Thursday, July 24, 2008

News - 07/24/08...

Hollywood Cowboy Bebop In Development

Anime News Network points out that IF Magazine has learned that producer Erwin Stoff is developing an adaptation of one of America's favorite anime series.... Cowboy Bebop.

“I’m developing COWBOY BEBOP for Fox, but doing it as a live-action film, so I’m working on that at the moment,” Stoff tells iF. “I’m really excited to be working on it, and it’s in the really early stages. We just signed it the other day.”

“I have such an enormous admiration for its creators, that our first and foremost concern is going to be a real degree of faithfulness to the tone of the movie, to the mix of genres, and so on and so forth,” he says. “When I met with them in Japan, one of the first things that I brought up was the experience that we had on A SCANNER DARKLY, and how hard we worked to remain faithful to Philip K. Dick, and that was our big concern here.”

The 26 episode Sunrise tv series and BONES movie followed a hard luck cadre of bounty hunters in the waning days of wild west period of solar system wide colonization: haunted but slick ex-gangster Spike Spiegel, grizzled veteran ex-cop Jet Black, gambler/femme fatale Faye Valentine, incorrigible hacker Ed, and data dog Ein.

Combining artful homages to Western media, inventive direction from Shinichiro Watanabe and eclectic music from Yoko Kanno, Cowboy Bebop won over many fans when it was released on DVD by Bandai Entertainment and aired on Adult Swim.

Singer Producing Capeshooters

Bryan Singer will produce Capeshooters, a comic-book adaptation, for Warner Brothers, Variety reported.

Singer, who has directed such superhero films as X-Men and Superman Returns, is interested in exploring the darker side of the subject. He will be only a producer on the project.

In Capeshooters, two slackers become paparazzi who specialize in shooting covert videos of superheroes and find themselves on the run after they stumble onto evidence that a revered superhero is actually a villain.

J.P. Lavin and Chad Damiani will write the script.

The project is based on an upcoming comic creation by Rob Liefeld, the former Marvel Comics artist who left to become co-founder of Image Comics.

Ventimiglia: Heroes Shocks

Milo Ventimiglia, who plays the power-absorbing Peter Petrelli in NBC's Heroes, told SCI FI Wire that the upcoming third season will shock people--and not just because something happens to his character in the very beginning of the season premiere.

"I think a lot of people are going to be shocked," Ventimiglia said in an interview at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., over the weekend. "Not only between the opening moments of the season, but every single scene of every single character that comes through. I think people are really going to be excited, surprised, fascinated. I mean, I flip through the scripts just as fast as I can, and I'm blown away by what I see, and I'm really excited to see, like, the 'holy s--t!' moments, you know?"

The upcoming third season is subtitled "Villains," which also applies to the dark side of his character, Ventimiglia said. "As good-hearted and well-intentioned as Peter is, exploring that darker side is inevitable," he said. "And, I think, you know, you're going to see some people that have walked a very shadowed past, possibly walking on the good side."

Look for the Petrelli brothers--Peter and Nathan (Adrian Pasdar)--to spend more time together, he added. "Keeping the brothers Petrelli apart for very long is a detriment to something that is great between those two characters," Ventimiglia said. "I've spent a lot of time with Adrian, ... very happily."

As for Nathan's apparent death at the end of last season? Doesn't everyone always come back? "I know that the beginning of this year, [series creator and executive producer] Tim [Kring] said to me--I don't know what he said to anybody else--but he said, 'If you die this year, you're dead.' So. I mean, those of us who do have that ability [to resurrect]--myself and Claire and who else? I guess the two of them. Those are the two that really can't [die]. There could be more."

Ventimiglia added that he's been doing a lot of stunt work this season. "Been beat up, been bruised, but I'm walking and standing and maybe moving a little slower today," he said. Heroes returns Sept. 22 with a retrospective clip show at 8 p.m. ET/PT and a two-hour season premiere at 9.

Pixar and SPI host studio nights at SIGGRAPH 2008

As part of the newly expanded format of the Computer Animation Festival, SIGGRAPH 2008 will feature three all-star production studio nights hosted by industry powerhouses Pixar Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Lucasfilm.

In addition to the August 12-14 festival's popular competition and invited screenings, festival talks and production sessions, each studio will host evening events at Los Angeles' famed Nokia Theatre.

Highlights will include an exclusive advance screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, preceded by a conversation between animation director John Knoll and director David Filoni; discussions with some of the industry's most notable pioneers, such as John Lasseter and Frederic Back; and a memorial tribute to renowned visual effects supervisor, makeup artist and film director Stan Winston.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have these three production icons participate in this year's Festival," stated SIGGRAPH 2008 conference entertainment director Jill Smolin. "The programs presented by each of these studios not only highlight the some of the best animated works and creators in the world, but also provide an excellent education to the general public on the industry and just what it takes to make these animations come to life."

The complete schedule of the Computer Animation Festival production studio nights includes:

Pixar Animation Studios
8 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, August 12

Screening of L'homme Qui Plantait Des Arbres (The Man Who Planted Trees), followed by a conversation with Frederic Back and John Lasseter

For more than 20 years, Lasseter has redefined the animation industry, shaping the way we watch animation and showing us the sweetness, complexities, and hilarities in the simplest and most unlikely places.

Back, a two-time Academy Award winner for Crac and The Man Who Planted Trees, joins Lasseter for a rare conversation about the passions to which he has committed his life: animation, art, and the environment.

Screening of The Pixar Story with introduction and Q&A by director Leslie Iwerks and friends

An in-depth look behind the scenes of the ground-breaking company that pioneered a new generation of animation and forever changed the face of filmmaking. Using never-before-seen footage from the Pixar library, along with historic archival animation and first-hand accounts by animators, studio executives, directors, producers, and voice performers, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Iwerks tells the riveting story of the Bay Area start-up that revolutionized Hollywood.

Sony Pictures Imageworks
8 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, August 13

Saying that Stan Winston helped transform visual effects into a legendary industry is just a start to recognizing his contribution and his legacy. He altered the course of movies when he transformed makeup effects from latex to animatronics. His credo, "I don't do effects, I do characters," provided the foundation for a veritable galaxy of interstellar aliens, menacing chrome robots, and predatory dinosaurs. His work blurred the lines between makeup, puppetry and visual effects.

In films ranging from Terminator to Edward Scissorhands to Iron Man, audiences could barely discern where the actor ended and the effects began. Winston inspired legions of directors, visual effects supervisors, and artists to stretch their abilities beyond what they knew to be possible. He challenged imagination, inspired creativity, and invented worlds we couldn't have conceived otherwise. His insatiable curiosity even moved beyond the film world into robotics and artificial intelligence, in innovations that found their way from the labs at MIT to the workshop in Van Nuys.

Sony Pictures Imageworks, in conjunction with Stan Winston Studios, hosts an evening of tributes, celebrations and memories of Winston and his characters by family, friends and peers.

A special clip reel created by Digital Domain, of which Winston used to be part owner, will be shown, and the evening will close with a screening of
Terminator 2

8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, August 14

Lucasfilm presents an advance screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the much-anticipated animated feature film from director Dave Filoni and executive producer George Lucas that opens to the public on Friday, August 15. This event, hosted by ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll, begins with a discussion of the film's unique design and signature style. The intergalactic struggle between good and evil continues with a screening of the next Star Wars adventure to hit the silver screen.

SIGGRAPH 2008 will bring an estimated 30,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from six continents to Los Angeles for the industry's most respected technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, gaming, interactivity, education and the Web at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Celebrating its 35th year, SIGGRAPH 2008 includes a three-day exhibition of products and services from the computer graphics and interactive marketplace. More than 250 international exhibiting companies are expected.

The Computer Animation Festival is open to the public, with day passes available for as low as $50. For details on the complete Computer Animation Festival schedule of events and registration information, visit

Eric Goldberg book signing

If you miss Eric Goldberg’s signing at the San Diego Comic Con Thursday - at Stuart Ng’s booth (Booths #5012 and #5022) between 2-4 (and again Friday, Saturday 11-12 noon) - he’ll be signing his book one more time in Los Angeles. On Wednesday night, August 6th, between 7-9pm at the Samuel French Bookshop in Studio City, Eric will be autographing copies of his Character Animation Crash Course at an event hosted by the Creative Talent Network. Buy the book, meet Eric and shmooze with hotshot animation folk. Now you have two opportunities.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Star Wars 3D Confirmed

Last year George Lucas mentioned that he’d be keen on re-releasing the six “Star Wars” movies in 3-D.

Today, Dreamworks’ Animation CEO and big-time 3D supporter Jeffrey Katzenberg told Coming Soon Lucas is definitely going to give us Jabba in the third-dimension sometime in the near future.

“He isn’t going to put a product out, I think, that isn’t anything other than first rate,” Katzenberg said.

Before then though, we’ll have the opportunity to catch “Star Wars : The Clone Wars”, Lucas’s new toon spin-off of the prequel series, in 3D.

I guess he’s still gotta pay the bills huh? (but does anyone else wish he’d just move on and do something else?)

From the Animation Guild Blog:


DreamWorks Animation's Lakeside Building, located in the magical burg of Glendale, California.

I whiled away the morning at the cartoon studio that hugs the shore of the Los Angeles River, wandering the Lakeside building. As I've mentioned, the structure (seen above) is undergoing extensive renovation and enlargment (a bunch of hit films will do that) ...

A couple of the lower floors, still occupied by artists, have hammering, drilling and floating dust. Happily, the artists are through the worst of it as the loudest construction is done at night ... and the employees have now been offered other relief:

"We've all gotten noise neutralizing earphones, and they help a lot. Wish we'd gotten them a couple months sooner than we did ..."

So work on Monsters and Aliens continues merrily along, with the irritating workplace noises (mostly) blocked out.

I found out one other fine thing. A feature director informed me that for the past several months DreamWorks Animation has had its own Starbucks.

Its own Starbucks. This places DreamWorks on a par with the Disney lot, that has its Starbucks in the Frank Wells Building.

And people say the big corporations don't care.

From the Animation Guild Blog:

The Simpsons Animation Crew Gets Resuscitated

Simpsons artists are being rehired, unit by unit, at Film Roman for the Yellow Family's (slightly abbreviated) new season:

"Crews for four episodes are back working, about every two weeks a new group gets hired for a new show. Some people have been out for eight or nine months, what with writers' strike and the voice actors' wildcat strike. I've been lucky. I was only gone for three months ..."

Another item of interest, at least to me: I'm informed The Simpsons is going high def this year.

"The screen ratio is changing to take advantage of the newer LCD screen shape -- a square next to a square. It's not the feature's ratio exactly, but it's wider than the old teevee shape we were doing before, and it's taking a little getting used to. The fielding is different." ...

Elsewhere in the building, crew is back working on a new group of King of the Hill episodes. Nobody told me if the screen ratio is changing for that animated series ...

Transformers Sequel Logo Revealed

Just in time for the San Diego Comic-Con, Paramount/DreamWorks has updated the official website for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, coming to theaters on June 26, 2009. Directed by Michael Bay, the sequel stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Isabel Lucas and Rainn Wilson.

Cartoon Network Developing Three Comic Book Adaptations

Cartoon Network has kicked off development on three comic book titles: "Firebreather," "The Vanishers" and "Mice Templar." Image Comic's "Firebreather," created by Phil Hester, and "Mice Templar," by Mike Avon Oeming and Bryan Glass, will be developed as animated original movies. IDW Publishing's "The Vanishers," created by Chuck Dixon, will be produced as a live-action original movie.

"We're thrilled to expand our movie slate with both cinematic quality CG and live action," said Ramsey Naito, vice president of long-form at Cartoon Network. "As we bring these and other titles into development, we'll be seeking out projects that combine distinct voices with striking, contemporary visual worlds."

"Firebreather" tells the story of awkward teenager Duncan Rosenblatt, a typical high school kid in most respects, but atypical in one very big way: his dad is a fire-breathing dragon, and Duncan's destiny is to protect the earth. Duncan must go to school, try to fit in, and in his off time, fulfill his destiny. Created and co-executive-produced by Phil Hester ("The Wretch"), "Firebreather" is executive-produced by Julia Pistor ("Lemony Snicket") and co-executive-produced by Andy Kuhn ("Freedom Ring"), and Jim Kreig ("Ben 10: Alien Force") joins as writer.

"Mice Templar" is an epic based on Mike Avon Oeming's ("Powers") and Bryan Glass' ("Magician Apprentice") comic book series about a young mouse named Karic and the prophecy that leads him to reunite the long disbanded order of the Mice Templar. Karic, chosen to be a warrior, bravely rescues his village and carries on the tradition of this mighty band of mice-knights.

"The Vanishers" is Chuck Dixon's ("Batman" comics) action-packed tale of fifth graders Andy and Arvis and their adventures through time. The duo sets out on their trans-dimensional mission to collect precious information from Arvis' time-traveling family. It turns out the Arvises are on the run from a group of treacherous villains who are armed with deadly robots and are intent on taking control of time itself in an effort to enslave humanity. "The Vanishers" is executive-produced by Circle of Confusion's Rick Jacobs ("The Suffering"), David Alpert ("Them") and Ted Adams, president of IDW Publishing.

The Dark Knight Crushes $200 Million Record

Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight broke another record on Tuesday becoming the fastest ever to cross the $200 million mark in five days! The previous record of eight days was held by three films - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Spider-Man 2 and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins follow-up added $20.87 million on Tuesday to push its massive total to $203.8 million. That puts it at #84 already on the all-time domestic blockbuster list after just five days.

Right now, the only number we have for international markets is $41.3 million but that will start going up significantly as the movie is opening in many countries Thursday and Friday as well as into August.

So let's recap - widest release (4,366 theaters), biggest midnight opening ($18.5M), biggest opening weekend ($158.4M), biggest July opener ($158.4M), biggest PG-13 rated opening ($158.4M), biggest single day ($67.2M), biggest opening day ($67.2M), biggest Friday ($67.2M), biggest Sunday ($43.6M), biggest IMAX opening ($6.3M) and fastest to $200M in five days ($203.8M).

San Diego: Bill Presing

Pixar storyboard artist and Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher co-creator Bill Presing will debut his new “cute cartoon girl” book Bookplate Betties at the Red Window booth (#4800). A preview of the book can be found on Bill’s blog. He’ll be sharing the booth with a couple other talented artists down from Emeryville: Scott Morse and Jeff Pidgeon. Click Pidgeon’s link to find a crazily detailed diary of his San Diego experience. If Jeff figures out how to add some funky-smelling odors to his blog, it’d be just like the real thing.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

San Diego: JJ Villard

JJ Villard, who set the animation world ablaze a few years back with his amazing student films and then somehow ended up working at DreamWorks for a while, will be offering his wares for the first time in San Diego. At booth A-04, Villard will debut a full-color book of his artwork titled “Someones Getn Fucked Tonight” as well as a DVD (that I highly recommend) of seven of his animated shorts including Son of Satan and Chestnuts Icelolly.

His work is also included in Scrambled Ink, a promising comic anthology put together by DreamWorks story artists. Scrambled Ink, premiering in San Diego, is published by Dark Horse, and all of the artists (including JJ) will be doing a signing at the Dark Horse booth on Friday, July 25 from 1-2pm. Also, keep an eye out for which will be launching soon.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

San Diego: The Art of Andy

The Art of Andy is a 120-page book of artwork by longtime character designer Andy Suriano (Samurai Jack, Powerpuff Girls and Star Wars: Clone Wars). He describes it on his blog as a “hardcover, full color smorgasbord of designs and sketches ranging from development ideas, Samurai Jack models and Clone Wars layouts…to comic book pages and paintings, many never before seen!” The book is $25 and debuts in San Diego this week at the Art of Fiction Booth (#523). More details about where Andy will be signing the book in San Diego, as well as where to get the book if you’re not attending the Con, can be found on Suriano’s blog.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

San Diego: Depth Charge

It looks like Katzenberg’s mania for 3-D is rubbing off on his artists. DreamWorks animator Donnachada Daly has created a new art book called Depth Charge: 3D Illusions in which all of his lovely line drawings are presented in stereoscopic 3D. It will debut in San Diego at table B-8. For additional details, as well as instructions on how to view the 3D images without glasses, head over to Donnachada’s blog.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II announced

ComingSoon reports that a sequel to Robot Chicken’s Emmy-award nominated Star Wars spoof is on it’s way. Titled Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II, the special will “focus on the bounty hunters a bit and explore their stories,” co-creator Matt Senreich explains. “It’s a geek fest for us all.” Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II will premier on Adult Swim on November 16 at 11:30 p.m.

Ottawa Selections Announced

The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) has announce the films that have been selected to compete in this year’s event, which takes place Sept. 17 -21 in Ottawa, Ontario. From the record breaking 2149 entries, 97 short films, four features and four schools have made the cut for competition screenings. An additional 26 films will be shown in out-of-competition Showcase screenings.

The feature competition will be a showdown between Bill Plympton’s Idiots & Angels, the surreal anthology Fear[s] Of The Dark from six international animators/directors, Sita Sings The Blues—a modern animated interpretation of an Indian epic—and director Ari Folman’s much-talked-about animated documentary Waltz With Bashir, which retraces the 1982 Lebanon War from a highly personal point of view.

Returning to the shorts competition are two of last year’s grand prize winners. Augenblick Studios, whose Golden Age won Best Commissioned Animation, is back with the Superjail installment “Combaticus.” Japan’s Koji Yamamura (Japan) won last year’s grand prize for Best Independent Short Animation with Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor, and returns this year with the experimental short A Child’s Metaphysics (Kodomo no Keljijogaku). Other selections from past festival favorites include Don Hertzfeldt’s I Am So Proud of You, Run Wrake’s The Control Master and PES’ Western Spaghetti. A complete listing of all the film selections can be found at

Ottawa will also host a 20th anniversary screening of Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, with its Oscar award winning animation director Richard Williams in attendance. Animated showcases will include Blue Toons: A Night of Naughty Animation; The New Wave of Japanese Animation; and a four-part program based on Looking for A Place to Happen: On the Road with Canadian Animators, the new book by the festival’s artistic director, Chris Robinson.

Retrospectives this year include a look at the best-animated films made in Switzerland over the last ten years; an exhibition that explores the use of sound in animation; a surrealistic spotlight on experimental filmmaker Skip Battaglia; a look at the music videos of Jonas Odell (U2, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp) and Christopher Mills (Rush, Sam Roberts, The Tragically Hip, Mandy Moore, Modest Mouse, Interpol); plus rare animated propaganda clips of Porky Pig, Felix the Cat, the Flintstones, Bugs Bunny and Bullwinkle in the program Brainwashed! Cartoons That Influence Your Mind. There will also be a retrospective look at the work of Oscar-nominated and Emmy-award-winning artist Michael Sporn, best known for his adaptations of children's storybooks including Raggedy Ann & Andy.

Tortoise Joins Henson’s Unstable Fables

Unstable Fables: Tortoise Vs. Hare, the second in a series of animated productions from The Weinstein Co. and Genius Products, will be released on DVD on Sept. 9 from. Created by The Jim Henson Co., Prana Animation Studios and Flame Ventures, the CG film puts a modern twist on the classic Tortoise and the Hare story with help from a voice cast that includes talk-show host Jay Leno (Ice Age 2), Danny Glover (Dreamgirls), Vivica A. Fox (Ella Enchanted), Keke Palmer (Akeelah And The Bee) and Drake Bell (Drake and Josh).

The movie fast-forwards 15 years beyond the original fabled race to reveal that the rivalry between Walter the Tortoise (Glover) and Murray the Hare (Leno) is alive and well. Ready for a rematch, the competitive duo makes the event a family affair by recruiting their kids to join the upcoming Mt. Impossible Nature Adventure Race.

Bonus materials will include a special tutorial on how to draw a character from the movie, as well as an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the animation process, voice recordings and other aspects of the production. Carrying a suggested retail price of $19.97, the pic will be followed later this year by Unstable Fable installments 3 Pigs and a Baby and The Goldilocks and the Three Bears Show.

Paramount, Legacy Team for Movie Games

Paramount Digital Entertainment and Legacy Interactive are developing video games based on the popular Paramount films Clueless, Mean Girls and Pretty in Pink. The girl-centric titles represent further growth in an industry that has traditionally catered to the young male demographic. Release dates have not be announced.

In Clueless: The Game, the player will take on the part of Cher, who is trying to find the perfect boyfriends for all her pals. Players will need to figure out what kind of guy their friends want by noticing what clothes these potential suitors wear and what sort of interests they have. Once Cher knows what they want, she will have to pick out the right elements to make the perfect man for them.

Mean Girls: High School Showdown will allow players to take on the role of a student trying to restore balance to the many cliques in their high school and to end the reign of the terrible "Plastic clique," comprised of the prettiest and meanest girls. To do this, players will need to unite the cliques by using various tricks. Some will choose to take the high road by using kind words and revealing important truths at the right time, while others will use the Plastic's own evil tricks against them.

Fans of the hit ’80s movie Pretty in Pink will be able to take part in all the teenage angst, love and friendship by solving a variety of fun and challenging visual puzzles. Andie, Duckie, Blane and a number of other characters from the film return to play out the romantic fairytale love story, the fate of which is now in the hands of the player.

Hasbro Drafted for Clone Wars

On July 26, Hasbro will begin rolling out its line of toys based on Lucasfilm’s CG-animated theatrical feature and television series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The movie will arrive in theaters on Aug. 15, and the series will begin airing on Cartoon Network this fall, followed by airings on TNT. Hasbro will also launch other new Star Wars toys on Saturday, including the largest Millennium Falcon toy ever designed and new characters from the Star Wars Transformers universe.

Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars toy line will include the Clone Trooper Voice Changer Helmet, a two-foot-long AT-TE vehicle that can transport 20 trooper figures, the Ultimate Lightsaber with more than a thousand different combinations, and a total of 20 different basic action figures,

The new Millennium Falcon toy is approximately 30% larger than the original 1979 version and includes authentic electronic lights and sounds and can accommodate up to 18 action figures. Kids can be the envy of the block for the suggested retail price of $149.99. Fans can also build their own unique droids with the 3 ¾-inch Basic Figures Droid Factory, and combine the best of two worlds with the Star Wars Transformers assortment of 18 convertible figures.

Nick's 'AVATAR' Animation Series Finale Scores Big Ratings

'Avatar' Ratings News

Nickelodeon's hit television animation Avatar: The Last Airbender ended its highly anticipated Third Season with a huge draw.

The program scored the original series' highest ratings ever, and earning the number-one spot on broadcast and basic cable television for the week with kids and tweens.

The Season Three finale, broadcast as a four-part two-hour television special entitled "Sozin's Comet" (Sat., July 19th, 8:00pm ET/PT), wrapped up an entire week of new, half-hour episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender. The Season/Series Finale found the program's four traditional heroes--Aang, Katara, Sokka & Toph--pooling their resources and gathering their strength for one final battle against the Fire Nation.

While a truly evil and seemingly unstoppable Fire Lord Ozai and his menacing daughter, Princess Azula, proclaim political authority over the rest of the planet; allegiances for turning the tide and restoring the balance of the world conspire to save humanity. The entire week's new Avatar episodes, including the Saturday evening season finale, reached an astounding 19.0 million Total Viewers, combined.

The weeklong television event, called "Countdown to the Comet," also included a one-hour TV movie mid-week entitled "The Boiling Rock" (Wednesday, July 16th, 8:00pm ET/PT). During which, fans of the cartoon were treated to a well-written and well-plotted tale of heroism and friendship as the most unlikely of tag-teams--the humorous Sokka, the all-too serious Zuko--partnered their wits to break into (and out of) a rival group's most high security prison system. Much like the other episodes which aired in the previous week, "The Boiling Rock" devised a clever combination of martial arts action, character stratagem and actionable dialogue.

Ratings highlights for Nick's Avatar week include:

-- The season/series finale, "Sozin's Comet," was one of the top five telecasts on broadcast and basic cable television for the week of 7/14 - 7/22/08, averaging 5.6 million Total Viewers (P2+), reportedly up +195% over last year's time-period.

-- "Sozin's Comet" earned the highest Avatar: the Last Airbender ratings ever with the Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14 viewing audiences, exhibiting triple-digit increases in all kid and tween demographics. The television special averaged an 8.9/1.9 million K6-11 (an phenomenal increase of +123%), and a 9.2/2.0 million Tw9-14 (+229%).

-- The Wednesday, July 16th episode, "The Boiling Rock," drew 4.0 million Total Viewers, according to reports, and averaged a 6.9/1.4 million K6-11 (+86%), and a 7.1/1.5 million Tw9-14 (+122%) household and audience delivery.

-- The Thursday, July 17th episode, "The Southern Raiders," which tracked warrior girl Katara's vengeful mission to scout out the killer of her long-deceased mother, earned 4.2 million Total Viewers. This episode, like other Avatar items on Nick, ranked as one of top fifteen programs in all of basic cable for the week.

-- The Friday, July 18th episode, "The Ember Island Players," which served as one of the most entertaining recap-episodes many fans of the show can remember, raked in 4.5 million (P2+) viewers.

-- On average, the weeklong Avatar premieres earned a 7.6/1.7 million viewership among the highly valuable Tween 9-14 audience (+130%); a 7.3/1.5 million return with Kids 6-11 (+83%); and 4.6 million among Total Viewers.

-- The new Avatar: the Last Airbender online Game of the Week, as published on Nickelodeon's website, Rise of the Phoenix King generated almost 815,000 game plays (recorded 7/17 - 7/20/08) and in only three days, became the number-two online game for the stated week.

-- During last week's string of new-to-air premiere episodes, the Avatar: the Last Airbender animated series became the number-one message board visited on the Nickelodeon website (

on Nickelodeon: Nickelodeon, now in its 29th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does.

The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films.

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