Thursday, September 11, 2008

News - 09/11/08...

The Towers live on ... in movies & television, that is

On the seventh anniversary of 9/11, Jim Hill looks at some cinematic depictions of the World Trade Center from the past 30+ years

I wonder if you've ever had an experience like this:

The other day, I was feeling blue. Alice had just gone home after spending almost the entire summer up here in New Hampshire. And I was missing my daughter something fierce. Which is why I decided that I'd try & cheer myself up by watching a little Jay Sherman.

Copyright 1994 Sony Pictures. All Rights Reserved

So I dropped Disc 1 in the DVD player and settled back on the couch. But then -- as the opening sequence of "The Critic" begins -- what's the very first thing you see? The New York skyline with the Towers still standing tall.

Copyright 1994 Sony Pictures. All Rights Reserved

And then -- just for a moment -- my own personal funk was replaced by a duller, deeper ache.

Alright. I know. In the 30+ years that the World Trade Center existed, if you wanted to prove that your motion picture or television show was set in and/or had been shot inside of modern Manhattan, you made sure that the Towers were part of your backdrop.

Which means -- if you're a media maven like myself -- there's just no getting away from the World Trade Center. The Towers pop up all the time on TV or in movies. And often in the most unlikely of spots. They made an appearance in Disney's 1988 animated feature, "Oliver & Company" ...

Copyright 1988 Disney. All Rights Reserved

... And even though Woody Allen is obviously more of a fan of old New York, he still had to include a glimpse of the World Trade Center as part of "Manhattan" 's opening montage.

Copyright 1979 United Artists. All Rights Reserved

To be honest, stuff like this -- seeing the Towers off in the distance -- isn't all that hard to take. It just makes you feel sad or nostalgic for a moment.

But when you come across a motion picture where the World Trade Center is actually a principal location, like Dino De Laurentiis' 1976 remake of "King Kong" ...

Copyright 1976 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved

... that's when things really start to get uncomfortable. I mean, have you watched "Escape from New York" lately? Especially that action sequence where Snake Plissken flies into that city ...

Copyright 1981 MGM. All Rights Reserved

... and then lands his glider on top of one of the Towers ?

Copyright 1981 MGM. All Rights Reserved

Watching that scene now ... The feeling that you get is really hard to describe. Other than to say that it sort of borders on sacrilege.

To be fair, when John Carpenter made "Escape from New York" back in 1981 and / or when Ronald Neame blew up the World Trade Center as part of "Meteor" 's action-packed finale ...

Copyright 1979 MGM. All Rights Reserved

... they had no idea that the Towers would eventually become the site of this national tragedy. Carpenter & Neame were just out to make exciting motion pictures. Which is why they did want they did.

That said, if you look around, you can actually find far more hopeful versions of the World Trade Center's future. Take -- for example -- "Deep Impact." Which shows Manhattan about to be swallowed by this enormous tsunami ...

Copyright 1998 DreamWorks. All Rights Reserved

... But because the Towers are so tall & so strong ...

Copyright 1998 DreamWorks. All Rights Reserved

... these 110-story buildings can actually withstand that impact. Indeed, they're the only things still above water as this cinematic cataclysm passes.

Copyright 1998 DreamWorks. All Rights Reserved

Other film-makers also made this same assumption. That the World Trade Center was such an imposing structure that -- long after the seas rose (seen here as depicted in Steven Spielberg's "A.I.") ...

Copyright 2001 DreamWorks. All Rights Reserved

... and the next Ice Age came ...

Copyright 2001 DreamWorks. All Rights Reserved

... the Towers would still be standing.

I genuinely wish that that were the case. That the World Trade Center had had the chance to withstand the test of time. More importantly, that all of those people who were working at the Towers that morning would have had the chance to live out their natural lives.

But then reality intrudes on that fantasy. And I'm stuck back here in the real world. Surrounded by all of these cinematic reminders of what used to be.

So does this same thing ever happen to you ? Do you find yourself being pulled out of a piece of entertainment -- a TV show or a motion picture -- just because you catch a glimpse of the Towers in the background ?

Depp and Verbinski team up for Rango

An article on Variety reveals that director Gore Verbinski and actor Johnny Depp are both involved in Rango, an upcoming animated film about a house pet that seeks to discover his true self. The CGI feature will be a reunion for Verbinski and Depp, who also worked together in Pirates Of The Caribbean. Rango’s animation will be provided by special-effects studio Industrial Light & Magic.

The Dark Knight vs Batman vs Batman vs Batman

Four Batmen wear the cape, but in Gotham City, there can be only one...

Ok, this was just too awesome to NOT pass along to you guys and gals. Over at someone who is obviously a master of video editing has put together one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen: A knock down drag out battle between all four movie Batmans (or should that be “Batmen?”).

Their favorite as the toughest Batman is Christian Bale as The Dark Knight, and it’s not only fun to watch him, Michael Keaton, George Clooney and Val Kilmer all interact, it’s also quite amazing to see how flawlessly whoever did this edited together the fight sequences. Via quick-cuts the fights look like they’re right out of a real movie (well, technically the are), but the point is how he manages to make the actors from a number of different films look like they’re in the same scene.

To watch it for yourself click on the image below.

Creator Doesn’t Think Venom Can Carry A Movie

As part of the Spider-Man 4/5 story that just broke, Deadline Hollywood also reported that Sony is moving forward with a movie about Venom, one of the villains in Spider-Man 3. Without giving specifics, the word is that a pair of screenwriters have been hired to start work on the script.

The interesting thing is that Todd MacFarlane, one of the creators of the character, doesn’t think Venom can work very well as the “hero” of a movie.

In early August Todd MacFarlane spoke to about the possibility of a Venom spin-off movie. He realizes that the character can’t be too scary due to the PG/PG-13 target for superhero movies, but that even within those parameters he should be made creepier than he was in Spider-Man 3:

“I think you could add a little bit of a creep factor. I mean, it never bugged me to watch Frankenstein as a kid, so you could have a little bit of it, as long as you have a good story backing it up.”

One interesting item that surfaced was the fact that he didn’t design the character to be human in any way. He designed Venom to be a monster/creature, not a suit worn by a person.

MacFarlane said that the reason some villains are so cool is because they’re so “bad” and trying to make them an “anti-hero” ruins the essence of the character:

“The reason they’re so cool as a bad guy is because they’re bad. And as soon as you try to give too much humanity to them, then you go, no! Now they’re not as good as a bad guy because you’re trying to redeem them.”

I’ve questioned in the past how the heck you take a character like Venom and make him the star of his own movie. As MacFarlane says, to work in a movie setting, by the end of the film there has to be some level of goodness in Venom, and that detracts from who he is.

(UPDATED) 2-Disc Edition of "Superman: Doomsday" Coming to DVD & Blu-Ray reports that Warner Bros. will release a special 2-disc edition of the hit DC Universe movie Superman: Doomsday on November 25, 2008.

Disc one of the set will contain the film starring Adam Baldwin as Superman, James Marsters as Lex Luthor, and Anne Heche as Lois Lane. The second disc will contain bonus features including 4 episodes of Superman: The Animated Series hand-picked by producer Bruce W. Timm.

UPDATE: reports that Superman: Doomsday will also appear on Blu-Ray. The bonus features will not only feature the bonus features that appeared in the original dvd, but the brand new featurettes "Clash of the Juggernauts", and "When Heroes Die: The Making of Superman: Doomsday". Also mentioned is a sneak peek of the new Wonder Woman movie.

Both the Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD will be in stores on November 25th.


The Superman Homepage has posted the rear cover art for the 2-disc and Blu-ray editions of Superman: Doomsday. The cover also mentions the four bonus episodes of Superman: The Animated Series. The episodes are: "Apokolips... Now! Parts 1 & 2," "Brave New Metropolis," and "Mxyzpixilated."

Tension on the set of 'Wolverine' as Fox preps for more Marvel movies

A Variety article detailing the lackluster summer 20th Century Fox is having touches on woes on the set of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine', but also gives some insights into upcoming Marvel movies with the studio.

On the 'Wolverine' front, the article talks about how the film was delayed due to actor Hugh Jackman's involvement in the film 'Australia'.

Even more alarming, the article states that sources claim director Gavin Hood was "nearly fired". Richard Donner, noteworthy director and husband of the show's producer Lauren Shuler Donner, apparently spent a lot of time on the set. The cover story was that he was there in capacity as a producer, although he's not been listed as a producer in the films credit roster thus far.

Insiders say he was on set to "smooth things over." One has to wonder if Donner spent time behind the camera as well.

2008 may go on record as the biggest year for superhero movies yet, but Fox didn't have an entry in that race this year. However, the Variety article suggests more X-Men movies are in the works, including a young-X-Men project as well as 'Deadpool,' based on a character played by Ryan Reynolds in 'Wolverine.'

And the studio still holds the film rights to 'Daredevil' and is considering putting that back into play.

Heroes Go to Oz

Seth Green, forever remembered as Willow’s hairy boyfriend ‘Oz’ on “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” and creator of Cartoon Network/Adult Swim's hit series "Robot Chicken", is returning to the world of fantasy TV – and possible convention appearances – with a role on NBC’s super-hit “Heroes”.

"They have a first page that says, like, 'Keep our secrets,' " Green tells EW. "We're starting on set Monday. That’s what this whole beard is for." Facial hair aside, Green admits he would've done anything for the gig: "I’m a really big fan of the show," he says, "and I kind of begged for a long time to see if there was anything I could do."

In addition, Green’s real-life bud Breckin Meyer (“Road Trip”, “Clueless”), with whom he shared the screen with in "Josie and the Pussycats", has also won a role on the show.

On a side note, Green tells EW that the long-gestating “Italian Job” sequel – which has been on IMDB for years – will forever remain dormant.

"That’s been listed as 'In Production' for over four years, and maybe you’ll print this and someone will actually stop saying that!" he says. "There are a couple of scripts that have been written, but in the last six years since we made the movie, Paramount’s hierarchy has changed hands four times and it’s never seemed to be a priority for the studio to make the movie."

Paramount will make a “Without a Paddle 2”, but not an “Italian Job 2”? Yep, some smart folks over there at Melrose Avenue.

The goddamn Batman and the f---ing Batgirl!

Batgirl gets a potty mouth and DC calls for the pulping of a bunch of fxxxing books!

Seems the newest issue of Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All Star Batman and Robin has a little printing error. Rich Johnston over at Lying in the Gutters as well as Heidi MacDonald at The Beat and some other comics journalistas have picked up on an interesting hullabaloo. For the story and full scans of these slightly visible dirty words in the fxxxing comic, check out those links.

With the comic scheduled to come out today, the fallout is not quite known. Did some retailers miss this warning and put them out on stands? Are some somehow stashing them aside and saving them from pulping hoping it's a new collector's item? Will there be any parents complaints even though this book is clearly not for kids? (Though that didn't stop its publication in Ireland and the UK from raising a few eyebrows.) How will this affect the possibly strained relationship between the bosses at DC and the perpetually late Frank Miller and Jim Lee on this book? Will this cancel any mentions of infamous obscure silver age character Clint Flicker? Is this all just a buncha bullsxxx?

Well, at any rate, it doesn't seem that inking is hiding Batgirl's potty mouth.

I guess some days you just can't get rid of an f-bomb.

Goldberg On "Wonder Woman" Status

Producer Leonard Goldberg ("Charlie's Angels"), who's working on the "Wonder Woman" film alongside Joel Silver, tells MTV News that "We're waiting for the script to come in."

Goldberg seems reluctant for filmmakers to approach the property with their own ideas after the Joss Whedon debacle - "We've tried that route. We've had a writer-director work on it. But I'm old school. When we have a script to present to directors, we'll sit down with them and see who has a take that blows us away."

What about Silver's regular collaborators the Wachowski's? "At one time, Joel [Silver] said they might have an idea. But they got diverted to another project [and] never followed through. There may come a time when they will be focused on 'Wonder Woman' and may come up with whatever their take on it was. They're certainly very talented guys. Their vision for movies -- whether they're successful or not -- is always singular."

Silver purchased a rival WW2-centered "Wonder Woman" script by Matthew Jennison and Matt Strickland a while back and while not using that script, got the pair to work on a new one for him. They're currently on the second draft using notes from Silver and Goldberg.

Goldberg says "I hope that we don't finally wind up doing the same story again: Steve Trevor flying, and his plane crashes onto the island [of Themyscira, Wonder Woman's matriarchal homeland]. He's supposed to be executed, and she saves his life. Perhaps we'll do that in a very abbreviated fashion up front, and then come up with a story that no one has seen yet."

No casting talk is underway yet but Goldberg would like to go with an unknown - "People are not, in my opinion, going to come [to the theater] for the actress. They're going to come for Wonder Woman."

Exclusive: Danny Boyle Getting Animated? just spent some time talking to director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy about their rags to riches love story Slumdog Millionaire, which is the toast of this year's Toronto Film Festival.

When asked what he might do next, Boyle was slightly tentative because he's not sure whether it would happen or not, but he hopes to reunite with his "Millions" screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce in doing an animated movie based on Terry Pratchett's children book "Truckers", which is the first part of his "Bromeliad trilogy."

The books are about a race of tiny people from another world called Nomes, living and trying to survive among humans, who discover their secret history, which prompts them to try to return home.

If the project does get rolling at DreamWorks as planned, it would be an interesting new challenge for the filmmaker coming off of his ambitious Bombay-based epic, but Boyle realizes how complicated doing an animated film would be, which would be one of the deciding factors in whether he does it or not.

"It's a weird different discipline, it's very strange," he admitted to us during our interview earlier. "You're more like a ringmaster, kind of organizing this huge army of illustrators who can change the movie. It's really weird. They often do scripts and they have no gags in them at all, but then you see the finished film and it's full of funny gags, and they say that it's not in the script, that all comes through the process of the animators. It's like learning the skill of letting certain ones of them off their leash to do the gags."

Slumdog Millionaire is scheduled to open in select cities on November 28.

Vancouver Int'l Film Fest hosts Waltz with Bashir

The critically acclaimed Israeli-German animated documentary feature "Waltz with Bashir" comes to this fall's Vancouver International Film Festival for three nights as part of its series of Special Presentations.

In Hebrew with English subtitles, Ari Folman's film will be shown at the Visa Screening Room at Empire Granville Theatre 7. Screenings are at 10 a.m. Sunday, September 28; 9:30 p.m. Thursday, October 2; and 1 p.m. Sunday, October 5.

Folman was a young soldier during the first Lebanon war, but where his memories should be there is only a void. When a friend recalls a deeply disturbing dream in which he was chased by a pack of 26 vicious dogs, Folman sets out to unearth the darkness of his own mind, interviewing nine fellow soldiers, whose own fractured and broken recollections, pieced together, begin to form a terrible picture. As the director's suppressed memories worm their way to the surface in the form of dreams and surreal visions, the truth becomes indelibly apparent in this affecting animated documentary.

Folman's film shares some commonalties with Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis (screened at last year's VIFF), but Waltz with Bashir breaks new ground by engaging with extremely difficult content. (The film's title refers to a mad dance performed by a young army officer between posters of the recently assassinated president-elect of Lebanon, Bashir Gemayel.) The precision of the drawn image pares away nonessentials, creating a distillation of pure emotion. The results are nothing less than riveting.

"Folman's eerie animated images have a way of jarring us out of our comfort zone," said the Times. "A traumatized boy soldier is reflected in the eye of a dying horse; naked, numb recruits wade out of a sea dyed gold by illumination flares; a child's hand and tousled head is partially obscured by the rubble of her family home. The emotional dislocation and the unreal quality of war is written in every frame."

The VIFF's screening of Waltz with Bashir is sponsored by Jews for a Just Peace.

The Cinema of Our Time series will include Nina Paley's Sita Sings The Blues, named Best Feature at the Annecy International Animation Festival.

Alt-cartoonist Paley's animated tale of love gone wrong cheekily mixes different styles of animation into a jazzy, eye-popping epic of flying monkeys, many-headed demons and love-weary women. Paley draws comparisons to the universality of heartbreak by pairing the story of her own breakup with that of the Goddess Sita, whose unceremonious dumpage is recounted in the Indian epic The Ramayana.

The ballad of Sita and her husband Rama is helpfully narrated by three shadow puppets who aren't terribly clear on the details, but nonetheless provide a Greek chorus of sorts for the action, which comes hot and heavy. While some of the finer plot points may get lost, the heart of the story remains unchanged.

Sita's beauty earns her the lust of the demon king of Ceylon, who spirits her away to his Island stronghold. But even after her husband battles untold hordes to get her back, things didn't quite work out. Oh, relationships...

The pure glorious power of the animated image is given full rein here as Paley pulls out all the stops. Busby Berkeley-like numbers, punctuated by the Betty Boop stylings of 1920s chanteuse Annette Hanshaw, rain down in gorgeous hues of blue, gold and hot pink. "Both heartfelt and consistently witty... the type of low-fi animated musical that puts Disney to shame," said Filmmaker Magazine.

Sita Sings The Blues is sponsored by RedFM and 24 Hours. Screenings are at noon Sunday, October 5 at Empire Granville 7 Theatre 6; 6:20 p.m. Wednesday, October 8 at Empire Granville 7 Theatre 4; and 2:30 p.m. Thursday, October 9 at Empire Granville 7 Theatre 3.

Neil Burns' Edison And Leo, one of Canada's first stop-motion animated features, will be seen in Special Presentations at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 7 and 1 p.m. Thursday, October 9 at the Visa Screening Room at Empire Granville Theatre 7.

In your typical family, the father is not a magnetic, amoral and womanizing genius, the deceased mother is not immortalized by a 40-foot metallic replica, the youngest son does not have electricity literally crackling through his veins, and the older son -- together with his robotic wiener dog Pickle -- does not pledge to overthrow the entire family order.

The Edison family, however, is far from typical. Patriarch George T. Edison is a man obsessed with progress and invention. So complete is his obsession that it allows him to lie to himself and his family. When the youngest son, Leo, himself a victim of his father's inventions, meets his first love Zella, she challenges him to discover the truth about himself and his father.

This is a dark, retro, steam-punk fairytale-gone-wrong about quirky inventor Edison (voiced by Powers Boothe) who endangers his family in a quest to create a viable electric light bulb. The film also features the voices of Carly Pope and Gregory Smith.

The story takes us on a fantastic journey into the unique and magical world of invention where anything and everything is possible. Somewhere well beyond the realm of ordinary imagination, this is a wildly emotional rollercoaster ride of adventure and character-driven conflict. Edison & Leo is sponsored by The Georgia Straight.

The Vancouver International Film Festival will be held from September 25 to October 10. An estimated 150,000 people are expected to attend about 575 screenings of 350 films from over 60 countries.

The complete program, including the festival schedule, film descriptions and photos, is online at Film information also is available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily via the festival info line at (604) 683-FILM (3456) until October 10. Visa cardholders may buy tickets and passes one week ahead of the general public at anytime or, from noon to 7 p.m. daily, by phone at (604) 685-8297 or in person at the Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street.

The Souvenir Program Guide will be available at noon Friday, September 12. The box office opens to the public starting Saturday, September 13; hours are noon to 7 p.m. for cash and cheque sales the same day.

Scene from Ari Folman's animated documentary Waltz with Bashir.

Dragon Hunters Sold to North America

Peace Arch Ent. has acquired North American distribution rights to Futurikon’s French CG-animated feature film Dragon Hunters, according to Daily Variety. Co-produced by toon house Luxanimation, the film is based on Futurikon’s animated television series of the same name. The deal with Peace Arch covers all rights except for merchandizing and theatrical exhibition in the U.S. The film will be released on home video in Canada in February of 2009.

Directed by Guillaume Ivernel and Arthur Qwak, Dragon Hunters tells the story of Zoe, a young girl who decides to help her uncle, Lord Arnold, rid their kingdom of the most terrible dragon in the world. She enlists the help of Gwizdo and Lian-Chu, a pair of two-bit dragon hunters, and they set out on perilous and comical adventure. Watch the trailer at

Dragon Hunters will be screened for buyers during November’s American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif. Futurikon is hoping to land deals for the U.K., Scandinavia and other remaining territories during the market. To date, the film has sold in about 25 territories, including South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and the Baltic States.

The pic has sold roughly 800,000 tickets in its native France, and about 400,000 in Russia. Based on its success, Futurikon has decided to make a feature film based on its animated series Miniscule, which employs CG animation to explore the secret lives of bugs. The movie will reportedly focus on the friendship between a ladybird and a black ant. Series creators Thomas Szabo and Helene Giraud are writing the screenplay, and Dragon Hunters co-producer Trixter is negotiating involvement.

Tippett to Get VES George Melies Award

Phil Tippett, the Oscar-winning founder of vfx shop Tippett Studio, has been selected by the VES (Visual Effects Society) board of directors as the recipient of the George Melies Award for Artistic Excellence. The award will be presented at the 7th Annual VES Awards, which will be held at the Century Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009.

The Melies Award reserved for individuals who have “pioneered a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by a way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work.” Previous recipients include CG pioneer Robert Abel and Pixar creative head John Lasseter.

“Phil Tippett has functioned as one of the major engines pushing the visual effects industry further than it was ever thought possible,” says VES exec director Eric Roth. “Phil has become one of the giants of our industry by pioneering new ways to make the fantastical a practical reality. Much of what we see on our screens today would not have been possible in decades past, and Phil has certainly led the way during that time.”

As a stop-motion animator and head of the ILM creature shop, Tippet brought to life the Imperial Walkers and Luke Skywakler’s Tauntaun in Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back, and animated robots for Robocop and Robocop 2. He was also at the forefront of digital animation, having supervised the dinosaur animation in Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking blockbuster Jurassic Park and created the CG bugs for Starship Troopers. He made his directorial debut with the direct-to-video sequel Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation. Tippett received an Academy Award for his work in Jurassic Park, and a Special Achievement Award for Star Wars: Episode VI-Return of the Jedi.

“It is always nice to receive recognition for doing something that you love,” says Tippet. “I have been doing exactly what I have always wanted to do—making movies and bringing impossible creations to life. I am honored to accept this award and am humbled that my work has been so recognized by my peers.”

Tippett has contributed to more than 60 feature films and commercials. He starting Tippett Studio in his garage in 1984, and has since assembled a crew of artists, animators, engineers and production staff occupying five buildings in Berkeley, Calif. The shop is currently in production on Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell and X-Men Origins: Wolverine for 20th Century Fox. Recently completed projects include stereoscopic commercials for the Electronic Arts video game Spore and Texas Instruments’ DLP Projection, as well as the marketing campaign and feature film work for Disney’s talking dog movie, Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

MIPCOM Gets Chaotic with New 4Kids Toon

Chaotic: M’Arrillian Invasion, the new animated series from 4Kids Ent., will be presented to international broadcasters at next month’s MIPCOM in Cannes. A total of 26 half-hour episodes will be available for acquisition with delivery commencing this month and concluding in April of 2009.

Bringing a fierce new look to the Chaotic series, Chaotic: M’Arrillian Invasion finds Tom and Kaz delving deeper into the world of Chaotic and confronting new creatures, uncovering strange new locations and scanning awesome new BattleGear and Mugic. When a mysterious new tribe is accidentally unleashed, they’ll have to use their mega-mental powers to defeat the threat and rule Perim. The new season is produced in HD and features traditional cel animation by 4Kids Ent.

The Chaotic series is currently broadcast in the U.S. during TheCW4Kids block on The CW and on Jetix. International broadcast partners include TELETOON Canada, TEN Network in Australia, Jetix Latin America, RTBF in Belgium, Canal+ Cyfrowy in Poland, SIC in Portugal, Children’s Channel in Israel, MNet in South Africa, ABS-CBN in the Philippines and Kids Central in Singapore.

Verizon Adds DC Comics, Scooby-Doo Channels

Verizon Wireless today announced it is bringing Warner Bros. content to mobile users via two new channels on its V CAST Video service. The DC Comics Channel will offer motion comics and animated features starring such iconic superheroes as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The Scooby-Doo and Friends channel will feature classic cartoons from Hanna-Barbera, including Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones.

Subscribers of the DC Comics Channel will be able to view the hit Batman: Mad Love Motion Comic, DC Universe animated movies including Batman: Gotham Knight, Superman Doomsday and Justice League: The New Frontier, and clips from Warner Bros. Pictures releases such as The Dark Knight, Superman Returns and Batman Begins.

The Scooby-Doo & Friends Channel will also offer Verizon Wireless customers clips from such classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons as The Jetsons, Tom and Jerry and Yogi Bear. The shows are refreshed weekly and offer hours of viewing.

Verizon Wireless customers downloaded more than 71 million video clips and songs from the company's V CAST Video and Music services. The DC Comics Channel can be found in the Hollywood section, while Scooby-Doo & Friends can be found in the Kids section of V CAST Video. For more information on Verizon Wireless products and services, go to

Tutenstein Reigns With Feature Length Movie

The first feature length Tutenstein movie based on PorchLight Ent.'s two-time Emmy winning television series, is set to debut on Discovery Kids in the U.S. this fall and premiere internationally at MIPCOM Junior in October.

Tutenstein: Clash Of The Pharaohs picks up where the previous three seasons of the series left off and takes Tutenstein, the mummified boy pharaoh who was brought back to life in a modern day museum, on a more exciting journey than ever before. PorchLight will unveil Tutenstein: Clash Of The Phahaohs during the MIPCOM Junior screenings and will present the movie during MIPCOM 2008.

In Tutenstein: Clash Of The Pharaohs, Tutenstein, Cleo and Luxor take the trip of a lifetime -- to ancient Egypt. When Tut is plagued by nightmares concerning his death, he journeys to the past with hopes of stopping his death. But the gang arrives too late, nearly 1,000 years after Tut lived. His hopes for the royal treatment are dashed when Cleo is mistaken for Cleopatra, the current Pharaoh of Egypt. With their roles reversed -- Cleo playing the arrogant queen while Tut begrudgingly taking the role of her servant -- Tut and Cleo's friendship is challenged. While Cleo lets the crown go to her head, Tut and Luxor discover the Grand Vizier's plan to take control of the kingdom by getting rid of Cleo. Tut must stop the Grand Vizier and rescue Cleo before she's sent to the Afterlife. By the time they return to the present, Tut and Cleo learn the importance of true friendship -- no matter what the era.

Both the Tutenstein movie and television series combines ancient Egyptian mythology with contemporary, urban humor and attitude. Its goal is to accurately portray the diverse Egyptian mythology, utilizing stories and characters that reflect the lives of kids today. In order to do so, PorchLight's production team works closely with Dr. Peter Lacovara, Tutenstein's Egyptology consultant who authenticates the Egyptian content.

As well as leading Tutenstein: Clash Of The Pharaohs production, PorchLight holds worldwide TV distribution rights and licensing and video rights, excluding the United States and South America. PorchLight Entertainment produces Tutenstein for Discovery Kids. The series is co-produced by Telegael. Executive producers are Bruce Johnson, William Baumann, Martha Ripp and Paul Cummins.

New GMs for Disney Animation, Pixar

Disney animation exec Andrew Millstein has been named general manager for Walt Disney Animation Studios, and visual effects veteran Jim Morris has been appointed general manager of Pixar Animation Studios. Reporting to Ed Catmull, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, both execs will run the day-to-day operations of their respective studios, and will continue to oversee all aspects of production related to animated features, short films and special animated projects.

“Andrew has been a key player at Disney for over 11 years and has had experience running studios and dealing with all of the technical and creative issues associated with that role,” Catmull coments. “Jim is one of the most respected figures in the world of special effects and was instrumental in creating some of ILM's greatest achievements. Most recently, he did an incredible job producing WALL•E for Pixar, and has assumed an important role in that studio's overall operations. As general managers, Andrew and Jim will continue to lend their guidance and expertise to all of our upcoming production efforts."

Morris started out as a stop-motion animator and animation cameraman, and joined Pixar Animation Studios in 2005. In addition to producing the latest Pixar hit, he has been responsible for managing the production of the Studio's other features, shorts, DVD releases and theme park activities. At Lucasfilm Ltd., he served as president of Lucas Digital Ltd, and managed its two divisions, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound. During his tenure as general manager, ILM created Oscar-winning visual effects for Jurassic Park, Death Becomes Her and Forrest Gump.

Andrew Millstein joined Disney in 1997 as a production exec in the Studio's Motion Pictures Group. He was soon promoted to general manager of Dreamquest Images and The Secret Lab, a division of Walt Disney Feature Animation that produced the digital effects for such live-action films as 101 Dalmatians, Reign of Fire, Armageddon, Mighty Joe Young and Inspector Gadget. In 2001, he was named senior VP and general manager of production for Walt Disney Animation Florida, where he oversaw all operations and production on Brother Bear. He then served as exec VP for Disney's Circle 7 Animation unit. Prior to joining Disney, he was head of production for vfx shop Digital Domain in Venice, Calif., where he oversaw visual effects production on Apollo 13, The Fifth Element, Dante's Peak and Titanic.

AWN Reports on Upcoming Ottawa International Animation Festival

AWN's Animated Travels blog has run a feature on this year's OIAF. Amongst the attractions will be a retrospective on Richard Williams, celebrating the 20th anniversary of his film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Read the full post here.

Briefly: Ramones Lawsuit; Immigration vs. Mr. Burns; Buzz Lightyear Saves Florida Duo

* John Cafiero, manager of the punk bands the Ramones and the Misfits, is suing Doug Custer of Osterburg, PA, contending that Custer illegally distributed an animated music video on YouTube and MySpace. [The Tribute Democrat]

* In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, Harry Shearer briefly notes how The Simpsons' Mr. Burns sometimes speeds his way through immigration.

* A Florida man and his autistic son survived a 15-hour ordeal treading water in the Atlantic Ocean through a call-and-response involving Buzz Lightyear's motto, "To infinity and beyond." The two were rescued by the Coast Guard, and neither suffered from any serious injuries. [Associated Press]

Which Robot is Confirmed for Transformers 2?

TFW2005 has received word that the combiner Devastator will appear in the Michael Bay sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The site says it has confirmed the following:

- Seven construction vehicles merge to form Devastator
- Devastator has lots of upper body strength, like a gorilla
- Not just green, some of the vehicles are red and yellow
- The previously Long Haul concept art by Josh Nizzi is legit

"Revenge of the Fallen" hits conventional theaters and IMAX on June 26, 2009.

Warner Bros. Plans Dark Knight Rerelease

Warner Bros. Pictures plans to rerelease blockbuster The Dark Knight in January, the height of Academy Awards voting season, says The Hollywood Reporter.

"It's just a matter of bringing it back as a reminder for people," a source told the trade.

Warners domestic distribution president Dan Fellman acknowledged ongoing talks with IMAX executives about the prospect of restoring the film to some number of giant-screen venues in January. It's uncertain if The Dark Knight also will reappear in conventional theaters at that point.

To date, the film has earned about $513 million domestically and $440 million internationally, including more than $55 million in IMAX grosses. The DVD and Blu-ray Disc are expected to hit stores in December.

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