Tuesday, July 15, 2008

News - 07/15/08...

The Complete "Speed Racer" Coming to DVD

Tvshowsondvd.com reports that Lionsgate will be putting all 5 volumes of Speed Racer into a six-disc set titled Speed Racer: The Complete Classic Collection. The set will contain every episode of the classic show, as well as bonus features, in a case in the shape of the Mach 5.

The set will be in stores on October 7th, 2008.

'Iron Man: Armored Adventures' Trailer Online

The new 'Iron Man: Armored Adventures' animated show will get a sneak peek at Comic-Con. The trailer has debuted online today!

'Incredible Hulk' TV series gets final season and complete season sets

The fifth and final season of the classic TV series 'The Incredible Hulk' is set for DVD release on October 21st, according to TVShowsOnDVD.com.

Also due on the same day will be 'The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Series' boxed set.

Info is not official but comes from "reliable soures".

History Unmasks the Dark Knight

History Channel has a penchant for floating scholarly videos in the wake of popular movies. Leave it to them to find a way to provide the real world back story to 'The Dark Knight':

Delve into the world of Batman and the vigilante justice that he brought to the city of Gotham. Batman is a man who, after experiencing great tragedy, devotes his life to an ideal--but what happens when one man takes on the evil underworld alone? Examine why Batman is who he is--and explore how a boy scarred by tragedy becomes a symbol of hope to everyone else.

The 60 minute documentary special "Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight" airs repeatedly over the next few weeks:

Wednesday, July 16 09:00 PM
Thursday, July 17 01:00 AM
Monday, July 21 10:00 PM
Tuesday, July 22 02:00 AM
Saturday, July 26 11:00 PM
Sunday, July 27 03:00 AM

'Dark Knight' Prediction: $130M Weekend

In her Deadline Hollywood column, Nikki Finke says that the suits at Warner Bros are spinning their box office predictions for 'The Dark Knight' on the low side to soften expectations for the big explosion this week.

Her sources at the studio have told her that the movie is only expected to bank $90 to $100 million. That's less money than 'Iron Man' opened with. Same suits claim that opening in July is much more competitive than May, hence the lowered estimates.

Finke poo-poos the talk, realizing it's better for Warner to have 'The Dark Knight' exceed expectations than fall short. Her own "gurus" tell her to look for a $130 million opening.

Who Will Batman Face Next?

Though everyone assumes the next “Batman” flick will probably see the reintroduction of The Penguin and Catwoman to the big screen, “Dark Knight” writers David Goyer and Jonathan Nolan aren’t so sure – they’d much rather introduce some lesser known villains to the series.

‘’We’re not going to tell you other than to say Batman has been published for 70 years. In the first movie we used Ra’s Al Ghul and the Scarecrow who had not been in the movies before and had not been in the 60s TV show and there are dozens, if not hundreds of other characters that fit that bill. Everyone says you have to use the Penguin or Catwoman. Well, I completely disagree”, Goyer tells Movies Online.

‘’There’s a very deep roster of great characters over seventy years’, adds Nolan.

So, who else is there, I hear you ask?

How about… Bane? Black Mask? Blaze? Clayface? Smoke? Solomon Grundy? Toymaker? Spellbinder?

(One recent rumor suggested ‘The Riddler’ might be the villain).

Goyer says they’re not sure whether the same team will be returning for another yet (Joel Schumacher just lit up like a Christmas tree!). ‘’I think Warner Bros would like to do another one. As far as Chris [Nolan] goes, we haven’t had any long conversations about it yet. It wasn’t until three or four months after Batman Begins opened that Chris and I sat down and talked about another one. We’ll have to see. It’s definitely a much scarier proposition. It was a scary proposition trying to do Dark Knight. It’s sort of a geometrically proportionate scary proposition to try to do another one, but we’ll see.’’

New animated show `Cleveland' goes multiethnic

A "Family Guy" spinoff show featuring the character of Cleveland Brown is mixing up its voice cast, ethnically speaking.

Mike Henry, who is white, will continue to provide the voice for Cleveland on Fox's new animated series. Joining Henry in the cast will be black actors Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long and Kevin Michael Richardson, the network announced Monday.

Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly said the casting wasn't provoked by ribbing the network has taken for a black role voiced by a white actor.

"Mike's been doing that character for a long time, so we knew going in that was a fix, we're going to have a white guy," he said at a Television Critics Association meeting, responding to a reporter's question.

"But clearly, the idea was just to make an ethnically diverse show in front of and behind the camera, which we are," and to create a largely African-American cast for the Brown family, Reilly said.

Lathan will play Cleveland's wife, Donna, while Long will voice the character of rebellious stepdaughter Roberta. In a colorblind casting move, Richardson will play the part of Lester, described as a "redneck."

"Cleveland" follows the Browns as they move to Cleveland's Virginia hometown and encounter neighbors including Lester, a family of bears and a British family enamored with the Victorian era, Fox said.

The show is set for a 2009 debut.

Reilly was asked about a general lack of ethnic diversity across the broadcast landscape this fall, despite years of lobbying by Hispanic, black and other civil rights group for more minority representation among actors and in producing and decision-making jobs.

"I do think, across the board, Fox's numbers actually are pretty respectable," Reilly said. "But this fall, I think, is just somewhat a product of the strike, not as much new product."

Reilly referred to a 100-day writers' guild strike that disrupted series production last season and the making of fall TV pilots.

A stalement in talks between the Screen Actors Guild and producers have raised fears of another costly work stoppage, but both sides have said they want to avoid a rerun.

Totoro Inspires Charity Auction and Exhibit

It’s been 20 years since Hayao Miyazaki introduced the world to his loveable forest spirit in the acclaimed animated feature My Neighbor Totoro. This summer, the popular classic has inspired a charity auction and exhibition event launched to preserve Sayama Forest in Japan, which is also known as “Totoro Forest.”

Located in the outskirts of Tokyo, this 8750-acre park has been the source of inspiration and a sacred place for the Japanese animation master. Sadly, like many other natural parks around the world, the forest has been the victim of urban development in the past few decades.

Artists from around the world were asked to come up with artwork inspired by the gentle creature depicted in the landmark movie. Over 200 original pieces from internationally acclaimed artists and animators—William Joyce, Andreas Deja, Timothy Lamb, Ronnie del Carmen, Ralph Eggleston, Pete Docter and Peter de Seve, to name a few—are featured in this one-of-a-kind event which tries to answer the question “What is your Totoro?” The auction will be held at Pixar Animation Studio on September 6th.

A companion art book, edited by Karen Paik (The Story of Pixar), will also be available at the event. Selected artwork from the Totoro auction will be featured as two special exhibitions at The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco (Exhibit A: Sept. 26-Dec. 7; Exhibit B: Nov. 6-Feb. 20).

To view some the awe-inspiring “What is your Totoro?” art work or to donate to the cause, visit http://www.totoroforestproject.org/.

Fly Me to the Moon Trailer Blasts Off

Insects space out in 3-D this summer in the CG-animated family feature Fly Me to the Moon from Illuminata Pictures and nWave Pictures. Developed specifically for stereoscopic 3-D exhibition, the film will be released by Summit Ent. in IMAX venues and other theaters equipped for digital 3-D projection on Aug. 8. A trailer for the movie is now available on AniMagTV.

In the flick, three tween-aged flies decide they want to become part of the space program and hatch a plan to stow away on the 1969 Apollo II mission. Against the wishes of their mothers and with encouragement from a grandfather who missed his shot at becoming the first fly in space, the intrepid insects manage to get into the rocket and embark on an exhilarating and harrowing space adventure. The voice cast features Kelly Rippa, Christopher Lloyd, Nicollette Sheridan and Adrianne Barbeau, as well as real-life Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a special cameo role.

The G-rated, independently produced film is directed by Ben Stassen of Brussels-based nWave Pictures. The company has been have been producing 3-D films for more than a decade, creating specialty titles such as 3D Mania, Alien Adventure, Misadventures in 3D and Wild Safari for IMAX theaters and theme-park attractions. To handle its first animated feature for the mass market, nWave augmented its core group of animators in Belgium with hires from throughout Europe, the U.S and Canada.

Stassen and Fly Me scripter Domonic Paris of Illuminata Picutres reteamed for Around the World in 50 Years—3D, the next nWave, Illuminata collaboration. Stassen and Paris will also serve as producers, along with nWave's Caroline Van Iseghem and Paris’ Illuminata partners, Gina Gallo and Mimi Maynard. The story will follow a sea turtle as he travels a world being changed by global warming. The voice cast will include Anthony Anderson, Ed Begley Jr., Pat Carroll, Tim Curry, Kathy Griffin, Melanie Griffith, Stacy Keach and Jenny McCarthy.

The film is being self-financed by nWave, which hopes to have production wrapped sometime next year.

Simpsons Gets Kidrobot Treatment

Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising and The Simpsons creator Matt Groening have joined forces with retailer Kidrobot to release the first-ever Simpsons vinyl toy mini-figure series. Groening worked with the Kidobot team to bring the Kidrobot flavor to the show’s iconic characters.

Kidrobot will carry a total of 24 Simpsons characters in the series. These include Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Hippie Homer, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Krusty, Sideshow Bob, Scratchy, Itchy, Apu, Fat Tony, Bumblebee Man, Duffman, Chief Wiggum, Barney, Comic Book Guy, Funzo, Lucius Sweet and three mystery figures. The line represents the biggest Kidrobot-produced mini-figure series to date.

Each vinyl figure stands 3 inches tall, includes a character sticker, and comes blind boxed to preserve its identity. Figures will be sold separately for $7.95 or can be purchased by the case at all four Kidrobot stores, kidrobot.com and at select retailers worldwide.

Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz notes, "I have been continually inspired by Matt Groening's art. The toys we've created for The Simpsons are really a mash-up of our Kidrobot-style and Groening's original artwork."

A popular creator and retailer of limited-edition art toys, apparel and accessories, Kidrobot operates stores in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. Te company’s products can also be found at numerous boutique retailers around the world and online at www.kidrobot.com.

Eric Goldberg book signing

If you’re not able to make it to the San Diego Comic-Con to get your copy of “Character Animation Crash Course” signed by its author, Eric Goldberg, you’ll have another chance on August 6th from 7-9pm when Eric will be signing copies of his soon-to-be-released book at the Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop in Studio City. Interested parties unable to attend either signing can order the book from Amazon. It can’t hurt that the book’s Foreword is by Brad Bird.

Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop
11963 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 762-0535
Official Site

New Trailer for The Spirit

The new trailer for Lionsgate's The Spirit has made its way online and can be watched using the player below! Written/directed by Frank Miller, the December 25 action-adventure stars Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson, Paz Vega, Jaime King, Dan Lauria, Stana Katic, Johnny Simmons and Louis Lombardi. You can also check out the updated official website here!

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