Wednesday, December 3, 2008

News - 12/03/08...

Kung Fu Panda among top 10 trailers of 2008

Yahoo!Movies lists the top ten most-watched trailers of the year 2008 with Kung Fu Panda being the only Animated feature to appear in the list.

Quantum of Wallace

A trailer mash-up of Wallace & Gromit and the recent James Bond flick Quantum of Solace has made its way on the internet and can be watched here.

or here...

Taffy Takes Bleach to France’s Virgin 17

The MoonScoop Group’s Taffy Ent. has inked a deal with Virgin 17 to bring season two of the acclaimed anime series Bleach to France in early 2009. Produced by TV Tokyo, Dentsu and Studio Pierrot, the show airs on Adult Swim in the U.S. and has been successful on DVD around the world. KAZE handles home video distribution for the series in French-speaking countries.

Bleach follows the adventures of Kurosaki Ichigo, a 15-year-old boy who has the ability to see spirits. When his family is attacked by a Hollow, a malevolent lost soul, he Kurosaki inherits the soul-reaping powers of a Shinigami (Death God), who was sent to rid the world of tormented Hollows. Now it’s up to the young hero to maintain the peace between the living world and the afterlife. Season two picks up the story as Rukia is marked for death for transferring her powers to Ichigo, and a conspiracy among the Soul Society's inner circle is set in place. Later on, Ichigo is forced to train and reach a new threshold of power, with Rukia's impending death sentence looming. This season also reveals the backstories of several Soul Reaper characters, including Rukia and Renji.

The Bleach anime is based on the best-selling manga serialized in Shonen Jump and published by Shueisha. The manga series consists of 35 volumes to date and has sold more than 50 million copies in Japan alone. It has already been translated into more than seven languages.

Hi-Res Cover Art For Upcoming Animated "Wonder Woman" One-Disc DVD Release

The World's Finest has obtained the hi-res cover art for the one-disc release of the Wonder Woman direct-to-video animated feature.

For a closer look at the cover art, click on the image below.

Stay tuned for more cover art, including artwork for the Blu-ray release and the Two-Disc Special Edition release.

The direct-to-video Wonder Woman animated feature hits DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd, 2009.

South Korea Gets Dark Knight on VOD First

Audiences in South Korea will get to watch the Warner Bros. blockbuster The Dark Knight on demand a full two weeks before its DVD release. According to Daily Variety, the move makes Warner Bros. the first Hollywood studio to release a major motion picture on VOD before home video. The film raked in nearly a billion dollars at the box office worldwide, setting a new record for the highest-grossing weekend in history. The DVD and Blu-ray versions of the blockbuster are also expected to do huge business when they hit retail in the U.S. on Dec. 9.

Warner Bros. is reportedly using South Korea as a testing ground for the practice of launching movies on VOD because if the country’s strong digital infrastructure. Dark Knight will be offered Friday on IPTV channels Mega TV and Broad&TV, and the Home Choice digital cable TV service.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight opened in July and took in $158.3 million, setting a new record for the highest-grossing opening weekend in history. Its predecessor, Batman Begins, debuted in 2005 and grossed $371 million worldwide. A third film is in the works, but the high-water mark set by Knight will be tough to reach again without Heath Ledger in the role of The Joker. The actor’s untimely death shortly before the release of the film had audiences curious to see one of his final performances.

Initially, there had been reports that Warner Bros. was planning to re-release The Dark Knight on IMAX screens in January in order to raise more awareness of the film during the awards season. However, according to Superhero Hype, those plans have been scrapped.

New Pocoyo Short to Air on TVE1

Zinkia and ITV Global Entertainment Ltd. today announced the upcoming debut of Pocoyo and the Space Circus, a new animated shot film starring the popular pre-school TV character. The half-hour adventure will air over the Christmas period on Spanish broadcaster TVE1 as part of an exclusively produced 45-minute Pocoyo content block.

Produced by Zinkia in Spain, the short was screened recently at the Capitol Cinema in Madrid for about 1,400 guests. The event supported the Spanish children’s charity FundaciĆ³n Theodora, which aims to bring laughter to critically and terminally ill children by brining trained clowns to hospitals. Zinkia presented the charity was presented with a check for a a percentage of Pocoyo’s Spanish DVD sales, which is currently in excess of one million units. The show is currently the top-rated preschool property on Spanish television. The kid’s mobile channel, Pocoyo TV, available with leading Spanish phone operators Movistar, Vodafone and Orange, is also proving a hit, as is the VOD platform with ONO, Imagenio and Orange.

Co-produced by Zinkia and ITV Global Entertainment, the Pocoyo TV series consists of 104 seven-minute episodes. The show has been licensed to more than 100 countries worldwide, with ITV Global handling international distribution rights excluding Spain, Portugal, Italy and Latin America, which are handled by Zinkia.

NetDragon Developing Disney Fantasy Online

Online game developer NetDragon Websoft Inc. in China has teamed with the Walt Disney Co.’s Interactive Media Group for the first time to create Disney Fantasy Online, a massively multiplayer online role playing game set to launch this spring. The title will immerse gamers in a Disney-themed world hosted by Mickey Mouse and friends.

Gamers will prepare and train for the many adventures to be had as they explore, complete quests and advance to the next level. There will be virtual items to be acquired and used to personalize the gaming experience and explore additional worlds more extensively. Expansion packs with new adventures and maps will be constantly added to the game, providing more opportunities for gamers to uncover new content and secrets.

“Disney is committed to providing gamers in China with the ultimate digital entertainment destination,” says Stanley Cheung, exec VP and managing director of Walt Disney Greater China. “Our characters and stories endure across generations, platforms and now immersive online experiences. We are very pleased to be cooperating with NetDragon to create a unique, fun, and brand-new entertainment experience for gamers.”

Key features of the game will include in turn-based battle mode, fully customizable player avatars, Disney-themed “pets” to raise throughout the game and virtual castles to build.

Tyrus Wong Interview

We want to wish Tyrus Wong a belated happy birthday. He turned 98 years old on October 25, 2008. Wong is best known for being the chief architect of Bambi’s visual style though he had an even longer career (25+ years) working at Warner Bros. as a storyboard artist and illustrator for live-action films. Below are excerpts from a video interview conducted with him last year by students at Otis College of Art and Design, the school that Wong attended in the 1930s back when it was known as Otis Art Institute. His energy and enthusiasm for life that comes through in this interview is truly inspiring. The entire conversation can be viewed by going to the Otis school’s library in LA.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Promo Deals for Wallace and Gromit

Aardman Animations has partnered with BBC One, Kingsmill and Pyrex for cross-promotional efforts that will coincide with the launch of the upcoming Wallace and Gromit TV special, A Matter of Loaf and Death. The new plasticine comic adventure will air on BBC1 over the Christmas holiday.

In A Matter of Loaf and Death, Wallace & Gromit have started a new bread baking business called Top Bun, and have converted 62 West Wallaby Street into a granary with ovens and robotic kneading arms. Business is booming and Wallace finds himself in love with former beauty and bread enthusiast Piella Bakewell. Gromit discovers his master’s life is in jeopardy after a dozen local bakers disappear, and turns sleuth to solve the escalating murder mystery.

Leading up to the broadcast, Wallace and Gromit will be the face of BBC One in a series of station idents, created and produced exclusively by Aardman at their studios in Bristol. The on-air campaign will run over the holiday period.

Aardman and bread company Kingsmill will launch a six week, instant-win Christmas campaign dubbed “Win a Prize of a Loaf Time.” The promotion will be featured on 29 million packs of Kingsmill bread. To enter, consumers can log on to and enter the batch code as printed on the packs’ yellow neck ties. An instant response message will confirm if they are one of the 500,000 lucky winners.

In an additional tie-in, Wallace and Gromit will be featured in a new Pyrex promotion which offers exclusive collectables free with selected non-stick bakeware at Asda Living and Superstores and independent retailers. Five sets are available and consist of a non-stick roaster, flan pan, oven tray and pizza pan with Wallace and Gromit oven glove, tea towel, shopping bag and pan rest.

Homer Simpson, Felix help win British art prize

Images of Homer Simpson and Felix the Cat are seen in the work of Mark Leckey, who won this year's Turner Prize, Britain's biggest contemporary art award.

Leckey won the £25,000 ($37,000 U.S.) prize Monday at the Tate Britain gallery in London.

A 44-year-old professor of film studies at Frankfurt's Staedelschule, he showed the Turner jury the Cinema-in-the-Round. The work of art shows the auteur giving a deadpan lecture on the nature of the filmed image in popular culture. Included are references to a Simpsons episode, Felix the Cat and James Cameron's Titanic.

Leckey was the odds-on favorite to win. He was the only male artist on the shortlist. Other artists in the running were Goshka Macuga, Runa Islam and Cathy Wilkes.

"He celebrates the imagination of the individual and our potential to inhabit, reclaim or animate an idea, a space, or an object," the jury said of the winner. Leckey, originally from Birkenhead, England, called the win "a big thrill."

Made in 'Eaven, another Leckey creation in the exhibition, has the artist apparently copying Jeff Koons's stainless steel sculpture Rabbit inside his apartment.

This year, the contest for the Turner Prize was exceptional for not being controversial as usual. Entries in previous years have included unmade beds and pickled sharks.

But the Tate Britain still drew 60,000 visitors to see this year's shortlisted entries.

British artist Mark Leckey gets by with a little help from his friends Felix the Cat and Homer Simpson.

"WALL-E" wins feature prize at children's BAFTAs

A waste-collecting robot was victorious in the Feature Film category Sunday night at the EA British Academy Children's Awards, also known as the children's BAFTAs.

The animated WALL•E claimed victory over fellow animated films Ratatouille and Horton Hears A Who!, as well as live-action fantasy Stardust.

The ceremony took place at the London Hilton on Park Lane. Celebrating excellence in children's TV, feature films, Web sites and video games, the awards showcased the innovative and ever-widening range of output designed to inform and entertain children.

There were double celebrations for Charlie and Lola. The beautifully drawn and written series was victorious in Pre-School Animation, while the Charlie and Lola Autumn Special won in the Animation category.

CBBC was lauded for its new, exciting and imaginative output and fought off Nick Jr, Nickelodeon UK and its stablemate Cbeebies, winning Channel of the Year.

DARK KNIGHT composer marching to his own tune

The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at 'Dark Knight' composer Hans Zimmer who has a thing or two to say about a recent Academy ruling that will deny him consideration for a nomination for the film.

Sony Home Entertainment To Distribute Upcoming "Marvel Anime" Series To DVD

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has confirmed for Marvel Animation Age they will distrubite the upcoming Marvel Anime releases.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has created a new subsidiary focused on producing and distributing international properties worldwide, and the upcoming Marvel Anime series is one of the featured properties. The "International Product Expansion Group" has acquired the international distribution rights to Madhouse’s upcoming four anime television series starring Marvel Comics characters. Each series will run 12 episodes and will focus on a particular Marvel character. Wolverine and Iron Man are slated to be the first characters featured with many others to follow. Further confirmed details on the included characters are expected shortly. The Marvel Anime will premiere in early 2010 on Japan’s Animax premium anime channel before being released abroad by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on DVD and likely Blu-ray. Below is an image from the upcoming Marvel Anime featuring Wolverine.

Five New ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Images Hit The ‘Net, Featuring Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber

The other day’s debut of a new “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” promo image of Hugh Jackman was apparently just a tease for fans eagerly anticipating the film’s May 1 premiere, as the ‘Tubes became host to five (count ‘em, five!) new images from the film today. Instead of getting another glimpse at Taylor Kitsch as Gambit, however, this new batch of photos includes a few more looks at Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed (a.k.a. Sabretooth).

This one, though — featuring the ol’ Canucklehead in full “Snikt!” — has to be our favorite of the bunch:

The other four images are posted after the jump, and include a peek at the War-era Logan and Sabretooth marching into battle, the pair exchanging hard looks and a few words in front of a firing squad, and an image of Jackman sans clothes — a nod to his current (and future?) status as “Sexiest Man Alive,” perhaps?

Images from "The Dark Knight" 2-Disc DVD Release

The WF DVD Report also has a look at the full menu system for The Dark Knight: Two-Disc Special Edition DVD release. Click on the thumbnails below for a closer look!

Disc One

Disc Two

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