Friday, January 16, 2009

News - 01/16/09...

Rival studios reach deal on 'Watchmen' release







In this image released by Warner Bros., Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars as The Comedian in a scene from the film, 'Watchmen.'

Fanboys rejoice! Rival studios say they have resolved their battle over the release of "Watchmen."

The release of the superhero flick had been in doubt for months as 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. sparred in federal court over who had proper rights to the film. The studios say it will be released as scheduled on March 6.

Spokesmen for both companies released a statement Thursday night that the studios have resolved the dispute in a confidential agreement.

Settlement discussions ramped up after a judge decided last month that Warner Bros. had violated Fox's distribution interests by shooting the film.

Attorneys for both studios are scheduled to meet with U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess on Friday and discuss the agreement.

The statement said both studios "look forward with great anticipation" to the film's release.





Jackson May Be Out of Iron Man 2

First Terrance Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle as Rhody Rhodes, and now Samuel L. Jackson may be cut out of the highly anticipated sequel Iron Man 2. Jackson showed up at the end of the first Iron Man, playing Marvel Comics icon and Avengers leader Nick Fury. He was supposed to play a bigger role in the second film and the upcoming Avengers pic, but that may not happen now, according to an article in The Los Angeles Times.

In the Times piece, Jackson is quoted saying, “There was a huge kind of negotiation that broke down. I don't know. Maybe I won't be Nick Fury. Maybe somebody else will be Nick Fury or maybe Nick Fury won't be in it. There seems to be an economic crisis in the Marvel Comics world so [they're saying to me], ‘We're not making that deal.’”

Jackson also says he saw Iron Man director Jon Favreau at Spike TV’s Scream Awards and the filmmaker said he was writing for him as Fury in the sequel. Jackson’s agents and manager later told him that things weren’t working out. Marvel holds that negotiations are active, but the studio apparently doesn’t want to pay the actor his asking price.

Robert Downey Jr. will return as Tony Stark in Iron Man 2, which Paramount Pictures plans to release in the summer of 2010. Golden Globe winner Mickey Rourke is in negotiations to play the main villain. Sam Rockwell (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe) is also negotiating a villainous role in the pic, and Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) is in talks to join the cast, perhaps as comic-book femme fatal Black Widow.





Fleischer Superman Flying to DVD

Warner Home Video and DC Comics will release Max Fleischer Superman on April 7. Featuring 17 vintage, Technicolor theatrical cartoons from the Warner Bros. vault, the two-disc collection will come with two new documentaries that delve into the history of the beloved animated shorts and the Superman mythology in general.

The Fleischer Superman cartoons were the very first animated productions featuring DC Comics’ Man of Steel. Praised for their stunning animation and beautifully drawn backgrounds, the lavishly produced shorts garnered an Academy Award nomination in the Animated Short Film category.

Among the bonus features is The Man, the Myth Superman, a revealing documentary that defines the tradition of the super-human archetype and why the Superman character resonates with fans on such a deep and personal level. The other documentary is First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series, which features interviews with surviving members the animation and production team, relatives and biographers, as well as contemporary animation leaders including Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) and Paul Dini and Dan Riba (Superman: The Animated Series), who detail the influence these cartoons have had on their own works. The release will offer approximately 170 minutes of entertainment and will carry a suggested retail price of $26.99.





4Kids Inks Deals for Dinosaur King

4Kids Ent. has completed licensing agreements for the animated series Dinosaur King with GMTV in the U.K. and Jetix Netherlands. In addition, the second season of the series has been picked up by Jetix U.K. and is scheduled to launch in late February, Home video distribution rights have been acquired by KSM GMBH for German-speaking Europe.

Based on the internationally successful arcade and collectable card game from Sega, Dinosaur King employs a mix of traditional cel and CG animation to chronicle the adventures of Max, Rex and Zoe (a.k.a. the “D Team”) as they race around the world to uncover secrets that bring dinosaurs back to life. They are able to transport themselves anywhere in the world in their quest to find all the dinosaur cards that have been lost by the time-traveling Dr. Z and his bumbling team of bad guys.

In the U.S., Dinosaur King airs Saturday mornings during the TheCW4Kids block. The series’ growing lineup of overseas broadcasters includes RTE in Ireland, Animax in Central and Eastern Europe and MNET in South Africa.





Huntik Sold to Jetix, CITV in the U.K.

Big Bocca Prods.’ animated action show Huntik: Secrets & Seekers has been picked up by Jetix and CITV in the U.K. The series of 26 half-hour adventures is an original property created by Iginio Straffi, owner of Italian animation studio Rainbow S.p.A. and creator of the animation series Winx Club. Rainbow S.p.A. serves as co-producer on the series, which is developed in partnership with production company m4e AG.

Jetix UK has an exclusive window, launching the show this month and supporting it both on air and online at www.jetix.co.uk/huntik. The network will air the series every day at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., with weekend showings at 1:30 p.m. CITV will then launch the series this Summer.

Targeting boys 6-12, Huntik revolves around a group of seekers traveling around the globe in search of an ancient amulet that can invoke different types of monsters. Lok Lambert, Dante Vale and their crew explore exotic locations from the pyramids of Egypt to the jungles of the Amazon, seeking to unlock the ancient secrets of each locale and find powerful spirit-warriors called Titans to use in battle against the evil Organization. Upperdeck will release a trading carrd game based on the show.

Huntik, which won the 2008 MIPCOM Licensing Challenge, debuted in North America on TheCW4Kids network on Jan. 3, and also premiered on Rai 2 in Italy and MNET in South Africa this month. The series will start in Germany on RTL2 and in Finland on MTV3 in March. Other TV deals have been inked with Jetix in Benelux, Televisa in Latin America, ABS-CBN in the Philippines, Mediacorp in Singapore, NTV7 in Malaysia, KTV in South Africa, Noga in Israel, Antena 3 Neox in Spain, Canal Panda in Spain, MTV3 Finland, Kanal D Turkey, Alter in Greece, Kabar TV in Kazakhstan and TV3 in Baltic States.

In addition to serving as co-creator/producers for Huntik, Big Bocca Prods. manages all marketing, promotional and licensing initiatives for the property in North America, Latin America, Canada, the U.K., Japan, China, Korea, Israel, Africa, the Middle-East and Oceania. Rainbow is managing the property in Europe, South East Asia (excluding South Korea, China, Japan) and India. M4E is in charge of the German Speaking territories.





Nick Preps Ni Hao, Kai-lan Special

Nickelodeon is celebrating Chinese New Year with a new half-hour, prime-time special installment of its hit animated series Ni Hao, Kai-lan, which teaches Mandarin to kids. Titled “Ladybug Festival,” the installment will air at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on Monday, Feb. 2, the eighth day of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Ox).

In “Ladybug Festival,” Kai-lan and her friends are hiking through the woods to the big Ladybug Festival. Tolee knows the way, but Rintoo and Hoho talk so loudly that they can't hear Tolee tell them which path to take. When a frustrated Tolee refuses to continue hiking with his friends, Kai-lan and the viewer must help Rintoo and Hoho listen so they don't miss the festivities.

The Nick Jr. website (www.nickjr.com) launched an interactive game titled Hoho's Chinese New Year Coin Catch. Kids can play as Hoho, running and jumping over obstacles to collect coins to put in the red Chinese New Year envelopes.

Ni Hao, Kai-lan is created by Karen Chau and exec produced by Mary Harrington. The half-hour series that teaches kids Mandarin words and phrases is Nick Jr.'s first play-along, think-along series to feature an intergenerational family. The show explores the colorful aspects of life for five-year-old Chinese-American girl Kai-lan, and her relationships with her grandfather, Yeye, and her animal friends.






Dilbert Switches to Decaf

A recent Flash-animated Dilbert short illustrates just how important coffee is to a thriving office. Check out the original comic strip this was based on here. Animation by Powerhouse Animation.






Tek Jansen Blasts in 2009

Stephen Colbert’s Flash-animated series Tek Jansen has kicked off the new year with a freshly baked episode. Beginning’s First Dawn: Episode Three, premiered on The Colbert Report on January 5th, and it was produced by Flickerlab. [video is apparently only viewable in the US]







Big Talent on Little Rikke

We may never get a look at the series itself, but the title sequence for Cartoon Network UK’s Little Rikke is a fine substitute. The show concept and character designs were created by Rikke Asbjorn, who had experience at Passion Pictures, and the Flash-animated pilot was co-direted by Asbjorn and Chris Garbutt. Sylvain Marc, who took a top spot in last year’s Flash Animation 10, joined on to help with character animation, layout, the animatic and background designs. Ben Marsau animated as well, along with Stephane Coedel, who handled the After Effects compositing. Chris Garbutt provided the storyboards.



The end credits are also posted on Coedel’s Vimeo page. Animation spotted at fousdanim.org.





The World's Finest Talks To Andrea Romano About "Wonder Woman" Animated Feature

The World's Finest recently talked to voice-director Andrea Romano concerning the upcoming Wonder Woman animated feature.

Were there any particular challenges with casting the role of Wonder Woman for this?

I was so excited to do a project that had a major female character in it because so often the action shows are all kind of male casts, so it was a pleasure first of all, that had many females in it which made me really happy. And this was a slightly different Wonder Woman than I had worked with before in that it’s really kind of her origin story. It's when she comes into the world of humans and off of Paradise Island so I needed somebody with a voice that had strength because clearly she has physical strength but also an innocence, you know a naivety that she had to have. As often happens on things I've been casting where you can tell what I've been watching on TV or what films I've been watching because those tend to be the actors I bring into projects because I'm aware of them and I had just seen "Waitress." So I saw Nathan Fillion and Keri Russell just giving those beautifully sensitive performances and then it became a no-brainer. Unfortunately they could not actually perform together. I had to record them in separate sessions in separate cities on different months I think even, but that is a common thing in what I do that the actors are not always available at the same time so I have to just make sure I get continuity in their performances. Then we have that failsafe at the end which is ADR when the picture is done; so we've recorded the track and animated the movie and then it comes back married and we look at it and say "You know what, we need to fix that. He's shouting and she's quiet and they're standing next to each other." So we have to kind of balance that out and re-record that and so that's the failsafe that makes sure I get continuity. But yes, it was an interesting challenge to cast Wonder Woman because I needed the strength and the innocence. She's kind of ignorant about the ways of mankind, but she can't sound stupid, so there's the difference between ignorance and stupidity. She can't sound dumb. She needs to be innocent and ignorant and then there's this guy Trevor who hopefully doesn't take advantage of her.

As cool as it is to get people like Keri Russell and other celebrities being these voices, how important do you feel it is to use these people when it used to mainly be the full time voiceover actors?

I don't feel that it has to be a celebrity at all. I'm of the mind that it should be the best actor for the role, regardless of who they are if they are well known or never have been heard of before. I don't think that people going into a video store to buy a property like Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman are going to say "Oh I'm not going to buy that because there are no celebrities in it." I really don't. I think they're going to say "It's Wonder Woman and I want my daughter to watch Wonder Woman," or whatever. I'm of the mind that it should be the best actor. The thing about celebrities is when I have to get approval from a group of people and say I want to hire James Arnold Taylor, a brilliant, wonderful voiceover actor who's really good, they'll go "I don't know who that is." When I say I want to hire Nathan Fillian they'll go "I know who that is!" so it's easier because they all know who it is so they can say "Yes, let's go there." I don't like to cast celebrities strictly for celebrity sake, I like to cast the best actor for the role. I'm willing to fight for the rank-and-file actor to get them in there to do it. I do fill up the rest of the cast with the rank-and-file actors. I'm sure you guys are aware of it where there's gratuitous celebrity casting where you get somebody like Jackie Chan in Kung Fu Panda who has 3 lines and that's a waste of a wonderful talent. I don't believe in that at all. I believe let's get the right guy for the role. The Screen Actors Guild allows me to hire 1 actor for 3 voices and not every celebrity can do 3 voices. Not every celebrity can do 3 voices. You'll find some guys who are really versatile who are really good, but you go to the rank-and-file animation voiceover actors, the Rob Paulsens, the Maurice LaMarches, the Jeff Bennett and they all can give you 3 voices that sound completely different, speaking right next to each other and I need those guys to fill in my cast so I've got all the roles filled with versatile people and when I can I love to put those guys in the room with the celebrities and watch the celebrities jaws just drop as these voiceover actors do what they do.

Since Wonder Woman has such a strong voice, who do you cast as a villain for her to face?

The voice of Ares is Alfred Molina, who couldn't be a more wonderful man. A brilliant actor we all know we've watched him do remarkable work. He told me a great story. It was Christmas time and we were recording him and someone had sent me an enormous basket of chocolates and so I brought it into the recording studio and told everyone to please help me eat this chocolate or I'll take it home and eat it myself. I was reminded he did the movie Chocolat. He said they shot a scene where he just gorges himself with chocolate and he told me he ate 2 pounds of chocolate because he had to shoot that scene several times.

But he is just strong, wonderful deep voice and he's so versatile. He can do Shakespeare and he can do just whatever contemporary modern thing you want him to do. He has the British accent of course, but his American accent is excellent. We had some great fun working with him. He was such a joy.

Andrea lets us know some of the other cast members at this point. They include Virginia Madsen as Hippolyta. Rosario Dawson plays Artemis, one of the Amazon warriors. Oliver Platt plays Hades. David McCallum plays Zeus and had just recently played Alfred in Batman: Gotham Knight.

As a fan of Wonder Woman, what are you looking forward to about the movie?

I always love to see how it all sticks together. I think of it almost like a puzzle. I've got this actor's performance and then down the line that actor's performance so I love to see how it all comes together so that aspect of it is to me is really significant. Wow that really worked! It sounds like they're talking together and they really weren't. I never know what the action sequences will look like. Because although it may be described in the script I work off of, it often changes considerably from the description to what they ultimately animate.

When you were casting for Wonder Woman did you have to do a lot of research?

I always have to do research. Girls didn't back in my day read comic books like Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman. We read like Betty and Veronica and the occasional romance comic if we read them at all. Now girls do much more. I see girls in the hotel reading comic book and that was the de rigor(sp?) of the day when I was a kid. So I always have to do research and I always have to ask a lot of questions. Then what makes it good is I become an audience member who needs to have things explained to and when I say the script doesn't make that clear then the writers know they should add something that will help anyone else like me who doesn't know that history that you can't go too deep into it but at least so that reference to that point makes sense to someone who doesn't know Wonder Woman. Who may not know any of those things.

Do you see any character designs beforehand?

Yes, but I'm also told that sometimes the designs will change. Then I ask if it will change considerably and that's the kind of thing I have to do with. It doesn't matter to me if they make her waist a little smaller or her bosom a little bit larger (laughs). That doesn't matter, but what does matter is with a character like Ares. Will he have big, massive shoulders or be slight? That's a voice type you have to be concerned with. What is the physicality of the character and does the voice match? We all have friends who may not have voices that match their bodies, but in animation that doesn't really work. You have to have them sound like what they look like unless you're playing the comedy beat and you have a big, beefy guy who sounds like Mike Tyson.

Is there an evolution in Wonder Woman's voice as she progresses through the movie?

Not in her voice, in her knowledge and maturity, yet she still retains this kind of innocence that's endearing in her. I wanted to keep the femininity most importantly, and there's a growth and learning process for Wonder Woman, but not vocally.

Have you found any challenges in re-casting characters you've visited before?

It's hard. It's really hard. Someone told me the other day I cast Batman 7 times. Sometimes I think I don't have any other thoughts. I've asked every actor who I've think is appropriate to do it already or sometimes there's people who wanted to do it but weren't available during my production period so I have to go back and check all my notes from my previous gigs and see if they want to come play now.

I like the continuity of going back. I love that in Gotham Knight it's Kevin Conroy.

Is it hard to tell the actors from previous performances that they will not be doing this project?

It's always hard. I'm a very actor-friendly director having been an actress myself 1000 years ago. I always want to be sure to protect the actors feelings as much as possible and actors are really sensitive people, that's why they're actors. They have a really strong emotional response to things, so I always try to be very straightforward with them and let them know I'm working on another project and I've been told I have to re-cast it and it's not because you did anything wrong and when we do something that has to do with what we've done in the past. It's just been what I've been asked to do.

It doesn't happen too often, but every once in a while I'll hire an actor and it doesn't work. They don't get the energy; they don't understand it; especially if they're strictly film actors. They do very small facial reactions, vocal reactions. Some actors whisper almost entirely. I've had a couple of actors like that and they just didn't understand the energy. I'd push and push and push and it doesn't work. Stage actors do really well. They make the segue really easily. A lot of the TV actors or film actors who also do stage seem to make a nice easy path into it. But I don't ever like to replace an actor. When it happens I'll call the agent right away; because you don't want the piece to come out and the actor to not know they were replacing and they're screaming at home watching the DVD (laughs). So I explain to them what the problem was and why it happened and try to handle it as delicately as possible.

Check out the Wonder Woman subsite here at The World's Finest for further coverage and information on the upcoming Wonder Woman direct-to-video animated feature. The direct-to-video Wonder Woman animated feature hits DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd, 2009.





"Black Panther" Animated to Debut at New York Comic Con 2009

In an interview with Marvel.com, writer Reginald Hudlin revealed that the Black Panther animated series will make its debut at this year's New York Comic Con between February 6-8, 2009. The series will adapt "Who is the Black Panther?", Hudlin's first story arc on the monthly Black Panther comic book series.





"Sit Down, Shut Up" to Premiere on April 19, 2009

Fox will premiere its new animated comedy series Sit Down, Shut Up on April 19, 2009, at 8:30 PM (7:30 PM Central time). The comedy series is based on a live-action Australian sitcom about a dysfunctional school, and was adapted by Arrested Development's Mitch Hurwitz. Cast members include Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Kristin Chenoweth, Will Forte, Tom Kenny, Nick Kroll, Cheri Oteri, Kenan Thompson and Henry Winkler.





"Clone Wars: A Galaxy Divided" Coming to DVD

Tvshowsondvd.com reports that Warner Bros. is putting four episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on DVD in Star Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy Divided.

The DVD will contain the episodes:
Ambush
Rising Malevolence
Shadow of Malevolence
Destroy Malevolence


All 4 episodes will be presented in widescreen format.

The DVD will hit stores on March 24, 2009.





What Frank Zappa, Tex Avery and Monty Python have in common

Last week’s post about Frank Zappa, Tex Avery and the place of executives generated a lot of feedback, including this email from Bruno Afonso in France:

Recently, you posted a great video with Frank Zappa, about how the old-school executives were way more hands-off than now. It reminded me of something I had seen in a BBC programm called “Comedy Connections” about the creation of the Monty Python. It was more or less the same thing. When they made their first TV series, the BBC executives just told them “Well, you’ve got an order for thirteen episodes, go and make them, you’re on the air in September” and that was it! I found the clip on YouTube where the Montys explain it. They say it in the first minute. I, for one, think it’s quite interesting that all of these geniuses (Tex Avery, Frank Zappa, Monty Python) made their best work when left alone.



For the sake of posterity, here are the comments from the castmembers. John Cleese said:

“I was incredibly impressed with the risks they’d take. We went in to see Michael Mills and we explained extremely inadequately what we had in mind. There were huge gaps absolutely everywhere and at the end of a thoroughly unsatisfactory meeting, from Michael’s point of view, he said just go away and make thirteen.”

And from Eric Idle:

“Well, the BBC was a much more laid back place. It was a bit more like a retirement from the RAF filled with people who were having offices and going off smoking their pipes and having beer. So they were very laid back about it. They said, “Well look, here we are, we’ve got thirteen of them, you’re on the air in September and see you then,” and they sort of left. They didn’t really care. It was fabulous. It was the golden age of executives. There weren’t any.”

Personally, I find the contemporary balance of power between executives and artists very curious. Why do non-creative people exercise so much control over artists in the creation of animated projects? Does it make the finished product any better? Is there a precedent showing that quality work was previously created in this manner? The answer to that latter question is clear at least; if one looks back at the history of how classic works of animation (and other media) have been produced, in every instance it was different from the way animation is produced nowadays. How much of that is the fault of the artists themselves? If somebody accepts the input of a creatively inferior person and gives equal weight to that person’s opinions, doesn’t that eventually legitimize that person? In other words, could it be that industry artists have weakened their own standing throughout the years by consistently collaborating with creatively inferior people?

(Thanks cartoonbrew)





Mickey Transformers









Say hello to Mecha-Mouse!

Going on sale next month in Japan are a pair of Mickey Mouse Transformers toys. One in shimmering black and white (Steampunk Willie?), the other in glorious multiplane Techincolor. No word yet on a Pluto-bot, Goofytron or Decepta-Duck. More cool pictures of robo-Mickey below and here.






(Thanks, Ed Austin)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)





3-D "Quantum Quest" announces all-star voice cast

"Quantum Quest," a 3-D computer-animated action-adventure film that interweaves animated sequences with actual space imagery captured from seven ongoing NASA and NASA/ESA space missions, announced its final voice cast Thursday.

The full voice cast includes Chris Pine (Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek XI feature film), Samuel L. Jackson (The Spirit, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars), Hayden Christensen (Jumper, Star Wars), Amanda Peet (X-Files Movie 2, The Whole Nine Yards), Robert Picardo (Stargate Atlantis), Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, Transformers), Sandra Oh (Sideways, Grey's Anatomy), Brent Spiner (Independence Day, Star Trek: Next Generation), James Earl Jones (Star Wars), William Shatner (Boston Legal, Star Trek), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Neil Armstrong, Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth, Abe Sabien - HellBoy), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl), Spencer Breslin (The Happening), Gary Graham (Alien Nation, Enterprise), and Janina Gavankar (The L Word).

The movie features the voices of two Captain Kirks (veteran Shatner and Pine and two Darth Vaders (Jones and Christensen) -- a first for Hollywood and a first for the galaxy. Quantum Quest will premiere in large-format and conventional theaters in late 2009.

The film is presented by Digimax, the premier digital content provider in Taiwan, and sponsored in part by NASA's JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). It is produced by Digimax and Jupiter 9 Productions, a full-service Hollywood production company.

Shawn Clement (Open Season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is the composer.

Quantum Quest is a sci-fi action film set in a scientifically accurate rendering of our solar system in 3-D stereoscopic. Visually, the film blends computer animation with images captured during recent NASA space explorations, including the international Cassini Huygens mission. The audience is taken on a simulated solar safari, exploring the outer planets and moons of our solar system such as Titan, a moon of Saturn that has rainfall, rivers, and giant lakes of natural gas.

Directed by Dan St. Pierre and Dr. Harry Kloor, and written and conceived by Kloor, Quantum Quest tells the story of an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. The central character is Dave (Pine), a photon who lives in the Sun, who with his people, is drawn into a galactic battle between The Core (Shatner, the embodiment of the Sun, representing life and knowledge) and The Void (Hamill, the embodiment of Nothingness, who wishes for total annihilation of the universe).

Quantum Quest was initiated by NASA's JPL as part of the outreach program of the Cassini Huygens space mission in 1996, as a project that would be entertaining as well as having underlying scientific educational goals. It is the first time that NASA's JPL has ever initiated a film project and the first time that famed Apollo 11 astronaut Armstrong, the first person to walk on the surface of the Moon, has participated in a feature film, lending his voice to one of the characters.

Armstrong serves as one of four education ambassadors for Quantum Quest. Other educational ambassadors are NASA's liaison on the film, Charles Kohlhase, who has led the design of deep-space robotic missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and has received NASA's highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal; Anousheh Ansari, the world's first female private space explorer and serial entrepreneur, and co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems; and Dr. Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation (which awarded the $10M Ansari X Prize), CEO of Zero Gravity Corporation, chairman & co-founder of the Rocket Racing League, and co-founder of the International Space University.

Producers are Kloor, president of Jupiter 9 Productions; Digimax chairperson Helen Pao-Yun Huang; Digimax vice-president Jeff Tzong-Jer Yang; and Rayna Napali of Jupiter 9 Productions. Tom Teng from Digimax, Teddy Zee, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Jon Vein are executive producers. The film will be released worldwide in large-format and subsequently in conventional 3D theaters. The film is distributed and marketed in Asia by Digimax, and by Jupiter 9 Productions in all other territories.

For additional information about the film, see www.qqthemovie.com.





Acclaimed 'Real Adventures of JQ' Animation on DVD

1990's Jonny Quest Animation Back in Action

For that elite class of animation enthusiasts, twenty-somethings or older, who once made up the self-proclaimed Toonami faithful who followed what was once Cartoon Network's after school programming block with unprompted passion, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest should conjure plenty of memories. The adventure series provided an updated, tech-savvy profile of classic Hanna-Barbera characters that familiarized a new generation with the thrill of unpredictability in the cartoon universe.

Given that his father, Dr. Benton Quest, is a world-traveling scientist and government agent, it was perhaps no surprise then to find Jonny to have been the type of kid many a millennial could identify with. Jonny Quest is incorrigible as an adventurous teenager; he never looks before he leaps, relies more on instinct than learned experience, and loves spending time with his friends.

First hitting airwaves in the fall season of 1996, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest tracks Jonny and his friends; Jessie, a tough and clever girl, and Hadji, a reliable friend from the east; as he works hard evading the dangers of super villains, perfecting a virtual reality system, and learning how to grow up in a world that would otherwise move far too fast for someone his age. Available on home video as an official series release for the first time come mid-February, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest is a treat for television viewers that has been a long time coming.

The Season One Part One, as batch organized by Warner Bros., consists of thirteen episodes; and will hit store shelves on February 17th, 2009 as a two-disc DVD set for $26.98. From the series' seminal journey into computer animation with the episode "Escape to Questworld" to the Quest family's unforgettable, near-death encounters with the madman who clings to the past like none other, Zeke Rage, in "Rage's Burning Wheel" and "Ezekiel Rage" the first season holds plenty of intriguing, "real" adventures. Bonus items include a short featurette on the process of updating the Quest franchise.

Sometimes philosophical, sometimes mythical, and sometimes just plain fun, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest playfully merges the classic structure of Saturday morning animation with a more contemporary appeal to the riveting excitement that modern youths demand of after-school programs. Though encountering its fare share budgetary issues and incongruities in production staffing, the show remains popular with fans today. With Jonny and his pals shadowed by the ever-loyal bodyguard Race Bannon on one occasion or another, the boy's frequent inner conflict with enjoying what's fun and doing what's right often intercedes with the lives of everyone he knows, often turning the simplest chore into the most difficult puzzle.

Although the small screen may be devoid of the Toonami brand, fans of Quest are encouraged to finally grab a durable copy of one television animation that once helped define a network.

From ghosts to militiamen, from African elephants to crazed geniuses (such as one indomitable Jeremiah Surd); both the friendlies and the enemies of Jonny, Jessie, and Hadji number in the dozens, each one more curious than the next.

on Warner Home Video: With operations in ninety international territories Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video's film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment.





World's Finest Talks with Michael Rosenbaum on "Brave & Bold's" Deadman

The World's Finest Online has spoken with actor Michael Rosenbaum about his upcoming portrayal of Deadman in the episode "Dawn of the Dead Man!" in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Among other topics, Rosenbaum discusses how he got into character as the body-hopping ghost and his roles as the Flash in Justice League and Lex Luthor in Smallville.

Hello! First off, to those who may not be familiar with your work, care to give us a quick rundown of your resume, perhaps highlighting some of your most prestigious work?

I've been around for a while. Most people know me from Smallville, but I actually have great hair and I'm not that mean. I wouldn't call all my work prestigious, but some of it hasn't been too shabby. I'm certainly proud of some the movies I've done like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Poolhall Junkies. Working with a legend like Clint Eastwood in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, makes you step up a little as an actor. I love being challenged. I really enjoy the funny roles I've done in movies such as Sorority Boys and Bringing Down the House. I have a lot of fun doing comedies. I'd rather make people laugh any day of the week.

Now, we’re here to discuss your turn as Deadman in the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode “Dawn of the Deadman” (awesome name, by the way). It’s quite a different character for you to play in a DC-Animated tune (save for Ghoul from Batman Beyond). How d you get in the mindset to play, essentially, a body-jumping ghost?

Well, I really just jumped into it. All joking aside, I always imagine the character a certain way when I read it and then the director will add or subtract from that. It was certainly an interesting character to lend my voice to. Playing a character that has a bit of an arc is always a treat. Moreover, I love changing my voice a little.

Due to the nature of the character, will we get to see you do a host of different impressions in this episode? Is there anything you can reveal about what we can expect from you, and the Deadman character you’ll be playing, in this upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode?

Aside from doing a little Japanese at the end of the episode, I just stuck with one impression for the most part. I used a bit of a New York dialect and kept it simple. There's definitely a softer side to this character. A sad soul who wants to do good and find his way.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold is a more light-hearted approach to Batman. Do you take that into consideration when playing the role of Deadman? How does the tone of a series - whether it’s Batman: The Brave and The Bold, Justice League, Smallville, even Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane - affect how you play a role?

I love that you throw in Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane into the equation. In a nutshell, I read something and I automatically have an idea in my head of what the character should be. If I stick with what first comes to mind, I'm usually better off then when I think too much.

Now, hopefully you won’t mind if we swing off-topic for a second. You have a massive voice-acting resume. What attracts you to voice-acting?

It's easy and fun. It's as simple as that. I don't have to shave to talk into a microphone. I can just drink my ginger-ale and relax. As long as I don't sip too loudly. I've been very lucky by the way. Andrea Romano, who directs a lot of the animation in town, has given me quite a bit of work. She believes in me and I just adore her. Did I mention she's won tons of awards? Big time awards. I once won a Saturn Award. My friends asked me when I was going to receive the Uranus award. I didn't answer them.

Animation fans likely recognize you from your role as Flash from Justice League and its sequel series Justice League Unlimited. Any comments, looking back, about your role in the series, both as an actor and the character you portrayed? Would you be interested in returning to the character in the future?

I would love if they brought me back to do The Flash. I didn't even know about Justice League Unlimited until it was already cast. That's just the way it goes though. They like to mix it up a bit and I don't blame them. I'm surprised by how many people really like The Flash. I was at an autograph signing and I couldn't believe the amount of fans out there who wanted to meet the voice behind the Flash. Very cool.

As semi-follow-up to the previous question, do you have any favorite particular episode or moment from Justice League that stands out?

"The Great Brain Robbery" episode was a lot of fun. Plus, it was one of the few where The Flash had a lot to do. Like every actor... I always want more.

So, you’re taking a break from Smallville at the moment. Do you miss the series? Are you interested in returning or seeing Luthor return to said series (or, as many fans have theorized, is your character already back)? A break?

I don't think anyone has really let the idea that I'm not coming back actually sink in. I find it flattering. Do I miss the series? I miss the people. I will always cherish the fun times I had on the set of Smallville.

Now, many fans consider you the definitive Lex Luthor, and the definitive voice of Flash. How do you feel about that?

I'll take that compliment all day long. Are you kidding me? I have the best fans. I don't know how many I have, but they're certainly the most loyal and sincere fans out there. The fact that they are putting me in the same category as Gene Hackman... baffles me. But I'll take it.

You’ve worked in TV, movies, and animation. How do you avoid stretching yourself thin? At one point, you were working on Smallville, Justice League, and assorted movies at the same time. How do you juggle all of that?

I try not to pass up good work or work that interests me. I just have to keep moving. I know where I want to go and if I stop, I'll never get there.

So, as we begin to wrap this up, do you have any projects you’d like to let us know about? A new movie coming? Television appearance? Let us know!

I'm writing two movies. They're both pretty amazing projects. I'm also filming a movie this summer in Toronto that I'm extremely excited about.

Finally, any final thoughts on your upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold appearance? Any last words?

It's truly a wonderful episode and it airs this Friday, January 16th at 8:00 PM on Cartoon Network. I urge you to watch it - because I'm in it. All joking aside, it's very clever and I know the fans will really enjoy seeing this character fight side by side with Batman.





McG reveals more about Terminator: Salvation—and jabs Michael Bay









During a screening in Hollywood of footage from Terminator: Salvation on Wednesday, director McG revealed a wealth of new details about his upcoming film, including its potential rating, running time, whether Arnold Schwarzenegger will be involved and what he really thinks of Michael Bay.

The following is an edited version of the session from the event.

Will we get to see the film in IMAX?

McG:
I wanted to shoot the film with this dead stock [old film that has been distressed to give the movie a desaturated look]. Therefore it wasn't conducive to shooting it in IMAX format. But we're going to bump it up to IMAX. We are going to bump it up, and it holds up very nicely, and it looks and sounds that much more impactful. But one price we had to pay for making those choices was that we didn't shoot in IMAX.










What do you have in mind for the rating of the film?

McG:
We got together early on, I got together with Christian [Bale, who plays John Connor], and we want to make the best film possible. We don't care about the rating. We can't aim for the rating. There's one guy in the world who would be sharp with me about the rating, and he's sitting in here right now. He's [Warner Brothers executive] Jeff Rabinov, and we talked about this at Comic-Con. No joke. Jeff, rightfully so, because he's a tough businessman and people can run numbers at you, "It's this, it's that, you'll lose money." And Rabinov was the one who was cool enough to say, "Just shoot the movie. I'm not worried about it." All three of those [previous Terminator] films are R, so you've got a fearless Warner Brothers, which was excellent for us because it freed us up to just shoot the movie. Now, having said that, I'm not hung up about a PG-13. I look at The Dark Knight, and I think that picture was made compromise-free. I think it's an excellent artistic achievement, and I don't come out of there going, "Oh, if it would have been a little gorier, I would have liked it more." To the contrary. We don't aim for a rating, and we've been given freedom by the head of the studio to just make the best picture possible.

What's the running time looking at right now?

McG:
Again, we're not particularly concerned about it. I mean, it's probably going to be right around two hours, maybe a little more than two hours, but we're not trying to target. And that's another thing: There's a guy who runs Warner, and he'll talk very intelligently about a certain cutoff of screenings where if you do it this way, you get x amount of screens a day, and if you do it that way, you lose that many showings a day. But we've been given the freedom just to make the best movie possible. Now I happen to think a lot of filmmakers are overindulgent in how their films run too long, but I don't like a movie that's 90 minutes in-out. I want a movie to have a correct length to have the maximum impact and give you something to think about as you exit the theater. I also think the audience is so intelligent that you can tell, oftentimes as a function of runtime, the amount of confidence in the quality of the film.

Have you spoken to Schwarzenegger at all about the movie?

McG:
I have indeed. I spoke to Schwarzenegger, and I will be showing him the film shortly. I've got a lot to talk to him about in regard to the role he plays in this. It's something we've talked about a lot. It's a double-edged sword, because we've begun again; this is a new idea, and this is a new idea with Terminators, a new language. But he's such a part of it, the degree to which he'll be part of our film, you've got to be respectful of the seat he's in right now. We have to be sensitive, be intelligent, and he's our partner. He gets it, he does indeed wish us well, and I look forward to showing him the movie. I didn't want to do the movie if Schwarzenegger was like, "F--k you guys!" I want Schwarzenegger to at least feel respected.

Are you concerned about being up against another movie with giant robots this summer [Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, whose director, Michael Bay, has accused McG of mimicking his giant robots]?

McG: Well, I refer to the work of Michael Bay to eliminate what not to do. That's a joke. I talked to him an hour ago. Truthfully, the Harvester is a little reminiscent of a Transformer, and I don't want that. It's an ancillary character in our film, and our film is so different. It's something that Michael and I have talked about; Michael and I cut our teeth in a similar way, shooting a lot of film and coming up in the commercial [and] music-video industry. So I want to make sure there's no way we're going to have anything reminiscent of that. That also has decidedly manga characteristics; it's colorful and has machines hitting hip-hop poses. I like those movies, but we're not making that movie, and I say that in fun because I truly talked to Michael Bay two hours ago, because he took a jab at us. He emailed me today, and we talked, and it's a healthy competition. So we'll see who the last man standing is.

When you were in story meetings, were you planning one movie or several?

McG:
We have already broken stories for the second and third movies. We don't explore time travel in this movie, and it's a huge part of the mythology. Having said that, we would never be so bold as to presume there will be another movie. A lot of people get in trouble thinking they have the best thing since sliced bread, the audience goes like this [thumbs down], and there isn't a second movie. I would never presume a second movie, even though Christian and I have talked about it. We talked about all of that, and we're ready to go if audiences say, "We want it." And we prefer to leave that to the audience.





Psst: Wanna buy a Viper? Battlestar Galactica auction kicks off










For sale: used Viper, Colonial fleet admiral's uniform, desk formerly occupied by President Laura Roslin. Best offer.

If you're in the market for some souvenirs from SCI FI Channel's Battlestar Galactica, then head over to the live auction taking place Friday through Sunday at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif.

NBC Universal Television, DVD, Music and Consumer Products Group and Propworx are making final preparations for the Battlestar Galactica live auction, whose catalog is now available for viewing or for purchase online.

The auction will offer spectacular and unique items in every price category. Some of the hottest items include Caprica Six's red dress, Adm. Adama's blue uniform, President Roslin's desk and a life-size Viper prop. The auction will also feature a large selection of preproduction art and costume sketches. A portion of the auction's proceeds will benefit United Way.

The show's stars have also selected items to be auctioned to benefit their favorite chariites. Tricia Helfer (Six) has chosen the red dress to benefit the Richmond Animal Protection Society, Kitten Rescue, World Wildlife Fund and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Michael Hogan (Tigh) has chosen the character's liquor bottle to be sold to benefit the Performing Arts Lodge Vancouver. Michael Trucco (Anders) has designated several items to benefit Food on Foot.

If you can't make it to Pasadena, Auction Network will broadcast the two-day live auction event on Saturday and Sunday in high definition with real-time bidding online, starting at 11:30 a.m. PT on both days.

NBC Universal and Propworx will also offer a series of live panel discussions with key executives from Battlestar Galactica on Friday at the Pasadena Convention Center during the public preview day. The panels will offer fans and collectors a chance to ask questions of the creative executives who brought Battlestar Galactica to life on screen, including construction coordinator Chris Claridge, set decorator Jonathan Lancaster, props supervisor Ken Hawryliw, costume supervisor Glenne Campbell, production designer Richard Hudolin and art director Doug McClean.

Battlestar Galactica kicks off the second half of its fourth and final season on Friday at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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