Bruno Tries to Crack Ice Age, Transformers
It may take a new comedy from the creator of Borat to finally end the robots’ rein atop the box office.
Bruno, which stars Sascha Baron Cohen as the effeminate, offensively clueless and very gay Austrian fashion journalist, opens in 2,755 theaters Friday. Borat, which opened in November 2003, grossed $128 million domestically.
The Universal release goes up against the Fox comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper, starring Hayden Panettiere of Heroes fame and opening in 1,900 venues.
Both films enter a tough field, dominated by the juggernaut known as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and the animated 3-D comedy Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
Transformers is the most-successful film of the year, having so far grossed more than $310 million and looking to add even more. Ice Age, the third film in the series from Fox and Blue Sky Studios, also is formidable, having grossed more than $86 million in its first week of release.
Up, the Disney-Pixar release, appears to be winding down a bit, but remains the year’s second-most successful film with a to-date gross of more than $268 million.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Lasseter, Burton, Zemeckis and Miyazaki to take part in Disney panels to be presented at this year’s Comic-Con
Jim Hill shares a press release that Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures just passed along. Which offers details on the Mouse’s presentations at this year’s Comic-Con International
If you haven’t already decided that you really, really, REALLY need to attend this year’s Comic-Con International, the following will certainly seal the deal.
You wanna know who Disney’s bringing to San Diego this year? Would you believe John Lasseter, Tim Burton, Robert Zemeckis and Hayao Miyazaki? Not to mention Ron Clements, John Musker, Kirk Wise and Lee Unkrich.
Wait. It gets better. On Thursday, July 23rd, Patton Oswalt (That’s right. The voice of Remy from “Ratatouille” ) will moderated Comic-Con’s first-ever 3D panel. Which feature footage from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures’ upcoming 3D adventures, “Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Tron.”
Here. Read the press release. Then – if you don’t already have a pass to the show – head on over to eBay and hope & pray that someone is selling their tickets to this year’s Comic-Con:
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES’ COMIC-CON AGENDA IS FULL OF “FIRSTS”
DIRECTORS ZEMECKIS, BURTON TO TAKE PART IN FIRST-EVER 3D PANEL
ANIMATION LEGENDS MIYAZAKI & LASSETER TO ANCHOR ANIMATION PANEL
Studio to Showcase Key Titles—PONYO, TOY STORY & TOY STORY 2 DOUBLE FEATURE, DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TOY STORY 3 and TRON
BURBANK, Calif. (July 9 , 2009) — Animation greats Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter and directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton will take part in their first ever Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center July 23-24. The filmmakers will be on hand to help Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures showcase a wide-ranging roster of upcoming films, including 3D juggernauts ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TRON and DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and animated gems THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, PONYO and the TOY STORY trilogy.
Zemeckis, Burton, Miyazaki and Lasseter will take part in industry panels.
COMIC-CON’S FIRST EVER 3D PANEL — Veteran directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton join TRON producers Sean Bailey and Steve Lisberger on Thurs., July 23 at 11 a.m. for an unprecedented presentation featuring behind-the-scenes filmmaker insights about the highly anticipated 3D adventures DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and TRON. In addition to Q&A opportunities with each of the filmmakers, the 90-minute panel will feature never-before-seen concept art, trailers, actual 3D film footage and other Comic-Con-only footage debuts. In a groundbreaking technical feat, this is the first time ever that 3D footage will be shown at Comic-Con.Patton Oswalt will moderate.
ANIMATION PANEL — Animation legends Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter join veteran animation directors Lee Unkrich, Kirk Wise, Ron Clements and John Musker on Fri., July 24 at 12:45 p.m. for an animation panel which will highlight upcoming animated films, including Disney•Pixar’s TOY STORY/TOY STORY 2 double feature, Disney•Pixar’s TOY STORY 3, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ half-hour holiday TV special PREP & LANDING, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and Miyazaki’s PONYO. John Lasseter will host the panel and Patton Oswalt will moderate a group Q&A following the presentation, which will include filmmaker insights, trailers and select film sequences.
ABOUT THE MOVIES:
Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved
From the Academy Award®-winning director and world-renowned Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki comes PONYO, a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” Already a box-office success in Japan, the story of a young and overeager goldfish named Ponyo (voiced by NOAH CYRUS) and her quest to become human features an outstanding roster of voice talent, including CATE BLANCHETT, MATT DAMON, TINA FEY, FRANKIE JONAS, CLORIS LEACHMAN, LIAM NEESON, LILY TOMLIN and BETTY WHITE. PONYO opens in U.S. theaters on Aug. 14, 2009.
TOY STORY & TOY STORY 2 – DOUBLE FEATURE (In Disney Digital 3D™)
Disney ● Pixar’s TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2 return to the big screen in an exciting double feature Oct. 2, 2009—this time in Disney Digital 3D™.
They’re toys, they talk—at least when people aren’t around—and they’re back… celebrating the return of the “Toy Story” franchise—this time in Disney Digital 3D. TOY STORY, the film that started it all, takes moviegoers back to that fantastic fun-filled journey, viewed mostly through the eyes of two rival toys— Woody (voice of TOM HANKS), the lanky, likable cowboy, and Buzz Lightyear (voice of TIM ALLEN), the fearless space ranger.The comically-mismatched duo eventually learn to put aside their differences when circumstances separate them from their owner Andy and they find themselves on a hilarious adventure-filled mission where the only way they can survive is to form an uneasy alliance.
TOY STORY 2
Disney•Pixar’s TOY STORY 2 picks up as Andy heads off to Cowboy Camp, leaving his toys to their own devices. Things shift into high gear when an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (voice of WAYNE KNIGHT), owner of Al's Toy Barn, kidnaps Woody (voice of TOM HANKS).At Al's apartment, Woody discovers that he is a highly valued collectible from a 1950s TV show called “Woody's Roundup," and he meets the other prized toys from that show - Jessie the cowgirl (voice of JOAN CUSACK), Bullseye the horse and Stinky Pete the Prospector (voice of KELSEY GRAMMER).Back at the scene of the crime, Buzz Lightyear (voice of TIM ALLEN) and the gang from Andy's room – Mr. Potato Head (voice of DON RICKLES), Slinky Dog (voice of JIM VARNEY), Rex (voice of WALLACE SHAWN) and Hamm (voice of JOHN RATZENBERGER) – spring into action to rescue their pal from winding up as a museum piece.The toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to get Woody home before Andy returns.
DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL (In Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D)
DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, a multi-sensory thrill ride re-envisioned by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, captures the fantastical essence of the classic Dickens tale in a groundbreaking 3D motion picture event.Ebenezer Scrooge (JIM CARREY) begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk (GARY OLDMAN) and his cheery nephew (COLIN FIRTH).But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take him on an eye-opening journey revealing truths Old Scrooge is reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it’s too late.Opens in theaters nationwide on Nov. 6, 2009.
Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. From the creators of “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” comes a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana (ANIKA NONI ROSE), a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana.THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG marks the return to hand-drawn animation from the revered team of John Musker and Ron Clements, with music by Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman. Opens on November 25, 2009 in NY and LA, and on December 11, 2009 nationwide.
PREP & LANDING
PREP & LANDING is ABC’s first television special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The half-hour holiday special reveals the never-before-told tale of an elite unit of Elves known as Prep & Landing. Every Christmas Eve, this high-tech organization ensures that homes around the world are properly prepared for a visit from the Big Guy (aka Santa Claus). After working tirelessly on Prep & Landing for 227 years, an elf named Wayne (voice of Dave Foley) is upset when he doesn’t receive an expected promotion to be the Director of Naughty List Intelligence. Instead, Magee (voice of Sarah Chalke), the North Pole Christmas Eve Command Center Coordinator (NPCECCC for short), partners Wayne with Lanny (voice of Derek Richardson), an idealistic rookie who has an undying enthusiasm for Christmas.During their Christmas Eve mission, Wayne and Lanny encounter unexpected challenges that push them to their limits.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (In Disney Digital 3D™)
Walt Disney Pictures’ magical animated classic BEAUTY AND THE BEAST returns to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D™, introducing a whole new generation to the Disney classic with stunning new 3D imagery. Opening Feb. 12, 2010, the film captures the fantastic journey of Belle (voice of PAIGE O’HARA), a bright and beautiful young woman who’s taken prisoner by a hideous beast (voice of ROBBY BENSON) in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff—a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others—and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince. Featuring unforgettable music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, and an enormously talented vocal ensemble, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the first—and only—animated feature to receive a Best Picture nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND (In Disney Digital 3D™)
From Walt Disney Pictures and visionary director Tim Burton comes an epic 3D fantasy adventure ALICE IN WONDERLAND, a magical and imaginative twist on some of the most beloved stories of all time. JOHNNY DEPP stars as the Mad Hatter and MIA WASIKOWSKA as 19-year-old Alice, who returns to the whimsical world she first encountered as a young girl, reuniting with her childhood friends: the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and of course, the Mad Hatter. Alice embarks on a fantastical journey to find her true destiny and end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.The all-star cast also includes ANNE HATHAWAY, HELENA BONHAM CARTER and CRISPIN GLOVER; Linda Woolverton wrote the screenplay. Capturing the wonder of Lewis Carroll’s beloved “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865) and “Through the Looking-Glass” (1871) with stunning, avant-garde visuals and the most charismatic characters in literary history, ALICE IN WONDERLAND comes to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D™ on March 5, 2010.
Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved
TOY STORY 3 (In Disney Digital 3D™)
The creators of the beloved “Toy Story” films re-open the toy box and bring moviegoers back to the delightful world of Woody, Buzz and our favorite gang of toy characters in TOY STORY 3.Lee Unkrich (co-director of “Toy Story 2” and “Finding Nemo”) directs this highly anticipated film, and Michael Arndt, the Academy Award®-winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine,” brings his unique talents and comedic sensibilities to the proceedings.TOY STORY 3 comes to theaters nationwide in Disney Digital 3D™ on June 18, 2010.
TRON (title not final) (In Disney Digital 3D™)
TRON is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (GARRETT HEDLUND), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (JEFF BRIDGES), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (OLIVIA WILDE), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? And – yes (Just in case you’re wondering) JHM WILL be covering these panels at this year’s Comic-Con.
Miyazaki’s U.S. Tour to Stop in Berkeley
Master Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s upcoming visit to the United States is adding a stop at the University of California, Berkeley.
Miyazaki is set to visit the Northern California city on July 25, accepting the Japan Prize from the college’s Center for Japanese Studies, reports The New York Times.
In preparation, the Pacific Film Archive is presenting Miyazaki’s films on the big screen in a series that runs from July 12-21. The screenings, which will be held at the Archive’s theater at 2575 Bancroft Way, runs by the following schedule:
July 12, 4 p.m., My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
July 14, 7 p.m., Porco Rosso (1992)
July 19, 2:30 p.m. Castle in the Sky (1986)
July 21, 7 p.m., Princess Mononoke (1997)
Tickets are available by calling (510) 642-5249 or online at
Miyazaki’s appearance at Berkeley will follow his appearance July 24 at Comic-Con International in San Diego, where he is set to address fans in the 6,500-seat Hall H.
He also will appear at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on July 28 for a sold-out discussion with Disney-Pixar exec John Lasseter.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Nick UK Rounds Up Super Hero Squad
Marvel Animation’s new kid-friendly series Super Hero Squad is coming to the United Kingdom’s NickToons in October.
In an exclusive acquisition, the channel will present 26 half-hour episodes of the new series, which featuers super-stylized versions of such iconic Marvel characters as Captain America, Silver Surfer, Iron Man, Hulk and Wolverine.
The series features an all-star cast of voice talent, including Tom Kenny, Charlie Adler, Steve Blum and Grey DeLisle. Guest voices include turns by such fan favorites as Wayne Knight, LeVar Burton, Michelle Trachtenberg, Greg Grunberg, Lena Headey, Adrian Pasdar, Tricia Helfer, Jennifer Morrison, Tamera Mowry, Robert Englund and Stan Lee as the Mayor of Super Hero City.
“The Super Hero Squad show is an exciting new acquisition for NickToons, which will be a major highlight of 2010,” says Debbie MacDonald, VP, Programming Director for Nickelodeon UK. “We’re delighted to have such a brilliant animation series that will appeal to the super hero in us all.”
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Chorion Reps Dan Dare License
Dan Dare, the space-faring hero of classic English comic strips, is back in the game, with the Dan Dare Corp. choosing Chorion to represent the international licensing rights to the characters.
Created by Frank Hampson and first appearing in The Eagle in April 1950, Dan Dare became an icon to English comics readers of the 1950s and 1960s.
Already signed to new deals are Simon Spicer for greeting cards and wrap; Somerbond for apparel; Day 2 Day Trading for figurines, and Russimco, who will be launching a master toy range in early 2010.
“The Dan Dare artwork is simply breathtaking, with vivid colours and precise detail and we are excited to be reviving this much loved property, bringing new products to the market for both old and new fans alike.” said Nicholas Durbridge, Chairman, Copyrights, a Chorion company.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Monsters, Wubbzy to Wow at Home
Monsters vs. Aliens, DreamWorks Animation’s hit 3-D feature film, and the smash Nick hit Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!: Wubb Idol are coming home in September.
Arriving on Sept. 29, Monsters vs. Aliens arrives on DVD and Blu-ray with a world premiere 3-D short film, B.O.B.’s Big Break.
The film will be released in a single DVD, Ginormous Double DVD Pack and a Blu-ray edition, both of which include four pairs of 3-D glasses, a new 3-D interactive game, deleted scenes, behind the scenes features, a filmmaker commentary and activities. The feature film is not presented in 3-D on this release.
Wubb Idol, which aired as a TV movie on Nick Jr., comes to DVD on Oct. 13 and features a new original song, "Sing-a-Song", from Beyonce Knowles.
The international music star also provides the voice of Shine, lead singer of the Wubb Girlz group in the movie.
The new 93-minute DVD offers twice the content of the Wubb Idol TV movie and also features special activities, coloring pages, music videos and more. Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment, the disc has a suggested retail price of $16.98.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Trailer for CG Animated Horror BLOOD TRAIL
My biggest gripe with animated films in Hollywood today is the lack of mature or edgy content for adults. Most of the animated films getting produced are driven by slapstick gags and the characters are drawn in cartoony fashion. Creative studio Nathan Love, in collaboration with Perspective Studios, has completed a three-minute trailer for Blood Trail that utterly go against this convention. Its a horror piece based on writer Matt Cochran’s screenplay of the same name and its expected to be developed into a feature film, video game and/or graphic novel. Before you watch this trailer, I must warn you that it contains extreme gore and graphic violence in full CG animated glory. This is definitely not safe for work so keep your kids away. What transpire in the last half had me going “oh shit!”.
You’ll find the trailer embedded below after the break.
Note: Ignore the "Preview unavailable" - it does work.
Run Wrake Falls Under The Spell Of THE CONTROL MASTER!
Just over two years back I fell completely and madly in love with the work of animator Run Wrake, specifically his surreal and stream of consciousness piece Rabbit, which was then screening as part of the Worldwide Short Film Festival. And so, it was with much chagrin that earlier today I realized that Wrake had since completed an entirely new piece and released it for free online viewing in 2008 and I’d missed it entirely. Well, thank god for the Fantasia Festival in Montreal for setting me right on this one. It’s called The Control Master and I’m including the trailer below the break. It is typically brilliant.
Note: Ignore the "Preview unavailable" - it does work.
Gramophone! Teaser for Jonathan Nix’s THE MISSING KEY
Twitch has not as yet given the work of Jonathan Nix any attention. That will change. Better late than never, right? Jonathan’s work producing animated shorts and soundtracks for the same has won him critical acclaim at festivals across his native Australia and beyond, and his latest project is the very wonderful-looking The Missing Key. This planned 25-minute short appears to build on the whimsical baroque setting for his earlier piece Hello (2003), a melancholy Italianate fantasy world with a distinctive touch of the surreal, and so far it looks to be absolutely gorgeous. Find the synopsis and a two-minute preview trailer from YouTube embedded after the break.
Set in a richly re-imagined Venice of the early twentieth century, The Missing Key tells the story of the young composer Hero Wasabi and his clarinet-playing cat Jacuzzi. When Hero’s almost completed musical composition and piano are destroyed by the villainous Morsocodo, henchman of rival composer Count Telefino, Hero has to search deep within himself to find a melody that can compete in the prestigious musical competition he has worked so hard to enter.
The Missing Key appears to have become very much an ongoing project, with other commitments forcing Jonathan Nix and his colleagues to delay it quite some time past its intended release, but Cartwheel Productions plan to have the film finally completed later this year. Fingers crossed!
UPDATED - "Saturday Morning Cartoons" Vol. 2 Coming in October
According to Home Theater Forum, the second volumes of Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1960's and 1970's come to DVD on 10/27/09 for $26.99 each. Both sets will contain two discs and special features include Saturday Morning Previews similar to the first volumes'.
A preliminary listing of episodes for both sets are as follows:
* Johnny Cypher in Dimension Zero: Attack From Outer Space/Rhom, Super Criminal/The Eye of Ramapoor
* Flintstones: The Flintstones Flyer
* The Porky Pig Show: Scaredy Cat/Baton Bunny/Feather Dusted
* The Adventures of Aquaman: Menace of the Blanc Manta/The Rampaging Reptile-Men/The Return of Nepto
* Superman: The Force Phantom
* The Jetsons: A Date With Jet Screamer
* The Road Runner Show: Beep Beep/Satan's Waitin'/Chili Corn Corny
* Tom and Jerry Show: No Bones About It/An Ill Wind/Beach Bully
* The Bugs Bunny Show: Whoa! Be Gone/To Itch His Own/Gee Whiz-z-z
* Pebbles and Bamm Bamm: Gridiron Girl Trouble
* Scooby Doo: What a Night For a Knight
* Shazzan!: The Living Island
* The Jetsons: Jetson's Night Out
* The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour: Snow Business/Two Crows From Tacos/Ready, Set, Zoom!
* Dastardly & Muttley: Stop That Pigeon
* Wacky Races: See-Saw to Arkansas/Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist
* Banana Splits: Joining the Knights/The Littlest Musketeer/"Danger Island" Episodes 1 and 2
* The Flintstones: No Biz Like Show Biz
* Penelope Pitstop: The Diabolical Department Store Manager
* The New Adventures of Superman: Mermen of Emor
Please note that these are highly tentative and subject to change.
Smears and Poses
John K. has an interesting blog on the technique of using smears and poses, focusing primarily on Chuck Jones' 1942 classic, "The Dover Boys"
I remember when I first discovered "The Dover Boys" I was swept away by the technique of "smears" that the animators used to get from one pose to the next.
What I later realized was much more important were the poses themselves. If you don't have great poses to get to, the smears are wasted.
This whole cartoon is great: the gags, the timing, the design, the backgrounds, the voices, the music. The smears are really just an added cool trick.
To see more on it, go HERE.
UK Students Stage a Cirkus Spektakular
Cirkus Spektakular was the graduation film for 3 students who attended the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in 2008. Matt Timms, Gillian Reid and Sean McCormack animated the film 2D, with a few CG bits thrown in here and there.
International Trailer For Acker’s Animated 9
Two more months until Shane Acker’s CG film 9 hits theaters, and today we’re treated to the international trailer. The film, which was animated by Starz Animation in Canada, is due in theaters on 09/09/09. It’s a Focus Features release.
Aside from the main website, there’s also a mysterious film website at 9experiment.com.
Recent "Wonder Woman" Direct-To-Video Animated Feature Enjoys Consistent Video Sales
The recent direct-to-video Wonder Woman animated feature continues to be an admirable performer for Warner Home Video, selling over 235,000 units on DVD.
As of late-June 2009, Wonder Woman, the direct-to-video animated feature from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line, has now sold an estimated 235,850 DVD copies since the title's release in March 2009. According to various home media retailing outlets and independent research, Wonder Woman has remained a consistent seller since its release, and will likely cross the 250,000 units sold mark by the end of July 2009. Please note the home video sales figure above does not take into account rental numbers, OnDemand numbers, hi-def sales, or legal download numbers.
Continuing to buck the standard home video trend of a strong debut followed by tepid sales, the direct-to-video Wonder Woman animated feature has managed to keep steady sales since March 2009. Special promotional events, including marketing tie-ins to the upcoming Green Lantern: First Flight and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-video animated features releases, are expected to keep the title on track for the remainder of the year.
The Blu-ray sales for Wonder Woman have also remained stable, now selling over an estimated 23,000 Blu-ray copies since hitting shelves at the beginning of March 2009.
Badger Pencil Test - Fox & the Hound by Glen Keane ?
I've had photocopies of this scene from The Fox & The Hound for years. I've finally decided to scan them and make a proper pencil test of the scene so it can be shared. The person who gave the copies of the drawings to me said that Glen Keane animated this scene, but I'm not 100% certain about that because it didn't come with an X-sheet or a copy of the original scene folder. Could be Glen's ... If anyone has the draft from the film and can positively ID who animated this scene I'd appreciate it.
(Thanks David Nethery)
Milt Kahl animates Mowgli from The Jungle Book
A little reminder of how amazing Milt's animation is:
(Thanks David Nethery)
SUPERMAN Rights Decision and how it affects the sequel
Variety reports that Warner Bros. have won a victory in one of the various lawsuits filed by the heirs of "Superman" co-creator Jerome Siegel.
The Wednesday ruling by District Court Judge Stephen G. Larson had to do with the Siegel estate's claim that DC Comics basically gave away the film rights for the character to their parent company. If they succeeded in that claim, they would be able to pursue compensation from Warner Bros. studio.
However, the judge ruled that the 1999 deal for feature film rights was a fair one. DC Comics received $1.5 million upfront, $18.5 million for option extensions over 31 years and 5% of first-dollar worldwide distributor gross or 7.5% of domestic gross -- whichever was larger. Similarly the 2000 deal for the TV rights deal represented fair market value.
So any claims about compensation made by the Siegel estate will have to be directed solely at those profits realized by DC Comics.
Most interesting in the court filings is the assertion by the Siegels' attorney that the heirs, along with the heirs of co-creator Joe Shuster, will own the entire Superman copyright in 2013.
"This trial was only an interim step in the multifaceted accounting case which remains, in that it only concerned the secondary issue of whether DC Comics, or DC Comics and Warner Bros., would have to account to the Siegels," Attorney Marc Toberoff said. "To put this in further perspective, the entire accounting action pales in comparison to the fact that in 2013, the Siegels, along with the estate of Joe Shuster, will own the entire original copyright to Superman, and neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros. will be able to exploit any new Superman works without a license from the Siegels and Shusters."
If that does prove to be the case, it puts tremendous pressure on Warner Bros to exploit the film rights while they still can under their current agreement with DC Comics.
However, during the 10-day bench trial, Warner Bros. chairman Alan Horn had testified that a 'Superman' sequel wasn't under development at the studio, that no script had been written and that the earliest another movie could be released would be in 2012.
These are very interesting developments with regards to one of the world's most recognizable and profitable pop-culture characters.
Doctor Doom: Tyrant, Villain And… Stand-Up Comedian?
We all know about Victor Von Doom’s long and villainous history as the primary nemesis of The Fantastic Four, but have you heard his stand-up comedy routine?
In a clip that’s been making the rounds online, the infamous Marvel Comics character appears to make a surprise visit to a Baltimore club’s monthly comedy show. While his act doesn’t stray too far from jabs at Marvel’s first family of superheroes, it seems to prove that Doom missed his calling on the comedy circuit when he got sidetracked by all this global domination and supreme power stuff.
Man, the people of Latveria sure are lucky to have such a funny guy as their dictator-for-life.
District 9 Full Trailer Is Out
Sony / Columbia Pictures has released the full trailer for the new sci-fi thriller "District 9" from director Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson.
The film stars Sharlto Copley, and David James and is set to hit theaters on August 14th 2009
DISTRICT 9 depicts a fictional world where extraterrestrials have become refugees in South Africa. Extraterrestrial race is forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly find a kindred spirit in a government agent that is exposed to their biotechnology.
Check out the full trailer below.
Tauntaun sleeping bag inches closer to reality
From the file of things so cool we wish they were real: That sleeping bag in the shape of a Tauntaun from The Empire Strikes Back, which ThinkGeek.com posted as an April Fool's joke this year. (Such cunning details, like the lightsaber zipper, meant to evoke Han's evisceration of the poor creature.)
Well, we weren't alone in wanting one, of course, and the site was compelled to post this note:
Due to an overwhelming tsunami of requests from YOU THE PEOPLE, we have decided to TRY and bring this to life. We have no clue if the suits at Lucasfilms will grant little ThinkGeek a license, nor do we know how much it would ultimately retail for. But if you are interested in ever owning one of these, click the link below and we'll try!
Now comes news from the LA Weekly that ThinkGeek has been working with Lucasfilm to get an actual license to produce the thing, which will likely be modified from the design in the spoof (and also likely cost a bit more than the $39 on the fake ad). Here's what ThinkGeek's PR guy, Shane Peterman, told the weekly newspaper:
We are definitely trying to make it into an actual item to be sold on our site. As of right now, it's still an "if," but it's turning into more of a "when." Things are looking pretty good, we just don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. There's certainly been enough of a demand, both from customers and from those of us that work here. Right now, we're aiming to have it available for the holidays or, at the latest, the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back next spring.
Have you gotten the go-ahead from Lucas?
We're still working with Lucas to get approval for a final design. Again, it's looking good, we just can't say too much right now since it's still in the works.
Of course, if history is our guide, it's always possible that Lucasfilm will go ahead and copy the thing and just sell it themselves.
ULTRAMAN Returns For A MEGA MONSTER BATTLE!
What do you do if you’re the producer of a venerable scifi franchise and you have to follow up an entry that featured not one and not two but a whopping EIGHT variations on your hero? If you’re the folks behind Japan’s Ultraman franchise - about to hit its thirty eighth installment! - you trigger a mega monster battle, of course! And also recruit a whole lot more Ultramen.
The evil Ultraman Belial was imprisoned by the Ultraman King tens of thousands of years ago. When he finally escapes, he attempts to use the Giga-Battlenizer to control 100 giant monsters and conquer the galaxy. On the Ultraman homeworld, where there is no 3-minute time restriction, a team of 50 Ultramen including Ultraman, Ultra Seven, and Ultraman Mebius among many others mobilize to put a stop to Ultraman Belial’s plans and face off against his monsters.
Bad Ultraman plus one hundred giant monsters versus a team of fifty good Ultramen? Madness, I say. Madness. And the first glimpse of the madness can be seen in the teaser below the break.
Note: Ignore the "Preview unavailable" - it does work -