Monday, May 4, 2009

News - 05/04/09...

Wolverine opens in first place with $87M

Despite the Internet leak several weeks ago of a nearly complete version of the movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine topped the May 1 weekend box office with an estimated $87 million in ticket sales, the Reuters news service reported.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, meanwhile, opened in second place, with $15.3 million, according to studio estimates.

Wolverine is considered the first of several blockbusters to open this summer; Star Trek opens next Friday.

Clips and Interview From The Goode Family

We’re less than a month away from premiere of ABC’s The Goode Family, which follows the lives of an obsessively “green” family. The series, which was created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, premieres on May 27th with back-to-back episodes. Check out this promo package ABC recently released:

Howard Chaykin Inks Movie Deal — Is ‘American Flagg!’ Film Next?

A new management company called Elevate Entertainment has inked an overall deal with Howard Chaykin, the accomplished comic book writer and artist of “American Flagg!,” to option two comic books from his catalog and three new titles for TV and film development.

Announced in The Hollywood Reporter, the story makes no mention of which Chaykin projects might be in the works as potential movie deals — but even with a library that contains a vast amount of comic books, the writer’s most popular creation, “American Flagg!” is almost certainly towards the top of the list.

“American Flagg!” focuses on former television star Reuben Flagg as he’s drafted into military police service in a futuristic Chicago. The comic book featured heavy doses of social commentary through its over-exaggerated depictions of television, sex and violence.

One of the highlights of the comic is Raul the talking cat, a character that could easily appeal to a younger audience or could even serve a similar function as Stewie on “Family Guy” with surprisingly witty adult-oriented commentary.

The comic book certainly has excellent potential as a film adaptation, but it’s not without its difficulties. As the story is heavily centered on futuristic technology, “American Flagg!” would require a hefty budget to realistically convey the world of the comics. But will studios want to invest so heavily in a comic book property that is no longer in publication and whose fanbase consists mostly of comic readers from the 1980s?

Aside from “American Flagg!,” Chaykin has several other projects in his catalogue that would make for fine film adaptations. “Time²,” for example, is a personal favorite of Chaykin’s and could have some major support from the writer-artist. The graphic novel is described as full of jazz, love and moral ambiguity in an alternate version of New York City.

Another project that could be in the works is the controversial “Black Kiss,” originally published by Vortex Comics in 1988. The series focused on sex-crazed vampires and was incredibly successful during its publication. In today’s post-”Twilight” film climate, the words “sex” and “vampires” have never been greener in Hollywood.

It might be a little while before we know for sure which of Chaykin’s projects are getting the film treatment, but one thing is certain — every single one of them packs a heck of a punch.

Meet Dug, The Talking Dog From Pixar's Up

Super sexy manly man Jordan Hoffman and I agree on one thing - Up will be a big hit for Pixar this year. Which is a stupid thing to say because every Pixar movie is a hit. (Ratatouille is their best, imo)

And it looks like UGO got their hands on an exclusive new clip with Pixar greats like Pete Doctor and John Lasseter, talking about Dug, the dog who wears a collar that translates his thoughts into speech.

It's a great clip that gives fans more insight into this highly anticipated cartoon coming out at the end of the month.

UGO is so awesome, they even let guys like me embed the clip onto our website.

But don't let that stop you from clicking HERE and checking out all of the great stuff over at They're one of my favorite sites to check out on a daily basis.

(Thanks Latino Review)

1000 Times No

Just published this week from HarperCollins is Mr. Warburton’s first childrens book 1000 Times No.

Warburton (Code Name: Kids Next Door) created a promo for it at curious pictures which is pretty much the whole damn book animated. Enjoy:

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Todd McFarlane Planning Project for Cartoon Network

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane is in negotiations to produce a series for Cartoon Network, he tells The unnamed concept has been "sold" to network, according to McFarlane, but the contracts have apparently not yet been finalized.

Separately, McFarlane says he plans to get a new animated version of Spawn "up and running" by the end of the year when rights to the project return to him.

Vegas singer, impressionist Danny Gans dead at 52

Singer, impressionist and comedian Danny Gans, voted Las Vegas "Entertainer of the Year" for 11 of the 13 years he was based there, died in his sleep at his home in Henderson, Nevada. He was 52.

Gans was found dead early Friday morning by his wife Julie, Wynn Resorts spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne said.

Gans, who recently moved to the Encore Theatre, was in the voice cast of Walt Disney Studios' Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. He voiced the Pigeon and the Moose in the 1990 episode Out Of Scale.

As well, he impersonated Johnny Carson in the 1992 Tiny Toon Adventures episode Thirteensomething.

Hotel owner Steve Wynn, who signed Gans to star in the Encore beginning in February, said he was "devastated at the loss of our brilliant, talented and loving friend."

"One of the most unique human beings and entertainers in the world has been taken from us in an unexpected moment. A profoundly tragic event that leaves us all sad and speechless," Wynn said.

Gans hadn't planned to be an entertainer. His boyhood dream was to play third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers and, after high school, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals. An injury forced him to decline the offer.

When he was in college (an All American at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Gans turned down a draft offer from the Chicago White Sox. Two years later, his life long dream came true as he signed that contract and went to the minor leagues to start his career as a professional athlete. But not long after, it all came to a crashing halt as a career-ending injury turned his life upside-down.

With love and encouragement from his friends and family, Gans shifted his focus from baseball to entertainment.

Gans spent 15 years traveling throughout the United States, working at his craft and perfecting his repertoire of impressions. At the same time, he became one of the most sought-after performers in the corporate world, often playing to stadium-sized crowds for such major international companies as IBM, Heinz and McDonald's. Fellow entertainers such as Bill Cosby and Natalie Cole raved about Gans.

In 1995, Gans was starring on Broadway in his one-man show. However, between New York and 200 concert dates a year, he found himself longing to be home with his wife and three children. When the opportunity to move his show to Las Vegas presented itself, where he could settle down to a life with his family, Gans decided it was the right move.

In May 2008, Gans celebrated 12 years in Las Vegas, the last eight of which were spent in his own 1,250-seat theater at the Mirage. He was named "Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year" for the 11th straight year in a row.

In February, Gans returned to the Wynn family, debuting his award-winning show at the new Encore Theater.

At the fourth annual Danny Gans Invitational Golf Tournament, which he hosted, more than $75,000 was raised for Boys Town of Nevada and the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association.

He also funded the Danny Gans Golf Academy, which allows children to learn how to play golf for free. In addition, he was involved with the Lili Claire Foundation, performing annually to raise research money for William's Syndrome.

Gans' first album was released in February 2000 on Sony's Epic label, and on the Christian pop label, Myrrh, for Word Records. Award-winning producer Michael O'Martian produced Gans' inaugural album, which climbed to #19 on the Christian pop charts.

Besides his wife, Danny Gans is survived by two daughters and a son.

Hasbro, Discovery to Revamp Kids Channel

Hasbro has bought a stake in the Discovery Kids channel, which will be relaunched featuring new programs based on the toymaker’s catalog of popular properties.

The channel will relaunch late in 2010 with a new name and feature programs based on such toys and games as Scrabble, Cranium, G.I. Joe, Tonka, Transformers and Trivial Pursuit.

The deal calls for Hasbro to take a 50 percent share in the channel, while the joint venture will own a minority interest in the website.

The move fits in with the strategies for each side, with Discovery revamping its cable networks into distinct brands and Hasbro expanding the entertainment presence of its toys through TV and movies such as this summer’s Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Disney Buys Hulu Stake

Disney has purchased an ownership stake in the online video site

The studio has agreed to a deal that will make it an equity partner in the site along with NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners, Variety reports.

The studio will make available on the site — the No. 2 online video site behind YouTube — full-length episodes of programs from the Disney-owned ABC netork, such as Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives.

The streaming webcasts will allow Disney to place ads in the shows to generate revenue.

Hulu streamed some 348 million videos in March and reported a unique user base of 8.9 million people.

Disney had been in talks to buy into the site since before its launch, and pulled the trigger after its research showed little overlap between Hulu users and people who viewed its shows on, the trade reported.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

MacFarlane Talks 100 Dads, More

Seth MacFarlane’s animation empire continues to grow. Not only is Family Guy one of the great rags to riches stories of the past decade, he’s got a spinoff coming in The Cleveland Show, the online Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy coming soon to DVD, and the satirical American Dad! celebrating production of its 100th episode.

It was the latter that drew cast, crew, network executives and press to a special table read of the episode, titled “100 A.D.” at the American Dad! production offices this week.

Working from scripts covered with either a Captain America or Powerpuff Girls tribute illustration, executive producers Matt Weitzman and Mike Barker lead the table read with MacFarlane playing hyper-conservative CIA man Stan Smith and the alien Roger, Wendy Schaal as Francine, Rachael MacFarlane as Hayley, Dee Bradley Barker as Klaus and Jeff Fischer as Jeff Fischer. The episode saw Stan and Francine trying to stop daughter Hayley from eloping with slacker suitor Jeff Fischer, and features the death of 100 “beloved’ characters from the series.

After the reading, Fox Animation execs Gary Newman, Dana Waldron, Kevin Reilly and Peter Rice were on hand for congratulatory comments and a photo-op cake-cutting.

MacFarlane took a few moments afterward for a short interview with the press:

Q: Is this show easier to write with Obama in office, regarding Stan?

Yes. Everything is easier with Obama in office — including this show.

Q: You’ve said the show evolved from your annoyance with Bush. How has the show evolved since the original seed of inception?

I think we’ve seen Stan and certainly Roger evolve beyond simple one-note characters in the same way that Stewie (in Family Guy) evolved beyond just being the guy who wants to take over the world. We’ve seen many different facets of those characters. I think that of the rest of the family as well — Hayley, Francine. Francine really has become in a lot of ways really one of the most interesting mom characters on television. And Wendy Schaal, the actress, just can pretty much read a straight line and be hilarious.

Q: Your father figures have difficult relationships with their children. Where does this come from?

I’m not sure. I always had a very good relationship with my parents and, in many ways, I guess I was bored by that. I think it would maybe be a little more interesting and a little bit easier to write comedy if they had been the terrible people that I sometimes wish they were. So I guess it’s a way for me to live out the dysfunctionality that I was never privileged enough to experience in my own childhood.

Q: Is that dysfunction going to continue with The Cleveland Show?

Yeah, in a different way. Cleveland is a much more introspective, much more grounded character in a lot of ways than some of the others. But he has this almost self-torturing, neurotic Woody Allen attitude — in the body of a black man.

Q: What’s the difficult relationship going to be then?

Well, Cleveland has the additional burden of having a Brady Bunch-type situation where he brought his own kid into a family … He’s saddled his kid with some stepbrothers and stepsisters who Cleveland Junior is going to have to get comfortable with and not bump heads too much with.

And he’s got his own way of dealing with things, Cleveland does. He’s less kind of finger on the trigger like Stan is. It’s the difference between Bush and Kerry, I guess. Everything has to be analyzed in depth with Cleveland before he makes any decision.

Q: You’ve done some crossovers. Will we see more?

MacFarlane: Yeah. We have fun with that stuff. We already have some Family Guy episodes coming up in which both the American Dad! cast and the Cleveland cast make appearances. And in our Return of the Jedi
episode, all three casts kind of come together to play those characters.

Q: And how about putting them in a film at any point? Is that in the cards?

Yeah. The Family Guy movie is something we’ve been talking about for a while. It’s on the horizon, it’s just a question of finding the time to get started on it. But the studio wants it, we want it and we already sort of know what it’s going to be. But it’s just a question of working it into the schedule, which is why it took The Simpsons so long to do theirs. There’s just so much to do on an animated show on a week-to-week basis. There’s ten times as much to do as there is on a live-action show.

Q: Were there any lessons learned from The Simpsons Movie for you?

I don’t know. They set out to do a particular story and they executed it very well. I think for us, we’re sort of obsessed with finding a way to do something that we couldn’t do on TV. I think the hard thing with animation is I think really any story that’s really big can still be done in the context of television, as far as animation is concerned. We’ve done the end of the world on Family Guy and you can do that in 22 minutes. What story is it you can do that is gonna be so big that it can only be a movie? And then the question becomes, do people want to see a story that big? Because comedy is an intimate medium and do you really want to see the Griffins go to Mars? No, you want to see something that feels like what you see on TV. So it’s a balancing act. We think we’ve found a solution to that, but we just got to find the time to get going on it.

Q: Can you give us a clue about the solution?

No. It’s too early.

Q: After doing a hundred episodes, what motivates you? Is it money, is it art, is it comedy?

Well, that’s a very good question. On a day-to-day basis you get so wrapped up in it. I don’t know, maybe we should shut it down! (Laughs!) Honest to Christ, I can’t think of a reason! (Laughs again.)

MacFarlane had to leave at this point, but it was clear he was joking. We think.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Check Out Flu-Fighting Animated Video

Animation Magazine's friend Mark Simon, an animation veteran whose credits include Timmy’s Lessons in Nature and Luke and Reece Save the World wrote to let them know about an animated project he produced last spring that is proving to be quite popular and topical these days. The short is called Protect, Don’t Infect and it was created for the Orange County Health Department to help spread the word on how to prevent getting sick! Obviously, with the media having a field day with all the alarmist reports on Swine Flu, it’s great to see an animated view on the subject.

“It's really fun and is in all the schools in Orange County Florida,” says Simon. “This Telly Award-winning video (live-action produced by Omni Productions) has been a big hit. We have posters and props all through the schools and county buildings.”

Simon says it took about five weeks to bring in the seven-minute piece from concept to delivery. Willie Castro was lead animator on the Flash-animated piece. “The character art from the project was exported directly out of Flash for the client to use on props, posters and promotional material,” he adds. “Having the original art in vector form meant the art would scale up for any use with no extra work. I love the look of the characters and the backgrounds. We were allowed the freedom to have fun...and we took it and ran. For a government project that is basically about washing your hands and covering your mouth when you sneeze, it's a really fun short to watch!”

The talented Mr. Simon is also offering a teleseminar/webinar on “How to Protect Your TV Show Ideas,” with his wife Jeanne Simon on May 5. The master class will focus on what you can and can’t do to protect your ideas, when you shouldn’t worry about protecting your ideas, copyright protection myths, why you need to sign submission release and non-disclosure forms … and why most stories of stolen concepts aren’t true!

Patric Verrone, president of the WGA and head-writer/co-exec producer of
Futurama; Marc Zicree, writer producer on Star Trek, Babylon 5
; Linda Simensky, senior VP of PBS Kids and Joel Andryc, exec at Saban, ABC Family Channel and Fox Family Channel will join Simon in this useful panel. The session begins at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 p.m Pacific and costs $49. For more info, visit

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

New Images And Video Clips From Upcoming “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Episode

The World's Finest has new clips and images from the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Menace of the Conqueror Caveman!"

Cartoon Network has passed along the episode synopsis, video clips, and over thirty new images for the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold
episode "Night of the Huntress!"
To get a closer look at the images, click on the thumbnails below.

Click Here For More Images, Videos & Details!

Cartoon Network has also provided three clips from the episode, which are available to view here at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite. The all-new Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode “Menace of the Conquerer Caveman!”, scheduled to air at 8:30pm (ET) on Friday, May 15th, 2009, is described as follows.

In this episode, 31st Century Booster Gold travels back 100 centuries to join Batman and become a celebrity hero. In his quest for fame, he unwittingly enables the immortal tyrant Vandal Savage to carry out his nefarious plot of turning everyone into cavemen and take over the world! This week’s teaser gives you a first look at Bane as he takes on Wildcat and Batman.

Details on the cast and crew can be found at the link above. Further information on the episode is available at our our
Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite. Stay tuned for further episode details and exclusive content.

Warner Bros. Animation has also announced that the
Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Night of the Huntress!", slated to air Friday, May 1st, 2009, has been instead rescheduled to air next Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 8:30pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. Cartoon Network pre-empted Batman: The Brave and The Bold
last Friday with a special movie presentation, but as stated above, the series will return this Friday with a new episode.

(Thanks World's Finest)

AICN has the one-sheet for Miyazaki's PONYO, plus an exclusive still!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a nice little debut thanks to the good folks at Disney, who are doing God's work putting out the next Hayao Miyazaki film, PONYO.

Below I have the one-sheet for the flick and as well as an exclusive still that, while isn't mind-blowingly epic, gives me a warm fuzzy feeling only vintage Disney and Miyazaki can. I love that kind of consistency. How about you? (Click each for a bigger version)

We'll be seeing this on screens this August. Can't wait!

(Thanks Aint It Cool)

Warner adapting Japanese Death Note

Warner Brothers has acquired rights to turn the Japanese manga series Death Note into a live-action film, Variety reported.

The studio has hired screenwriters Charley and Vlas Parlapanides to adapt.

The story centers on a college student who accidentally finds a misplaced "death note," infusing him with the power to kill merely by writing anyone's name on the page while picturing the person in his mind.

The 13-volume manga is a best-seller in Japan, and the film will be drawn from the first three installments, written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata for Shueisha Inc.

Going Hollywood

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) has picked up domestic media rights for East Wing Holdings Corp. and SAJ's Blood: The Last Vampire.
Samuel Goldwyn Films will release the feature film Blood: The Last Vampire in theatres later this summer.

Directed by Chris Nahon (Empire of the Wolves, Kiss of the Dragon), Blood: The Last Vampire brings to life an English language live-action feature movie of the original Japanese anime feature film. Gianna (My Sassy Girl, Daisy) stars in the film as Saya, a 400-year-old demon-hunting vampire slayer working undercover in Japan for a secret organization, on a mission in the Vietnam War era. The cast also includes Koyuki (The Last Samurai, Always: Sunset on Third Street), Michael Byrne (Beyond the Sea, Gangs of New York), Colin Salmon (Resident Evil, Punisher: War Zone, Clubbed), and Allison Miller ("Kings"). The film features stunt choreographed by Cory Yuen (Transporter 3, Red Cliff), is produced by Bill Kong and Abel Nahmias, with screenplay by Chris Chow.

The trailer for the live action Last Airbender will reportedly be attached for Transformers 2 in theatres.

AstroBoy World got some interesting insight into the Hollywood adaptation of Naoki Urasawa's Pluto from Cristoph Mark

Hi, I'm the writer of the original story. I don't know why I didn't include this in the original article, but Urasawa and Nagasaki both said the Hollywood version of Pluto would be live-action, not animated. There are also a few Japanese companies looking at it for different kinds of releases, but the Hollywood take on Pluto was something I thought we should all hope for...

James Cameron in his Battle Angel Alita shirt

Upcoming in Japan

Production I.G has posted a report from the press conference for Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai, Production I.G's upcoming feature film, written by Mamoru Oshii and directed by Mizuho Nishikubo.

Sunrise has indication plans for an international simultaneous release of the upcoming adaptation of the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn novels. Planned languages include Japanese, English, German and French.

Via SRW Hotnes series details includes
Staff credit:

Original Story - Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino
Director - Kazuhiro Furuhashi
Screenplay - Yasuyuki Muto
Original Character Design - Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
Animation Character Design - Kumiko Takahashi
Original Mobile Suit Design - Kunio Okawara
Mechanical Design - Hajime Katoki, Yoshinori Sayama, Junya Ishigaki, Nobuhiko Genma
Science Fiction Consultants - Shinya Ogura
Story: Harutoshi Fukui

Main Character:


16 years old.

Main character. When his mother died, he has been entrusted to a father that he has never known and went to the Anaheim Electronics school on the Industrial 7 space colony. His encounter with the mysterious Audrey Burne will involve him in the trouble surrounding the "Box of Laplace".


16 years old.

Heroin. Important member of the antigovernment organization "Sotsudeki". For an unknown reason, she boards the Garencières to reach Industrial 7. Her fate will change when Banagher saves her from a deathly danger.

Mobile Suit:


A prototype Mobile Suit developed under the "UC project" in the secret base of Anaheim Electronics for the Earth Federation Forces. His characteristics are his pure white armor and horn. Nickname : Unicorn. This unit hides a secret that will change the future of mankind.

The sixth and final episode of the Hellsing Ultimate DVD has been given a July 24th release.

Astro Fighter Sunred, a parody of tokusatsu heroes in mundane situation, will be continued in a second anime series.

The August 26 release of the first volume of the DVD/Blu-ray release of the new
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will feature a bonus adaptation of manga creator Hiromu Arakawa's Momoku no Renkinjutshi (Blind Alchemist)

Gonzo's mecha-girl anime Strike Witches will be back for a second season, tentatively called "Strike Witches 2-ki." FUNimation recently announced plans to release the first season in North America.

The tv anime series adaptation of Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee) is on tape to premiere in October.

Hisaki Matsuura's ecology based novel Kawa no Hikari (River's Light) will be adapted into an anime series for NHK

Via Anime News Network
Yuzo Takada (3x3 Eyes, Blue Seed, Cat Girl Nuku Nuku) will launch new manga series Captain Alice manga in the next issue of Evening, due to hit stores on May 12.

Shueisha's Weekly Playboy magazine for men is spawning a spinoff manga magazine called Man's Playboy on Thursday. Manga carried by the parent Playboy include Yudetamago's Kinnikuman Nisei (Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy), Kia Asamiya's Kanojo no Carrera (My Favorite Carrera), and Hiroshi Motomiya's Ore no Sora. Miu Nakamura (Tales of Agriculture's Yogurti) is also making her debut as a manga creator with the four-panel comic called Miu-man "Kusa"ttemo Nakamura-ke!!

Makoto Raiku (Konjiki no Gash!!/Zatch Bell) has announced in a Monday blog entry that he will launch his next manga in a new magazine from Kodansha on September 10.

Young Gangan will feature a new Yuji Iwahara manga based on super-powered spy anime Darker than Black called Black: Shikkoku no Hana (Jet Black Flower)

Tenchi Muyo fantasy spin-off Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari will be getting manga tie-in.

Eiji Otsuka and Hosui Yamazaki's The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service manga will move to Young Ace when that magazine debuts on July 4

Young Magazine will resume Nobuyuki Fukumoto's gambling manga Kaiji in the year's 27th issue.

Live Action
Racing manga Wangan Midnight will be adapted into a new anime movie, scheduled for release this summer.

Fullmetal Alchemist manga creator Hiromu Arakawa produced the Japanese cover for the Japanese edition of Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demons Lexicon I: The Scion of Magicians

Scandal Sheet

Mai Goto (Ichi the Killer), along with Masanori Fujiyama have been charged with selling videos in violation of the regulations on obscenity. The video in question was an "image video," which generally feature idol posing in swimsuits, increasingly with some nudity. This marks the first time that an "image video" has been officially classified as "obscene."


a 22-year-old unemployed man named Yosuke Ida for allegedly sending a letter threatening to blow up the former home of Lucky Star manga creator Kagami Yoshimizu.


A man falsely claiming to be key animator and mechanical animation director on Neon Genesis Evangelion to teach at two universities has been forced to resign


Via ANN and Computerworld
New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) censorship inspector Peter Pilley three cases of people possessing sexualised manga (Hentai) are about to come to court locally. The group has been monitoring online peer to peer through a software called "Squirrel Hunter" to track allegedly offensive materials.

'Toons in Foreign Venues

Meanwhile, in lands beyond the seas:.

Par's "Monsters Vs. Aliens" tacked on $6.1 million at 5,357 in 60 markets to lift the toon's international total to $152.4 million.

Sooo, lessee ... MvA has raked in $182.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, and looks to be tracking close to that in foreign markets.

Since its running total is currently $334.8 million ... and since I don't see it taking a major drop before Up lifts off at the end of May, I'm guesstimating that MvA ticks over the $400 million in worldwide b.o. by early June.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Grevioux to direct PALE HORSEMAN feature

Kevin Grevioux, creator of the feature film franchise 'Underworld' and writer of numerous independent comics is set to make his directing debut on a feature film based on one of his graphic novels.

NEHST Studios, a film production, financing and distribution company helmed by Larry Meistrich, recently annoucned the acquisition of 'The Pale Horsemen' feature film from Sandrunner Entertainment.

Grevioux's Darkstorm Studios website provides this description for the property:

Four years ago Sean Massen was a hit man... the best. Until he became the lone survivor of a mysterious hit that claimed the lives of 4 of his criminal friends. His near death experience set him on a path of redemption atoning for the sins he commited while on the wrong side of the law. However, given the path he is on... sometimes it's not always so clear.

You see, presently Massen is the leader of the "Pale Horsemen". An NSA sponsored black bag program that uses street-level hit men as government assassins. Under the careful tutelage of their handler, psychiatrist and former operative himself, Dr. Roman Gage, the Pale Horsemen take assignments that would make the espionage community blush.

Grevioux is writing the screenplay and directing the film. It'll be co-produced by NEHST, Sandrunner and Darkstorm Filmworks. Larry Meistrich, Ari Friedman and Shane Walker produce and H. Michael Heuser is Executive Producer. Heuser’s company, Storm Entertainment, will act as Worldwide Sales Agent. Dana Offenbach will over see production on behalf of NEHST.

The move continues a winning streak for Grevioux, who recently signed deals for film versions of his books 'ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction' and 'I, Frankenstein'.

'Battle for Terra' Director Interviewed interviews Aristomenis Tsirbas, director of the 3D animated sci-fi/action-adventure feature film Battle for Terra which opened in theaters this weekend.

Tsirbas discusses how the script changed over the last 15 years, why he wanted to make the movie in 3D from day one, and how he managed to cast Brian Cox and Evan Rachel Wood in the movie.

The Independent Profiles Hayao Miyazaki

UK newspaper, The Independent, speaks with Hayao Miyazaki, long-time collaborator, Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli president, Koji Hoshino. The profile touches on Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, Miyazaki's lifelong struggle to interpret the world of children, his obsession while working on a project and his immediate sentimental detachment upon completion, his dislike of modern movies and being unafraid to walk away should his style become so obsolete the audience disappears.

The Missing Key

One of my favorite short films of the last few years was Jonathan Nix’s Hello. Nix is currently in the midst of post-production on a new short (approx. 25 min.) called The Missing Key. From the looks of the trailer (below) the new film seems to further ideas from Hello, this time heavily influenced by Hayao Miyazaki. To learn more about Nix check his website.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Katzenberg to receive Visionary Award at Saturns

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will be presented with the first-ever Visionary Award at the 35th Annual Saturn Awards, presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.

Katzenberg will be honored for spearheading 3D film presentation, currently the newest frontier in film production. Additionally, he will be saluted on his successful efforts in raising the level of animation in film and TV.

This year marks the debut of the Visionary Award, specially created to pay tribute to one of the most imaginative filmmakers working in the industry today.

The 35th Annual Saturn Awards will take place Wednesday, June 24 at the Castaway in Burbank. Comedian Jeff Ross (Dancing with the Stars, CSI) will host this year’s festivities.

Katzenberg has been one of the strong vocal supporters of 3D technology, which is gaining a strong foothold in film production. In 1984, he served as CEO of Walt Disney Pictures, and was responsible for turning the studio around with such acclaimed film releases as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.

In 1994, Katzenberg teamed up with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen to form DreamWorks SKG. The company released several successful films before spinning off a new division, DreamWorks Animation, and naming Katzenberg as CEO. The company is one of the most successful studios in operation today with such film releases as Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and the current monster hit Monsters Vs. Aliens.

Katzenberg began his career as a talent agent, soon rising to president of production at Paramount Pictures.

Leonard Nimoy, the legendary icon in genre film and TV, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Saturns. Nimoy has established himself as one of the great film and TV stars, with his performances in such series as Mission Impossible and the original science fiction series Star Trek in the 1960s.

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films was founded in 1972 by film historian Dr. Donald A. Reed. The non-profit organization is devoted to honoring and recognizing the best in genre entertainment. Those who have been honored over the years include Rod Serling, Boris Karloff, Fritz Lang, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Guillermo del Toro and Steven Spielberg.

White Doggie Watch

Long ago, I thought that Bolt would pass the $300 million mark in worldwide box office ... and I've been steadily, consistently wrong.

But the pooch is still bopping along ...

...and BO Mojo informs us that the total take now comes to ...


... with the numbers still ticking over to larger totals.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

The 10 Star Trek movies so far, and why they mattered

As J.J. Abrams' Star Trek beams into theaters on May 8, it seems like a good time to look back at the 10 movies that have previously gone where no one has gone before.

It's been 10 films and 30 years since Star Trek was reborn on the big screen. The full list follows.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise reunites in order to investigate a space probe that's undergoing an identity crisis.

Why It Works: The film combines science fact and fiction to re-establish the series' allegorical underpinnings.

Why It Sucks: It's long and freakin' boring.

Why It Matters: The film reunited the original cast, proved the series' commercial viability on the big screen and vindicated generations of fans who loved the original show.

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Kirk's old foe returns to serve up a cold dish of revenge on the eve of Starfleet's new scientific breakthrough.

Why It Works: It gives Kirk his most famous line of dialogue in the theatrical era, pits him against an iconic, formidable adversary and has the cojones to kill off an equally iconic cast member.

Why It Sucks: Many of the effects leave much to be desired by today's standards, although Khan's hair and chest are by far the best of them. (For the humor impaired: We know it's his real chest. It's a joke.)

Why It Matters: Of all the films, it has the strongest narrative connection to the original series, and it established the rule that even-numbered Trek films are better than odd-numbered ones.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984). Kirk and company defy orders and steal the Enterprise to track down Spock's body, while a Klingon commander tries to intercept them to steal the Genesis technology for himself.

Why It Works: In addition to giving Kirk another substantive foe, the story makes terrific use of the Kirk-Spock-McCoy chemistry, even without Spock in it very much.

Why It Sucks: If killing a character just to bring him back isn't bad enough, introducing an "important" new one just to kill him off is even worse.

Why It Matters: In addition to being the first film that Leonard Nimoy directed, the film celebrates the values of friendship and loyalty that historically provided a foundation for the characters and their adventures.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). Borrowing a Klingon Bird of Prey, the Enterprise crew goes back in time to find humpback whales that can speak the language of an alien race that is inadvertently destroying the Earth.

Why It Works: Some terrific comedy comes from the crew's encounters with present-day (i.e., 1986) culture, including the best insult of all time, "double dumb-ass on you!" Also, whales.

Why It Sucks: See "Why It Works." Also, for a movie about time travel, the film is dangerously unconcerned with the technicalities of the process and relies on a lot of convenient coincidences.

Why It Matters: By far the series' biggest mainstream success, it legitimized Trek to non-fans, paving the way for Star Trek: The Next Generation on TV.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). Turns out Spock has a brother, and he's a crazy religious zealot who'll stop at nothing—including hijacking the Enterprise—in order to talk to God.

Why It Works: The crew members have illuminating visions of their past, which fill in interesting background details.

Why It Sucks: Redundant villains (Klingons). Also, seriously: Of all things, God is the final frontier?

Why It Matters: Largely irrelevant in the Trek canon except as the only entry that Shatner directed himself.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). On the eve of brokering a peace treaty with Starfleet's oldest foe, Kirk is charged with murder and conspiracy when the Klingon chancellor is murdered.

Why It Works: Thanks to its thematic references to perestroika and its effective theatricality, the film has a great story, terrific momentum and real dramatic heft.

Why It Sucks: Twenty-five years into their mission, these actors look old.

Why It Matters: The final film featuring all of the core members of the original Enterprise crew.

Star Trek: Generations (1994). After Kirk disappears while saving the new crew of the Enterprise, his future successor, Jean-Luc Picard, encounters a scientist whose work may hold clues to his whereabouts.

Why It Works: It effectively introduces TNG cast members into a film franchise that was previously the sole domain of TOS stars.

Why It Sucks: Satisfying the demands of so many different plot lines doesn't make for compelling storytelling. Plus, it's as boring as The Motion Picture.

Why It Matters: It bridged the gap between different generations of Star Trek and offered a final, controversial hurrah for the heroism of James T. Kirk.

Star Trek: First Contact (1996). Picard and company go back in time to save Earth from the Borg and help Zefram Cochrane invent warp drive.

Why It Works: In addition to merging lore from the original series with storylines from The Next Generation, the film introduces the Borg Queen, the closest thing to a Khan-style adversary so far.

Why It Sucks: Its time travel is poorly conceived, Frakes' direction eliminates true suspense, and Picard goes uncharacteristically bats--t in his vendetta against the Borg.

Why It Matters: Introduces a new foe into the Star Trek theatrical canon and offers the Next Generation crew their first full-fledged adventure on the big screen and one of the more successful installments of the franchise.

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998). The Enterprise comes to the rescue when a race of stretchy-faced aliens led by Salieri tries to destroy a colony of beautiful white people who hold the secret of eternal youth.

Why It Works: Rekindles Troi and Riker's on-off romance and leaves it on, while Picard gets to look and act spry.

Why It Sucks: The story is largely irrelevant, or at least no more relevant to the Next Generation characters than an average episode of the show.

Why It Matters: The Next Generation equivalent of Kirk's dilemma in The Search for Spock, where a long-held ideal (no less than the Prime Directive) challenges the characters' professional and personal obligations.

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). A Reman who turns out to be Picard's dreamier clone threatens to destroy a tenuous peace that Starfleet attempts to broker with the Romulans.

Why It Works: Frakes is not its director, which means that it boasts a modicum of cinematic style.

Why It Sucks: Very, very soap-opera-ish, the film has a main character who isn't a member of the established cast but appears to be the villain, and it steals shamelessly from other Trek films, particularly the cloaked ship that can also fire that was invented for The Undiscovered Country.

Why It Matters: It adds little to the mythology of the franchise in any significant way—Remans? really?—and underscores the difficulty filmmakers continue to have making stories that are "big" enough for Trek on the big screen.

(Thanks SCI FI Wire)

1 comment:

Coffee Maker said...

the loss of Danny Gans is sad; i would have thought that, besides his physically healthy habits, his sense of humor would have helped him live an especially long life