Monday, September 29, 2008

News - 09/29/08...

Hollywood legend Paul Newman dies at age 83

Actor Paul Newman who, among many other roles including the iconic Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler and his Oscar-winning sequel The Color Of Money, was the voice of Doc Hudson in Disney/Pixar’s Cars, has died from cancer on Saturday at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83. In a career stretching over more than 50 movies, the multi-Oscar lauded (ten nominations, two wins, including an Honorary award) legendary star’s other major films included Hud, The Sting, The Towering Inferno and Road To Perdition, while a humanitarian streak saw him famously donating all proceeds from his Newman’s Own food products to charity. Newman’s serious interest in race driving also propelled him to come second in the 1979 Le Mans grand prix, win the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1995, and led to his final film role in Cars, a sequel to which is planned to come to theaters in 2011. The Internet Movie Database has a full listing of Newman’s cinematic achievements.

"Racing is the best way I know to get away from all the rubbish of Hollywood," he told People magazine in 1979.

But in May 2007, he told ABC's "Good Morning America" he had given up acting, though he intended to remain active in charity projects. "I'm not able to work anymore as an actor at the level I would want to," he said. "You start to lose your memory, your confidence, your invention. So that's pretty much a closed book for me."

Despite his love of race cars, Newman continued to make movies and continued to pile up Oscar nominations, his looks remarkably intact, his acting becoming more subtle, nothing like the mannered method performances of his early years, when he was sometimes dismissed as a Brando imitator. "It takes a long time for an actor to develop the assurance that the trim, silver-haired Paul Newman has acquired," Pauline Kael wrote of him in the early 1980s.

Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in real life, giving tens of millions to charities through his food company and setting up camps for severely ill children. Passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor of civil rights, he was so famously liberal that he ended up on President Nixon's "enemies list," one of the actor's proudest achievements, he liked to say.

A screen legend by his mid-40s, he waited a long time for his first competitive Oscar, winning in 1987 for "The Color of Money," a reprise of the role of pool shark "Fast" Eddie Felson, whom Newman portrayed in the 1961 film "The Hustler."

Newman delivered a magnetic performance in "The Hustler," playing a smooth-talking, whiskey-chugging pool shark who takes on Minnesota Fats — played by Jackie Gleason — and becomes entangled with a gambler played by George C. Scott. In the sequel — directed by Scorsese — "Fast Eddie" is no longer the high-stakes hustler he once was, but rather an aging liquor salesman who takes a young pool player (Cruise) under his wing before making a comeback.

He won an honorary Oscar in 1986 "in recognition of his many and memorable compelling screen performances and for his personal integrity and dedication to his craft." In 1994, he won a third Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for his charitable work.

His most recent academy nod was a supporting actor nomination for the 2002 film "Road to Perdition." One of Newman's nominations was as a producer; the other nine were in acting categories. (Jack Nicholson holds the record among actors for Oscar nominations, with 12; actress Meryl Streep has had 14.)

In 1982, he got his Oscar fifth nomination for his portrayal of an honest businessman persecuted by an irresponsible reporter in "Absence of Malice." The following year, he got his sixth for playing a down-and-out alcoholic attorney in "The Verdict."

Newman, who shunned Hollywood life, was reluctant to give interviews and usually refused to sign autographs because he found the majesty of the act offensive, according to one friend.

He also claimed that he never read reviews of his movies.

"If they're good you get a fat head and if they're bad you're depressed for three weeks," he said.

Off the screen, Newman had a taste for beer and was known for his practical jokes. He once had a Porsche installed in Redford's hallway — crushed and covered with ribbons.

"I think that my sense of humor is the only thing that keeps me sane," he told Newsweek magazine in a 1994 interview.

In 1982, Newman and his Westport neighbor, writer A.E. Hotchner, started a company to market Newman's original oil-and-vinegar dressing. Newman's Own, which began as a joke, grew into a multimillion-dollar business selling popcorn, salad dressing, spaghetti sauce and other foods. All of the company's profits are donated to charities. By 2007, the company had donated more than $175 million, according to its Web site.

Hotchner said Newman should have "everybody's admiration."

"For me it's the loss of an adventurous freindship over the past 50 years and it's the loss of a great American citizen," Hotchner told The Associated Press.

In 1988, Newman founded a camp in northeastern Connecticut for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. He went on to establish similar camps in several other states and in Europe.

He and Woodward bought an 18th century farmhouse in Westport, where they raised their three daughters, Elinor "Nell," Melissa and Clea.

Newman had two daughters, Susan and Stephanie, and a son, Scott, from a previous marriage to Jacqueline Witte.

Scott died in 1978 of an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium. After his only son's death, Newman established the Scott Newman Foundation to finance the production of anti-drug films for children.

In December 1994, about a month before his 70th birthday, he told Newsweek magazine he had changed little with age.

"I'm not mellower, I'm not less angry, I'm not less self-critical, I'm not less tenacious," he said. "Maybe the best part is that your liver can't handle those beers at noon anymore," he said.

Newman is survived by his wife, five children, two grandsons and his older brother Arthur.

Pixar's Presto Online

Pixar's Presto, a short directed by Doug Sweetland, about a stage magician's rabbit who gets into a magical onstage brawl against his neglectful guardian with two magic hats, is now online. You can see it on youtube HERE.

Annie Awards Call For Entries

ASIFA-Hollywood is currently accepting entries for consideration for the upcoming 36th Annual Annie Awards. Annie Awards will be presented in the categories of animated theatrical feature, television production, television commercial, short subject and video games, as well as to individuals who have worked on these productions.

Entries submitted for consideration must be from productions that were originally released theatrically, appeared on television, or were exhibited in a film festival between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008. To enter the Annie Awards, please visit The deadline to receive entry forms is Friday, October 10, 2008. The 36th Annual Annie Awards will be held on January 30, 2009, at UCLA’s Royce Hall, in Los Angeles, California. For further information or questions, please email Gretchen Dixon at or call (562) 209-9900.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Newsarama Interviews "Superjail" Creators

Newsarama's Animated Shorts has interviewed the creators of Superjail, which debuts on Adult Swim this Sunday, September 28, 2008. Christy Karakas and Stephen Warbrick discuss the critical drubbing the show is receiving in some quarters, how the show is different from the pilot episode aired in 2007, and the characters on the show.

Christmas Carol banner

A new banner promoting A Christmas Carol, which features a painting of a dark and snowy village, has been posted on SlashFilm. A direct link to the image can be found here.

The History of the NBC Peacock

Mike Clark runs a website devoted to the history of Tampa’s Channel 13 (WTVT, a former CBS affiliate, now a Fox station). The site has dozens of interesting articles about the history and local personalities of “Big 13″. However one of his pieces, slightly off his given topic, should be of interest to most Cartoon Brew readers. Clark devotes an illustrated article, running several pages, to John Graham (NBC’s director of design) and the story of the animated NBC peacock logo. He cuts the story just short of the 1993 remakes by the likes of Al Hirshfeld, Peter Max and John Kricfalusi (see below), but it’s fascinating to read the story behind the iconic image we all grew up with.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Schamus calls bulls--- on 'Hulk' perceptions

The Ang Lee directed, James Schamus produced 'Hulk' was a major flop while the lean green 'Incredible Hulk'' was a big success. Right? "Wait a second," cries Schamus.

As has been pointed out in our box office reports several times this summer, the new 'Incredible Hulk' barely out-grossed Ang Lee's 2003 movie and had significantly larger budget.

"In real dollars, if you adjust for inflation, in order to even break even with us it would have had to gross $155 [million]. It grossed about $30 more than that [and] did the same overseas," Schamus told MTV Splash Page.

But, come on, James. Everybody liked the new movie a lot better, right?

"This thing about Ang’s movie being reviled by critics, go on Rotten Tomatoes and the average review is like [62%]," said Schamus. "And the new one that’s supposedly embraced and loved is also getting [62%]. Its like, ‘What planet are we on?’"

Actually the original has settled to 61% while the redo is around 67% but the man's point still stands, the new Hulk is hardly eating the old Hulk's gamma-irradiated lunch in terms of critical reception either.

Not that he's bitter. Schamus admitted to MTV that he liked the new movie quite a bit and thinks one of the wonderful things about the Marvel characters is their flexibility in the face of interpretation.

"These characters are like Shakespeare," he explained. "'Hamlet' you can do with a different actor every summer."

Patrick Wilson again on becoming a NiteOwl

Actor Patrick Wilson talks about his screen test and how he approached becoming NiteOwl in the Watchmen movie. “His physicality I was always completely conscious of,” said Wilson to MTV Splash Page. “The drawing of him looking so sad and very dumpy with slumping shoulders…that’s very informative to me. When the guy takes his shirt off that’s not a fat dude. That’s a big dude who maybe got soft but he’s not just a big tub. It’s funny some people have a different interpretation of that. And I keyed into Alan Moore likening him to a soldier coming back from a war and feeling lost, not knowing his place in society. I was like, that I can dig into.”

Yoda Stars In Clone Premiere

Yoda takes on an entire droid army in the first-season premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the new Cartoon Network animated series, which premieres at 9 p.m. Oct. 3.

In the first episode, "Ambush," Jedi Master Yoda and three clone troopers must face off against Count Dooku's dreaded assassin, Asajj Ventress, and the massive Separatist droid army to prove the Jedi are strong enough to protect a strategic planet and forge a treaty for the Republic.

The episode is directed by David Bullock (Justice League: The New Frontier) from a script by Steve Melching (The Batman). Dave Filoni is supervising director; George Lucas is the series' creator and serves as executive producer, and Catherine Winder is producer.

Yoda wreaks havoc on an army of battle droids in "Ambush," the series premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Bill Murray Agrees To Ghostbusters 3

Bill Murray has always been the least interested about doing another "Ghostbusters" movie but yesterday, speaking at Fantastic Fest, the actor expressed a little more enthusiasm for the project, indicating he's on board.

Aint it Cool News reports that Murray "said that he knew "some writers from The Office" were taking a stab at the script right now (which we already knew) and that he thinks that's a good start. He paused for a few seconds then said that he thinks enough time has passed and that "the wounds from Ghostbusters 2 are healed" and that he would definitely be into doing another Ghostbusters movie, stating that the first 40 minutes of the original film is some of the best stuff he's been associated with and the whole shoot was an amazing amount of fun. He also went on to say that his enthusiasm for Ghostbusters was heightened after recording the voice of Peter Venkman for the video game over the summer. In fact, he said he found himself walking down the street singing the Ghostbusters theme song and then thought people walking around him were going to start yelling at him to "get over yourself, Bill," so he stopped... But the enthusiasm was there."

That's great news - but I personally expected he'd agree to return for no more than a cameo. Slimed by Slimer in the first five minutes of the film or something.

"The Office" co-exec producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky have been working on a script designed to bring back the original cast - Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson.

George Clooney as the Lone Ranger?

With Johnny Depp announced last week as playing Tonto in "The Lone Ranger" the message boards have been lighting up with conversations about who should be playing the masked man himself.

You can put away the wish-lists, if this rumor at Aint it Cool News is anything to go by, because Disney may already have their man.

The site says George Clooney has expressed interest in playing the legendary cowboy.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars DVD in November

DVDActive reports that Warner Home Video has announced the dvd release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on November 11. Available as a 1-disc, a 2-disc and a Blu-ray edition, extras on the 2-disc set will include “The Clone Wars: The Untold Stories”, “The Voices of The Clone Wars”, “Webdocs: Six making-of featurettes, as seen on”, “Deleted Scenes”, and more.

A unique new look for John Carter of Mars?

SCI-FI Wire reports that Andrew Stanton, the director of Pixar’s upcoming feature John Carter of Mars, with co-writer Mark Andrews will be putting their own spin on the iconic story. The site also shares that, according to a Pixar manager, the film will have a unique look as well. Jim Morris, general manager at Pixar Animation, adds, John Carter is in its very early stages, and there is much to figure out about that, so we’d be premature. We are looking at a variety of different approaches and techniques for that…We’re kind of a bit early in the development of that.”

Ninja Anime 'Naruto' Goes South

Naruto in Latin America

Feverishly popular Japanese animated property Naruto was recently at the center of a brand management agreement guided by western content licensing and production company VIZ, Media, LLC. Anticipating further consumer penetration on television, emerging media outlets, and of course, in retail outlets, VIZ Media has moved forward with a product licensing agreement with the International Merchandising Consultants, whose specialty lay in offering brand visibility throughout South American territories.

The ongoing adventures and comedies of an enterprising preteen, set in a contemporary ninja-congested community, Naruto tracks Naruto, and has benefited from an immense consumer following in North America, where it is routinely broadcast to countless viewers on a weekly basis. Whether in comic, graphic novel, or anime form, Naruto's action-packed martial arts and enduring emotional conflicts have held the attention of many a child or adult. The agreement between VIZ Media and the International Merchandising Consultants will surely hope to capitalize on the property's North American fanfare.

"By forging this agreement with International Merchandising Consultants (IMC), we're partnering with one of the most respected licensing agencies in South America," Andrea Gonzalez, International Licensing Director, VIZ Media, stated.

"We see [IMC] as one of the pioneers of the licensing industry in Argentina and this is critical to introducing a brand like Naruto. As the popularity of the world's favorite ninja continues to spread across Latin America we look forward to opening innovative new retail and product opportunities with IMC."

IMC's talents in marketing guarantees and brand administration are intended to carry the ninja anime into Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Uruguay. To the benefit of VIZ Media, this comprehensive licensing announcement will target tweens and teens throughout Latin America that presently sit beyond the company's current borders.

Accordingly, VIZ Media has pursued broadcast deals for Naruto in various South American territories, covering all of its bases ahead of a largely anticipated, branded consumer products blitz for the property this year and next. Licensed rights to air the adventure animation include Cartoon Network Latin America (Pan-regional), Televen (Venezuela), and Chilevision (Chile). Additional partners for the Naruto broadcast include Televisa (Mexico), SBT (Brazil), City TV Bogota (Colombia), and America TV (Peru), among others.

The manga counterpart, by Misashi Kishimoto, is currently on schedule to be licensed in Argentina to a local publishing house. The first manga volume release of this highly anticipated comics series is expected to be released to the market in the first half of the 2009-year.

on VIZ Media, LLC.: Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (, is one of the most comprehensive companies in the field of graphic novel publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. The company is owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation: Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd.,

Mater Stars in Own Mini-Show on Disney

Mater, the rusty tow truck which befriended Lightning McQueen in the 2005 Pixar feature Cars, will be starring in his own animated three-part short series. Pixar’s Cars Toons will premiere on Disney Channel, Toon Disney and ABC Family beginning Monday, Oct. 27. This news follows yesterday’s announcement that director Brad Lewis’ Cars 2 sequel will now be released in the summer of 2011.

These short animated vignettes are directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Victor Navone (animator on Cars, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo) and Rob Gibbs (story artist on Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc.) Kori Rae (associate producer on The Incredibles, Monsters Inc.) is the producer. Mater is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy.

Here is a complete list of the shorts premieres on Toon Disney (all times ET/PT) and their official synopsis:

Monday, Oct. 27 (6:56 p.m.)
Rescue Squad Mater. Mater is a fire truck that rescues Lightning McQueen from a burning building. When McQueen is rushed to the hospital, he discovers that Mater is a doctor, too.

Tuesday, Oct. 28 (6:57 p.m.)
Mater the Greater. Mater is a famous daredevil who does all kinds of stunts. And Lightning McQueen becomes an unwilling participant in Mater's greatest stunt ever.

Wednesday, Oct. 29 (6:57 p.m.)
El Materdor. Mater is a famous bulldozer fighter in Spain. He's so good, he's able to fend off multiple bulldozers at once. Lightning McQueen joins Mater in this tall tale just as things are at their worst.

Disney Channel will present all three shorts throughout the day on Saturday, Nov. 1. ABC Family will present the shorts beginning Tuesday, December 23 during the network's annual "25 Days of Christmas" programming.

Disney has also announced the debut of a new Cars Land inspired by the movie at Disney’s California Adventure park in 2012. The new area will increase capacity to the park with two additional immersive family rides, featuring Luigi and Mater from the movie. Disney Interactive Media Group's (DIMG) Disney Online unit will also launch the World of Cars Online ( virtual world, which will allow fans of the motion picture to immerse themselves in the online world of Radiator Springs and beyond. In preparation for that 2009 launch, Disney Online will launch a Test Track preview site at next month where fans can create their own personalized car and put the pedal to the metal in a single-player racing preview. Vroom, Vroom, indeed.

PorchLight, Caboom Team Up for Beary Boo

Ecological awareness is on the mind of Beary Boo, a new animated series about a green-living brown bear cub, which will be distributed by L.A.-based Porchlight Ent. and produced by Caboom, a production company with offices in L.A. and Dublin. Developed by Caboom, the new toon targets kids 3-6. This deal marks the Irish outfit’s first distribution deal of an original property in the US.

The preschool show follows the adventures of a brown bear cub named Beary who joins the Fuzzy Scouts and marches to the tune of conservation and living green. In the town of Greenly Woods, Beary and his cub pals, Nate, Carlotta, and Growell are dedicated to their Scout motto which is “A clean world is a green world.”

“We are pleased to be working with the talented team at Caboom on Beary Boo,” says Fred Schaefer, PorchLight’s senior VP of animation. “With Beary Boo, Caboom has created an exceptional series that combines great designs, humor, and entertaining stories with messages on conservation, recycling, and other eco-conscious themes.”

Beary Boo is part of a slate of original animated and live-action projects that we are developing and pitching in the US,” notes Caboom’s creative director, Damian Farrell. “We are very excited to partner with the PorchLight team as their knowledge, experience and most importantly their enthusiasm, will be invaluable in helping us bring Beary Boo to life.”

You can find out more info about the two companies at and

Milan Fest Moved by House of Small Cubes

Japanese animator Kunio Kato’s beautifully animated and poetic short La maison en petits cubes (The House of Small Cubes) received the prize for best animated picture at the Milan Film Festival last Sunday.

Kato’s 12-minute, traditionally animated short centers on an old widower, who lives in a house which is slowly submerged in sea water. As each level fills up, the man builds another one on top of it. When the old man dives into the waters to collect an old pipe, he recalls different stages of his life while swimming through the lower levels of a house built on memories.

The House of Small Cubes also won the top Cristal at the Annecy Animation Festival in the spring, and also picked up the Junior Jury Award in the short film category. Kato is only the second Japanese filmmaker to win the coveted Annecy Cristal prize. Koji Yamamura won in 2003 for his Atamayama (Mount Head). Kato’s short received top prizes at the Hiroshima Festival in August and was also screened at Brazil’s Anima Mundi and last week’s Ottawa’s Animation Festival.

Kato has won numerous prizes for his animated shorts, which he began to produce while attending Tama Art University’s graphic design course. After graduating in 2001, Kato began work at Robot Communications, where he created various projects for TV, the Internet and CM spots. Since his most recent work has been getting a lot of attention on the festival circuit, it will be qualified for the Animated Shorts category of the Academy Awards this year.

You can visit Kato’s site at, and watch his 2006 short The Diary of Tortov Roddle here:

Olly Dives into New Territories with Universal

Universal Pictures International Entertainment has picked up the environmentally-conscious preschool series Dive Olly Dive! for release on DVD in the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, South Africa, Brazil and other selected territories. The CG show from Taffy Ent. and Mike Young Prods. will hit retail in those areas in 2009.

Created by Andrew and Ian Ross, Dive Olly Dive! follows the underwater escapades of Olly and Beth, two young research submarines-in-training who live in a deep-sea research center known as SURF: the Special Underwater Research Facility. Together, they experience the joys and challenges of life in their underwater world, much in the same way that preschoolers explore life in their world.

Dive Olly Dive! is a co-production of Mike Young Prods. Ltd (MYP), Flying Bark Prods. of Australia, KI.KA, ARD of Germany, Telegael of Ireland and GDC. Produced with the support of the MEDIA Plus Programme of the European Community, the show won the 2008 Parents’ Choice Award and Hugo Television Award (Certificate of Merit), in addition to being nominated for an Emmy Award and the Prix Jeunesse and Best Animated Series awards at the 2008 Annecy Int’l Festival of Animated Film.

Studio B producer Richard Pimm dead at 60

Canadian producer Richard Pimm, of Vancouver animation outfit Studio B Productions, died Wednesday at 60.

Pimm was a producer and production manager on the Studio B series D'Myna Leagues, Yvon of the Yukon and Class of the Titans. He was producing A Side Show Christmas at the time of his death.

Pimm worked for over three decades at such major animation companies as Nelvana, Disney and Lucasfilm. For 12 years, he was an overseas supervisor in Wales, China, Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines, where he was Toon City's general manager.

At Nelvana, he was a checker on the 1979 TV specials Runaway Robots! Romie-O and Julie-8 and Intergalactic Thanksgiving, and was in quality control on Easter Fever (1980). He was an animation camera operator on 1983's Rock & Rule, the first animated theatrical feature film produced entirely in Canada.

Pimm's work at Disney included serving as a production manager on The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000) and Return to Never Land (2002), as well as a unit coordinator on the video Belle's Magical World and the Hercules TV series.

He was a unit manager on the TV series Ewoks, The Care Bears, Babar and Beetlejuice, in addition to 1989's Babar: The Movie.

Pimm was a proud member of the Manila, Philippines-based Mad Dog Motorcycle Club.

"Richard was a great guy who always had a pleasant outlook on life. He will be sadly missed by his many friends at the studio and around the world," said Studio B spokesman Anthony Jiwa.

A viewing will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, September 30 at Burkeview Family Funeral Care, 1340 Dominion Avenue, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Joe Murray Explains it All…

Artist, illustrator and animator Joe Murray is also one of the most successful cartoon show creators working today. Joe has just produced an e-book entitled Crafting A Cartoon, loaded with tips on how to pitch, sell and produce a series in the current marketplace. Says Joe, the book contains:

“…behind the scenes stories, photos and art from the making of Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo. Realistic approaches to creating cutting edge, memorable characters for several mediums as well as a guide for fresh storytelling. Inside tips on how to put together pitch materials, contract tips on selling a show, and how to produce the series once it has been picked up. Plus sanity-saving advice on creating win-win relationships with networks - and alternative methods to getting your series out there without the network.”

You can browse the first 14 pages here. To order the whole book, visit Joe Murray’s website.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Tom & Jerry theme song in Japan

Catchy tune, violent imagery, fun for the whole family! Forget Superjail… click here to see the delightful Japanese opening for Tom and Jerry.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

The Wile E. Coyote Government

I propose all difficult financial concepts be explained with cartoons, like how this video uses Wile E. Coyote to explain the US government’s financial incompetence:

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Wired Weblog on Adapting Steig's "Doctor De Soto" Picturebook for Animation

On the Wired weblog, Kathy Ceceri has written about her memories working in Michael Sporn's animation studio in the mid-1980's on an adaptation of William Steig's Doctor De Soto. Ceceri describes how the studio made an effort to emulate the look of Steig's watercolor illustrations, in comparison to the CGI adaptation of Steig's Shrek. Many of Sporn's films and other Weston Woods animated adaptations are available through the website of New Hampshire Public Television.

Briefly: Japan's Manga-fan PM; Eco-Bunnies Contest; ICv2 VP on Anime on TV

* Taro Aso, the "cool old dude" of Japan's political establishment and self-professed manga fan, has been elected as Japan's 59th Prime Minister. [Daily Yomiuri Online]

* Travelocity is launching a contest to name its animated Eco-Bunny mascots; submissions may be made through November 7, 2008, on the Eco-Bunnies website. [CBS Marketwatch]

* Right Stuf's "Anime Today" podcast this week interviews Tom Flinn, VP at, about the state of anime on TV today. [Press Release]

'The Dark Knight' coming home December 9th

Warner Home Video have officially announced the DVD and Blu-Ray release of 'The Dark Knight' coming home December 9th and revealed artwork for the set.

The Blu-Ray will bear an MSRP of $35.99 while the 2-disc DVD carries an MSRP of $34.99. Packaging shows the Dark Knight's Batpod on an outer sleeve with the Joker on the inner packaging.

Further artwork displayed on shows the Joker-vandalized back cover for the inner artwork. Also the site reveals a collector's box that will include a scale replica of the Batpod inside.

Check out the images:

Blu-Ray front

Joker vandalized back cover: Blu-Ray

Blu-Ray back

2-Disc special edition, tilted

Blu-Ray sleeve and inner case

Blu-Ray front tilted

2-Disc special edition

Batpod gift-set tilted

Batpod gift-set front

Batpod gift-set back

Iron Man writers to tackle another Marvel hero?

They delivered Marvel a mega-hit in 'Iron Man', yet screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby weren't hired to pen the sequel script. What's up with that? It appears that Fergus and Ostby have their sights on other Marvel heroes.

"There are some really juicy [movies] that we are very much talking intensely with Marvel about. We’re like, ‘We’re the right guys for this one,’" Fergus told MTV Splash Page. "We’re interested in working on a bunch of these other Marvel projections and everything in the Marvel canon is fair game. We have a lot of ideas about all this, but until they officially ask us to come do one of these we’ll keep our mouths closed about the actual ideas. It’s moving along nicely but nothing official yet. But, yes, we are planning on working on some of those movies. That much I’ll say."

So the pair are still in the fold, but won't say which movie they're working on.

So Where Will DreamWorks Animation End Up?

Variety tells us that as DreamWorks' live action arm ankles Paramount/Viaco, DreamWorks Animation stays put:.

DreamWorks Studios may be re-launching with a new infusion of cash, but DreamWorks Animation remains in a distribution deal with Par that runs through 2012.

Originally spun into a public company to help investor Paul Allen liquidate his early investments, DreamWorks Animation is now in the unexpected position of having absolutely no business relationship with DreamWorks Studios.

Technically, the live-action studio hasn't been connected to its toon sibling in over two years, but it's no coincidence that the latter signed a seven-year distribution deal with Paramount at the same time the former was acquired by it ...

DWA toons have performed well for the past two years, grossing an average of $441 million worldwide. Overseas B.O. has been particularly strong, with this summer's
"Kung Fu Panda" and last year's "Shrek the Third" grossing $409 million and $476 million, respectively, from foreign markets. Home entertainment perf has also been solid is a slumping market -- "Shrek the Third" has sold more than 20 million units so far.

... DreamWorks Animation stock is up 27% since 2006 ... Meanwhile, Par is getting into the toon biz on its own. The studio just greenlit its first animated feature (save for cheap Nickelodeon spin-offs),
"Rango," which will star Johnny Depp, be directed by Gore Verbinski, and be produced at Industrial Light and Magic.

Insiders say it may be no coincidence that the pic has been scheduled for March 2011 -- perhaps as a sign that Par can do animation on its own, if needed. Katzenberg is rumored to be peeved, since DreamWorks Animation has its own film set to come out that May -- possibly
"Kung Fu Panda 2."

As the only big domestic, stand-alone cartoon house still standing, how much longer will DWA remain on its own? Will it go back to Universal for a new distribution deal? How about getting purchased by General Electric lock, stock and barrel?.

The problem for me is that in a universe of conglomerates, a solitary animation company with no distribution network is a really rugged business model. Two flops in a row and staffs are cut, then desks and hardware start getting sold to pay the bills.

It's been a fabulous high-wire act so far, but how much longer can it go on? (I guess forever ... as long as those hits just keep on a-coming.)

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

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