Wednesday, April 8, 2009

News - 04/08/09...

‘Green Lantern: First Flight’ Gets New Trailer And Release Date

While news has been hard to come by regarding the live-action “Green Lantern” movie (although Chris Pine dismissed rumors that he’d been offered the lead in the film), the animated “Green Lantern: First Flight” received a pair of big updates this week. Along with a new trailer for the film — the fifth of DC/Warner Brothers’ animated feature films featuring the publisher’s iconic characters — “First Flight” also received a new release date.

Originally scheduled for release July 28, “Green Lantern: First Flight” will now hit shelves a week earlier, giving fans a chance to pick up the PG-13 feature on July 21. You can watch the new trailer for the film after the jump, featuring the voices of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” actor Christopher Meloni as Hal Jordan, “Battlestar Galactica” actor Tricia Helfer as Boodikka, “Reservoir Dogs” actor Michael Madsen as Kilowog and “Milk” actor Victor Garber as Sinestro.

Earlier this month, we gave you the rundown on the “Green Lantern: First Flight” DVD and Blu-Ray specs, while the film itself will trace the origins of the ring-bearing hero, including his tutelage under Sinestro.

“The earthling soon discovers his mentor is actually the central figure in a secret conspiracy that threatens the philosophies, traditions and hierarchy of the entire Green Lantern Corps,” states the official breakdown of the plot. “Hal must quickly hone his newfound powers and combat the treasonous Lanterns within the ranks to maintain order in the universe.”

Look, Up In The Sky! It’s The Max Fleischer ‘Superman’ Cartoons On DVD… Today!

Decades after the the Max Fleischer “Superman” cartoons were produced, the early 1940s series remains one of the Man of Steel’s most celebrated forays into the animated world. Along with coining the tagline “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!” the series inspired the look and tone of massively popular modern superhero cartoons, including “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Today, Warner Brothers releases a new edition of the Max Fleischer “Superman” cartoons on DVD, and Splash Page readers get the first look at one of the behind-the-scenes featurettes from the collection. Check it out below:

The two-disc “Max Fleischer’s Superman” hits DVD shelves today (April 7), featuring all 17 Max Fleischer cartoon episodes and two documentary featurettes, “The Man, The Myth, Superman” and “First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series.”

Bugbox Gets on the Coke Side of Life

South Africa’s Bugbox Studios created these two lively ads for Coca-Cola’s Coke Side of Life campaign. First up is Pirates:

And this one is titled Food Chain:

New Where The Wild Things Are One Sheet

Must be me, but I never got why Where The Wild Things Are was such a big deal when I was a kid. It had monsters and some kid imagined it. Ok, I did that everyday too when I was a kid so the book probably wasn't as thrilling as I had hoped. Guess I was more of a reader when I was little. Unless it had those 3-D pop ups, then I'm like a monkey who just found a batch of bananas.

Despite my distaste for the book, the movie actually looks pretty cool. And as we get closer and closer to its release date, we'll start seeing more and more images pop up. I'm sure we'll also be treated to some footage at Comic-Con.

Yahoo Movies has 14 stills from WTWTA. Click HERE to check them all out.

(Thanks Latino Review)

Wall Street Spreads More Cheer

Whatahey! It isn't just Disney that Wall Street is down on.

Shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG (DWA) fell as much as 11% Monday after Pali Capital cut its investment rating on the stock to neutral from buy, saying the computer animation company's "Monsters vs. Aliens" flick is "simply not scaring up enough attendees."

The movie got bumped down to the No. 2 spot in the box office this weekend after it brought in $33.5 million, well below the $72.5 million
"Fast & Furious" generated on its debut weekend, according to "Monsters" had held the No. 1 spot last weekend, when it premiered.

"Monsters," has generated $105.7 million in domestic sales and $12.4 million in foreign sales so far, according to The international numbers have proved especially troubling to Pali, which told clients its key fear - that the movie would have limited international appeal due to its U.S. focus - is "coming to fruition."

We'll stand by the prognosticaiotn that the 3-D opus will make plenty of money. But maybe the bigger point here is that DreamWorks Animation has followed the Pixar business model: just keep cranking out one hit after another.

Now, the team of Lasseter-Catmull has done it, but it's a pretty tall order, because sooner or later every studio turns out an under-performer. Like Pixar before it, DreamWorks Animation seems to be executing the high-wire act, but it's a daunting business model for an animation house attached to a multi-national conglomerate, let alone one that is out there all by its lonesome.

So do DreamWorks Animation and the California 'toon industry a favor. First chance you get, run down to your local place of worship, light a candle and say a prayer for big overseas grosses for MvA.

DreamWorks and its animation professionals will be highly appreciative.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

UPDATED: Fox News fires renegade Wolverine reviewer Roger Friedman

[Update 2: Fox News on Monday confirmed that Roger Friedman is out and that the company's representatives and Friedman "mutually agreed to part ways immediately," the Associated Press reported.]

[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 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.

Cosmic Quantum Ray, Phineas & Ferb Big Winners at Cartoons on the Bay

Mike Young Productions’ Cosmic Quantum Ray and Disney’s Phineas and Ferb were two of the winners in the top categories at this year’s Pulcinella Awards, which was held Saturday (April 4) as part of the Cartoons on the Bay Festival in Rapallo, Italy. The International Jury, headed by Alice Cahn, Cartoon Network’s VP for social responsibility, also singled out Fresh TV’s 6Teen in the Best TV Series for Tween Generation category and honored Bruno Bozzetto’s (Allegro non Troppo) latest CG-animated series Psicovip for Best TV series for Young Adults.

Here is a complete rundown of this year’s winners:

TV Series for Preschool
Taratabong! The World of Meloditties

Italy, Toposodo, Rai Fiction, Ellipsanime

TV Series for Kids
Phineas and Ferb
USA, Disney TV Animation, Rough Draft Korea

TV Series for Tween Generation

Canada, Fresh TV

TV series for Young Adults

(Italy, Maga Animation Studio, Rai Fiction)
to the programme

Educational and Issues Film


Pilot of TV series
My Very First Wedding

Germany, Balance Film GmbH

CrossMedia Project
Toons ‘n’ Tunes Zecchino D’Oro

Italy, Studio Alienatio, Antoniano Productions, Rai Fiction

Interactive Animation
Little Big Planet

U.K., Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Short Film
The Happy Duckling

U.K. Gili Dolev

Best Character
Jibber Jabber
Canada, Jibber Jabber Toons

Best TV Series
Cosmic Quantum Ray

USA, Mike Young Productions, Ki-Ka-Ard, Taffy Productions, Method Films, Telegael Teo

Best European Program

Germany, Studio Film Bilder

Best Soundtrack of the Year
The Wonder Pets!
USA, Little Airplane Productions

Special Mention: Best Flash Animation
Disney Phineas and Ferb
(USA, Disney TV Animation)

Special Mention: Best Mobile Platform Animation
Living in the Trees
Portugal, Filmografo

For more info about this year’s Pulcinella Awards, visit

Dusty Festival, Awards Put New Emphasis on Animation

The School of Visual Arts’ annual Dusty Film and Animation Festival turns 20 this year, and in honor of the occasion is getting a makeover that puts a new emphasis on animation.

The event has grown from a showcase for students’ thesis films to a full-blown festival that this year will run for five days of screening from May 4-10. In addition to setting aside one day for animation projects, the festival has added a special animation panel and a couple of new awards.

“We're trying to highlight and bring in more of the animation this year,” says Annie Flocco, an instructor at the school and a producer of the Dusty Awards.

This year, there are 44 animation thesis students who are eligible to enter their films. The program emphasizes traditional and stop-motion animation, and most of the films will be short.

“There has always been an award for traditional animation, typically we give out a stop-motion award and we also will do an experimental award,” says Flocco. “But this year, we're also adding best design for animation students. We also do a Human Spirit Award each year and typically it’s just been the one award, but this year we’re breaking it out to do a Human Spirit Award for both film and animation.”

Flocco says the Best Design Award reflects the awareness on the college’s side of the work that goes into an animated film.

The Human Spirit Award considers the circumstance of the artist as well as the finished product. Given the vast difference between the circumstances of making live action films vs. the college’s emphasis on traditional animation, the change was worth making, says Dusty’s producer Heidi Hamelin.

“Something that I’ve learned with our animator kids is that, day to day, unlike the film department, it's not very collaborative,” Hamelin says. “They rely upon themselves, so there are some really amazing human interest stories that fall into that category that I’m happy we can start taking a look at and awarding in that capacity.”

The growth of the festival also has lead to changes in its structure, with the awards show moved from Monday to Saturday night, a “winners circle” presentation on Sunday during which the nominated and winning films are shown, and the new SVA Theater on West 23rd Street becoming the prime venue. Flocco says the theater, which was renovated from a commercial cinema, is top-notch on the technical side and has been used for other New York festivals, including Gen Art and the upcoming Tribeca festival.

An animation panel also has been added, featuring the likes of SVA alumnus Bill Plympton, and will be held on May 5.

Animator and SVA alumnus Tom Sito, who will present the award for Best Animation at the Dusty Awards, says he’s glad to see animation being recognized on an equal footing with other forms of filmmaking.

“It’s nice for the students to get the recognition and get that sort of impetus or inspiration for their careers,” says Sito, whose credits include directing Osmosis Jones and animation work on Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, Antz and Shrek.

That means the Dustys will present four animation awards this year — a fifth, Best Stop Motion Animated Film, is not being presented as there is only one student working in this area this year.

For more information on the SVA Dusty Film & Animation Festival and Awards, visit

Sony Picks Up Easter-Themed Hip Hop

Sony Animation has picked up the rights to Greg Ostrin and Michael Weiss’ Hip Hop for development as a feature film.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio paid mid-six figures for the project, in which the Easter Bunny retires to live as a pet with a suburban family. The trade reports the studio is interested in turning it into a mix of CG-animation and live action, along the lines of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

News of the deal came the same day another Easter-themed project, a live-action film called I Hop was picked by Illumination Entertainment, a production company affiliated with Universal.

Red Stick Fest Names Award Finalists

The Red Stick International Animation Festival has announced the finalists for its 2009 Best of the Fest Awards.

The festival, set for April 22-25 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, chose the nominees from more than 400 entries and will announce the winners on the last day of the festival.

The finalists are:

Animated Short Film – Student:
Chroma Chameleon directed by Laura Citron (USA)
Divers directed by Paris Mavroidis (USA)
Office Noise directed by Mads Johansen, Torben Søttrup, Karsten Madsen, and Lærke Enemark (Denmark)

Animated Short Film – Professional:
E.T.A. directed by Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen (Denmark)
Hot Dog directed by Bill Plympton (USA)
Jeremy and the Yellow Monster directed by Jorge Hernandez (Mexico)

Animation for Commercials:
ITFS: Billsticker directed by Conrad Tambour (Germany)
Virgin Media – Therapy directed by Rob Cazin (USA)

Animation for Young Audiences:
The Curse of Skull Rock directed by Ben Smith (United Kingdom)
MuMuHug – Newborn Sea Turtle directed by Vance Yang (Taiwan)
MuMuHug – Goodbye, Balloon Fish directed by Vance Yang (Taiwan)

Experimental Animation/Visual Music – Professional:
Escape from the Temple directed by Zhou Xing (China)
Jazz Line directed by Predrag Novakovic (Serbia)
2 directed by Zhi Jin (South Korea)

Experimental Animation/Visual Music – Professional:
Lost Utopia directed by Mirai Mizue (Japan)
Sensorium directed by Karen Aqua and Ken Field (USA)
2B Textures directed by Bonnie Mitchell and Elainie Lillios (USA)

Music Video:
Hey directed by Guy Ben Shetrit (Israel)
Mexican Standoff directed by Bill Plympton (USA)
Sleigh Ride directed by Rob Corley and Tom Bancroft (USA)

Nelvana to License Mr. Men, Little Miss in Canada

Nelvana Enterprises is the new licensing agent in Canada for Chorion’s popular Mr. Men and Little Miss brands.

Based on the classic books by Roger Hargreaves, the properties are supported by
The Mr. Men Show
, which recently debuted in Canada on YTV.

The licensing effort will include apparel and accessories, toys and novelty items and live stage shows and character appearances.

Nelvana will be discussing opportunities in Canada with the property at the Licensing International Expo this June in Las Vegas.

Despereaux, Scooby, Superman on DVD

A mouse on a quest, culture clash with a detective dog and classic superhero fare from the Golden Age lead a strong week of animation disc releases.

Up first, The Tale of Despereaux, the Universal feature film based on the classic children’s book and featuring the voices of Robbie Coltrane, Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Tracy Ullman and Stanley Tucci. The film is out on both DVD ($29.98) and Blu-ray ($39.98), with each edition featuring exclusive bonus features.

Crime-solving canine Scooby-Doo and his friends are back in a new, original animated feature movie
Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword (Warner Bros., $19.98). The feature follows the Mystery Inc. gang to Asia, where they embark on a global treasure hunt featuring ancient riddles. The film is set for a broadcast premiere on Cartoon Network on April 19, but here’s an advance look at the movie.

Disney also rolls out an original feature starring old friends, with
My Friends Tigger and Pooh: Tigger, Pooh And A Musical Too! ($26.99), inspired by the popular TV series.

The original superhero cartoons come to DVD in an authorized two-disc release titled
Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1942
made from the original masters. The set (Warner Bros., $26.99) also includes some nice bonuses, such as a look at superhuman archetypes, interviews with surviving animators who worked on these classic 17 toons, and testimonials from animators like Bruce Timm and Paul Dini about the influence these cartoons had on their animation work.

SpongeBob SquareButts

SpongeBob SquarePants + Sir Mix-a-Lot + Burger King = The viral ad that everybody’s going to be linking to for the next week.

Case in point:

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Karla Castaneda's "Jacinta" wins Mexican award

"Jacinta," a nine-minute film by Karla Castaneda, won the Ariel for best animated short last Tuesday evening at Mexico's national film awards.

In the film, set in an elder house surrounded by solitude, a old lady decides to continue embroidering her destiny when there is nothing else but memories.

Jacinta won in its category over challengers Fuera de control, by Sofia Carrillo, and Nino de mis ojos, by Guadalupe Sanchez Sosa.

Helmer Fernando Eimbcke's Lake Tahoe was named best film, director and male supporting actor (Hector Herrera) by the Mexican Academy of Film, Arts and Sciences.

Rodrigo Pla's historical drama Desierto adentro (The Desert Within), won Ariels for male lead (Mario Zaragoza), female supporting actor (Eileen Yanez), original screenplay, cinematography, original score, sound, visual effects and special effects.

Ariels for adapted screenplay, art direction, costume design and makeup went to Roberto Sneider's Arrancame la vida (Tear This Heart Out).

Eugenio Polgovsky's Los herederos (The Inheritors), child labor in Mexico was named best documentary. It also received an Ariel for editing.

Scene from Jacinta, directed by Karla Castaneda.

IMAX "Monsters vs. Aliens" posts strong results

"Monsters vs. Aliens," DreamWorks Animation's first 3D release, posted strong second-weekend box office results in IMAX theatres, IMAX Corporation and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. announced Monday.

The film generated $3.1 million on 143 IMAX screens domestically from Friday, April 3 to Sunday, April 5. The domestic IMAX weekend contributed more than 9% of the film's overall box office gross on less than 2% of the total screens.

The IMAX release also continued to perform well internationally, grossing $1 million from 44 IMAX screens. Highlights include very strong results from locations in Russia, the United Kingdom and China. IMAX's worldwide total for the run through the second weekend is $11.4 million.

"We're very happy to see that the film is continuing to resonate with IMAX moviegoers through the second weekend," said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "We're especially pleased that our contribution to the overall box office increased to more than 9% on less than 2% of the screens."

"Monsters vs. Aliens continues to show its strength in IMAX 3D, with 13 of the top 14 and 16 of the top 20 domestic multiplexes featuring IMAX theatres," added Greg Foster, chairman and president of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "IMAX theatres continue to generate very strong results worldwide, and there are still four weeks remaining in the IMAX run. This great second-weekend performance is a testament to the winning combination of The IMAX Experience and a great film from DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures."

Monsters vs. Aliens is the third of five DreamWorks Animation feature films previously announced and slated for release in IMAX, and the first to be presented in IMAX 3D. The film has been digitally remastered into The IMAX Experience with IMAX DMR technology.

Ryan Carnes is THE PHANTOM

DESPERATE hunk to play Ghost Who Walks

Ryan Carnes is THE PHANTOM
© Mania

Actor Ryan Carnes has been cast in the lead role of the just-announced SCI FI Channel adaptation of Lee Falk's classic comic strip 'The Phantom'. The Hollywood Reporter also reports that Isabella Rossellini is set to appear.

Carnes has guested on 'Doctor Who' as Laszlo and starred in the beach comedy 'Surf School', but may be best known for his recurring role of Justin on 'Desperate Housewives'.

Rossellini is playing the villain of the piece, Lithia, who is involved in mind control experiments.

Cameron Goodman ('Sons of Anarchy') and Sandrine Holt ('The L Word') are also cast in unspecificed roles.

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