Tuesday, April 7, 2009

News - 04/07/09...

Warner Bros. Animation Schedules Animation Celebration For Today, Further Details

A special event celebrating Warner Bros. Animation, including DC Comics-inspired cartoons, is planned for next week in Burbank, California.

A representative for Warner Bros. Animation has passed along a flyer describing the upcoming Warner Bros. Animation event. Click on the image below for a closer look at the flyer, presented as a PDF document.

The special "Animation Celebration," held by Warner Bros. Animation, will take place Today, April 7th, 2009, starting at 6:00pm at the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. The celebration will also include the reveal of the new Warner Bros. Animation and will feature live entertainment, prizes, and appearances by Glen Murakami, Bruce Timm, and James Tucker. A special outdoor showing of Batman: The Brave and The Bold will also be held.

Christian Bale Animation Contest

The boys at Spline Doctors, a loose teaching collective comprised of Pixar animators, hosted an animation contest on their site that asked readers to animate a certain infamous piece of dialogue by Christian Bale. Their call for entries generated over twenty-five entries. Go here to see the winners along with all of the other contest entries.

On a sidenote, the antics of Christian Bale are proving to be rich fodder for animation artists around the world. French illustrator Laurent Blachier and BusterDesign.tv also created this Christian Bale piece.

(NSFW - Naughty Talk)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

For All the Velma Fans Out There

It’s a special day when the quality of fan art exceeds the artistry of its animated source material. Then again, with Scooby-Doo, the bar was never set that high to begin with. The entire image — possibly NSFW — is after the jump. If you know who the artist is, please share the info in the comments.

Read the rest of this entry »

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Rai Fiction Toons Up 3 New Shows

Italian pubcaster Rai Fiction unveiled its new slate of animated programs this weekend at the 13th edition of the Cartoons on the Bay festival held in Rapallo (April 2-5). Luca Milano, Rai Fiction’s marketing manager overseeing animated showed images from three of the new toons in productions. Headling the new toons are Geronimo Stilton, Atlantyca/Moonscoop’s much-anticipated animated adaptation of the popular children’s book series; Pipi, Pupu and Rosmary, a preschool show based on books by Enzo d’Alo and Vincenzo Cerami (narrated by famous Italian actor Giancarolo Gianini) and Teen Days, a stylish tween-skewing series directing by filmmaker Maurizio Nichetti (Allegro non Troppo’s writer, Volere Volare’s director).

Pipi, Pupu and Rosmary centers on the adventures of a bird, a racoon and a rabbit as they travel the world in search of their Mapa (a metaphysical entity reminiscent of both a mother and a father). The 52 x 6 series will premiere on Rai Tre this fall. Geronimo Stilton is a delightful 2D animated series which follows the trials and tribulations of a mouse journalist and his clever nephew in New Mouse City. Teen Days (26 x 26) is described as an animated cross between Fame and American Idol, set against the backdrop of an experimental show biz school. The toon is a co-pro between Rai Due and Cartoon One studio, based in Rome.

Rai Fiction also announced the production of two ambitious animated projects: Marco Polo, billed as the first ever Italian-Chinese co-pro revolves around the exploits of a 13th century explorer (produced by CCTV in Nanjing and Test Multimediale in Turin and the Chinese Studio Blue Dolphin) and The Little Prince, a 52 x 26 adaptation of the hugely popular book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This much-anticipated show is a co-production between India’s DQ Entertainment, Sony Intl. Distribution and French studio Method Animation (Skyland). In conjunction with the show, an exhibit featuring preparatory sketches for the show were on exhibit at Rapallo’s Cartoon Village.

FUNimation to Stream 7 Toei Titles

U.S.-based anime company FUNimation Entertainment has struck a digital distribution deal with Japanese producer Toei Animation to stream online seven anime series from the company’s back catalog.

The deal includes more than 500 episodes, which will be made available for free at www.funimation.com/video. The deal begins with 50 episodes of Digimon Adventures 02, with a complete series added to the site each week for seven weeks.

The other series include Air Master, Captain Harlock, Fist of the North Star, Galaxy Express 999, Pretty Cure and Slam Dunk. The episodes will be in Japanese with English subtitles.

Walt Disney Family Museum to Open This Fall

The story of the man behind Mickey Mouse and animation’s most enduring studio will be brought directly to the public in October with the opening of The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

The museum will present Disney’s successes, disappointments and ambition for the art form he loved through an exhibition that will feature early drawings of Mickey Mouse, personal letters, home movies and other methods of exhibition.

The $112 million museum is being built on the grounds of the Presidio, near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and will be run by Richard Benefield, former director of the Harvard University Art Museums, reports The New York Times. The museum was financed by the Disney family foundation and the sale of bonds.

Among the exhibits announced for the museum are: original concept art and animation cels from Bambi, Pinocchio, Fantasia and “Steamboat Willie,” the first animated film with sound; storyboards; early drawings of Mickey Mouse; the narrow-gauge train Disney built for his home that inspired Disneyland; recordings of Disney and his colleagues; the unique Snow White Academy Award, with featured a full-size Oscar and seven miniature castings; the original, two-story camera that brought unprecedented depth to his animated classics; a model of the Disneyland of Walt’s imagination; clips from the first nature documentary; drawings and cartoons from Laugh-O-Gram Films, Disney’s first company; and a 360-degree overhead video ribbon showcasing a decade of Disney filmmaking.

Stanchfield’s Famed Disney Animation Lessons Published

The “handout” notes and lectures Walt Stanchfield passed out to Disney animators over the years have famous in the animation industry for their insight into the artform, inspiring such acclaimed animators as Tim Burton, Brad Bird, John Musker, Glen Keane, Andreas Deja and John Lasseter.

Now, all animation aficionados can share his insights with the release this week of Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes Vols. 1 and 2 from Focal Press.

“To me, Drawn to Life is one the strongest primers on animation ever written,” says Disney animator Don Hahn, who edited the books. “The material spares no detail on the craft of animation, but also digs deep into the artistic roots of animation. It is a publication that has been anticipated for many years by every artist and student that Walt ever came in contact with. It has been a labor of love for me and I am so proud that Walt’s teachings will live on in these two volumes.”

A trailer for the book, featuring Hahn, can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkLZfu_Y92g

Each book retails for $29.95 and are available at bookstores this week.

UPDATE: Did Fox News fires renegade Wolverine reviewer Roger Friedman?

[Update: Notwithstanding the report below, Roger Friedman told Variety on Sunday that he had not been let go. But Fox News released its own statement: "This is an internal matter that we're not prepared to discuss at this time." Is Friedman gone or not? Stay tuned.]

Roger Friedman, the Foxnews.com freelance columnist who posted a review of the pirated X-Men Origins: Wolverine, has been fired by the news site, Deadline Hollywood reported. The move was not only condemned by other Web sites but also decried by 20th Century Fox, which is releasing the movie, and News Corp., the parent company of both Fox News and 20th Century Fox.

Roger Ailes, who oversees Fox News, deleted the offending post after he was contacted by 20th Century Fox about it and fired Friedman as a freelance Fox News entertainment writer, the site reported.

The site added that the move was done with the full support of News Corp. "He promoted piracy. He basically suggested that viewing a stolen film is OK, which is absolutely intolerable. So we fired him," a source told the site. "Fox News acted promptly on all fronts."

When the site attempted to reach Friedman for comment, he e-mailed back only to say that he was at the Paul McCartney concert.

Wall Street Whines About Up

The New York Times morphs into a wet blanket:.

,,, To the extreme irritation of the Walt Disney Company ... two important business camps — Wall Street and toy retailers — are notably down on “Up.” ...

Some industry watchers, a few of them still griping about the hefty $9 billion that Disney paid for Pixar in 2006, are fretting about the film’s commercial potential, particularly when it comes to benefiting other Disney businesses.

Richard Greenfield of Pali Research downgraded Disney shares to sell last month, citing a poor outlook for
“Up” as a reason. “We doubt younger boys will be that excited by the main character,” he wrote, adding a complaint about the lack of a female lead ...

With moving pictures, the way it works -- as William Goldman says -- is that nobody knows anything, least of all the Wall Street smart alecks. (Though they've had such a sterling track record lately managing the known financial universe, it's tough to bet against them.)

Maybe Up will be a huge hit, maybe it ends up a middle-of-the-pack money spinner. My bet is, by the time the movie works its magic at the world box office and wends its way to DVDs and other ancillary markets, the Pixar opus will be comfortably in the black.

But it just might not be in the black enough for the ravenous expectations ensconced in lower Manhattan. And in that case, Disney stock will slide south, and all the finger waggers will come out to say: "We told you the price for that Emeryville studio was too high!", forgetting that they applauded loudly and pushed Disney stock up when it happened.

But some people are never happy, particularly ones who live on Wall Street.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Okada’s Origami Sumo Short

Japan’s Shigeru Okada has taken the art of Kamisumo, or Paper Sumo Wrestling, to a whole new level. If you’re not familiar with Kamizumo, watch this video. It’s sort of like those vibrating football table games, but in this game, each competitor taps the game surface, giving their wrestler a push. Okada adds an origami stop-motion angle to this style of game play in his short titled Kamisumo. Round one - fight!

Bradley Pumps Out Lighthouse Short

Sheridan College grad Sam Bradley created this film, titled The Lighthouse, in 2008. There’s not much to the simple story about a robot low on fuel, but it’s wonderfully executed.

Producer: Nightmare's new Freddy to get all-new makeup

Brad Fuller, one of the Platinum Dunes producers behind the upcoming remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, wrote on his official blog that the newly cast Freddy Krueger, Jackie Earle Haley, is a big horror fan and that the filmmakers are now turning their attention to crafting Freddy's makeup.

Haley "was the only person we ever considered for the role," Fuller wrote, adding: "Come on, people, an Academy Award Nominated actor is playing Krueger. This was no small accomplishment, but everyone involved wanted it to happen. We all know that Jackie is an unbelievable actor, but I want to let you in on something you might not know. [Director] Sam [Bayer], [fellow producer] Drew [Form] and I had drinks with Jackie and were elated to learn that he is just like us. He is a huge fan of horror, and well aware of the rightful place Freddy Krueger holds in the horror pantheon. Quite simply, he knows what he has to do, and is very up to the task."

Fuller said that today marks the beginning of the process to create Freddy's makeup. "Jackie is going in to have his contact lenses fit as well as a head cast created so we can create the make up to fit perfectly on his face," Fuller said. "Normally, I don't go to these fittings, but I am so excited about this film, I don't want to miss anything. I won't be able to take pictures but I will post later in the week to tell you how it went."

Fuller also confirmed the casting of Kyle Gallner (The Haunting in Connecticut). "We didn't have the luxury of seeing the film before we cast him, but his audition was so impressive that everyone at the studio and [Platinum Dunes principal Michael] Bay signed off on him the same day he auditioned," Fuller said. "It was one of the few times that someone got the role in the room. He has set a very high bar for the remaining actors. I hope to have more casting news very soon."

A Nightmare on Elm Street, based on Wes Craven's 1984 original movie, is slated to open in April 2010.

Three new Terminator Salvation TV ads are now live

Three new TV ads for McG's upcoming Terminator Salvation are now live, and you can watch 'em after the jump.

The three 30-second trailers mix and match footage we've mostly seen before. Terminator Salvation opens May 21.

New "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" Soundtrack Release Sells Over 2000 Copies

The new Batman: Mask of the Phantasm expanded soundtrack CD release is a success for La-La Land Records, selling over 2000 copies since the title officially shipped last week.

A representative for La-La Land Records, the label responsible for releasing the new Batman: Mask of the Phantasm expanded soundtrack, has confirmed for The World's Finest that the soundtrack release has sold over 2000 copies to date with demand for the title so strong that the label expects to sell out of the new release. The representative for La-La Land Records says that the high sales will help as the label hopes to convince Warner Bros. to allow La-La Land Records to release more Batman: The Animated Series and DC Animation-related soundtracks. The representative says that nothing has been finalized yet, but further details are forthcoming about future DC Animation-related soundtrack releases.

The new Batman: Mask of the Phantasm expanded score soundtrack release was officially shipped out on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009, becoming out-of-the-door hit for La-La Land Records and a successful follow-up to the label's release of the first official Batman: The Animated Series soundtrack in December 2008. The soundtrack had a limited edition print run of 3000 copies, leaving less than 1000 available to purchase.

A representative for La-La Land Records urges fans to order the new Batman: Mask of the Phantasm soundtrack releas as soon as possible to successfully obtain a copy.

Details on the soundtrack can be found here.

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