Friday, July 11, 2008

News - 07/11/08...

Space Chimps Clips Launch on Starz

Actress Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
will introduce exclusive clips and other material from her upcoming CG-animated feature film Space Chimps as she hosts a day-long "Amazing Animals" movie marathon on premium cable network Starz Kids & Family on July 17. Kicking off at 10 a.m., the marathon will feature such films as Ratatouille, Babe and Underdog, with sneak peeks at Space Chimps and the video game based on the movie sprinkled throughout. Space Chimps will be released theatrically by 20th Century Fox on July 18.

Hines provides the voice of Luna, a key character in
Space Chimps
. The voice cast also includes Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live), Patrick Warburton (Family Guy), Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) and Stanley Tucci (ER). The adventure-comedy follows the exploits of a mischievous circus chimp named Ham (Samberg), who happens to be the grandson of the first primate ever sent into space. As a publicity stunt, Ham is chosen to lead a mission into space to explore a mysterious new planet. When he and his crew crash land on the bizarre world and find their lives in peril, Ham must prove that he really does have the right stuff.

Disney/Pixar's Oscar-winning
Ratatouille will lead the "Amazing Animals" movie lineup at 10 a.m., followed by the Universal critter flicks Babe at noon and Flipper at 1:34 p.m. Disney's live-action adaptation of the classic cartoon Underdog will fill the 3:15 p.m. slot, with the studio's Air Bud trailing at at 4:40 p.m. Babe, Ratatouille and Underdog
will repeat at 6:20 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively. For more information on this and other Starz programming events, go to

Bert, Ernie Make Clay Debut in August

The previously announced clay-animated series The Adventures of Bert and Ernie will debut this August on PBS KIDS as a regular segment of the 39th season of Sesame Street. Animated by Misseri Studio in Florence, Italy, each of the 26 five-minute installments will find Bert and Ernie relating stories sparked by photos and memorabilia in their scrapbook. Viewers are taken along for the ride as the two are transported to a vibrant world beyond the limits of their apartment. With help from Bert's pet pigeon, Bernice; Ernie's Rubber Duckie; never-before-seen family members; and furniture that morphs into other objects, the dynamic dup will encourage literacy, diversity and imagination through humor.

The Adventures of Bert and Ernie
is being produced with German public broadcaster NDR and U.K. broadcaster Five's Milkshake preschool block. A second season is slated for delivery in March of 2009. The series has been sold to ABC in Australia, Cartoon Network India, DR-TV in Denmark, Disney Asia, Disney Spain, HOP in Israel, NPS/Zeppelin in the Netherlands, NRK in Norway and SVT in Sweden.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind such award-winning programs as Sesame Street, Dragon Tales, Pinky Dinky Doo and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat. The entity takes the proceeds it receives from sales of its shows and products and puts it into its educational projects for children around the world. For more information, go to

MySpace Gets "Kroft Kwikies"

Need some bite-sized fixes of Land of the Lost or H.R. Pufnstuf? If so, head over to The social networking megasite today announced that it has launched a new branded video channel with Sid and Marty Krofft, creators of a number of popular children’s television shows that aired during the Krofft Superstars hour throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. The World of Sid and Marty Krofft channel ( will offer "Krofft Kwikies," condensed episodes of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, The Bugaloos, Lidsville and other fan favorites, as well as long-form content. In addition, viewers will periodically see video messages from Sid and Marty, who are enjoying the resurgence in popularity their properties are garnering. The old shows have been selling well on DVD and Land of the Lost is being made into a major motion picture with Will Ferrell, and is slated to arrive in theaters on July 17, 2009.

The Kroffts comment, “What pleases us most about our relationship with MySpace is that our creations will now have the opportunity to be introduced to a new generation of fans, while still allowing our long-time supporters a one-stop-shop for content from The World of Sid and Marty Krofft.”

The dedicated channel will initially offer 3-5 minute versions of episodes from seven of the Krofft series, highlights from the various fantasy shows, up-to-date news briefs on what’s happening in the world of Sid and Marty Krofft, and the iconic theme music from each series. Both the short-form videos and the theme music can be embedded into fans’ MySpace profiles. In time, the site will also feature exclusive interviews with the directors, outtakes, rare footage and behind-the-scenes looks.

Blog Site for CG Garfield Hits the Web

Dargaud Media production studios has announced the launch of The Garfield Show blog at The producers and artists behind the upcoming series will chart the process of bringing the iconic feline character and all his pals to life in HD with 3D animation. The site will be updated with new content each week.

The blog launch coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Garfield comic strip by Jim Davis. In addition to behind-the-scenes looks at production, the website will provide an introduction to the world of Garfield, including detailed overviews of the characters and an examination of the property’s success in print, on television and on the big screen.

Consisting of 52 11-minute episodes, The Garfield Show will air in 2009 on Cartoon Network in the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America, as well as France 3. The first episodes will be screened at the MIPCOM confab this October in Cannes, France.

Garfield first appeared as a comic strip in 1978 and was later animated for TV specials and a regular series, Garfield and Friends. A CG Garfield, animated by Rhythm & Hues, starred alongside live actors in the feature film Garfield, which was released in December of 2003 and grossed $198 million worldwide. A sequel titled Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, hit theaters in June of 2006, taking in more than $147 million.

SCI FI Beefs Up Ani-Monday

SCI FI Channel this month debuts new series and movies in its weekly Ani-Monday anime programming block. Airing Monday nights from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., the lineup will feature a collection of movies, TV series and shorts from Starz Media's anime distribution arm, Manga Ent. Highlights will include the exclusive U.S. premieres of a number of highly anticipated titles including the series Gurren Lagann and Gundam 00 (licensed by Bandai Ent.), as well as the movie Strait Jacket. The block will also offer the TV premieres of the classic anime series Now and then, Here and There and Descendents of Darkness. Other shows set to air include Black Jack, Blood: The Last Vampire, Dead Leaves, Ghost in the Shell, Go Shogun, Kai Doh Maru, Macross Plus, MD Geist, Negadon: The Monster from Mars, Ninja Scroll and Street Fighter Alpha Generations.

“Our viewers have been enthusiastic about the Ani-Monday block from Manga Ent. since the programming first aired just over a year ago,” comments Thomas Vitale, SCI FI Channel’s senior VP of programming and original movies. “We believe viewers will be even more excited about this incredible new line-up of top anime Manga is delivering.”

“SCI FI Channel has been a terrific partner, introducing our quality anime to the channel’s large, diverse community,” adds Marc DeBevoise, Starz Media's senior VP of digital media and business development. “The audience for anime is growing, and so we’re very happy to have this ideal platform to bring the best Japanese animation to viewers in this country.”

Much of the programming issues from Manga's new partnerships and distribution agreements with Bandai Ent. and Central Park Media Corp. Many of the programs in the block will be made available for download on digital platforms after their airings on SCI FI , with clips and additional information available at


Ghost in the Shell: The Movie
Sword for Truth
Vampire Wars
Black Jack: The Movie
Gurren Lagann
Now and Then, Here and There


Gurren Lagann
Now and Then, Here and There
M.D. Geist
Psychic Wars
Dead Leaves


Gurren Lagann
Gundam 00
Strait Jacket
Descendents of Darkness


Gundam 00
Descendents of Darkness

Jon Favreau Signed for Iron Man 2

Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that director Jon Favreau has reached a deal with Marvel Studios to direct Iron Man 2, which is targeted for an April 30, 2010 release.

Robert Downey Jr. had a sequel clause in his contract so he's on board. We assume that Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow will return as well.

Budgeted for about $140 million, the first film has earned a massive $563.8 million worldwide.

Heroes Season Three Spoilers

Scooper 'tillmeister' pointed us to UK's Digital Spy which got to see a spoilerific sneak preview of "Heroes" Season Three at BBC TWo's Autumn launch event. If you're ready to find out some of the things that happen in the third season, carrying the tagline "Villains," then click here.

'Incredible Hulk' stands tall for America's Heroes reports that Hulk is taking takes a trip across the world to visit the American troops.

Marvel has donated three life-sized statues, used to promote 'The Incredible Hulk' to the charity organization Heroes4Heroes.

It's unclear if the statues will be auctioned off for fundraising, but Marvel's writeup suggests they'll be shipped to the Middle East for whatever amusement value they may provide. From the article:

Standing over 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide, the familiar green face of the Jade Giant is sure to bring a smashing good time to American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Heroes4Heroes is a charity organization that works directly with the U.S. Military to give entertainment material such as comics and DVDs to our men and women in uniform. For more information, check out their organization at

Latest 'Hulk' may not spawn a sequel

Readers following our weekly box office updates are aware that the new 'Incredible Hulk', which many view a successful upgrade to the franchise, isn't performing much better than it's predecessor, which most deem a failure.

The Hollywood Reporter suggests that this likely means no sequel for the new green giant.

It's a tale of two movies, with an oddly similar ending.

Five years ago, "Hulk," the first movie based on Marvel's hulking green comic book character, rang up $245 million in worldwide box office but was widely dismissed as a commercial failure.

The second attempt, "The Incredible Hulk," amped up the fun factor and dialed down the brooding of director Ang Lee's original but is unlikely to gross significantly higher than its predecessor and might not spawn a sequel. And it's been dubbed a success.

What gives?

Mignola lets go of 'Hellboy'

Comics2Film sat down recently with Mike Mignola, creator of 'Hellboy,' to talk about his involvement in 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army', the entire franchise that his comic spawned, and the transition of another artist, Guillermo del Toro, creating a variation of his material.

"The first film was an adaptation of the first graphic novel ['Seeds of Destruction'], I mean a loose adaptation, but it was coming off my work, and it was basically taking the 'Hellboy' universe that I had created and translating it into del Toro's world," Mignola said.

"So the second film, which, though we started out to do an adaptation of one of my stories, we chucked that idea after about eight hours because even in the first film, that character is already veering away from the world I created in the comic, so it was much easier and actually a lot more fun to just say, 'Well, let's not try to tie it to the comic. Let's just continue what you did in the first film,' so...the first film was taking my stuff, putting it in his world and now we're just going with his world."

For those that don't read the Dark Horse books, the "Hellboy" universe of del Toro's films at times contrasts greatly with that of Mignola's comics. He explained,

"There was a big change in the first film that, Hellboy having this love interest, which doesn't exist in the comic, where the Hellboy-Sherman relationship was much more of a brother-sister kind of thing, there's never been any kind of romance relationship," Mignola said.

"When you put more focus on that love interest and you introduce the idea of children, it's veering off in this radically different direction than where my book is going, and so at the same point they're heading off in different directions and a third film would be even further in a different direction. It's like they started in the same place and then Guillermo as he became more invested in it just has evolved this whole other world."

Mignola's artwork influenced the look of the first film a great deal, but when sitting down with del Toro he said a lot of what looks like Mignola's art just sort of happens that way. As the artist, Mignola's take was, "I know in the first film, he was making conscious decisions to try to suggest certain things that I do in the artwork. I think he's just, and I don't think he got this from me, but I think he's just very careful about his use of color and a limited palette and little things like using red for a reason.

"I just think that's the way his mind works. I mean I'd love to think that he got some of that from studying my comic, but I just think he's a very careful craftsman in using color for a reason. I certainly never heard any conversations about adapting my style on the second film. I think especially after 'Pan's Labyrinth' he just knew what he wanted to do, knew how to do it, and just wanted to do it."

When pressed about similarities in the Golden Army of warriors, Mignola responded,

"No, not really. Again, as a designer on the film, I did so little, I mean I did real rough ideas for a lot of things. [The] Golden Army is something I had no hand in whatsoever. It's a very appealing design sensibility to me. But I can't point to anything I've ever done in saying, oh yeah, that's where he got that idea and I was around when other guys designed those characters so I was never able to contribute a single bit of an idea to those guys."

Many artists and writers, even though they understand the deal they make to sell the rights to their material, still have a tough time dealing with the transition and the results. Mignola seemed well adjusted in the press conference likely because he "went through that process of letting go on the first picture. I had worked with Guillermo on 'Blade II' and it was much easier working on 'Blade II' because it wasn't my thing. It was much easier to say 'Well, I'm not invested in this thing. I'll help you do whatever you want to do.' With your own thing, as much as I went into "Hellboy" originally saying, change whatever you want, do whatever you want with it, when you're sitting there in the office with him and I'm saying, 'why don't we do this?' and he's going, 'No, no, no. We'll do this,' I kind of go, dude, that's my character, man. But you're asking me to help you change it into something different.

"So, while we didn't run into any real big conflicts, there was a mental adjustment period for me, but so much of that mental adjustment was done on the first picture, that with the second picture I really went into it feeling like I was working on his characters, and actually I only remember one moment during the filming of the second one, there was a scene where Hellboy comes out and he's wearing no shirt but the coat, and that's the way I've always drawn him in the comic, and so there was that one moment, I went, 'Ooooh, it looks my character,' and somebody else had to point out – they're all your character, but at this point, I had mentally shifted them so far into being his characters that it needed that one moment to go hey, I recognize that guy!"

It most likely helped their relationship that "Guillermo started out as just a huge fan of the comic. And so he wanted me involved from Day One, and so on the second film, he invited me to come and work with him on the original story so that was great."

When asked if he had seen the finished film, Mignola enthusiastically responded, "I am very happy with what he did."

'Hellboy II: The Golden Army' arrives in theaters today!

Hanna-Barbera book author Joe LoCicero dead at 44

Writer and marketing consultant Joe LoCicero, author of a series of reference books based on Hanna-Barbera's classic cartoon characters and its exhaustive library of episodes, died June 24 in Los Angeles following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 44.

His "Character Reference Guides" covered such H-B favorites as The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost and Yogi Bear. The books also served as the foundation for Beaux Arts Editions' Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, released in 1998.

After working as a studio and network publicist -- and publicizing a popular late-night talk show -- he segued to writing full-time in 1993.

A native of Tampa, Florida, LoCicero later moved to Atlanta before heading to Los Angeles in 1989. He wrote for such kids' series as The All-New Captain Kangaroo and the family sitcom Solo en America (based on Norman Lear's One Day at a Time), created and wrote the Telemundo pilot Tug of War, and (with his wife Lori) co-wrote the film festival favorite Real Doll, which follows a woman who pursues the ideals and adventures of being "Barbie." In addition, LoCicero wrote thousands of food trivia questions for the PAX TV game show Supermarket Sweep.

His articles appeared in such publications as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Emmy Magazine, Broadcasting & Cable and Military News. He was a columnist for as its "Tube Dude." Also, he wrote a series of comic books based on the Married... with Children sitcom.

In 2003, he and his wife founded Practical Whimsy to "e-spouse" the virtues, values and victories of "Southern Hospitality, Hollywood Style" and -- in that vein -- offer up a range of like-minded groovy goods and hip tips online.

He conducted presentations and workshops for such organizations as Loyola Marymount University and MTV Networks. His talks canvassed topics regarding easy ideas and plans for inexpensive yet impressive entertaining, scintillating suppers, peppy parties, gracious gifts, cracklin' crafts and happenin' home design.

LoCicero's obsession with instruction, food and entertainment dated back to his first TV stint as a five-year-old "demonstrator" on the PBS series Virginia's Place, making -- among other creations -- a Native American headdress out of construction paper with elbow macaroni forming a Navaho design. Determined to start another project, he then wanted to boil the macaroni to feed the crew.

The Southern-bred LoCicero spent the last 12 years in Los Angeles in the entertainment industry as a scriptwriter, advertising copywriter, pop culturist, network and studio publicist, marketing consultant and, simultaneously, an accomplished home chef and creative guru. Having been asked repeatedly for his recipes, and guidance on homemaking, he found a common theme in his cooking and advice, and decided to compile his offerings in Practical Whimsy.

His column, "Practical Whimsy: Southern Hospitality, Hollywood Style," ran in the national magazine Y'ALL: The Magazine of Southern People, which has a 100,000+ circulation. The column celebrated making everyday meals and events gracious and -- with ideas hewn from his days as a network party planner- imbued with fun, wonder... and abundant pop culture references.

In 1999, he founded Chartreuse Cake, which specialized in themed, fantastically-crafted cakes for large gatherings at birthday parties, and bridal and baby showers. Chartreuse Cake also caters meals for independent films. LoCicero specialized in catering meals, events, showers and dessert buffets for network and studio executives, and offered one-on-one in-home cooking instruction.

As a copywriter, LoCicero created advertising, publicity and marketing materials for such clients as Paramount Network Television, Paramount Domestic Television, The WB, Disney Channel, Sony Pictures Television, Discovery Channel and Hallmark Channel. In that capacity, his credits included series, telefilms and specials, including Entertainment Tonight, Smallville, Frasier, Star Trek: Enterprise, JAG, Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital and Lizzie McGuire, among dozens of others.

Starting in 2002, he created teacher reference guides for educators across the United States for such classic books as Gulliver's Travels and Call of the Wild, that tied in with Hallmark Channel productions of the novels.

His The Complete Idiot's Guide to Clear Thinking was released in December 2005.

LoCicero was as a creative consultant for Los Angeles' Donum Celebrity Gifts, which caters to A-list stars and studio executives; Good Karmal candies, based in Bozeman, Montana; and Gavroche children's store, in San Diego.

Joe LoCicero is survived by his wife Lori, a film and TV director, editor and writer, their two children, his parents, a sister and two brothers. Lori began her entertainment career as a page for Paramount Studios, during which time she met Joe on the Paramount lot.

Donations may be made to The LoCicero College Fund, 4712 Admiralty Way, Suite 354, Los Angeles, CA 90292.

Joe and Lori LoCicero at Practical Whimsy.

Miller’s Head in the Clouds

Sam Miller, a 21-year old student at the University of Hertfordshire, created this 2-minute short Clouds, which follows a young girl’s adventures flying through the sky. The film, which took Miller around 5 months to complete, was produced as part of his second year at school. The character animation was created in Flash, and the clouds were handled in After Effects.

Changes Underway at Warner Bros./DC Comics?

Both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety are reporting that Warner Bros. Pictures is holding new meetings with DC Comics to discuss a new direction for its film adaptations. What is assumed by the trades is that Warner/DC are feeling the pressure with the success of Marvel Studios bringing its many characters to the big screen. Here's the statement released by WB:

"While we are not going to go into the specifics of the meetings, we're constantly looking at how best to exploit the DC Comics characters and properties. DC is an incredibly valuable asset to Warner Bros. and plays an important role across the entire studio by providing development and franchise opportunities for all media, including films, television, home entertainment, animation, consumer products, video games and digital platforms."

Time to speculate on which characters they are thinking about adapting!

The Joker Has the Last Laugh!

Fans who have been following the incredible viral marketing for The Dark Knight just got rewarded BIG time. That is, if you responded quick enough. The Joker sent out the following last night... HA HA HA HA HA ha HA HA ha HA HA ha HA HA HA ha HA HA HA ha HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha HA HA ha HA HA HA ha ha ha HA HA ha HA HA HA ha ha HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha HA HA ha HA ha ha HA HA HA HA HA HA ha HA HA ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha HA HA HA ha HA HA HA HA ha ha HA ha HA ha HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha HA HA HA HA ha HA HA HA ha HA HA HA HA ha HA ha

Which leads to a page where the fans got to print out tickets for two to a screening in IMAX of the film on Tuesday, July 15th. Everything is now sold out!

But that's not the only thing that has happened tonight. The Joker has defaced ALL of the viral marketing sites which you can view via Even the official website got defaced!

DKARG: 'Dark Knight' shines over New York and Chicago

The Citizens for Batman contingent of the 'Dark Knight' alternate reality game (ARG) called for a massive mobiliation on July 8th...and they got it in the form of a massive light display on a New York City skyscraper.

A countdown was posted on and it finally reached zero Wednesday night at 10pm.

Citizens for Batman gather en force!

The Citizens for Batman in uniform!

Participants in the ARG were given coordinates to two locations, one in New York City, and one in Chicago. Upon arriving at their respective locations participants were given CFB shirts, copies of the Gotham Times, and a Domino’s pizza box with a note that had a code and directions to a lockbox. The lockbox contained a code word, and instructions that led to a 2-way radio. Once the codeword was given over the radio the people on the ground were sent to a lookout location.

The participants in New York were looking at the Woolworth building, and the Chicagonians were overlooking the Sears Tower. After a few minutes of intense waiting a light flickered on, it was a Batsignal!

The Batsignal on the Sears Tower

Streaming video displayed on webpage showed both locations' Batsignals lighting up as a rallying cry to the gathering crowd of bat-supporters. Initially the Sears Tower Batsignal was dim, and hard to see, but after it was shut off and fine-tuned the signal burst back on in all its Bat-tackular glory. There was also a chat box accompanying the streaming videos. Unfortunately it was restricted to members of the CFB, and us followers were not able to interact with them.

The Batsignal on the Empire State Building

The Batsignal on the Empire State Building

Batfailure on the Sears Tower

You can see a full chat log at but here are some highlights:

IndigoGrrrl says: NYC here. Huge gathering here. Filled with CFB supporters. T-shirts everywhere. This is an incredible show of report. Hundreds here.

IndigoGrrrl says: Everyone is here, spilling into the streets, it's incredible. Flood of CFB supporters. Nobody can ignore it anymore.

PizzaPaul says: Just got a report from my people. We have over 500 people here in CHI. It's unbelievable -- the energy.

This next one made me laugh, not much to do with the viral, just funny:

Rockingranny says: I'm in CHI! I hitchhiked!

PizzaPaul says: Rockingranny, come hang out with me in the place we talked about near that thing with the whatever.

The chat was an obvious jab to those of us who grouped together to participate in the earlier games. Every IRC chat room during the pizza game sounded identical to this one.

The night ended with an anti-climactic flick of the switch, and the Batsignals were gone. I’d like to see any other movie top this viral marketing!

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