Thursday, July 31, 2008

News - 07/31/08...

2008 SDCC Day 3: DC Animated Movies (Wonder Woman Trailer Added)

DC Comics senior VP for creative affairs, Gregory Noveck, is moderating a panel of both the production staff and creative talent behind some of DC's recent animation features to discuss the past and future of DC animation. Others on the panel include Paul Levitz, president of DC, Bruce Timm, executive producer, Lauren Montgomery, director and voice director Andrea Romano and Nathan Fillion. This report is being brought to you live, so hit refresh often for updates.

All three of DC's recent releases - Superman Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier and Batman Gotham Knight - have been very successful. They provide an excellent start to DC's animated division, ensuring that there will be many future projects.

Wonder Woman is coming in February 2009 to DVD!

Saturday morning cartoons force a limited amount of story telling due to the restrictions of advertising commitments. The crew on JLU and Batman, particularly Bruce Timm, did a great job but the DVD format lets stories be told that appeal to a more adult market without outside, artificial restrictions like scheduling commercial breaks.

The DVD format allows for more stylized story telling and art. This led naturally to Gotham Knight.

There are several projects in the pipeline that can't be revealed yet.

For Wonder Woman, Nathan Fillion will be voicing Steve Trevor. Alfred Molina is also part of the cast.

A special two-disc with 128 minutes of extra content will be released on November 25 for Superman Doomsday.

Wonder Woman will premier at an upcoming con, to be selected later. The story is by Gail Simmone. This is an original take, true to the feel of the comic character but not based on any prior story.

Molina is Ares and Oliver Platt is Hades. Rosaria Dawson is Hippolites.

Wonder Woman is a strong female character who is able to project dominance and power without trying to be a man. She is muscular and strong but not manly.

There will be multiple releases - single and two disc special Blue Ray version.

There are more Batman DVDs planned. Nightfall is not on the schedule at this time. When Worlds Collide is under discussion and may be produced.

A Kingdom Come, CG project with Alex Ross is under consideration.

A Long Halloween is also under discussion.

DC won't do a project until it can be done right. Time constraints and artistic limitations are factors.

Bruce Timm is interested in doing a Catwoman animated movie and removing the stain of the live action movie.

Teen Titans: Judas Contract is a project that is discussed, but fan interest on the forums seems limited.

In order for a project to be okayed, the producers must think that several hundred thousand people will see it in the first few weeks. If there isn't that fan interest to begin with, the project won't move forward.

The current animated movie projects are intentionally being done in different artistic styles.

It easier for the movie makers to get well known actors casted because the producers who make the final decisions are already familiar with the abilities and of the actors. A lot of movie actors like doing voice work since the nature of the work is much easier and less time consuming. These actors are also interested in doing projects that they can show to their children.

The Wonder Woman movie has a lot of battles. The action is more intense than in the prior DC projects.

It's a possibility to see more JL Unlimited DVDs in the future. It really depends on sales of the current releases.

The current project is an adaptation of an existing comicbook, but they can't reveal just what it is now.

4th World New Gods is under consideration as a series or a DVD.

MPAA sues site linking to illegal "Kung Fu Panda"

A Web site offering a link to an illegal download of "Kung Fu Panda" and other movies now in theaters is being sued by the Motion Picture Association of America for copyright infringement. (Free Online Movie DataBase) is one of two sites sued by the MPAA in Los Angeles. is the other.

The suits were filed Monday in United States District Court in Los Angeles for damages and injunctive relief for violations under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976.

With servers located in Charlotte, North Carolina and Chicago, respectively, Fomdb and Movierumor attract over 27,000 unique visitors per day who view over 97,000 pages of content.

The association, which represents major Hollywood movie studios, said that it sued the two sites because they make money from ads while providing links to illegal movie downloads.

"The purpose of these lawsuits is to stop this kind of blatant illegal activity," said MPAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaltman. The MPAA filed suit after cease-and-desist letters to the Web sites weren't answered, she added.

"There are many people operating illegal Web sites like these who are profiting from the theft of protected content," the MPAA said in a release. "We have every intention of shutting down these, and sites like them, for good."

The Web sites did not reply to requests for comment.

According to the MPAA, lawsuits have been filed against seven similar sites since June 2007. A federal judge in Los Angeles awarded multimillion-dollar judgments in May to film studios against and for infringing copyrighted movies and TV shows.

In 2005, the MPAA said, the international movie industry lost $18.2 billion U.S. to piracy, including over $7 billion from Internet piracy. More than $11 billion is attributed to hard goods piracy, including bootlegging and illegal copying.

The association's members include Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios LLLP and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Three weeks ago, Kung Fu Panda got owners of a video store in East Naples, Florida in hot water after investigators from the Collier County Sheriff's Office said that they were caught selling bootleg DVDs of this and other films.

Midnight Video owners Yoandry Ponce, 26, and Lida Castillo, 29, both of Fort Myers, Florida, were arrested July 10. The two, who are "domestic partners," each were charged with one count of passing counterfeit audio visual articles, a felony.

The Sheriff's Office stated that early this month, investigators received an anonymous tip that the store may be selling counterfeit DVDs. Deputies learned that Midnight Video may have a book listing of movies for sale that haven't been officially released to the public.

Customers could choose a title from the book, which was shown in plain view, and one of the owners would get a copy of it from the back of the store, reports said.

Posing as a customer, an MPAA field investigator entered the store and asked to see the book, which contained color photos of such movies as Kung Fu Panda. She then asked to buy a copy of Get Smart, said Detective Tom Muscato of the Sheriff's Office's Economic Crimes Unit.

"The first trip in, the guy said, 'I don’t have a clear copy of that one yet. Come back another day,'" Muscato said.

The next day, the investigator returned to the store and asked for a copy of Get Smart. Ponce handed her one from behind the counter and sold it for $5, with no tax charged, authorities said.

Entering the store, investigators found 250 counterfeit DVDs in plain white envelopes in plain sight. Another 14,100 were found in the back, authorities said.

Obviously, the DVDs of in-theater movies were filmed by someone sitting in a theater with a video camera, Muscato said.

"It's crappy quality. It's really bad," he told the Naples Daily News.

"You can tell that's just what it is. There are other sounds around you.... It's distorted. It's terrible quality."

Ponce denied burning the DVDs, claiming that someone else sold them to him, Muscato said.

"He wouldn't give me a name," Muscato said. "I think they were burning them themselves, but he wouldn't admit to it."

WB Took Pains To "Delay" Pirating of Dark Knight

The L.A. Times is reporting on a new studio tactic — not to prevent piracy, but to delay it, as was the case with special tactics used with Dark Knight. 'Warner Bros. executives said the extra vigilance paid off, helping to prevent camcorded copies of the reported $180-million film from reaching Internet file-sharing sites for about 38 hours. Although that doesn't sound like much progress, it was enough time to keep bootleg DVDs off the streets as the film racked up a record-breaking $158.4 million on opening weekend. The movie has now taken in more than $300 million. The success of an anti-piracy campaign is measured in the number of hours it buys before the digital dam breaks.

You know what else helps to have a big opening weekend? Making a good movie.

Hong Kong Mad at The Dark Knight

Oh sorry looks like we’re back at talking about The Dark Knight. See, I do have a love/hate relationship with this film.

This is so retarded that it has to be brought to your attention, a writer for the Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post (publishing since 1908) wrote a piece about his discomfort on the portrayal of Hong Kong in The Dark Knight.

The writer expresses sadness that money gets laundered in HK (it does, by much richer men than the mobsters of Gotham), a place where only criminals hang-out and that Nolan and crew only went for the Infernal Affairs HK mythology. (Which I prefer as its much closer to the truth than the Enter the Dragon comparison, no, nobody is kung fu fighting in the streets.)

For what its worth, Nolan mentioned that he did in fact write a draft of The Dark Knight in Hong Kong as the city inspired him, and was inspired enough to return to film a sequence in the city; kind of as a ‘give-back’ - but in typical Hong Kong mentality, people complained anyways: complained that Christian Bale didn’t wear the Bat-outfit when they were filming, complained that there wasn’t enough of HK in the movie, complained when they were asked to leave the lights on for the night when they filmed that big B-52 sequence, and for what?

Nolan gets props in my book for even BOTHERING with this at all (even though I thought it should have been cut) unless it truly is a marketing trick for HK and China to get better box office. Don’t laugh, this is how and why the Robert Deniro/Al Pacino of Japan: Ken Watanabe was used for in Batman Begins. As you recall, Watanabe was used for all of 5 minutes in the first movie as the decoy Ra’s Al Ghul. American audiences might not care, but when you go to see a movie to see your local celebs in a big US movie you expect a little more. And don’t start me on Edison Chen’s supposed cameo in The Dark Knight - the Justin Timberlake/Paris Hilton of Hong Kong. (Go ahead and Google him, NSFW though)

The South China Morning Post is a paid site - but we were able to get a clipping of it below:

Film Studies: cinema city
Clarence Tsui
Updated on Jul 24, 2008

It’s a city where American mob money can be stashed, laundered and toyed with to maximise returns for its shady owners; an international legal black hole in which wanted felons can simply disappear, as the city’s authorities would never extradite “one of their own”. And don’t trust the cops, either: they’re in the pay of criminal overlords who bemoan the police for being slow to come to their aid despite the fact they’ve been in the underworld’s pay for so long.

Viewers across the world are transported to this city in The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan’s latest outing in the Batman franchise. But if you’re thinking of Gotham, think again, it’s closer to home than that: welcome to 21st century Hong Kong (pictured).

It’s ironic that The Dark Knight has succumbed to Hollywood norms about how to portray Asian cities, given that it’s an otherwise thoughtful study of the complex nature of heroism and social justice - and a great story with nuanced characters and superb acting.

With the blockbusters Nolan now produces, perhaps he hasn’t got the time to reach beyond Infernal Affairs and the Election diptych for inspiration. Then again, it’s not as if he’s the only filmmaker who has bought into the well-worn urban iconography of Hong Kong.

Likewise the landlord of the building that Batman jumps off is PISSED that they didn’t get more mention even when the movie made them look like incompetents having Batman just swing in there and take off:

Well, we’ve heard talk that a certain major landlord was disappointed about not getting credited in the movie. Also, there have been mutterings that some of our more spectacular buildings, such as the IFC2, were shown for only a few seconds while most Hong Kong landlords had complied to a request from the movie makers to keep the lights on well into the early morning for a week during filming last November.

One landlord even complained: “The movie makes us look stupid security-wise. We are not a major crime city but our security is much better than portrayed in the film.”

When the Batman crew decided to film around IFC2, many Central property owners were encouraged by Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan to co-operate for the good of the city. At the time, Sun Hung Kai Properties (SEHK: 0016) was keen to comply but not Henderson Land (SEHK: 0012).

The movie makers did thank the people of Hong Kong at the end but we suppose it’s hard to keep everyone happy.

Here’s a 3 minute clip from the press conference back in November 2007 in Hong Kong - watch it for info on a scene that was cut figuring on the dumping of Batman into the HK harbour:

Former Catwoman Says Jolie is Purr-fect to Play Part

Hollywood beauty Angelina Jolie has been tipped to play Catwoman in a future Batman movie - by the actress who made the role famous, Julie Newmar.

Newmar, 74, prowled across the small screen, playing the feline villain in the 1960s Batman television series.

And she would love Jolie to take on the role - if The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan decides to resurrect the character in a future sequel.

Newmar tells the New York Daily News, "Angelina would own the part. My industry friends tell me (she) has made inquiries about the role. I can understand how it would pique her interest. Catwoman is Batman's one true love. She's tremendously popular with women because she's both a heroine and a villainess."

Since Newmar, the Catwoman role has been played by Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether, Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Did Snyder turn down Superman?

In an article from USAToday detailing the future of comic book movies, it's revealed a nice piece of info. "They asked me to direct a Superman movie, and I said no," 300 and Watchmen director Zack Snyder says. "He's a tricky one nowadays, isn't he? He's the king daddy of all comic-book heroes, but I'm just not sure how you sell that kind of earnestness to a sophisticated audience anymore."

Toon Thursday: GAME OVER for TRON's first director

Jim Hill's back with even more news about this eagerly awaited sequel. Including who's replaced Steve Lisberger as the new creative lead on the "TR2N" project

It's been a week now since that "TR2N" teaser trailer ran at Comic-Con. And Disneyana & sci-fi fans are desperate for additional information about this Summer 2010 release.

Well, let me share some info that I'm sure will send all of you "TRON" fanboys out there straight off the Game Grid. Guess who's the real power-behind-the-throne (The Master Control Program, if you will) on this particular Walt Disney Pictures production? Would you believe John Lasseter?

Yep, the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios has quite the soft spot when it comes to the original "TRON." Lasseter still remembers when he first saw this Steve Lisberger film. Which was back in 1981 when John was just a lowly animator toiling away on "Mickey's Christmas Carol."

One lunch hour while wandering around the Disney lot, Lasseter came upon the trailers where all of the 16 X 20 Kodalith cels that were used in this 1982 production were stored. And it was here that John first saw "TRON" 's lightcycle sequence. And as Lasseter looked at this CG sequence ...

"It absolutely blew me away! A little door in my mind opened up. I looked at it and said, `This is it! This is the future!'"

Mind you, John was quite taken with the look of "TRON" (as well as -- of course -- that film's use of computer animation). But as for that movie's storyline ... Lasseter wasn't really a fan. He felt that Lisberger had missed some obvious opportunities to create a truly compelling piece of entertainment. Something that would have touched an audience's emotions as it dazzled their eyes.

Copyright 1982 Walt Disney Productions. All Rights Reserved

Which is why -- even though Steve (i.e. "TRON" 's original director & co-writer) has spent the past five years developing a script for a sequel -- none of that material will now be used in the production of "TR2N."

Don't get me wrong, folks. Lasseter is still extremely respectful of all the groundbreaking work that Lisberger & his production team did on the first "TRON." Which is why Steve will receive a co-producer credit on this 2010 Walt Disney Pictures release. But as for Lisberger having any real creative input on the sequel ... "GAME OVER !," man.

"So -- if Steve isn't working on the 'TR2N' screenplay anymore -- who is then?," you ask. Well ... Allegedly at John's insistence, Disney hired Eddie Kitsis & Adam Horowitz to create a script for this sequel. Given their long association with "Lost," Kitsis & Horowitz have lots of experience when it comes to guiding colorful characters through surreal settings. Which made Eddie & Adam an obvious choice for the "TR2N" assignment.

And if Lisberger's no longer slated to helm the "TRON" sequel, who's Disney now going to get to direct this movie? Joseph Kosinski. Who has yet to actually direct a full-length feature film but has created some award-winning commercials for Saab, Nike and X-Box.

In fact, if you want to get some sense of the visual look that Joseph wants to bring to "TR2N," click on the above links. Or -- better yet -- check out Kosinski's animated architectural renderings. These will give you a better sense of Joseph's eye. The way this guy moves a camera. Which offers a hint of how truly dazzling a Kosinski-directed version of "TRON" could be.

Speaking of which ... To convince Disney executives that his vision for "TR2N" was commercially viable, Joseph spent six months working in secret with the folks at Digital Domain. Laboring to create a vivid, updated version of "TRON" 's famous lightcycles. With the hope that this three-minute-long sequence would then prove to the suits that a sequel to this 26-year-old film would actually appeal to today's gamers.

Which brings us to Disney Interactive Studios' involvement in the "TR2N" project ... To help prime the pump for this potentially-hugely-profitable profect, Disney's gaming division actually released an Xbox 360 version of those classic arcade games, "TRON" and "Discs of TRON," last summer. Given the huge number of units that were then sold to video game players as well as "TRON" fans ... It was clear that there are a lot of people out there who -- just like John Lasseter -- have a very soft spot in their hearts when it comes to this particular Walt Disney Productions release.
But that said ... There are still those at the Studio who are saying that it may be a mistake to release a "TRON" sequel 28 years after the fact.

Which is kind of ironic, given that Walt Disney Pictures' other big picture for 2010 is also a sequel.

Copyright Disney Pixar. All Rights Reserved

What film am I talking about? "Toy Story 3." Which rolls into theaters nearly 15 years after the first "Toy Story" film debuted.

So what do you folks think? Do you think that "TR2N" has a better chance of becoming a truly entertaining motion picture now that you've learned that John Lasseter is shepherding this project? Or is it just too late for a "TRON" sequel to connect with today's audiences?

Charitable Auctions for Signed Spirit Posters!

Lionsgate has kicked-off eBay charitable auctions for signed posters from The Spirit signed by Gabriel Macht at the San Diego Comic-Con and benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The winning bidders will receive studio certified posters signed by the Macht along with a signed letter verifying their authenticity. The auctions begin today and will continue through the weekend, ending on August 4th.

To view the auctions, click on the link you are interested in below!

The Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) Poster

The Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson) Poster

The Lorelei Rox (Jaime King) Poster

The Silken Floss (Scarlett Johannson) Poster

Trek's Pine Talks Kirk

Chris Pine, who takes on the iconic role of James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek reboot movie, revealed to SCI FI Wire a bit of his character's arc--and added that he has a bit of a familial connection to the original Kirk, William Shatner.

"I think people will be surprised" with Abrams' film, Pine said in an interview on July 29 in Beverly Hills, Calif., while promoting the film Bottle Shock. "I think what J.J. has created--and what we've been a part of--is really the birth of these characters. ... Not only their individual journeys and how they all meet, [but also] the forging of those relationships and how it carries on to the five-year mission."

Pine added that Abrams and writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci "infuse these characters with as much humanity as possible, so not only are you getting the big effects you would expect from a blockbuster, but also something of a character movie, which I think is difficult to do, and I think we've done extremely well."

Pine also praised co-star Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock. "People will be blown away," Pine said. "Zach is great. Between him and Karl Urban and the rest of the cast, ... they've really captured who these characters are."

Pine added that he got Shatner's blessing before taking the role. "I wrote him a letter in the beginning of the process and introduced myself, and said hello, just to make a connection, because I didn't know him at all," Pine said. "And he was very nice, and he was very gracious and sent me a letter back, and that's the only contact we've had. ... Except my father--in the first week I got the Star Trek project--did a Priceline commercial with William Shatner, so there was multi-generational contact with Mr. Shatner."

Star Trek is slated to open May 8, 2009.

SDCC: Rick Baker on The Wolfman talked to special makeup effects guru Rick Baker at the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend about creating the creature effects for Universal Pictures' The Wolfman, coming to theaters on April 3 and starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving.

You can read the interview here!

Meanwhile, the site also got an update from director David Goyer on his adaptation of Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden's graphic novel "Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire."

You can read that here!

NOTE: In addition, at Aint It, you can read Quint's interview with Baker where he expresses his disappointment concerning the Wolfman transformation being all CGI.

Newsarama Interviews FUNimation's Gen Fukunaga

Newsarama's Animated Shorts has interviewed FUNimation President and CEO Gen Fukunaga about the firm's continuing success when the general trend in the anime market suggests a decline. Fukunaga discusses the recent acquisitions of titles from Geneon and ADV, their plans for utilizing new methods and technologies to deliver content, how they have achieved growth when the rest of the industry seems to be shrinking, and their other plans for the future.

Year of the Fish Swims to U.S. Theaters

Filmmaker David Kaplan’s independent animated feature Year of the Fish will have a limited U.S. theatrical engagement starting on Aug. 29. The modern-day, adult adaptation of Cinderella is set in New York City’s Chinatown and is takes place in a massage parlor specializing in “happy endings”. The English-language film will open in five cities and platform into 30 cities.

The fantasy, romance and suspense story revolves around an optimistic young girl travels alone to New York City where she hopes to earn money to send home to her ailing father. Expecting work in a beauty salon, the girl is instead delivered into the hands of her father’s distant cousin, an embittered woman who runs a seedy massage parlor. When she refuses to do the requisite sex work, the girl accepts her fate as the operation’s browbeaten servant, her only solace a magical goldfish given to her by a sidewalk fortuneteller.

Year of the Fish was created with a layered animation style designed to evoke a painting come to life. The film’s voice cast includes Ken Leung (Lost, X-Men: The Last Stand, Rush Hour), Tsai Chin (The Joy Luck Club), acclaimed Broadway vet Randall Duk Kim (The Matrix Reloaded, the upcoming Dragonball).

Nick Jr. Headed for Big Screen

Nickelodeon and National Amusements will bring Nick. Jr. shows to theaters in the U.S. this summer with a preschool movie program dubbed “Nick Jr. at the Movies," Kicking off on July 31 in 36 theaters nationwide, the lineup will include episodes of the animated hits Dora the Explorer, The Backyardigans, The Wonder Pets! and Go, Diego, Go!—all reformatted for large-screen projection. Young viewers will also enjoy sing-along music videos and interstitials from Nickelodeon's preschool brands.

“With the introduction of ‘Nick Jr. at the Movies,’ families will have even more entertainment choices at our theatres, yet another step toward the goal of transforming our theatres into community entertainment destinations,” comments Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements.

“We've found from talking to families that they are looking for fun opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy age-appropriate moviegoing experiences with their kids,” adds Howard Smith, exec VP of Nickelodeon Recreation. “We've formatted some of the best Nick Jr. adventures for the big screen so kids and their caregivers can experience their favorite characters in a whole new venue.”

Nick Jr. at the Movies will run in National Amusement theaters in 12 states, including California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. The 50-minute programs will run Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m., each featuring two episodes of hit Nick Jr. shows. Eight different programs will be introduced in 2008 with more coming in 2009. Tickets are $6.00 per person. For more information, including a schedule of shows, go to

Comic-Blog ’08: New BET Animation

Reggie Hudlin, president of BET (Black Entertainment Television), unveiled footage from the upcoming BET Animation series including the The Black Panther and Hannibal The Conqueror at Comic-Con in San Diego over the weekend. Both series look very promising, stylishly bringing to the screen adult-oriented action animation with strong African-American appeal. Hudlin led a panel discussion featuring Denys Cowan, senior VP of BET Animation; Eric Rollman, president of Marvel Animation; Cort Lane of Marvel Animation; and Black Panther comic-book artist John Romita Jr.

The Black Panther is slated to debut on BET in February. The footage screened involved a rival tribe advancing on Wakanda, the fictional Aftican kingdom of the Black Panther, a black superhero created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the mid-1960s. As the warriors make their way through tall, brown grass, they begin to fall prey to elaborate spring traps that snap shut on their abdomens, impaling them with sharp spikes. “Jaws of the Panther,” they're called. Arrows then black out the sky and shower down upon them, further reducing their numbers. We didn’t get to see the Black Panther himself, except for some rough animation featured in a behind-the-scenes look at the production process. Obviously done on a modest budget, the animation nonetheless looks great. It’s more focused on strong artwork and veers away from the Saturday-morning cartoon look that marks many of Marvel’s other animated properties.

“We’re doing something that’s never been done before—actually bringing a comic book to life,” Rudlin proclaimed. “A lot of comics have been adapted for the screen, but we often hear ‘It’s great, but I wish it looked like the art of Jack Kirby or various other comic artists.’”

(Ed. note: Apparently Hudlin has never seen 1966's Marvel's Superheroes, featuring Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Sub Mariner and Iron Man, or MTV's The Maxx, both of which used artwork and panel layouts directly from the books.)

The series is being animated by Titmouse, the Los Angeles-based studio that currently produces the Adult Swim series Metalocalypse. Titmouse is using After Effects to animate the art of John Romita Jr. from the comic-book series Who is the Black Panther? The first six episodes of the show will come directly from the comics, which Rudlin wrote.

“I got chills watching it,” Romita said of the footage shown. “I was very proud of the work, but it also just makes sense to do it that way.”

Action film star Vin Diesel is working with BET to bring storied African military leader Hannibal of Carthage to the screen with Hannibal the Conqueror. Hannibal is perhaps best known for scaling the Alps with an army of elephants to challenge the Roman Empire, but the series aims to highlight other aspects of the general’s extraordinary life and career. The show will delve into his tutelage as a warrior under his father, the king of Carthage, as well as his history-making invasions of Spain and England.

The brief bit of Hannibal animation that was screened also looked like comic-book art brought to life. A lot of it was unfinished, but successfully portrayed the epic scale of the project and offered a taste of cool things to come. Hudlin noted that they are toying with the idea of putting together a study guide for the series so it can be used in schools to help teach ancient history. He added that they are also in discussions with comic-book publishers to launch the property in that arena.

BET has several other animated shows in development, but Rudlin and company didn’t offer any tidbits of information, only mentioning that the network has been in discussions with such animation shops as Film Roman, Mike Young Prods. and Wild Brain.

INTERVIEW: COMIC-CON 2008: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: The Cast of The Spectacular Spider-Man Speak Out

While at Comic-Con, we had the chance to talk one-on-one with the creative talents behind the newest incarnation of Marvel's web-spinning hero, The Spectacular Spider-Man. The animated series airs Saturday mornings and takes a classic look at the character, but updated for modern times.

We had the chance to talk to Greg Weisman, the supervising producer behind the show, Vic Cook, supervising director and producer, Jaime Thomason, the vocal director and casting director and Michael Vogel from Sony Pictures Animation. On top of that, we spoke to Josh Keaton (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Vanessa Marshall (Mary Jane Watson) and Ben Diskin (Eddie Brock/Venom).

Click on the players below to watch the interviews.

Greg Weisman

Director Victor Cook

Michael Vogel

Josh Keaton

Vanessa Marshall

Ben Diskin

The Spectacular Spider-Man airs Saturday mornings on The CW network.

Mr. Beaks Enlists in THE CLONE WARS with Director Dave Filoni!!

Reporter 'Mr. Beaks' from aintitcoolnews, talks with STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS director, Dave Filoni

Every time I think I'm done with STAR WARS, they pull me back in!!!

I wasn't supposed to conduct this interview with Dave Filoni, the director of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (which is the second animated take on this chunk of the STAR WARS saga); basically, I was just sitting outside of one of the press rooms transcribing another interview when WB's Orna Pickens reminded me that AICN had a 1:1 scheduled with Filoni, and that it was to begin in five minutes. Knowing Quint and Capone were off doing interviews of their own, I nervously jumped in to chat with the director, hoping I could hold my own without having seen the Lucasfilm panel eariler in the day. What I failed to consider was that, deep down, this would just be a back-and-forth between two lifelong STAR WARS fans. I can do that in my sleep. Hell, I probably have done that in my sleep.

In other words, what started as an off-the-cuff interview essentially turned into, I think, a very worthwhile conversation about the challenges of a) creating within a bookended universe (THE CLONE WARS takes place between ATTACK OF THE CLONES and REVENGE OF THE SITH), b) differentiating this version from the hyper-stylized "micro-series" dreamt up by Genndy Tartakovsky, and c) finding the light in what is inherently a tale of defeat. I was surprised to find myself fully engaged, and, ultimately, very excited about the direction of the STAR WARS franchise post-prequels. When the publicist came by to break us up after twelve minutes, we were both disappointed; even now, a good, nerdy STAR WARS conversation can go on for hours.

In case you're wondering, the 98-minute STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS that's getting released to theaters on August 15th is the kickoff for the animated series, which is currently slated to premiere this fall on the Cartoon Network and TNT. And without further ado, here's Dave Filoni (you might already be a fan of his work on Nickelodeon's AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER).

Beaks: Every now and then, I encounter folks in the press room who've been coming to Comic Con for years as fans, and now they're on the other side of it.

Dave Filoni:
It's crazy, huh?

Beaks: And maybe some kind of validation for the fans.

Yeah. Hopefully, they'll get here, too.

Beaks: I know this is terribly superficial, but the one thing that gets me every time I see the CLONE WARS trailer is that this is the first STAR WARS movie we'll see without the 20th Century Fox fanfare. (Filoni laughs) I know, I know... it means nothing at all, it's still a Lucasfilm production, but... it still takes some getting used to.

(Laughing)It's still Star Wars, but it is something. I remember driving home in my car, and one of the nice things about the soundtracks is that they have that fanfare at the beginning. When the prequels came around, I was so looking forward to hearing those trumpets call out the Fox fanfare. Being a big fan, and knowing that, with Warner Bros., we're not going to have that, I thought really long and hard about what the heck we're going to do to try to bridge that gap. That's part of STAR WARS. The solution came from a surprising source. I think the sound guys - Matthew Wood, David Acord and Juan Peralta - came up with an interesting thing to do at the beginning of the movie. At the very least, it lets you know that it's STAR WARS, but... in a different way. I watched what they did, and it kind of struck me. So I said, "Let's just go for it, and see what happens." It's already different, like you said, with the Warner Bros. logo, but I think this will help tie us in, that this is the Clone War.

Have you seen the movie yet?

Beaks: No, I haven't had a chance yet. Everything I've seen has been online. You know, we've been through this chapter once with Tartakovsky's animated series, and now here we are with this. Could you explain how the two will coexist?

The way George explained it to me going in was that THE CLONE WARS micro-series was really an experiment to see what kind of audience there was for Star Wars in an animated form. There have been Droids and Ewoks, but that was a long time ago. So he brought out THE CLONE WARS micro-series, and it was super action-packed and exciting and really short installments. And it proved that people wanted to see STAR WARS in a lot of different mediums. So when we into doing this, I think that, now that George is done with the prequels, he wanted to reestablish the rules a little bit more, like "Mace Windu can't take out hundreds of battle droids by himself, otherwise the arena on Geonosis would've been a wipeout; [The jedi] would've won, and there be no Clone Wars. Those are exciting installments, but we don't tie directly into them; we tie more directly into the film that preceded us, ATTACK OF THE CLONES, and the one that comes after us, REVENGE OF THE SITH. We take cues from [Tartakovsky's series]. I definitely pay a big homage to them in some of the design look of it. Anakin wears an outfit that was definitely inspired by what we saw in the other CLONE WARS. But there's no direct link-up.

Beaks: It's definitely less stylized. I mean, your film is stylized in its way, but... was there a sense that this was supposed to look like an animated George Lucas film? Did you have freedom to put your spin on it?

There was a lot of freedom, especially in the beginning. George said, "Just make it something no one's ever seen before."

Beaks: (Laughing) "Oh, okay."

(Laughing) Yeah, I was like, "What is that? I guess I haven't seen it either." In a way, I kind of used the two measuring rods in STAR WARS: I had Genndy's CLONE WARS one end, which was really super action-packed, exaggerated force powers, exaggerated proportions in the ankles and the waist... just awesome. They're the masters of that design sense. And then, on the other end, we've got ILM's super-photorealistic live-action STAR WARS. So I thought, "For this CLONE WARS to be a success, I'm going to have to shoot for somewhere in the middle. I don't want to exaggerate things too much; I want to stay in keeping with the powers that I've seen the Jedi use in the films, but I don't want to be photorealistic because I know there's a live-action TV series on the horizon." So it had to be very different from that. That was probably the biggest reason - besides doing it so quickly on television - to stay away from photorealism. There's another impending STAR WARS television show. We wanted to be unique and different, so I kind of shot in the middle. I took a little dab of things that I liked from working on AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. We had been studying everything from MONONOKE to MACROSS on that show. Those are all things I like, so there's a little dash of those here and there.

Beaks: Those are good references.

Yeah. Ashoka has a lot of San from MONONOKE in her, the wolf girl - her movements and quickness.

Beaks: You know, I remember talking to one of the writers from SMALLVILLE, and he told me that when Warner Bros. was developing SUPERMAN RETURNS, they'd often come up with a great story arc for the show only to have it nixed by the studio because it was something that might turn up in the movie. I wonder if you've had any similar experiences on CLONE WARS, where you get this killer idea only to have George or someone else say, "Eh, we might address that in the live-action series."

(Smiling) It's interesting you say that. Early on, there were a couple of things that we were not going to go near because they were, like... Lucasfilm is famous for having ideas that are "reserved". "You can't touch this because later on it's going to be developed." There were definitely some areas...

Beaks: Like?

...that I can't tell you about that we couldn't use. But as we've gone on, THE CLONE WARS has a large, expansive area to tell stories - wider than I thought, actually. It's not just all battles. There are many stories to tell.

Beaks: Obviously, one of the few characters that has yet to be touched on in the filling out of the pre-OT universe is Han Solo. I think a lot of the fans are dying to know when or if he's going to get worked into one of these series.

Well, I'll tell you my stance on the big, big canon characters. I never presume I'm the person who should be defining anything about them or their past. He's not in this show - I'll say that quite clearly. If George came one day and said we were going to do that, it'd be very daunting because defining that would really be something else. I kind of like characters whose origins are mystified and still a little unclear, so I'm very careful when we use canon characters from the original trilogy. Very careful.

Beaks: But you still have plenty of cool prequel characters to work with. Kit Fisto has turned into a huge fan favorite.

Yeah, that's a big thing I have with my friend Giancarlo [Volpe], who's now with THE CLONE WARS: he's a huge Kit Fisto fan, and I'm a big Plo Koon fan. And it drives me nuts that Kit Fisto gets, like, twice the merchandising that Plo Koon does. It's that smile. We did an episode with Plo Koon in THE CLONE WARS and we did an episode with Kit Fisto, and everyone was like "That Kit Fisto episode's awesome!" And I'm like, "Whoa, wait a minute! What about the Plo Koon episode?" You saw today's clip presentation, right?

Beaks: Actually, one of our other guys was in there. We've been having to switch off all day, so it's been a bit of a jumble.

That's too bad. We showed a clip of Luminara today, and that was pretty exciting. But you're right. It's fun to work with those guys and say, "Well, how did they talk and how did they act? What were they like? How are the Jedi all different from one another?"

Beaks: But you have a sort of fixed destination with this series' narrative, correct? It's got to bridge right into REVENGE OF THE SITH.

I definitely do. And I have a lot of ideas surrounding the end of it, but I haven't really gotten around to discussing that point-blank with George yet. We'll get there one day.

Beaks: Any chance of there being an upbeat ending? I mean, it can only be so upbeat, obviously. But could there be some small sense of triumph?

I suppose there's a possibility. I'm keeping it open-ended for now. But it's a war. And one of the things I like about THE CLONE WARS is the impending encroachment of the idea of the Empire; it's slowly taking over despite all the efforts of the Jedi. And the Jedi's effort - even in REVENGE OF THE SITH - that they're going to cling on to and pull this shattered republic out of the debris and keep things the way they were... it's one of their mistakes. They're trying to hold on to something that's already lost. I like that idea, and I like that maybe it gets that dark eventually; I'd like to see how we can do that in an animated series where things don't typically go that far.

Beaks: But it's strange that, whereas we were able to end on such a high-note with RETURN OF THE JEDI over twenty years ago, we've been mired in this sadness and failure for so long. I'm not saying this is a bad thing; it's a part of mythmaking. But it's peculiar that STAR WARS has been so downbeat lately. It does seem to reflect the tenor of the times.

It's interesting. Look at THE DARK KNIGHT, and what a huge success it is. It's so dark, but people are going out to it. It's fantastic, and the movie seems to be resonating. But I think you're right: there is room for the good, and I think we have to show that. Part of what we're trying to do is show Anakin as a very good person. George has always talked about that, how Anakin is a very good person. And we have time to show that in this series. What is this guy like as a hero and a good friend? I want to see him as the good person his son is. I always say our Anakin in THE CLONE WARS is going to be a cross between Han Solo and Luke Skywalker: he's got the grease monkey attitude and cockiness like Han, but he's backing it up with a lot of naiveté about the galaxy and his role in it like Luke. I think together, that really spells out who Anakin is. I think it means he's still a good person. I want to see that so that maybe we can have a positive outcome before he hits his low.

I always bring this up to my crew: Luke never did anything that was that evil in the movies we've seen him in, but when he gets Darth Vader down and chops his hand off, and the Emperor says, "Strike your father down and take his place at my side"... I believe Luke might do it. And I believe if Luke had done it, he would've turned to the dark side. That's a really powerful thing, and I think Anakin is not that far off from that. It's just that we see the big points leading up to that. (Laughs) He slaughters a camp of Tusken Raiders, so he's got a leg up on Luke already. He's descending farther, but there's still good in him.

And with that, I'm officially hooked for both THE CLONE WARS and the live-action television series, which is apparently still gestating. All too easy.

Faithfully submitted,

Mr. Beaks

Disney: Blu-ray Sale at!

It appears that is ready to blow out some Disney and Pixar Blu-ray discs! In addition to a slew of live action titles, the online retailer is offering these animated films at a discount:

- Cars
- Ratatouille
- Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 1
- Meet the Robinsons
- Chicken Little
- Dinosaur
- The Wild

All titles will be sold at up to 40% off list price until August 8th. That's almost 15 bucks off Ratatouille - a Blu-ray that shows off your gear and proves to your spouse that you truly did need the high-def upgrade in your living room!

Disney Blu-ray Disc Sale Page

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

News - 07/30/08...

The Frog gets his own trailer

Not much to say here except that the trailer for Disney’s return-to-hand-drawn feature, The Princess and the Frog, is now up at its official site . . . so hop on over and check it out.

Black Panther trailer

A "better" version of the trailer BET Animation premiered at Comic-Con.

Looney Tunes Vol. 6 Bonus Materials

A few weeks ago it was announced that Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 6 (on sale October 21st) would be the last Golden Collection. It is true, this will be the last - but let me be very clear: Warner Bros. will continue to release new Looney Tunes on DVD on an annual basis for the foreseeable future. There will be more classic cartoon restoration and collectible DVD sets to come (and No “double dipping” is planned). More about that later.

For now, we have an incredible collection of material to savor in Volume 6. Details about the main content of 60 classic Looney Tunes is listed here. Bonus materials will include:

Disc One: Looney Tunes All Stars


Hare Trigger Commentary by Greg Ford
Birth of a Notion Commentary by Mark Kausler
My Favorite Duck Commentary by Jerry Beck

Music Only Tracks
Raw! Raw! Rooster
Jumpin’ Jupiter
Rabbit Rampage
Boyhood Daze

The Looney Tunes Television Specials
Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court [1978 WBTV special]
Daffy Duck’s Easter Eggcitement [1980 WBTV special]

Bonus Cartoons
Sniffles Takes a Trip [1940 WB cartoon]
Hippety Hopper [1949 WB cartoon]
Rabbit Rampage [1955 WB cartoon]
Boyhood Daze [1957 WB cartoon]

Disc Two: Patriotic Pals

Herr Meets Herr Commentary by Greg Ford
Russian Rhapsody Commentary by Mark Kausler
The Draft Horse Commentary by Greg Ford
Fifth Column Mouse Commentary by Jerry Beck

Music Only Track
Yankee Dood It
Friz Freleng at MGM
Poultry Pirates [1938 MGM cartoon]
A Day at the Beach [1938 MGM cartoon]
The Captain’s Christmas [1938 MGM cartoon]
Seal Skinners [1939 MGM cartoon]
Mama’s New Hat [1939 MGM cartoon]

Bonus Cartoons
The Fighting 69 1/2th [1941 WB cartoon]
Hop and Go [1943 WB cartoon]
Confusions of a Nutsy Spy [1943 WB cartoon]

Disc Three: Bosko, Buddy and Merrie Melodies

Shuffle Off to Buffalo Commentary by Historian Jerry Beck
A Cartoonist’s Nightmare Commentary by Historian Jerry Beck

The World of Leon Schlesinger
Introduction by Martha Sigall and Jerry Beck
Crying for the Carolines [1930 WB short]
Haunted Gold Title Sequence
Schlesinger Productions Christmas Party with Optional Commentary by Martha Sigall and Jerry Beck

Bonus Cartoons
I Love a Parade [1932 WB cartoon]
I Like Mountain Music [1933 WB cartoon]
Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence [1933 WB cartoon]
How Do I Know It’s Sunday [1934 WB cartoon]

Disc Four: Most Requested Assorted Nuts (One-Shots)

Fresh Airedale Commentary by historian Greg Ford
The Hole Idea Commentary by animator Mark Kausler

Alternate Audio Programs
The Hole Idea Music Only Track
Martian Through Georgia Music Only Track
Punch Trunk Music and Effects Track
Wild Wild World Music Only Track

Bonus Documentary
Mel Blanc: The Man of a Thousand Voices (70 mins.)

Bonus Cartoons
Sleepy Time Possum [1951 WB Cartoon]
Punch Trunk [1953 WB Cartoon]
Wild Wild World [1960 WB Cartoon]
Bartholomew versus the Wheel [1964 WB Cartoon]

I urge you to buy the set the day it comes out (or Pre Order the set on Your purchase of this collection will help keep the cartoons coming, and will strengthen the message to Warner Bros. that the public wish to continue to buying Looney Tunes on DVD.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

CCTV on Olympic Adventures of the Fuwas

The CCTV International website has posted a feature article on the success of the animated short films spotlighting the fuwas, the five mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. 100 short films have been created starring the five characters, who also adorn keychains, pins, stuffed animals, toys, and other Olympic paraphenalia. The article also chronicles the history of the shorts from the point when the Beijing Olympics were announced to their current success on Chinese TV.

Nick Picks Up Eisner’s Glenn Martin

Michael Eisner, former CEO of the Walt Disney Co., has sold a stop-motion animated series to Nickelodeon’s Nick at Nite. The network has ordered 20 episodes of Glenn Martin DDS and plans to launch the show next summer. Celebrity Deathmatch creator Eric Fogel is helping to design the family-oriented production for Tornante Animation, a new division of Eisner’s Tornante Co.

In the series, the titular dentist and his family set out on a cross-country road trip in their toothbrush-topped dental mobile “dental mobile.” The concept is reportedly inspired in part by In Search of America, a 1971 ABC made-for-TV movie that starred Jeff Bridges as a college dropout who drove around the country with his family in a bus.

“Nickelodeon is a global brand synonymous with innovative and creative content for kids and families,” Eisner remarks. “This network is a great fit for Glenn Martin, DDS and I look forward to helping Nick at Nite grow their primetime line up.”

“Michael Eisner has been the creative architect of some of the most successful sitcoms in television history, and we're very excited that the first new series from his new company will be on Nick at Nite,” adds Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group. Glenn Martin, DDS is an innovative take on the modern American family and has the potential to be a definitional program in Nick at Nite's lineup of family comedies like George Lopez and Home Improvement."

Eisner put up his own money to make the animated pilot. A team of 10 writers has been hired and animation will be handled in Toronto. An obscure comedy troupe will provide the voices with a bit of improvisation involved. Nick plans to heavily promote the series debut in conjunction with its September kickoff of the popular sitcom Everybody Hates Chris.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Eisner decided to bring his show to Nickelodeon rather than Disney because he appreciated cable channels’ strategy to make bets on a small number of shows and nurture them. “And Nickelodeon liked it, they bought it. It felt comfortable to me, period,” he said.

Avatar, Freakazoid!, Tiny Toons Lead DVD Slate

Six episodes of the Nickelodeon’s hit animated action series Avatar: The Last Airbender debut on DVD with today’s release of Book 3 Fire, Volume 4. Also hitting retail are the first season of Steven Spielberg’s 1990s series Freakazoid!, and Tiny Toon Adventures, the animated feature 64 Zoo Lane and a two-part Phineas and Ferb adventure.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 3 Fire, Volume 4 is a single disk that contains the final 6 episodes of the fourth season, including the ratings hit Sozin’s Comet movie, which is broken up into four installments. The Paramount Home Entertainment release lists for $16.99 an includes an Avatar comic book and commentary by creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and various members of the cast and crew.

Freakazoid! Season One is a two-disc set offering 14 episodes of the cartoon series about a cyber nerd named Dexter Douglas, who gets zapped while surfing the nest one day and turns into a smart-mouthed, butt-kicking maga-voltage superhero. Special features include the featurette Freakazoid: The Original Freak, Freakazoid-less Freakazoid Promos: cruise ship parodies that promoted the series launch, and commentary on thre key episodes by senior producer Tom Ruegger, voice actor Paul Rugg and writer John McCann. Created by Steven Spielberg, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, the series aired from 1995-1997 on Kids’ WB!.The Warner Home Video disc lists for $26.99.

Tiny Toon Adventures: Season 1, Volume 1 offers 35 episodes in a four-disc set. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Taz, Tweety, Sylvester and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang navigate childhood in this hit comedy series that introduced classic Warner Bros Animation characters to a whole new generation. Extras include the featurette From Wacky Tunes to Tiny Toons: A Looney Evolution. Fans can pick up the set for $44.98.

64 Zoo Lane
is a feature-length compilation of episodes that follows the adventures of a little girl who lives next door to a zoo and who, every night, slides down the neck of Georgina the giraffe to listen to one of the animal's stories. The series currently airs on Nickelodeon’s Noggin network for preschoolers. The PorchLight Entertainment release carries a suggested retail price of $14.98.

Phineas and Ferb: The Fast and the Phineas is a two-part story arc from the hit Disney Channel animated series, which just got 13 episodes added to its second season. The Disney disc lists for $19.99 and includes “Phineas and Ferb's Homemade Tree Shade Arcade,” set-top games and the original series pitch by creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh.

Sci-fi fans can also pick up Alex Proyas’ director’s cut of vfx-laden cult favorite
Dark City
. Starring Rufus Sewell, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt and Kiefer Sutherland, the 1998 film has been updated with enhanced picture and sound, never-before-seen footage and three commentary tracks that viewers deeper than ever before into a trippy world where nothing is what it seems. The New Line release lists for $28.99 and is also available on Blu-ray Disc.

Academy Rediscovers George Pal

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will revisit some of the magical works of a visionary filmmaker when it presents “George Pal: Discovering the Fantastic” on Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The centennial celebration will be hosted by director Joe Dante (Gremlins) and will feature a panel discussion with several Pal collaborators, as well as a screening of two Pal “Puppetoons” and the 1953 vfx-driven epic The War of the Worlds in its entirety.

The panelists will include stop-motion animator Jim Danforth (The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao) Puppetoon animator Bob Baker and actors Barbara Eden (The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao), Ann Robinson (The War of the Worlds), Russ Tamblyn (Tom Thumb) and Alan Young (Tom Thumb, The Time Machine). The onstage discussion will follow screenings of new prints of Rhythm in the Ranks (1941) and John Henry and the Inky Poo (1946), which earned Pal two of his seven Oscar nominations in the Animated Short Subject category. The films were restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with the Academy Film Archive.

Pal’s career in Hollywood launched with
Puppetoons, a series of animated shorts that featured wooden stop-motion replacement puppets to bring fairy tale worlds to life. He later branched out into live-action feature films that still inspire today’s blockbusters.

Tickets for
“George Pal: Discovering the Fantastic”
may be purchased online at, in person at the Academy box office or by mail. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and all seating is unreserved. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, Calif. For more information on George Pal and his films, go to

Polar Express 4-D Bound for Dollywood

Kicking off on Nov. 8, Dollywood’s 19th annual Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival will feature The Polar Express 4-D Experience, a theme-park attraction based on the performance-capture movie from Warner Bros. and director/producer Robert Zemeckis. The attraction will be open through Jan. 3, 2009, in the Pigeon Forge, Tenn. park’s Imagination Cinema.

The Polar Express is based on the Caldecott Medal-winning children's book by Chris Van Allsburg. The story revolves around a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole. SimEx-Iwerks is the worldwide exclusive distributor of the theme-park installment, which employs stereoscopic 3-D and multi-sensory effects to make believers of visitors. As park attendees Upon arrive at the North Pole, it begins to snow inside the 4-D Special FX Theater, and when the conductor sings “Hot Chocolate” and the dancing waiters begin to pour, the audience can smell the aroma of cocoa.

Dollywood is a 130-acre family adventure park that operates mid-March through Jan. 3. The Smoky Mountain Christmas festival includes a lineup of award-winning entertainment including the shows Dollywood’s Babes in Toyland, Christmas in the Smokies, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, An Appalachian Christmas, Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs, The Victorian Melodies, O’ Holy Night, Carol of the Trees and a nightly Lighted Christmas Parade. For more information, go to

Wolverine wants to join the Avengers

Asked yesterday by MTV News if he could envision a scenario where he’d have a cameo in an “Avengers” movie, Hugh Jackman sounded more than game. “Any movie with Robert Downey Jr. I want to be in,” he grinned. “I’m open to it. I love playing this guy.” Clearly in a great mood Jackman discussed why he’s still fond of this character. “The great thing about Wolverine is he’s still a fun character. He’s a tortured soul but he’s always got a quip. He’s always got a line. He’s like Dirty Harry and Mad Max. These aren’t nice guys but they get the job done. He marches to the beat of his own drummer. That’s why I love playing him.”

SDCC Update: 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' Poster!

Walking around Preview Night here at San Diego Comic Con and, well, we kinda stumbled upon this poster for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The film wasn't supposed to have a major presence here at Con, so it's nice to at least see a poster for the flick, which hits theaters on May 1, 2009. We'll have a whole bunch of photos for you from Preview Night here at Con in just a little bit -- in the meantime, what do you think about this poster? Does it get you excited for the film? Starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber and Danny Huston, X-Men Origins: Wolverine will claw its way into theaters next summer.

Sam Jackson Wants Nick Fury Cameos in ‘Thor,’ ‘Captain America,’ Unsure If Favreau Will Return to ‘Iron Man’

Samuel L. Jackson had a brief cameo as Marvel Comics character Nick Fury at the end of “Iron Man,” so it would be up to director Jon Favreau if he appears again, right? And we probably won’t see Fury until “The Avengers,” correct?

There are certain questions that superfans think they know the answer to. But when we caught up with Sam the man himself Thursday at Comic-Con, he said we still have a lot to learn about the future of Fury.

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to making that character a bit more integral, in terms of the other stories that are happening,” Jackson told us, revealing that he may have multiple cameos in practically every Marvel movie for the next few years. “’Iron Man 2,’ ‘Captain America,’ ‘Thor,’ and hopefully the big one that’s coming in 2011, when they put everybody together.”

Of course, Jackson is referring to “The Avengers,” which his recent cameo set up as he recruited Tony Stark to join the superhero team. But according to the “Pulp Fiction” legend, he has no intention of keeping Nick Fury on the shelf that long.

’Iron Man 2’ is coming sooner!” he laughed. “I’d rather go to work than wait three years and be in ‘The Avengers.’ I’m looking forward to going to work soon.”

But when we asked about Favreau, who has been widely reported as recently being asked to return after rumored speed-bumps on the way to the sequel, Jackson gave a response that indicated things might not be as ironed out (sorry, couldn’t resist) as some are assuming.

“First of all, Jon’s doing another movie,” Jackson remarked. “So it’s not for sure Jon’s going to do it yet.”

When I told him about the recent rumors, he replied: “Really? Okay, well, you know more than I know. See, I don’t read the papers.”

Either way, Jackson (who is in San Diego to promote the video game and upcoming new season based on his hugely successful cartoon “Afro Samurai”) said he was flattered several years ago when Marvel began drawing the S.H.I.E.L.D. leader to resemble him, and is happy to have taken things full circle.

“I remember when they first started, and all of a sudden Nick Fury turned from David Hasselhoff into me,” he laughed. “I was kind of like “Hmmm…interesting!” I smiled about it, went about my business and read a lot of other [comic] stuff.”

Now he’s intimately familiar with the character and his decades-long backstory; however, Jackson promised that he won’t try to force any old comics subplots on Favreau or whoever else will be directing him in the Fury character. Well, at least not for a little while.

“Whoever it is, not yet. I’m not trying to exert my will on anybody, I’m just trying to be calm, be quiet,” he promised. “But when they call me and say “Okay, we’re ready,” maybe I can get in there and talk about that then. But until then, I’m just going to leave them alone and let them put me in there.”

Comics Into Film

Steve Niles, author of 30 Days of Night, and Michael Uslan, producer of all the Batman projects in the franchise, stopped by G4tv to talk about what's good and what's bad about comic book movies, what films remain closest to the source material, and what to look for in the future of comic film.

Anime features competing at Venice Film Festival

Two anime pictures are among the 21 feature films competing for the Golden Lion at the 65th Venice International Film Festival, to take place from August 27 to September 6 at Venice Lido.

The Venice Bienniale announced Tuesday the films which will compete at Venezia 65, an international competition of feature films presented as world premieres.

In competition are Hayao Miyazaki's 101-minute Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo on Cliff by the Sea) and Mamoru Oshii's 122-minute The Sky Crawlers.

Ponyo on Cliff by the Sea is rumored to be Miyazaki's last film. The director based the five-year-old boy of the story on his grandson, the son of Tales From Earthsea director Goro Miyazaki.

Films to be screened in Corto Cortissimo, an international competition of short films (not exceeding 30 minutes), have yet to be announced.

Marco Müller will be the director of this year's festival, continuing the work that he began in 2004.

The festival will be opened on the evening of August 27 by the world premiere screening of Burn After Reading, written and directed by Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Oeming & Glass on the Mice Templar 'Toon

Newsarama has interviewed Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass about the upcoming CGI-animated movie adaptation of their comic book series Mice Templar, which was announced last week. Oeming and Glass discuss how the deal came together, how the movie will fit in with the 25-issue story of the lead mouse Karic, the books and movies that influenced the comic book series, and when they expect the movie to hit the air.

Announced last Wednesday, Mike Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass’s fan favorite “Chosen Rodent” is headed to the small screen as an animated feature film.

The Mice Templar tells of an extraordinary adventure of magic and wonder, faith and valor, and of one small mouse whose destiny might change the entire world. To date, five out of a planned 25-issue run have been published. Image plans to collect the first six issues and release a hardcover collection titled The Mice Templar Vol. 1: The Prophecy in October.

We spoke with the creators about the Cartoon Network project as well as what’s coming up in the The Mice Templar comic book series.

Newsarama: So, Cartoon Network is producing feature films based on The Mice Templar and two other properties. Congratulations on the deal. For you guys, what does it feel like to eventually see Karic come to life?

Mike Oeming: Hey Benjamin, first let us thank you for the interview. But before we answer these, you should know this is still very early in the deal so we don't know the full answers to some of these questions. We'll just answer the best we can. But hell, it’s a great feeling!!!

Bryan Glass: Incredible. Words cannot truly describe it. Every creator fantasizes their creations living on in some form beyond the printed page, but the odds are so remote that it isn't something that should be taken seriously. But now that we're facing that reality of our story, my dialogue and Mike's visuals, taking on a voice and life of their own is absolutely utterly stunning. My mind races now with pondering how scenes from the comic, most especially scenes that haven't even been scripted and drawn yet, will manifest in animated form with SFX and an inspiring score?

NRAMA: How long has this animated film project been in the works?

I fear such questioning is a bit premature, as our deal for Mice Templar was only just finalized the week preceding Comic-Con.

NRAMA: How did this deal come about in the first place?

We first spoke with producer Gregg Goldin last August, just before issue #1 hit the stands. Greg was a reader of my work and had known about my creation of Mice Templar for years. When he first contacted us, Cartoon Network was looking for projects to connect to a younger audience, but we all felt Templar was actually a bit more mature than the age group they were shooting for at that time. Eventually, Cartoon Network started looking for more mature audiences and that's when we started talking about Mice again.

BG: It was April, 2008, with four issues on the stands, and Mike and I were just stunned to learn that Gregg was back with a revised pitch based upon an older demographic. That was enough to rekindle our interest, and soon we sent Gregg and his team the entire 25-issue synopsis of the Mice Templar saga, along with the much ballyhooed history. Before we knew it, a pitch was launched to higher executives at CN and negotiations began. The authorization from our agent and lawyer to finalize the deal literally occurred the Friday preceding Comic-Con, so there has been little time for any preproduction to materialize.

NRAMA: By the way, just how many films are we looking at?

Right now, it's just the one for sure, but obviously we are hoping for more if it does well.

BG: I'm just concerned that any attempt to reduce our 25+ issue series into a single film would be a huge mistake. But as it currently stands, there will be no true ending until that 25th issue is realized. My own suggestion to the production team thus far is that a single film could be made of the first two arcs--as the first arc will not end in a cinematically satisfying manner, as we have currently laid it out--yet it would still end on a cliffhanger necessitating a second film to resolve the final arc.

Then again, there are always ways to play with the structure of a story within the confines of a new medium that might just allow the prime
Mice Templar story to play out as a classic fantasy trilogy. We still have to see what decisions are ultimately made.

NRAMA: How involved will you guys be with the development of the project? Are you contributing ideas to the script, storyboards, the character designs, etc?

MO: Its great! Not only are we producers, but we'll be very involved in the project. I think that's important so that we can make sure the film remains true to the spirit of the comic.

BG: Preliminary interaction with the production team has been positive--everyone involved seems genuinely interested in bringing our vision of the comic to the screen.

NRAMA: What format are you guys developing?

MO: It's going to be CGI, I'm not sure of the running time.

NRAMA: Also, Watership Down, The Lord of the Rings and the Bible are primary influences for the book. Is the planned animated film(s) targeted at kids or will it/they have an all-ages feel?

BG: As far as the written word goes, those are my primary influences as writer. I'm sure Mike will chime in with the animated version of The Secret of NIMH, Watership Down and the Peter Jackson theatrical version of The Lord of the Rings. In our own ways, Mike and I both grew up on epic fantasy, and for me the literary works of Richard Adams were landmark. Many anthropomorphic characters have displayed heart over the years, but it was Adams that gave them a soul in such works as Watership Down, The Plague Dogs, Shardik and Traveler. The challenge for us has been to create this mouse culture that remains in touch with its rodent roots, even as its heroes reach for the sky. The works of Tolkien then set the stage for fantasy as grand opera, wherein unlikely heroes find themselves upon impossible quests, carrying great burdens, and setting themselves against ancient evils that set in motion before its heroes were born all of the doom they must now overcome. The Lord of the Rings is the bar against which all other fantasy endeavors must be measured; and only the fans can ultimately judge if any such work is revised plagiarism or a worthy successor on the field it originally plowed. And lastly, I would say it is the Judeo-Christian virtues of the Bible that give The Mice Templar its spiritual heart; there are many heroes throughout myth and literature, but few resonate with the reality of the human condition as those who struggle throughout the Old and New Testaments.

NRAMA: How are you ensuring that Mice Templar will not be just an animated version of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy? Okay, I'm not saying that it's not a good thing but surely you have a vision for the project, no? Other than the fact that it features mice as armored warriors...

Overall, we are telling a vastly different story. The journey of Karic is unique. He is not Frodo, he's not Luke Skywalker; his destiny isn't going to quite fit the Joseph Campbell "Heroes Journey." From a purely visual perspective, Mice Templar will have all of the visual cues--from epic sieges and battles, to internal doubts manifesting in spectacular disaster--but in the end, it is the heart and soul of our characters revealed through the distinct choices they make that separate them from all that have come before.

NRAMA: What can you tell us about the storyline?

Again, too many factors are still too premature to ponder. The 25-issue saga of The Mice Templar is definitely the story of Karic, and Cartoon Network is definitely looking to tell his story. Yet Karic's story is ultimately told in comic form through three distinctive arcs, each conveying a distinct step in his evolution as a character: “The Prophecy”; “Destiny”; and concluding with “Legend”. Our plan has always been to set up various cliche's of the fantasy genre, only to then turn them, or spin them, in a new and distinctive direction--Karic is never going to end up in the role you expect him to fulfill at any given moment of the story. For those following the first arc in comic form, they know full well now that the first three issues were about setting up a classic formula, while the subsequent three are all about twisting expectations. We can only hope at this time that our storytelling direction translates to the screen so that the audience never quite knows what to expect or how the saga of Karic will truly end.

NRAMA: When is the film scheduled to hit the TV screens?

I cannot imagine anything earlier than 2010, which should allow the comic series to reach its conclusion before the animated version appears.

NRAMA: For the comic book series, what have you guys planned? What can we look forward to in the coming months?

I'm wrapping up issue #6, and then taking a very short break until the next arc. We had scheduling problems last year, and then again early this year, which I want to avoid

BG: First comes the conclusion of the first arc, “The Prophecy”. At the end of issue #6, fans should have a complete reversal of their expectations on what the cliche' of the fantasy "Chosen One" actually means.

MO: The HC trade comes out in October! And we're looking to get the next arc started in early '09. I'm thinking of getting out a sketchbook between now and then to hold people over.

BG: The second arc, “Destiny”, is probably closer to what many were expecting from the series as a whole, but when all is ultimately revealed, fans will realize the absolute necessity of the tale beginning in the way in which we presented it. The second arc is where Karic learns that it isn't always a good thing to be called the "Chosen One." The action quotient is going to go through the roof, as Karic exchanges his dubious mentor Pilot for Cassius, a mouse of sheer action and attitude. Cassius is my favorite character in the series--seen only via flashback in issue #1, and then as a menacing potential antagonist in issues #2-#6--as the overall saga is revealed to be as much about his story as it is that of Karic.

NRAMA: Thank you for your time, guys. Congrats again.

It was great talking with you. And remember that you can visit the official comic website at: And you can get all the latest Mice Templar news, as well as everything else going on with my work by joining my mailing list; just write to me and ask to join:

The Spirit Art School Program Announced

Announced last week by Lionsgate, but here is the official press release:

Lionsgate, a leading next generation filmed entertainment studio, today announced that it will partner with nine prestigious art schools nationwide in THE SPIRIT Art School Program, which will present nine student-designed advertising campaigns for the upcoming film THE SPIRIT, written for the screen and directed by Frank Miller, creator of 300 and SIN CITY. The campaigns will be unveiled throughout the summer in the individual cities that are home to the nine schools. THE SPIRIT Art School Program will launch this weekend at the annual Comic-Con convention in San Diego, when The Art Institute of California-San Diego introduces its campaign. The announcement was made jointly by Lionsgate Co-Presidents of Theatrical Marketing Sarah Greenberg and Tim Palen, and Deborah Del Prete and Gigi Pritzker, co-principals of Odd Lot Entertainment and production partners with Lionsgate on THE SPIRIT.

"We are very excited and proud to be partnering with these nine superb arts educators on this innovative program," said Greenberg and Palen. "Will Eisner and his masterpiece, THE SPIRIT, were great influences to me. THE SPIRIT Art School Program gives students at these nine institutions a terrific showcase for their work, and it’s also a wonderful way to continue the cross-generational exchange of ideas that is so important to every art form." said Frank Miller.

The college-level facilities participating in
THE SPIRIT Art School Program are: The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; The Art Institute of New York; The Art Institute of California – San Francisco; The Art Institute of California – San Diego, Miami Ad School; The Art Institute of Washington; The Art Institute of Philadelphia; and The New England Institute of Art. The schools were provided with creative assets from the Lionsgate marketing portfolio, and were given wide artistic latitude in interpreting THE SPIRIT to design a campaign that was pertinent and unique to their cities. The program is spearheaded by Danielle Della Corna, Director of Media and Promotion for Lionsgate.

The first of
THE SPIRIT Art School Program advertising campaigns will be unveiled at this weekend’s Comic-Con, the annual celebration of all things comic-oriented. The Art Institute of California - San Diego has created a series of specially designed SPIRIT cups, which will be used at all the Comic-Con concession stands. The cups bear the unique signatures of the films four femmes fatales: Silken Floss, Sand Saref, Ellen Dolan and Lorelei Rox. And San Diegans will learn that they are now being protected by the masked crusader as SPIRIT Neighborhood Watch signs are posted in strategic locations around the city.

The Fallen Confirmed for Transformers Sequel

MTV talked to IDW Publishing, which is working on a five-part prequel miniseries to Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen titled "Transformers: Destiny" that will bridge the gap between the first and second movie. What IDW Publishing says confirms the rumor that "The Fallen" in the title is indeed the villain:

"[We're going to] explore the background of The Fallen — the main villain of the movie — as well as expand on the 'Reign of Starscream' story that we're doing and tie everything in to what this next movie is going to be," explained writer Chris Mowry, who partners on the book with artist Alex Milne. "The next movie starts out with just tons of action and there’s obviously going to be a lot of questions, so we’re hoping to answer some of those beforehand."

For more of the interview, click here!

Warner Aiming At Super Max?

Writer/director David S. Goyer told SCI FI Wire that Warner Brothers likes his draft for Super Max, a proposed film centering on the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow, and that they seem prepared to move ahead with the movie.

"The studio really likes the script," Goyer said in an interview at Comic-Con International in San Diego over the weekend, where he was promoting his upcoming horror film The Unborn. "Green Arrow seems to be one of the characters in the wake of this phenomenal summer ... book-ended by Iron Man and The Dark Knight [for which Goyer received a story credit]. I know that [for] Warner Brothers, Green Arrow is one of the characters that they're really interested in [and] seem to be interested in moving forward with next."

Super Max centers on Green Arrow, who finds himself framed, stripped of his identity and imprisoned in a high-security penitentiary for supervillains, with whom he must team up to clear his name and escape.

"It started out as a supervillain-escape idea, and the idea was, well, we can either go Marvel or DC," Goyer said of the genesis of the idea. "And I talked to both of them, and I kind of said, 'Well, who can you give me?' Because I needed a superhero that I can bounce off of. And I don't know. For my money it was, if we went Marvel, it would be Captain America. If we went DC, maybe Green Arrow. And Green Arrow seemed like the best fit."

Goyer added that Warner seems all the more eager to move forward with a movie based on the second-tier comic hero in the wake of Iron Man, which is also based on a second-tier hero (unlike Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk).

"Green Arrow is, you know, probably on the same level as Iron Man," Goyer said. "And, yeah, I mean when a movie like Iron Man does $300 million, and DC, Warner Brothers, realizes, 'Wow, we've got 20 of these kinds of characters.' I don't know, it's an interesting twist, though, because Super Max didn't start out as a Green Arrow project."

Wonder Woman animated movie site

Just a promotional image for the new animated Wonder Woman movie. Hopefully a lot more to come.

New Images Of "Batman: The Complete Animated Series" DVD Collection

Warner Home Video has released new images of the upcoming Batman: The Complete Animated Series DVD collection.

To view on the images, click on the thumbnails below.

More 'Hulk vs Wolverine' footage

Another look at the superhero brawl between Hulk and Wolverine in the upcoming animated movie.

DreamWorks' 2Q profit falls, but "Panda" kicks in

This summer's hit film "Kung Fu Panda" helped DreamWorks Animation SKG's second-quarter profit exceed Wall Street expectations, although figures fell sharply from the same period a year ago, the studio announced Tuesday.

The computer animation studio made $27.5 million (30 cents per share) in the quarter, down from $61.8 million (60 cents per share) the previous year, when profits from Shrek The Third were a major factor.

DWA earned 28 cents per share (excluding some items), about five cents above analysts' predictions.

Revenue fell to $140.8 million in the second quarter of this year from $222.5 million in the same period a year ago. Kung Fu Panda contributed $46.4 million to the latest figures. On average, analysts had predicted revenue of $121.8 million.

The results show a 55% drop in net profit and a 37% drop in revenue from the same quarter a year ago.

Kung Fu Panda is the studio's most successful non-sequel since the company went public in 2004, CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said. He said that the movie is already the most successful animated film in China's box-office history, and that international receipts will make it the primary driver of third-quarter earnings for the studio.

The film has grossed over $500 million worldwide since its June 6 release, including about $210 million at the domestic box office, the company said.

A scheduled DVD release of Panda in November is expected to make the film the main contributor of fourth-quarter earnings, too.

However, there are no definite plans for a sequel, said Katzenberg, who ascribed the delay to "the snowballing of the success of the film."

"We're not ready to say yes, but there's lots of enthusiasm" for a sequel, he told analysts, adding that it would be "premature to push the button on it."

If a sequel is made, it would be released in 2001, president and chief financial officer Lew Coleman said.

DreamWorks warned, however, that its third-quarter earnings could be hit by higher international marketing costs. That factor would increase the amount that its distributor, Viacom, needs to regain before DreamWorks gets any revenue from a film.

Shrek the Third was the second-largest contributor to corporate earnings in the quarter. Thanks mostly to domestic pay TV, it contributed $29.9 million. As of the end of the quarter, 20.3 million DVD units of the sequel have been shipped worldwide.

Bee Movie provided only $25.5 million in earnings over the second quarter. About 7.1 million DVDs of the title have been shipped internationally.

The 2006 movies Flushed Away and Over The Hedge contributed $7.3 million and $5.4 million, respectively. Another $21 million came from DreamWorks Animation library titles.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa will reach theaters November 7. In September, a $25 million Shrek the Musical stage play opens in Seattle, heading to Broadway in December. Costing $150 million to $170 million to produce, the sequel probably will experience a 10% high in marketing costs to over $190 million due to the weak American dollar, Katzenberg said.

Meanwhile, Katzenberg announced that Coleman has extended his contract through 2011, and that executive chairman Roger Enrico will become non-executive chairman.

The studio said that it has authorized a $150 million stock repurchase after having bought $88 million worth at an average price of $24 per share.

DreamWorks Animation said that it plans to spend $85 million over two years to expand its Glendale, California animation studio, including upgrading 3D capabilities.

Katzenberg said he anticipates that as many as 3,000 3D screens -- half the total screens that it will debut on -- will be available for release of Monsters vs. Aliens next March.

The company hopes that theater owners will charge $3 to $7 extra for 3-D screenings, allowing more profits for the studio.

"We clearly want them to charge as much as they think they can and maintain the audience," Coleman told Associated Press. "It will be an experiment in price elasticity."

DreamWorks Animation shares closed Tuesday at $31.29.

Toei Animation rises following profitable quarter

Shares in Toei Animation Co. rose the most in nine months in early trading Wednesday after an announcement that quarterly net income almost doubled from the same period last year.

Stock gained 170 yen (8.1%) to 2,260 yen at 9:54 a.m. on Tokyo's Jasdaq Securities Exchange, the biggest increase since October 23.

The Tokyo-based company is responsible for the Dragonball animation franchise.

Net income for the quarter ended June 30 reached 564 million yen ($5.2 million) from the same time in 2007, with a 12% increase in sales, Toei Animation said in a release to the exchange Tuesday.

The profit reached 38% Toei's company's annual target of 1.5 billion yen.

It credited the upturn in profit to higher licensing revenue, particularly from original characters appearing on pachinko machines.

Domestic licensing sales in the first quarter zoomed to 1.7 billion yen from 1 billion yen a year ago, said company spokesman Keisuke Shirasaki.

Toei stock has declined 5.8% this year, far less than a 12% drop in the national Topix index.

"First-quarter results seem rather positive, including the apparent earnings stability," Morgan Stanley analyst Hironori Tanaka wrote in a report Tuesday, maintaining his rating on the firm at "equalweight."

A North American expansion of Toei's Pretty Cure cartoons, now in negotiations, could drive earnings growth for the company, Tanaka added.

Chuck Jones & Michael Maltese's MARVIN THE MARTIAN To Mount Return Invasion Of Earth Cinemas For Warner Bros.!!

Marvin The Martian, soft-spoken but bloodthirsty interplanetary nemesis of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, is getting his own live-action/CGI feature.

Marvin previously sought to destroy Earth because it blocked his view of Venus. For the feature he will for some reason seek to destroy Christmas.

Marvin is no stranger to cinemas, having starred in numerous Warner Bros. shorts starting with 1948's "Haredevil Hare," directed by Chuck Jones from a story by Michael Maltese. The martian's resume also includes "The Hasty Hare" (1951), "Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century" (1953), "Hare-Way to the Stars" (1958) and "Mad as a Mars Hare" (1963).

Writers are being sought for the project.

Read all of Variety’s story on the matter here.

SDCC 08: Still Want a Copy of Who Is Rocket Johnson?

The comic book anthology Who Is Rocket Johnson? brings together numerous Disney artists and directors to help raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Besides looking great, it's for a great cause.

One copy sold on eBay for over 500 dollars, and the rest of the limited print run of 1000 copies were made available at the San Diego Comic Con for $20. If you still want to get your hands on a copy, get in contact with Stuart Ng in California or The Labyrinth in Toronto while quantities last!

The Harry Potter 6 Teaser Trailer!

Warner Bros. Pictures has revealed the new teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, hitting conventional theaters and IMAX on November 21! Directed by David Yates from a script by Steven Kloves, the anticipated sixth installment stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, David Bradley, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Natalia Tena, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, Jim Broadbent, Helen McCrory, Jessie Cave, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Frank Dillane.

You can watch the teaser trailer in High Definition QuickTime and Flash Player format here!