red Dawn and RoboCop

MGM said at the Cannes Film Festival that Red Dawn, John Milius' 1984 movie about a group of American rebels fighting Soviet forces, is a candidate for a remake, says The Hollywood Reporter.

The studio's Harry Sloan and Mary Parent also confirmed that 1987's RoboCop could resurface in a new version.





Battlestar Galactica movies in the works?

According to the Chicago Tribune, up to three “Battlestar Galactica” telemovies are in early development. They won’t be officially greenlit until the network knows whether it can logistically afford to do them.

As for what these films will be about? Nobody seems to know yet ("There have been scattered notions floating around as to what the movie/movies (nobody's even nailed down how many) would cover -- and then there's the issue of whether the actors will be around and affordable," one source noted.). What is known is that all three films will be prequels.

Fearing the telemovies may sort-of resemble the ill-fated and forgettable “Galactica 1980” if they fix on events post-Season 4, all three films will be set before the final episode.

If all goes to plan, the telemovies could be filming as early as July.






Paul Bettany on Voicing Iron Man's Jarvis

You may have to be end-credit crazy, a full-fledged IMDb fanatic or have a really good ear for voices to recognize the clipped British tones of Tony Stark's high-tech valet Jarvis in Iron Man as belonging to actor Paul Bettany.

On a set visit to his latest film Legion, Bettany told Superhero Hype! that while he did indeed provide vocals for Jarvis – upgraded into a fully integrated artificial intelligence in Stark's home and armor from the traditional English butler who's tended to Stark and the Avengers in the pages of the comics for decades – the actor had only the vaguest notion of who and what he was playing.

"I didn't know I was in a superhero movie," Bettany confessed, who owed his turn to a previous acting experience with Iron Man director Jon Favreau in 2004's Wimbledon. "I made a movie with Jon Favreau before and he rung me up and said, 'Paul...'" [laughs]. He rung me up and was really funny on the phone. I said, 'Yeah, alright.' I genuinely didn't know. I'm really naive, but it's the f**king truth."

"I really didn't know what I was going in for because it was two hours in a recording booth," Bettany explained. "I went in and recorded with Jon Favreau, doing all the lines, recording them and went home and now I'm a f**king hero to my children. I haven't even seen it yet. I haven't had time because I've been working for 17 hours [a day]."

Bettany played it coy when asked he was booked for a return appearance in either the announced Iron Man or its expected tie-in, The Avengers. "It just made a ton of money – I would imagine so," he chuckled. "I mean, I don't know, but I'm guessing with the way the world works: they make a ton of money from a movie and then they make another one."






Industry Giants 2008: Drawing on Ideas!

If you're a fan of THE SIMPSONS you won't want to miss Industry Giants 2008: Drawing on Ideas! Mike Anderson, supervising director for the popular animated television series, headlines the Industry Giants Computer Graphics, Animation and Game Forum.

The event takes place Friday, June 6 and Saturday, June 7, 2008 on the Spring Creek Campus of Collin County Community College, 2800 Spring Creek Parkway in Plano, Texas. It's open to the public, students and industry professionals.

Hosted annually by Collin's Applied Graphic Design Technology department and the computer graphics, animation, game development non-profit, A Bunch of Short Guys, Industry Giants 2008 features master classes and a one-day forum and panel discussion. The event features a distinctive lineup of speakers working in all areas of animation and visual effects for film, television and games. Schedules for the master classes, forum and ticket information are available online at www.industrygiants.org.

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. Advance combination tickets for both the master classes and the full day forum are $35 for students and $75 for the public and professionals. Advance tickets to the one-day forum only are $15 for students and $20 for the public and professionals. Combination tickets purchased at the door are $45 for students and $85 for the public and professionals. Forum tickets purchased at the door are $20 for students and $25 for the public and professionals. For more information, call 972-516-5089 or by email tottinger@ccccd.edu.

Master classes will be held on campus in rooms C-103 and C-104 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, June 6, 2008. With the purchase of a combination ticket, those attending the master classes will be able to choose their own schedule. Six different master classes will be offered throughout the day.

The morning sessions include a 2.5 hour session on "Pitching and Producing Your Animation Concept," presented by Rita Street, president of Radar Cartoons. Digital-Tutors will offer three 50-minute sessions on technical applications including Zbrush, Softimage XSI and MentalRay.

The afternoon sessions take place from 1:30 to 4 p.m. and will include a session on "The Art and Science of Animating Expressive Eyes," presented by David Schaub, animation director with Sony Pictures Imageworks and "BEOWULF - State-of-the-Art Lighting, Rendering, Compositing," presented by Alan Chan, senior technical director with Sony Pictures Imageworks.

The Industry Giants Forum takes place in the John Anthony Theater from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, 2008. The lineup includes presentations by Johnny Gibson, digital effects supervisor with Digital Domain who will discuss "SPEED RACER - VFX Pipeline Development".

David Schaub, animation director with Sony Pictures Imageworks joins the lineup to discuss "I AM LEGEND -- Creature Animation", Bradley Mauro, animatic artist with Sam Rami will lead a presentation on "SPIDER-MAN 2 & 3 – Pre-Visualization" and Mike Anderson, supervising director with 20th Century Fox will discuss creation and production of the Emmy Award-winning television series THE SIMPSONS: Creating a Television Legend.

David Friedman with the Texas Motion Picture Alliance, Janis Burklund with the DFW Film Commission and Katy Daiger with the Texas Film Commission will speak afterwards and show the latest version of the TXMPA promotional reel of animation, visual effects and game artists working in Texas. A full panel discussion, lead by Rita Street, president of Radar Cartoons will conclude the event.

The Applied Graphic Design Technology department at Collin College is a graphic design and new media discipline within the Fine Arts division. Academic degree and certificate programs include: graphic design, 3-D animation, digital video, web-interactive media and game art and animation. The fulltime faculty is joined by over eighteen associate faculty who bring current industry expertise into the classroom. For information contact AGDT Professor, Tom Ottinger, tottinger@ccccd.edu, 972-516-5089 or visit www.ccccd.edu.

A Bunch of Short Guys (ABOSG) is a non-profit organization that fosters education and career development for students and professionals in the animation, visual effects and game industries. The group hosts free monthly meetings on the third or fourth Saturday of the month. In addition, ABOSG presents Industry Insights, an ongoing series featuring industry artists, as well as various training workshops and the Industry Giants events. Meeting information, a members' online forum, event information and more can be found at www.abunchofshortguys.org.





The Simpsons lead marketing materials awards

The Simpsons Movie has earned seven nominations, the most for any film, for the 37th annual Hollywood Reporter Movie Marketing Key Art Awards which honor the design and creation of theatrical and home entertainment motion picture marketing materials such as posters, standees, trailers, or TV spots. Winners will be announced June 13th.





Randy Newman writing songs for Toy Story 3

The 64-year-old singer-songwriter revealed earlier this month to The Gazette that he is currently writing songs for the third chapter of Pixar’s Toy Story franchise in addition to working on music for Disney’s 2D film The Princess and the Frog. “I like writing songs for movies because I’m good at writing to an assignment. If you told me to write a Bulgarian folk song about a shepherd in love with a goat herd, I could do it, and I’m proud of that.”






New Heroes Promo

NBC has aired yet another "Heroes" promo for the new season with still months to go before the series returns in the fall. You can watch it below!







Iron Man Up to $428 Million Worldwide!

ComingSoon.net has posted the box office estimates for the weekend and Iron Man is still performing spectacularly:

Despite dropping to second place, Marvel Studios' "Iron Man" added an impressive $31.2 million in its third weekend to push its total to $222.5 million domestically. The Paramount release also collected another $25.6 million internationally, bringing its overseas tally to $206 million and worldwide total to $428 million. Directed by Jon Favreau, the Robert Downey Jr. starrer was made for $140 million.





Making Sense of Speed Racer’s Failure

Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal attempts to make sense of the spectacular box office failure of Speed Racer, which raced to becoming a bona fide flop both in the US and overseas. He writes:

“[C]haos isn’t a surefire selling tool, not even when the target audience is sensation-hungry kids…Kids need inoculation against media-generated chaos. That’s not to suggest seeking out entertainment that preaches, peddles homilies, hustles uplift or shies away from the darker areas of human experience that inform some of our most cherished fairy tales (or, for that matter, one of my most cherished films, Carol Reed’s “Oliver!”). It’s more than enough when movies enhance a sense of wonder (and, as a byproduct, a capacity for concentration); when they delight and surprise (as Pixar productions do so dependably); when they open up the world through the window of thrilling fiction.”

Director and animator Will Finn also shares some worthwhile filmmaking insights on his blog about why Speed Racer was so poorly received by audiences.

(thanks cartoon brew)






1 comment:

Patrick Roberts said...

the makers of Prince Caspian kept to the original story surprisingly well... i heard they were going to make it into a silly pure-action flick, but thankfully this was not the case