Monday, September 8, 2008

News - 09/08/08...

Gatchaman 10 Sec Trailer Clip!

The official site has released some more trailer images and a 10 second movie clip which is the last shot of the trailer for GATCHAMAN!

The film is set to be released sometime in 2009.

The original Gatchaman story revolves around five young superhero ninjas engaged by the International Science Organization to oppose a group of technologically advanced villains, known as Galactor, from trying to take control of the Earth's natural resources. To do so, the ninjas battle various giant monsters deployed by Galactor to capture rare resources.

Check out the 10 sec. clip and new images below or click HERE.

Kevin Geiger on independent film business planning

The AO Channel on YouTube now features excerpt 1 and excerpt 2 from his informal presentation on independent film business planning, delivered at the Griffith University Film School in Brisbane this past May, at the behest of hisy friend and colleague Craig Caldwell.

The CW 4Kids' Keeps "The Spectacular Spider-Man" On Schedule For Fall

The CW 4Kids' will be keeping The Spectacular Spider-Man for at least the first half of the upcoming 2008-2009 television programming season.

4Kids Entertainment has announced the fall schedule for both its Fox and The CW programming blocks, and The Spectacular Spider-Man will retain its current 9am (ET) weekend timeslot on The CW 4Kids'. Repeats of The Spectacular Spider-Man's first season will continue to air. The series is expected to stay on the block until 2009, when The Spectacular Spider-Man is likely to move to another network for its second season.

'Dark Knight' claims IMAX record

From a press release

Movie Continues to Draw Big Crowds at IMAX(R)Theatres in Seventh Week

IMAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that 'The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience' has crossed the $55 million mark in worldwide gross box office receipts after its seventh week of release. As of Friday, the film reached a total of $43.2 million from 101 IMAX screens domestically and $12 million from 41 IMAX screens internationally.

"The exceptional box office performance of The Dark Knight in IMAX(R) theatres is contributing to the film's very strong legs and fantastic summer theatrical run," said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "Many repeat customers are experiencing the film in IMAX theatres."

"Chris Nolan's innovative vision is taking IMAX's format to new heights, and his film's impact on ticket sales is unprecedented," said IMAX Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "The ability to cross this milestone so quickly shows us that more people are visiting IMAX theatres than ever before, underscoring the real potential and appetite for The IMAX Experience(R)."

"There's no stopping The Dark Knight," added Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "Thanks to a strong marketing campaign and release strategy from Warner Bros. Pictures, as well as an exceptionally well-made movie from Chris Nolan, IMAX theatres have been selling out shows all summer long. We're grateful to our partners, for incorporating IMAX into the design of this extraordinary film."

The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience features six sequences filmed with IMAX cameras, which marks the first time ever that a major feature film has been even partially shot using IMAX cameras, marking a revolutionary integration of the two film formats.

Bob Bergen Announces '08 Voice-Over Workshop Dates, One-Man Show in Atlanta

Voice actor and trainer Bob Bergen will be traveling to several cities this year to teach his 2-day Animation Voice-Over Workshop. Bergen will be returning to Atlanta, GA on Oct. 18-19, 2008 for his Workshop at Captive Sound Studios. The evening before, October 17, he will be performing his one man show -- Bob Bergen: So, Here's the Deal -- at The Basement Theatre in Atlanta, at 8:30 P.M.

Tickets for the one man show are $15.00 and are selling out, but can still be purchased online at or through the theatre directly.

As of press time, there were 5 spots left for his workshop in Atlanta and Toon Zone readers can claim a 10% discount if you sign up for the class by September 20, 2008. The workshop is aimed at anyone wanting to expand their range for voice-over, theatre or improv, with lessons on how to create and sustain original characters, mic and audition technique, the do's and don’ts of demos, the agent/client relationship, the business of the business, one-on-one time in the booth with Bob, and more.

Bergen's schedule for the remainder of 2008:

Dallas, TX - October 11 and 12
Atlanta, GA - Bob Bergen: So, Here's the Deal - Oct. 17
Atlanta, GA - October 18 and 19
Boulder, CO - November 1 and 2
New York City, NY - December 6 & 7 (SOLD OUT)
Sarasota, FL - December 13 and 14

Flyers with more information can be accessed on Bergen's website.

Auditors are welcome to audit the classes for $75.00 per day. Space is limited and needs to be reserved in advance.

Questions and reservations can be directed to workshop producer Marian Massaro at 914-948-7515 or

Live-action 'Ninja Turtles' rumor deemed bogus

Fans will recall that last week news went round the web that 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' creator Kevin Eastman said the new movie was to be live-action instead of CGI and would be a "back to the basics" re-invention, a la 'Batman Begins'.

Well, Steve Murphy, writer of many a 'Ninja Turtle' non-film project has a different take on things.

"...complete nonsense and entirely untrue [emphasis his]," is what Murphy writes of Eastman's comments on his blog The 5th Turtle. The writer does not elaborate beyond that.

Interestingly, the original posting at Eastman's 'Heavy Metal' message boards has been deleted.

Upcoming in Japan

Anime Nation reports Yasuomi Umetsu's blog has revealed that he will be writing a sequel to his Kite Liberator OVA

Tetsudou Musume ("Railway Girl"), the manga based on a line of figures featuring young women dressed will be adapted into a live action series.

Street racing anime/manga Initial D will continue in Initial D Extra Stage 2: Tabidachi no Green, scheduled to be released on DVD December 5th.

Via Anime News Network

Harold Sakuishi's 77 page side story to his rock manga Beck in the October issue (on sale on September 6) of Kodansha's Monthly Shonen Magazine. "The Last Day of Eddie Lee" captures a new facet of the 34 volume manga series.

Shin Jigoku Shoujo (New Hell Girl) commences in the new issue of Kodansha's Nakayoshi. Miyuki Etoo will return to draw the manga.

The new Hell Girl anime, Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, will premiere on October 4.

Jump Square will be collaborating with makers of the musical adaptation of The Prince of Tennis on a "miraculous" future project.

Kozue Amano, creator of the pastoral sci-fi manga Aria, will launch a currently untitled manga series in Mag Garden's Comic Blade.

Japanator collects rumors concerning the Gurren Lagann movie

Ryuganji reports "nobody and Horipro talent Kinami Haruka" has been cast as Koizumi Kyoko in the second part of the live action adaptation of Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys. The character is a teenage would-be groupie who stumbles into the sight of the "Friend" cult.

Battle Spirits
Vampire Knight Guilty
Studio 4C's First Squad

Worth Checking Out...


Via Ninja Consultants, anime podcast luminaries record their Otakon Gathering

Anime Jump's Mike Toole return to ANNtv to presents Dubs That Time Forgot

Episode 74 of Right Stuf's Anime Today podcast features YEN PLUS monthly anthology – Co-Publishing Director Kurt Hassler and Senior Editor JuYoun Lee.

In this new interview, Hassler and Lee discuss YEN PLUS’ launch, the role they feel anthologies can play in the North American manga and graphic novel market, the selection process to determine which titles appeared in the debut issue, and what fans can expect to see in future issues.

P. Craig Russell's illustrations from the comic adaptation of Sandman: Dream Hunters, the original of which was illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano

Robotech is now available through iTunes



Eye on Anime spoke to Helen McCarthy about the Osamu Tezuka retrospective

Publishers Weekly talks to translator Ryan Sands (Same Hat! Same Hat!) about Tokyo Zombie

Sci-Fi Japan spoke to Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt about Yokai Attack

Alan Burnett and Greg Rucka on Batman: Gotham Knight



A preview of the Gurren Lagann focused Protoculture Addicts #97

Otaku USA tips their hat on what's to come from the magazine.

Popculture Shick posted a preview of the the Afro Samurai manga, as well as a look at how work evolved



AniPages Daily works up to episode 9 in the blog's Kaiba analysis

Otaku USA's online coverage include surveys of The Slayers and Metal Gear Solid, as well as features on Gunbuster vs Diebuster, Turn A Gundam and Gateway anime

Efforts against unauthorized translations are stepped up

Via AstroBoy World, UK's Telegraph looks at the animators of the CGI AstroBoy and Gatchaman, Imagi

UK's Guardian gives is too enthusiastic about Ponyo

Iwa ni Hana on The meaning of 'youen' and Mononoke

A look into the Japanese anime industry



Intermixi and have launched a "Show Us Your Dubs" contest for old school, VHS era fans

A list of September anime releases and conventions

An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla presents Tatsuji Kajita's Godzilla: Asahi Sonorama Sono Sheet cover art

Ultraman re-purposed

Via Awesome Engine Haruhi Suzumiya vs Jojo's Bizarre Adventure mash-up

"Mortal Kombat" Still In Limbo

Christopher 'mink' Morrison, director of the upcoming sequel/re-invention of the game-turned-film "Mortal Kombat", tells Moviehole that the project is still a while off.

"Mortal Kombat is still in the money stage. MK more than likely will be an indie film [despite a] projected budget that will be between 50-60 million so it is a bit more tricky than just running down to the ATM or writing a cashiers check" he says.

Production company Threshold is "working out the financing through a studio and or equity situation. This will take as long as needs to take. I know the frustration this causes the awesome MK fans but that's the fact."

What about casting? "Threshold have final say along with Midway as far as the cast goes so they will make that call. In regards to the past cast they and myself have met with a lot of the previous cast and they are all in the mix but as the money must come first so casting is a still a few steps away."

Columbia Scares Up New Ghostbusters

Columbia Pictures is setting up a new installment of its blockbuster Ghostbusters film franchise, hiring The Office co-executive producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky to write a script, Variety reported.

The intent is to reunite the original cast of Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson, the trade paper reported.

The studio would not comment on the development and has been mum on recent rumors that there was interest in making another installment of the franchise.

The writers just wrote Year One, a comedy that was directed by Ramis. Ramis with Aykroyd wrote the first two Ghostbusters movies.

No deals will be made with the original cast until the script is ready.

Does McG want to remake "Blade Runner"?

It sure sounds that way.

Variety profiled Halycon founders Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek (in their "10 producers to watch" feature) and as part of their piece on the hot young producers behind the upcoming Terminator Salvation, asked McG, director of the latter, for a few words.

McG mentioned he'd love to work with the boys again on something, remarking that he's made "'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'", the Philip K.Dick novel that inspired Ridley Scott's cult masterpiece "Blade Runner" (1982), required reading on set, adding "That would be a good one", McG tells Variety.

Um, "a good one" to do with the boys!? What!?

McG says it as if "Electric Sheep" hasn't ever been made into a film - strange. Surely he's seen "Blade Runner", right? Suppose that's never stopped anyone from remaking a classic before- having not seen the original.

No need to worry - Halycon don't own the rights to "Blade Runner" ... not at the time of writing anyway.

Stallone As Batman?

A few weeks back graphic novelist Frank Miller, author of "The Dark Knight Returns", mentioned he'd like to see his ‘decrepit Batman' tale get the big screen treatment one day. And while it is only a pipe dream of his - ya never know though, Batman is pretty darn hot right now - the speculation as to who would get to play Batman-in-retirement has already started up.

Many seem to favor Clint Eastwood as the ripened superhero - and when a film version of ‘'The Dark Knight Returns'' was rumored about five years ago, Eastwood was tipped to take the role; not sure whether that was just BS or there was actually progress on a film - but Miller has another idea.... One that just led to Ab King having to change from his Rambo undies into his Rocky boxers.

Sylvester Stallone.

‘'Just that mouth of his, the scowl and the way it would look in a mask," Miller told a reporter from The LA Times. "I loved 'Rocky Balboa.' This wounded warrior, that's what Batman is in 'Dark Knight Returns.' "

Hmm. Don't see it myself - - if anything, I'm having nightmarish flashbacks of "Judge Dredd".

But again, it's nothing more than a suggestion of Frank's... nobody need to cook up a photoshopped poster of "Dark Knight Returns" with Stallone's name above the title just yet.

Raimi and Maguire Set for Spider-Man 4?

Back in May, Cinematical was the first to report that Sony Pictures might shoot Spider-Man 4 and Spider-Man 5 at the same time using James Vanderbilt's script that the site said spans two films.

Now, Deadline Hollywood Daily has added on that director Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire have apparently signed on the dotted line for Spider-Man 4, which the studio is targeting for a May 2011 release.

DHD adds that there's no deal for Kirsten Dunst to return as Mary Jane Watson yet, but the character will be featured and the studio would not recast her.

As for the baddie in the fourth picture, the site says that principal photography doesn't start until the fall of 2009 and that once we find out who the villain we'll know who is playing it. Naturally, speculation would put Dylan Baker's character Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard at the head of the line, but who knows?

According to the site, "the studio is trying to figure out if it can feasibly shoot Spider-Man 4 and 5 at the same time because doing that is so cost effective and 'it wasn't so easy to get everybody back together.'"

DHD also says that Sony has hired two screenwriters to pen the new script for the Spidey spin-off Venom.

Is this all accurate? We'll have to wait and see if/when the studio starts making some announcements, which could be a while!

A Few Thoughts On The Future of the Spidey Franchise

Supernaut waxes poetic on upcoming Spidey movies -

It seems like there's been more talk lately about Spider-Man 4, and it's got me thinking about different places I'd like to see the franchise go.

I'm glad to hear that Sam Raimi will be back along with Tobey Maguire. Obviously, the best person to have behind the camera is one that loves and respects the character. Also, I think Raimi deserves a chance to redeem himself after Spider-Man 3. As far as Maguire goes, I think he's been great so far, though I hope the next film features more fun Spidey action and a little less crying.

But for one minute, let's pretend Raimi and Maguire aren't attached.

Now, the ideas and opinions I'm about to express are nothing more than ridiculous fanboy notions. I'm not asking or expecting you to support my ideas; in fact, I'm assuming you'll tell me I'm a fool.

I'm fully aware that this is not a realistic option for a film franchise, but since I live in a fantasy world 75% of the time, I'm cool with throwing this out there. It's not like I'm getting paid to express my opinions, so if I have a few that aren't financially viable, it's no skin off my back. Anyway...

I'm not a Spidey historian, but I know that at some point he graduated high school, went to college, got a new group of friends and a new look (thank you Mr. Romita) and of course, new writers eventually took over for Stan Lee. I think it would be really cool to see that reflected in the movies.

Sam Raimi made three movies with the same cast and told the story he wanted to tell (except for all that Venom stuff that the studio made him put in there, but that's a story for another blog). Raimi used Silver Age villains and conjured up ideas reminiscent of ye olden days of Spidey. So for the sake of this post, let's say the Raimi/Maguire/Dunst films could be equated to the Lee/Ditko era. I think it would be neat to give another director a shot at two to three Spidey movies with a whole new cast.

I'm not talking reboot here. I'm saying that in the world of comic books, eventually new creative teams take over and the book continues in a different direction. Raimi got his three movies to tell his story, let's see someone else try their hand at the character. Spider-Man 1, 2 and 3 more-or-less had one story running throughout. I'd like to see a new trilogy of Spidey films with a new storyline running through all three.

Compare John Romita's Peter Parker to Steve Ditko's. Both are awesome, but Ditko gave us a gangly little bespectacled nerd while Romita drew Pete as a pretty cool dude. The character stopped being written as a shy little nerd and started being a regular guy. A regular guy who could climb walls, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, they were different styles for different eras and it worked well for the character. Superheroes are constantly being recreated and reinvented every time a new creative team steps on board. Why not try the same approach with a movie franchise?

At best, we could end up with cool new vision of Spidey every three movies - like a storyarc in a comic series. Maybe the Spider-Man franchise could go on forever, continually being reinvented like James Bond.

At worst, we could end up with a modern-day equivalent of the Joel Schumacher Batman movies and the Spidey franchise could be dead for a few years.

Like I said, I know my idea isn't necessarily a good one.

Of course, this is all a moot point. It sounds like Raimi will be back for two more movies and Magure as well. I think that's awesome, as long as I never have to see Dancin' Emo Peter playing piano in a nightclub or Harry and Mary Jane chopping peppers while doing the twist ever again. Lizard? Electro? Mysterio? Hell, I'd even settle for The Shocker - but no flying snowboards. Please.

I hope with the next films we see a return to the brilliance of Spider-Man 2 and I hope we get a lot more of them for many years to come, no matter who's behind or in front of the camera. I really do hope that the Spider-Man franchise becomes something like the James Bond series - no matter what happens or how the character and the times he exists in change, I'd like to always know I can look forward to a new Spidey movie every few years. Some will be better than others, but with any luck, the travesty of Spider-Man 3 will be little more than a footnote in an otherwise awesome franchise.

Monday Mouse Watch : Are you ready to go back to "The Black Hole" ?

Could Disney's desire to get into the super hero movie game eventually lead to yet another "Journey that Begins Where Everything Ends" ? Jim Hill has the details

As Summer gives way to Fall, Disney executives are now reviewing the revenues that the Studio's films produced over the past few months. And to be honest, the sharp pencil boys aren't all that happy.

Everywhere you look, there are disappointments. Be they big ("The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" earned just $141 million during its initial domestic run. Which is less than half of what "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" earned during its stateside release back in 2005) or small (With the $220 million that "WALL-E" has earned domestically to date, this Andrew Stanton film is officially a blockbuster. But that said, Pixar's latest still fell short of what Disney's internal box office projections said this extremely well-reviewed animated feature would earn. Which initially suggested that "WALL-E" would sell $260 - $270 million worth of tickets during its stateside run).

Copyright 2008 Disney / Walden Media. All Rights Reserved

As to why these two high-priced projects (i.e. "Prince Caspian" reportedly cost Disney & Walden Media $200 million to produce, while "WALL-E" allegedly cost Pixar $170 million to produce and an additional $55 million to market) didn't meet expectations, Mouse House officials had a variety of explanations. "Caspian" 's under-performance is now blamed on a poorly chosen release date ("We should have stuck with December," said one suit that I spoke with. "The first 'Narnia' movie did well over the holiday season. We should have stuck with that time of year and not tried to turn 'Narnia' into a summer tentpole"), while "WALL-E" missing its initial box office projections was supposedly caused by a certain caped crusader (" 'The Dark Knight' came out three weeks after 'WALL-E' was released and immediately became the must-see movie of the summer," this Disney exec continued. " That sequel sucked all of the air out of the room. 'WALL-E' & anything else that was released prior to 'Dark Knight' didn't stand a chance after that.")

Given the $512 million that
"The Dark Knight" has grossed domestically to date (or -- for that matter -- the $317 million that "Iron Man"
has earned and the $227 million that "Hancock"
has hauled in this summer), the Walt Disney Company is now wondering if it too needs to get into the comic book movie game. The only problem is ... The movie rights for most of the really good characters & franchises have already been snapped up.

Copyright 2008 Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved

This is why Mickey signed Stan Lee last year. With the hope that Spider-Man's creator might then be able to cook up a few new super heroes for the Mouse House to use. And while that development deal has already begun bearing some fruit with the "Time Jumper" franchise, Disney -- with an eye toward creating the sort of heat within the fan community that film adaptations like "Sin City," "300" and "Watchmen" regularly receive -- is now getting ready to move into the graphic novel market.

Now where this all gets interesting is that the team that the Mouse hired to run its graphic novel division, Kingdom Comics -- Ahmet Zappa, Harris Katleman and Christian Beranek -- was given some very specific marching orders. In that these three were told to go through the Studio's live-action library and then identify titles that would lend themselves to graphic novel adaptation.

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

And according to an interview that Oren Aviv, the president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production, recently had with Disney Newsreel (i.e. the Studio's in-house magazine) ... Some of the films that Ahmet, Harris & Christian have recently been looking at are sure to intrigue / excite the fan community. To whit:

" We're looking now, for example, at what the graphic novel today would read and look like for 'The Black Hole' and what it would be for '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.' "

Copyright 1979 Walt Disney Productions. All Rights Reserved

And when you take into consideration that Walt Disney Studios will actively be eyeballing all of these Kingdom Comics as possible fodder for future feature films ... Well, this late 1970s / early 1980s revival that we've been seeing lately at the Mouse House what with "Race to Witch Mountain" and "TR2N" could actually continue with a brand-new, big screen version of "The Black Hole."

Mind you, if comic book fans had their way ... Well, Disney wouldn't be releasing a new graphic novel version of this December 1979 release. But -- rather -- a collection of those "Black Hole" panels that comic legend Jack Kirby drew for that "Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales" Sunday strip from September of 1979 through February of 1980. This is the one & only time that "King Kirby" ever did a movie adaptation. But that's a story for another time ...

Copyright 1979 Walt Disney Productions. All Rights Reserved

Anyway ... What do you folks think? Do you like the idea of the Walt Disney Company using Stan Lee and Kingdom Comics as a way to get into the super hero game? Or would you prefer that the Mouse stick with the super hero franchises that it already has (i.e. "The Incredibles" & "Sky High") ?

Iron Man DVD Clips & Artwork!

Paramount Home Entertainment has provided us with three "making of" clips from the special features of the Iron Man DVD and Blu-ray Disc, coming to stores on September 30th. The clips and artwork, seen here, which feature director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr., are followed by the outside and inside covers for the Ultimate Edition two-disc sets on both DVD and Blu-ray, as well as the single-disc DVD.

B.O. In The Fall

September has come in on tiptoe, and booming summer box office has gone away. We now have the quieter (read that as smaller) kind of turnstile returns. But let's visit Nikki Finke, with her tap dance on Nic Cage's head already in progress:

.. [T]his looks to be the slowest box office weekend of the entire year (and perhaps the worst weekend in 7 years), with Lionsgate's predictable hit man action pic Bangkok Dangerous the only new wide release. And still Nicolas Cage can't attract an audience. It barely opened Friday with a paltry $2.7 million from 2,650 theaters for what should be just an $7.5 million weekend -- much less than the tracking showed, or about what his film Next debuted to in 2007. Clearly the only reason anyone wants to see Cage is if he's starring in a Marvel comic book movie like Ghost Rider (and Sony is making the sequel, Ghost Rider 2) or Disney's National Treasure franchise. ...

A small aside here. There's plenty of Big Name actors (Willis, Ford, MacGuire) who command sizable paydays when they star in the gargantuan tent-pole blockbusters for which they're known (Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Spidey, etc.), but do pretty much nothing box office-wise when appearing in a non-franchise feature film.

I know the Nikkster rules Hollywood, but why pick on poor old Mr. Cage? There are others in his leaky boat.

Meanwhile, Tropic Thunder looks as if it's going to end up #2 for the weekend, and will probably break through to triple digits in the next week or so.

Downlist, House Bunny is in the third slot while the mighty The Dark Knight resides majestically at #4 and now has $508 million in the hooper.

Sadly, animation is far out of the Top Ten. Clone Wars is fading quickly. It collected $300,000 on Friday and stands at $31,360,000. And 18th place Fly Me To The Moon has a total of $7.2 million.

My tall hopes for Space Chimps have long since been dashed.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

How the Biz Works, How the Pooh Crew was Doubly Screwed

There's been some good points by commenters in the Diz post below. Like this back-and-forth:

Tigger and Pooh crew member: "And people went out and spent money based on the promise of another year of work. So now there are people in economic trouble because of this" ...

Anonymous: Why do people do this?!? DON'T SPEND MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE! It's really not a difficult concept.

I don't disagree with the sentiment above. It's a good idea to be frugal, honestly it is. But a larger point is skipped over ...

The animation marketplace is a jumble of projects, many of them ending at different times of the year. Work goes on year-round, but the worst time to try and find work is moving into and out of the holiday season.

You know, like the Fall?

The artists, writers, and directors on My Friends Tigger and Pooh are all top notch, and they'll find other gigs. They'll get their portfolios out there, work contacts, pound the sidewalk, and sooner or later come up with something. But they all would have been doing job searches months ago if the pinheads in upper management had given them a heads up that the series was ending.

Instead, everyone was informed that the show was greenlit for another season, so everyone planned accordingly. And regardless of whether people were "spending money they didn't have" and that was a bad idea, for sure they weren't looking for work at a time the pickings were fatter because they had jobs, and we're told they would last another year.

One more fine gift from the smooth professionals at Disney TVA/Disney Channel. Thanks ever so much.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Watchmen Video Journal #6 Online

IGN Movies has debuted the sixth Video Journal for Watchmen, opening in theaters on March 6, 2009. Directed by Zack Snyder (300), the graphic novel adaptation stars Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Matthew Goode, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Carla Gugino, Stephen McHattie and Matt Frewer.

You can watch the video, on the look of Watchmen, using the player below! To view the previously-released videos, click here.

Reuters Looks at Mamoru Oshii's "Sky Crawlers" at Venice

Reuters has taken a look at director Mamoru Oshii's The Sky Crawlers (Sukai Kurora), which screened at this year's Venice Film Festival. The movie depicts air combat to the death between teenaged pilots that is used as "reality TV" entertainment. In the article, Oshii compares himself to Hayao Miyazaki, whose Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Gake no ue no Ponyo) screened at Venice as well, commenting, "If you see the dog fight air battle scenes in his movies, people don't die there, so they are nice to watch but there is no realism in his movies. This is exactly the opposite approach to mine."

Mighty B! Back with Corddry

Nickelodeon’s The Mighty B! returns on Monday, Sept. 8, kicking off a week of all-new episodes airing every day at 5 p.m. Monday’s installment, “Bee Patients,” features special guest star Rob Corddry, a comedian who got his start on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and has gone on to appear in such feature films as Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro and What Happens in Vegas. “It’s one of our favorite (and extremely weird) episodes,” co-creator Erik Wiese tells us.

An Emmy-nominated SpongeBob storyboard artist, Wiese developed The Mighty B! with star Amy Poehler (Baby Mama, Saturday Night Live) and Fairly OddParents staff writer Cynthia True. The animated comedy series revolves around Bessie Higgenbottom, the world’s most ambitious 10-year-old “Honeybee” scout. Though many patches adorn her well-worn uniform, many still elude her and she will stop at nothing until she has every last one.

Fans who miss the 5:00 airings of the episodes of “Bee Patients,” “Ten Little Honeybees,” “Night Howl” and “Hat Trick” will be able to catch encore performances at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Xilam Pitches Mr BaBy at Cartoon Forum

Paris-based animation studio Xilam is headed to Cartoon Forum with Mr BaBy, a new short-form animated series that has been commission by French broadcaster France 3. The company will be looking to secure further international pre-sales or co-finance deals for the show and will have three completed episodes available for screening.

Mr BaBy follows the adventures of a precocious 15 month-old who, instead of sitting in his high chair gurgling and slurping, speaks with the acerbic tongue of a 50-year-old misanthrope with outrageous demands. Set entirely in the family kitchen, the series aims to entertain family audiences.

Xilam is handling worldwide distribution of Mr BaBy. Buyers attending this year’s Cartoon Forum in the German city of Ludwigsburg will be able to catch the pitch at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Xilam has been nominated for the Cartoon Tributes award for Producer of the Year. The awards will be announced during the market’s closing ceremony on Friday, Sept. 19.

Dive Olly Dive! Sprouts Up Five Days a Week

Dive Olly Dive! from Taffy Ent. and Mike Young Prods. has expanded to five days a week on PBS KIDS Sprout. The 24-hour preschool outlet this week moved the award-winning, environmentally-conscious animated preschool series from its Saturday and Sunday timeslot to Sprout’s popular live morning programming block, Sunny Side Up Show, where it now airs at 10:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

Dive Olly Dive! follows the underwater escapades of Olly and Beth, two young research submarines in training. The two live in a deep-sea research center known as SURF (Special Underwater Research Facility), where they experience the joys and challenges of life in their underwater world. The CG show features storylines that educate children on the delicate nature of the ecosystems that exist beneath the oceans.

A co-production of Mike Young Prods. Ltd, Flying Bark Prods. of Australia, KI.KA, ARD of Germany, Telegael of Ireland and GDC, Dive Ollie Dive! is created by Andrew and Ian Ross, and is produced with the support of the MEDIA Plus Programme of the European Community. The series won the 2008 Parents’ Choice Award and Hugo Television Award (Certificate of Merit), in addition to being nominated for an Emmy and the Prix Jeunesse and Best Animated Series awards at the 2008 Annecy International Festival of Animated Film.

Antonucci Makes Toons with W!LDBRAIN

Danny Antonucci, creator of Cartoon Network’s long-running series Ed, Edd n Eddy, has signed an exclusive deal with W!LDBRAIN. Under the deal, Antonucci will develop original television series, feature films and new media projects for the entertainment company behind the hit pre-school series Yo Gabba Gabba, which will kick off its second season on Nick Jr. on Sept. 22.

Ed, Edd n Eddy is a landmark in animation,” notes Bob Higgins, head of creative at W!LDBRAIN. “Over the years, Danny has built a fervent fan base ranging from five to 25 who can't wait to see what he does next. His creative vision and off-center sense of humor are a perfect match for W!LDBRAIN. This collaboration further solidifies W!LDBRAIN's allegiance to producing innovative, head-turning entertainment.”

“Animation will never be the same, adds Antonucci. “I've been a fan of the talent and the legacy of the studio for quite some time. W!LDBRAIN has always led the charge in animation and consistently delivers content that pushes the envelope. It was only a matter of time before our roads would cross paths.”

Antonucci is currently at work on a 90-minute Ed, Edd n Eddy special for Cartoon Network through A.K.A. Cartoon inc., the Canadian animation company he launched in 1994.

Recipient of the National Cartoonists Society's Ruben award, Antonucci is a 30-year industry veteran who has contributed to animation in all capacities, from storyboard artist to exec producer. He began his career at Canimage Production, a division of Hanna-Barbera, where he worked on numerous shows including The Flinstones Comedy Hour, The Scooby-Doo & Scrappy Show and the cult-favorite feature film Heavy Metal. He also created and direected the short film Lupo the Butcher and the series The Brothers Grunt for MTV Networks.

W!LDBRAIN won an Annie Award for its CG short film Hubert's Brain, and has picked up Clios, Addys, BDA Awards and Annies for their commercial work for such clients as The Coca-Cola Company, Honda, Kraft and Nike. The company also produces the Disney Channel pre-school series Higglytown Heroes, and creates and distributes collectible merchandise through subsidiary Kidrobot.

Wall Street Journal on Seth MacFarlane's Web Cartoons

The Wall Street Journal has taken a look at Seth MacFarlane's growing influence in the world of animation, from the success of Family Guy to the upcoming Cleveland Show and the new joint effort with Google to deploy Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, which will debut next Wednesday on a variety of web sites. The article notes MacFarlane's highs (a $100 million contract that is the largest in TV history) and lows (criticisms of Family Guy as derivative or gratuitously offensive).

Paramount Announces Disc Replacement Program for 'Transformers: Cybertron'

Paramount Home Entertainment has announced how to get a replacement for defective copies of Disc 1 from the Transformers: Cybertron--The Ultimate Collection DVD box set. The defect only affected a select batch of sets, with the third episode of disc 1 ("Hidden") missing the first seven minutes of the episodes. Affected customers should prepare their name, shipping address, telephone number, and ISBN and UPC numbers off the packaging and provide it to Paramount's Consumer Hotline at 1-866-939-0931.

Please visit for complete details.

Wired on Adult Swim's "Superjail"

Wired magazine's weblog has taken a brief look at Adult Swim's Superjail, a new Flash animation series that debuts on September 28, 2008. The series is produced by MTV animation grads Christy Karacas, Stephen Warbrick and Ben Gruber, and pokes fun at detention centers ranging from the Village of The Prisoner, the island of Lost, and the real-world prison at Guantanamo Bay.

ASIFA Student Film Festival to be Held on October 18, 2008

ASIFA-Hollywood will be hosting its first Student Animation Film Festival on October 18, 2008, at Woodbury University in Glenoaks, CA. Animation programs from universities across the nation have already submitted their entries, which will be judged by a panel that includes Jorge Guiterrez (El Tigre), Robin Brigstocke (King of the Hill), Disney animator Floyd Norman, Tim Johnson (Over the Hedge), and Aki Umemoto (creative director at Mattel). The program will run from 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM.

Briefly: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright @ NYAF; CNN on Legal Animations

* Japan's premiere Lolita fashion brand Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, will be hosting a tea party for 20 of their fans at the end of the 2008 New York Anime Festival. Tickets are $125 per person and are available now through the NYAF website. [Press Release]

* CNN Money reports on the rise of the use of CGI animation in court cases to dramatize events for a jury, focusing on the rise in business for the specialized studio Legal Art Works.

Newsarama Talks with Henry Gilroy on Writing "Clone Wars"

Newsarama's Clone Wars Weekly Dispatch has spoken with writer Henry Gilroy, head writer of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Gilroy discusses how far back his fan status stretches, how he ended up working on Clone Wars, and the approach and attitudes that inform his writing for the show.

Newsarama Interviews Millionaire on "Drinky Crow," Cullen on Optimus Prime

Newsarama's latest Animated Shorts column contains two news items: a chat with cartoonist Tony Millionaire about the upcoming Drinky Crow animated series, which debuts on Adult Swim on November 23, 2008. Millionaire discusses the scheduling for the remaining nine episodes of the first season and the differences between working on a comic strip and on the show.

The second news item is a talk with Peter Cullen, voice actor best known as The Transformers' Optimus Prime. Cullen discusses working with Michael Bay on the live-action movie and its sequel, how he interpreted the character of Optimus Prime at his audition, how he feels about Prime's continuing popularity, and what it's like to also voice Eeyore for Disney's Winnie the Pooh cartoons. Cullen also debunks the persistent legend that he modeled Prime's voice after John Wayne.

Iron Man 2 Talk, eBay Auction

While there's no commentary on the upcoming Iron Man DVD or Blu-ray Disc, FilmCrunch says that director Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. participated in a live commentary this weekend at Santa Monica's Aero Theater. Here's an interesting bit:

Throughout the movie, the actor-turned-director pointed out and confirmed various scenes which hinted at both The Avengers movie (visible S.H.I.E.L.D. logos) and the sequel (he noted that the terrorist cell in the movie is merely one branch of Mandarin's group).

For more, hit the link above! Meanwhile, much like they did for Spider-Man 4, Stand Up To Cancer has launched an eBay auction for Iron Man 2 that ends on Sept. 15. If you're the highest bidder, you would receive the following:

- A visit to the set of Iron Man 2 (one shooting day)
- A meet and greet with the cast
- A walk-on/ extra role in the film for the auction winner
- Photo tour of the set with an Iron Man unit photographer to document the tour. Professional photos will be given to the winner of the experience.
- Tickets to the Los Angeles premiere for you and a guest
- Winner and Guest will walk the premiere's red carpet

Very nice. You can check it out here!

Cobra Commander To Sport A New Twisted Attitude. He's Also Sportin' A New Hoodie.

MTV Blogs has an interview with G.I. Joe Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's take on Cobra Commander. I guess he's no longer going to be the whiny ex used car salesman like he was back in the day. (Wasn't he a used car salesman?) This Cobra Commander may actually sport some fangs to go along with his whacked out goals of world domination:

“As we see it, he’s a very twisted character,” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura exclaimed to MTV News, telling us the key to Cobra Commander lies in his gritty past…and that we’ll see every grimy piece of it. “As the backstory evolves, you discover why his personality [is like that].”

While stopping short of drawing parallels between Gordon-Levitt’s PG-13 villain and that of Heath Ledger’s terrifying Joker, di Bonaventura does find one noteworthy comparison. “I thought what was great in ‘The Dark Knight’ was that Heath kept telling you different stories [about his past] so you never knew what it was, and they were all spooky and crazy. [In our film] you get to see it, and you get to understand what’s happened to this guy.”

Click here to read the rest of the interview where Lorenzo talks about his hood and voice as it relates to the cartoon.

EXCLUSIVE: Alex Ross Draws Tom Welling as Superman!

One of the most-discussed topics on the SHH! Superman message boards has been whether or not The WB's Smallville star Tom Welling should play Superman in the new Warner Bros. big screen adaptation.

Back in December, Welling said that he had been approached about the lead role when director Brett Ratner was still on board the project. "I actually went to Brett's house in Los Angeles and we sat down and talked about it a little bit, both knowing that scheduling would always be an issue," Welling said. "Basically, if that movie were to happen, the show would pretty much have to go away, and I don't think that's what anybody wants."

Now, artist Alex Ross has provided Superhero Hype! with an exclusive look at two drawings he did for the possible film, were Welling to play the role. The drawings were not done for the studio, Alex did these on his own to see what Welling might look like. You can view the drawings below, and also be sure to stay tuned to for the latest on his projects.

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