Monday, November 30, 2009

News - 11/30/09...

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" off filmgoers' scent, in at #9

Stop-motion animated movie "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is coming up nearly empty in its hunt for box-office dollars.

Distributed by (surprise!) 20th Century Fox, Fantastic Mr. Fox grossed a painfully small $7.02 million over the weekend -- its first in wide release -- to reach ninth place in estimated gross receipts.

Despite costing about $35 million to produce, Wes Anderson's adaptation of the Roald Dahl book has grossed only $9.5 million in North American theaters since Wednesday. With a voice cast led by George Clooney, the comedy has made $10.1 million in total, including strong results from limited distribution at four theaters the previous two weekends.

In its second weekend of release, the live-action The Twilight Saga: New Moon repeated its No. 1 performance, collecting an estimated $42.5 million.

Disney's motion-capture A Christmas Carol was in sixth place in its fourth weekend with over $16 million, buoying hopes the Mouse House's that the picture would show strong holiday results after its weak beginning.

Produced at a cost of almost $200 million, the digital 3-D A Christmas Carol saw ticket sales rise 30% over the weekend. That's higher than the 24% increase for 2004's The Polar Express, another 3-D holiday movie directed by Robert Zemeckis, whose results Disney had hoped to emulate.

In its second weekend, Worldwide Biggies/Ilion Animation Studios' Planet 51 came in seventh with $10.2 million.

Meanwhile, Disney's hand-drawn The Princess And The Frog showed enormous popularity in very limited release.

Giving the Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Frog Prince a new setting in 1920s New Orleans, the musical opened in two theaters with $712,000 over the weekend and $1.1 million since Wednesday. Abetting the box office was a combination of high demand and increased ticket prices for a motion-picture "experience" that offered activities beyond just seeing the picture.

The Princess and the Frog goes into wide release December 11.

The North American box office had record revenues over the five-day Thanksgiving period. Receipts between Wednesday and receipts reached an estimated $278 million, box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.

Anika Noni Rose on "Princess and the Frog" at has spoken with Anika Noni Rose, who will play the first of the title characters in Disney's upcoming The Princess and the Frog. Among other topics, Rose discusses the criticisms that the movie has received well before its release, the hand-drawn animation of the movie, and her longtime dream to play a role in a Disney movie.

How the Grinch (and an ogre) Stole Christmas

On Monday night, ABC will air two animated holiday specials starting at 8pm/7c. First, the classic holiday cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas will recieve its annual TV airing. Following this will be the not as beloved but still ratings friendly Shrek the Halls, the DreamWorks animated special from 2007.

First look: Shrek Forever After

USA Today now has a first look at next summer's Shrek Forever After. Among other things, the article reports that this will be the "concluding chapter" in the franchise, which is interesting since a Shrek 5 had been reported earlier. The fourth movie starring the jolly green giant will involve its title character feeling as though he's become too domesticated for his own good. In search of an answer, he makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to see what the world would be like if he had never married Princess Fiona. Shrek Forever After hits theaters on May 21st.

Best Picture Oscar for an animated flick?

An interesting article on brings up the topic of a possible Best Picture Oscar nomination for one – or even several – of the animated films that were released within the past year. The story brings up several good points as to why this might be a possibility, gesturing towards elements such as the huge critical success of Up and The Fantastic Mr. Fox, as well as the low number of more traditional Best Picture fare normally released around this time of year. The article also briefly mentions a few science-fiction films, including Star Trek, District 9, and The Road, and evaluates their chances of a nomination as well.

Prep and Landing pushed back

Disney’s Prep and Landing, originally set to air on Tuesday, has been pushed back an entire week. The move was made by ABC because President Obama’s press conference is scheduled for that evening. Prep and Landing will now air on December 8th.

Animation studio said to lay off 100 without pay

Australian animation studio Ettamogah Entertainment is being investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman in the state of Victoria for allegedly failing to pay staff wages due them -- some dating back nearly a year.

Animators, writers and voice artists claim that they're owed over $100,000 in unpaid wages. Allegedly, superannuation payments have not been made for several months, and some staff, mostly writers, have been unpaid since last December.

Ettamogah has laid off over 100 employees without pay at its Brighton animation production studio. Due to budget overruns on the Li'l Larrikins kids' series being produced for the Ten Network, managing director Leigh O'Brien ordered up to 50 staff to leave the studio October 21. Most of those left were laid off November 5.

Staff are struggling to pull through financially, as they had not been warned before being laid off, one animator, who asked not to be named, told the Australian newspaper The Age. "There's real desperation because people are having trouble keeping a roof over their heads and feeding their families, it's as simple as that," he said.

Employees have filed complaints, said Fair Work Ombudsman spokesman Craig Bildstien, adding that there have been discussions with the company and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, a union representing animation workers.

"Our preliminary advice is that employees have not been terminated, but stood down [laid off] without pay," Bildstien said. "We will be investigating this matter to ensure all employees have received their proper entitlements and the company is fulfilling its legal obligations to its workforce."

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance will take the case to Fair Work Australia, the country's national workplace relations tribunal, alliance spokeswoman Eleisha Mullane said. "'The main thing for the staff is that they're in limbo and don't know what's happening," she said.

Because staff remain technically employed by Ettamogah Entertainment, they can't apply for federal unemployment payments, Mullane added.

O'Brien denied that his company is in financial trouble. "No, definitely not. It's just an issue we had with the production, which we're trying to resolve," said O'Brien, a property developer.

"If you've got budget overruns, you've got to fix it up. We've created 120 jobs here and trained everyone in animation, and there's no financial problems whatsoever."

Last year, Ettamogah Entertainment opened a state-of-the-art production studio in Brighton. It began production on two children's shows that have not yet been broadcast.

Rare Footage of Bakshi working on Fritz the Cat

This 1970 German documentary on Robert Crumb contains rare footage of Ralph Bakshi in his studio during the making of Fritz the Cat. Young Ralph is shown in the studio, walking through New York and looking at one of his animators flip through drawings. The documentary was loaded onto YouTube in three parts (embedded below) and is NSFW (not safe for work, due to naked hippies). Bakshi first appears a little after 6:30 in part one:

(Thanks, Rogelio Toledo)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Chuck Jones’s Influence in Disney’s Latest Pic

Oswald Iten has a sweet and short observation on his blog Colorful Animation Expressions about how Eric Goldberg is incorporating a bit of Chuck Jones’s drawing flair into his design of Louis in The Princess and the Frog.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" added to Grammy Hall of Fame

"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," heard in Disney's partly animated 1946 movie Song Of The South, was named Wednesday as one of the Recording Academy's newest additions to its Grammy Hall Of Fame.

It is among 25 songs just inducted to the list, which now includes 851 titles.

The version added to the Hall Of Fame was Johnny Mercer's performance on a 1946 Capitol single, which charted at #8 the following year. James Baskett, as Uncle Remus, sang "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" in Song Of The South. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The music for "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" was written by Allie Wrubel; Ray Gilbert wrote the lyrics.

For many years, the tune was part of an opening theme medley for TV's Wonderful World of Disney series. It has been used often in other Disney TV and video productions, and can be heard on many official albums.

The Hall Of Fame serves as a celebration and reminder of the triumphs and achievements of the recording arts. Selections are drawn from all categories of music, acknowledging the diversity of musical expression for which The Recording Academy has become renowned. The list and recordings now reside as a collection on display at the Grammy Museum.

"This year's GRAMMY Hall Of Fame inductees highlight a diverse array of masterpiece recordings that have had a profound impact on our musical history," said Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow. "The selections are timeless staples that span six decades and represent a wide range of genres from comedy to rock, reggae, jazz and R&B. They all greatly deserve to be memorialized."

The selected recordings range from 1923's "Dipper Mouth Blues" by King Oliver & His Jazz Band to 1977's "Birdland" by Weather Report.

(ED Note: Is anyone else seeing the irony of a song being entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame, in which the movie it came from, may possibly never be seen on DVD?)

"Mary and Max" wins at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Australia's "Mary and Max," produced by Academy Award winner Melanie Coombs, was named Best Animated Feature Film at the third annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards, announced Thursday night on Australia's Gold Coast.

Mary and Max is a claymated feature film from the creators of the Oscar-winning short animation Harvie Krumpet. It is a simple tale of pen-friendship between two very different people; Mary Dinkle, a chubby lonely eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max Horovitz, a 44-year-old, severely obese, Jewish man with Asperger’s Syndrome living in the chaos of New York.

Spanning 20 years and two continents, Mary and Max's friendship survives much more than the average diet of life's ups and downs. Like Harvie Krumpet, Mary and Max is innocent but not naïve as it takes us on a journey that explores friendship, autism, taxidermy, psychiatry, alcoholism, where babies come from, obesity, kleptomania, sexual difference, trust, copulating dogs, religious difference, agoraphobia and much much more.

Competing against Mary and Max were Perviy Otryad (First Squad: The Moment of Truth), a Russian-Japanese-Canadian collaboration, produced by Eiko Tanaka, Misha Sprits and Aljosha Klimov; Sukai Kurora (The Sky Crawlers), a Japanese film produced by Tomohiko Ishii; Samâ Wôzu (Summer Wars), produced by Nozomu Takahashi, Takuya Ito and Takashi Watanabe of Japan, and co-produced by Yuichiro Saito; and Russia's Pro Fedota-Streltsa, Udalogo Molodtsa (The Tale of Soldier Fedot, The Daring Fellow), produced by Alexander Boyarsky and Sergey Selyanov.

Acclaimed Australian film Samson & Delilah won the Best Feature Film Award. Produced by Kath Shelper and written and directed by Warwick Thornton, Samson & Delilah previously won the Camera d'Or prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, six major awards at the recent Inside Film Awards in Australia, and has been nominated for 13 Australian Film Institute Awards. Representing the first time an Australian film has been nominated in the Best Feature Film category of the APSAs, Samson & Delilah competed against four films by renowned filmmakers from China (Chen Kaige, Lu Chuan), Iran (Asghar Farhadi) and the Palestinian Territories (Elia Suleiman) to receive the highest accolade in film in the Asia-Pacific region. Thornton was on the Gold Coast to accept the award.

Scene from Mary and Max, a winner at the Asia Pacific Film Awards.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Here’s a couple of odds and ends I didn’t around to posting this past week. first up, Chris Jones spent six years making The Passenger and has a blog detailing everything about it.

Next, this short below by Christophe Lopez-Huici is Not Safe for Work (but that’s okay since most of us have the day off). I don’t know why I like it, but the combination of the music and crude stop-motion sorta works for me. More by this animator here.

And finally, this controversial commercial from the UK, created by Mother, for airline pollution activists, Plane Stupid:

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Early Animation Wiki

I am happy to announce the creation of a new resource for cartoon research: The Early Animation Wiki. This site is the creation of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates at the University of Toronto, and is designed to collect data on the early days of film and television animation. Nic Sammond, Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto, says:

“The goal of this wiki is to support a robust community of scholars, historians, and collectors of animation-as well as animators-who can share their wisdom and knowledge about this rich and amazing art form. The Early Animation Wiki is attempting to chart the beginnings of animation, with a focus on the careers of animators and the rise (and sometimes fall) of studios. That this leads toward the present day is inevitable, but our initial focus is on building a useful tool for studying the early days of animation.

“It may be a bit of an exaggeration to say the website is ready for use. The Early Animation Wiki is now online, but the first thing it needs is contributors. As you will see, many of its entries are incomplete, and there are quite a few entries missing as well. Also, it isn’t yet as open as other wikis. We hope eventually to add video content and more graphic features to what is, at the moment, a very text-based resource. What we need from you now is the benefit of your knowledge, expertise, and critical and constructive suggestions. I hope you will lend as much as you can.”

if you’d like to contribute, contact Sammond via the site.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Heart by Laurent Clermont

A sweet little piece from Laurent Clermont

(Thanks cartoon brew)

The International Toy Story 3 Trailer

The International Toy Story 3 reveals some new twists in the storyline. The feature is due out in July 2010.


Someone asks about the age breakdown of working members of The Animation Guild, and I'm delighted to throw light on the subject.

Employed Active Members -- 87.1% (2,566 of 2,945)
Employed Active Members over fifty -- 29.5% (757 of 2,566)

Now, a few words about the above.

The employed percentage of active members appears quite high, but the statistic is usually higher still .... above 90%. So we look for total active membership to fall in coming months.

We have fifty more people working now than back in January. Then it was 2,506.

Going back further, in January 2008, employment was 2,271. (Click here for graphs about employment breakdown and trends in 2007-2008.)

What were the employment breakdowns five years ago? Ten years? We'll have to dig out old data, but my best estimates:

The industry has skewed young and male for a long time. If you use the handy search engine up in the left-hand corner, I'm sure you can dig up various posts that cover these subjects.

(I've harped on the maleness of the business previously; I won't bother doing it again here. But as to the youthfulness of the biz, I have several observations):

1) There's been a technological revolution in animation over the past fifteen years, and it's digital. Paper, pencils and paintbrushes don't cut it anymore. So the folks who were experts with those things are unemployable if they don't know the software programs that employers now require for animated production, and it's been tough for many to retrain.

2) Most artists and technicians who come into the business in their early twenties build a support network of fellow employees, most of whom are five to ten years older than they are. By the time these people reach their middle fifties, the long-standing support network they've relied on has retired ... and jobs (surprise!) become harder to come by.

3) Now as always, the business is ferociously competitive; younger and more energetic candidates pour into the field year after year. By the time you are in your forties ... or especially fifties ... you are competing against people who are decades younger than you are.

Animation might be youth oriented, but its a virtual haven for gray hairs compared to live-action work. In that sphere, you will find very few older workers.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Global Animation

Now with Add On.

Gee, I'm so old I can remember when only artists working in the East San Fernando Valley cared about toonage at all. But now there's this:

Research and Markets ... has announced the addition of Screen Digest's new report "The Global Animation Industry" to their offering.

... Many countries, in particular France and Canada, are reaping the benefits of an ecosystem of financial support programmes, tax breaks and broadcast quotas that serves to bolster their animation sectors. Even these industries are not immune to a weak international market, relying on co-production, pre-sales and licence fee revenue for a significant part of their funding ...

Glancing over the report's subject matter, it appears to lay out the obvious: There's lots of sub-contracting going on; license fees aren't what they once were, and there are some big American conblomerates which dominate the cartoon industry.

There's a surprise.

On a side note: There are currently several new "independent" animation studios cropping up in the San Fernando Valley. They are independent the way Charlie McCarthy was independent of Edgar Bergen, the way that Jeff Dunham's universe of dummies is independent of him.

Almost all of the indie companies out there, from Film Roman to Bento Box to Rough Draft to Wild Brain, are dependent on the Big Boys for their continued existence. They are job shops, and as I once said to a storyboard artist who proclaimed how much he loved working for a small, non-union studio free of the hammy hand of conglomerates:

"You kidding me? Everybody works for the big entertainment congloms. They either work for them directly ... and get paid union benefits ... or they work for them indirectly, and don't. But they all work for the same Goliaths ..."

It was true when I said it a few years back; it's more true now.

Add On: Speaking of global toons, here's one example of animation beyond American shores ... animation that Americans will likely never see.

Mexico's Anima Estudios has inked to co-produce animated feature "Gaturro," which is lead produced by Argentina's Illusion Studios and Toonz Animation India. Anima will take minority equity in "Gaturro," about a cat TV star, and carry out post-production.

Anima's boarding of
"Gaturro" advances a three CGI pic co-production alliance between Illusion and Anima, Latin America's foremost film/TV toon producers.

In production,
"Gaturro" will bow theatrically in Argentina and India second half 2010. Pic will also have a digital 3-D version ...

Lots of animated product is created in different parts of the world that the citizens of the U.S. never know exists (it ain't all Up and Kung Fu Panda), yet there are numerous animation gypsies flying around the globe to work on it.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Actor Hisaya Morishige may get posthumous honor

Late actor Hisaya Morishige, the voice of all the male characters in Japan's first color animated feature film, may be given the People's Honor Award, the Japanese government said Tuesday.

"He is like a grandpa to every Japanese and truly deserves the People's Honor Award," Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told reporters. "I proposed it to the chief Cabinet secretary last week or so."

Morishige died November 10 at a Tokyo hospital of natural causes. He was 96.

The coveted award, which was inaugurated in 1977, has been given to baseball icon Sadaharu Oh and late singer Hibari Misora.

Morishige did many voice roles in Toei Animation's Hakuja Den (1958). This film has been described as the first modern anime. Hakuja Den inspired many Japanese, including young Hayao Miyazaki, to become animators.

Known in English under such titles as Legend of the White Serpent and Panda and the Magic Serpent, it was released in the United States in July 1961. This and Saiyu-ki were the first two Japanese theatrical animated features distributed in America.

Morishige voiced boar god Okkotonushi in Miyazaki's 1997 movie Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke), and was the voice of Dr. Kami Torino in the 2001 anime film Doraemon: Nobita to Tsubasa no Yushatachi (Doraemon: Nobita's Winged Heroes).

He was the opening narrator in the Japanese dub of Disney's Hercules (1997), and voiced Jim in the Japanese dub of Jimmy Murakami's 1988 British feature film When The Wind Blows.

Born in Osaka on May 4, 1913, Morishige began his film career after the Second World War. He became a star portraying a spoiled son from a rich family in the 1955 drama Meoto Zenzai. For his role, he won the Best Actor award at both the Blue Ribbon Awards and the Mainichi Film Concours the following year.

He also performing in comedy movies known as the "Shacho" and "Ekimae" series after their titles.

A successful singer and songwriter as well (his hits included "Shiretoko Ryojo"), Morishige was involved in stage plays and musicals. He set a record by performing Yane No Ue No Baiorin-hiki (Fiddler on the Roof)’ 900 times.

Morishige also performed in TV dramas and radio shows.

After becoming head of the Japan Actors Union, he sought to improve work conditions for actors. In 1991, the Japanese government awarded him the Order of Culture; he was its first recipient in the field of popular art.

His books included his autobiography, Morishige Jiden.

Former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi was among the mourners at Morishige's funeral, held November 20 in Tokyo's Minato Ward.

Gatchaman Trailer

An evil presence threatens the Earth, so it's a good thing there's a brooding hero and a team of plucky volunteers to save us, in this early glimpse at the Gatchaman teaser trailer. I love the CG cityscapes and battles.

The Gatchaman teaser trailer showed at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, and somebody was able to download their visual impressions into a digital storage device. Directed by Kevin Munroe (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) it looks pretty dynamic and exciting, at least as far as we can see from this low-res copy. Here's hoping we get to see more soon! Gatchaman, based on the 1970s Japanese series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, is out fall 2010.

Want To See What Dr. Fate, Stargirl And Jack Knight’s Star-Staff Look Like In SMALLVILLE??

Entertainment Weekly has photos of Dr. Fate and Stargirl (and what appears to be the TV version of Jack Knight’s Star-Staff!) as they appear in the Feb. 5 “Smallville” TV movie “Absolute Justice.”

The magazine has also a nice shot of Michael Shanks as Hawkman handing a beatdown to The Green Arrow.

The movie centers on Clark Kent’s first encounter with the long-disbanded yet momentarily reconstituted Justice Society of America.

Rebooted Uhura says she's more than just a 'sex tool'

Zoe Saldana in the December issue of Details

Zoe Saldana, who played the new Uhura in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and will voice a blue alien in James Cameron's upcoming Avatar, says she's not just a sex plaything.

Speaking to Details magazine, Saldana said: "I've always gravitated toward the Sigourney Weavers, the f--king Linda Hamiltons, the Angelina Jolies. I just love strong women that are in tune with their bodies—that don't just use their bodies as sex tools."

Saldana plays Neytiri in Avatar

She also talked about her new role as sci-fi leading lady and about gravitating toward action films, learning to kick ass in combat training and playing a computer-animated 10-foot-tall alien, for which she also provided a performance through motion-capture technology.

"Motion capture isn't like shooting Shrek," Saldana said. "You're in a suit with all these dots on you, and whatever you do, they get it. Sam [Worthington] and I did all sorts of stupid s--t. If you burp, your character burps. I'd shake my booty, and you'd see my character shaking her booty."

Avatar opens Dec. 18, and Star Trek is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

(Thanks to the Huffington Post for the heads-up.)

UPDATE: Is Jeremy Renner Gonna Be Hawkeye?

Casting news for Kenneth Branagh's Thor has been hitting the internet news table hot and heavy for the past few weeks, but so far, it's all about the characters within Thor and Dr. Donald Blake's general circle of friends and foes. What about something to tie that into the planned (and already scheduled!) Avengers movie that's to follow?

In the latest Empire Magazine, actor Jeremy Renner was asked something during an interview to which his reply seemed to indicate that Marvel Studios is looking for an actor to appear, albeit briefly, as Hawkeye in Branagh's movie as a teaser for when all the Marvel heroes band together, similar to Samuel L. Jackson's cameo at the end of Iron Man.

"Hawkeye could be interesting," he told them. "They're going to send me some stuff on it, see what it is, but I think they're pretty awesome, trying to make superhero movies almost plausible and not just some fantasy thing."

Some may remember that when spoke to Renner much earlier this year, he had mentioned he was interested in doing a movie based on a graphic novel, and that he was looking at taking a part in Sylvain White's The Losers. (Remember that?)

That never happened, and yeah, this basically sounds like the same thing, which means that he hasn't gotten or taken the part as of yet, but anyone who has seen Renner in Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker will realize that playing a hotshot soldier on an Iraq bomb squad and playing a hotshot superhero with mad skills with the bow and arrow is not that far removed. Here's hoping this is one role he takes and gets, because we'd love to see Renner butting heads with Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man.

UPDATE: Looks like Empire has added a few more quotes from their interview with Renner on their website, including one of the questions we had above whether Hawkeye might appear in Iron Man 2:

“If I was a betting man, I would bet that Hawkeye would probably show up in Thor, and then be in The Avengers,” he told them, “But do I know for sure? I can’t say. But I’d love for that to happen. It’d be fun.”

Renner also revealed that he never had been inconsideration for
Captain America as some websites reported: “I don’t know if I’d be right for Captain America. I met with the Marvel guys, actually, but we didn’t talk about Captain America. But one of the writers, Zak Penn, we’ve become friends over time and he was thinking maybe Hawkeye could be interesting. He sounds like an interesting character.”

He's optimistic about getting a role in a Marvel movie but he's aware that nothing is set in stone until it's put in writing, “I’m just happy to get considered for big franchise roles like that.“I’m not [doing the] casting. If they see me that way, right on. If they don’t, I’m ok with it.”

You can now read the entire article from the magazine that did the interview over on
Empire Online.

Either way, Renner's comment does seem to point that we'll be seeing Hawkeye on the big screen very soon (and let's hope that Brian Michael Bendis doesn't suggest they kill him in one of those crazy Marvel movie production summit meetings we keep hearing about!)

Whether or not you've seen
The Hurt Locker, what do you think of Jeremy Renner taking on role of the Avengers' master archer?

Awesome New Wolfman Poster

A brand new Wolfman poster has emerged. I don't know from where but this is a pretty cool poster and The Wolfman seems to be pretty upset about something. It might be those tight jeans he's wearing.

Inspired by the classic Universal film that launched a legacy of horror, The Wolfman brings the myth of a cursed man back to its iconic origins. Oscar® winner Benicio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father (Oscar® winner Anthony Hopkins), Talbot sets out to find his brother...and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself.

Lawrence Talbot's childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor, he spent decades recovering and trying to forget. But when his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers, and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline (Hugo Weaving) has come to investigate.

As he pieces together the gory puzzle, he hears of an ancient curse that turns the afflicted into werewolves when the moon is full. Now, if he has any chance at ending the slaughter and protecting the woman he has grown to love, Talbot must destroy the vicious creature in the woods surrounding Blackmoor. But as he hunts for the nightmarish beast, a simple man with a tortured past will uncover a primal side to he never imagined existed.

Check out the poster below.

(Thanks Latino Review)

Why Superman Is On Hold

We've talked about this on the site before, but here's a pretty good rundown on why the Superman franchise is in (inexplicable) limbo right now.

The project is on hold as the studio waits to emerge from legal limbo over the fate of the Superman heirs. It’s about who controls what divided rights going forward and who owes what to whom when. Warners may be trying to settle with the Siegel and Shuster families, who in 2013 will retrieve the copyright of the Superman material published in Detective Comics’ Action Comics Vol. 1, in order to merge all the Superman rights.

As the studio is waiting to resolve the legal dispute, there’s no movement on the project. Production execs at Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have been culling the various pitches that have come in, and are eager to start development on a sequel. Who knew, when Brandon Routh played the Man of Steel in
Superman Returns, that fans would split so divisively? The 2006 movie, which paid homage to the Richard Donner Superman movies without completely updating the franchise the way Christopher Nolan did with Batman Begins, grossed $391 million worldwide off strong reviews for a genre sequel. But it cost more than $232 million. Warners felt it could have performed better with more action and a powerful villain—and no Superman kid. So Singer was taken off the franchise.

The debate continues to rage about what Warner Bros. should do with the DC Comics super-hero. Fans have been clamoring all over the web for a complete reboot. Warner Bros. execs believe that the last movie didn’t break the mold and wound up in some kind of middle limbo. They want to start over from scratch. While
Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar did pitch himself (to scant interest), WB in-house faves the Wachowski brothers and their protege James McTeigue were never approached. (It’s hard to imagine such hard-R types taking on what one blogger described as the “Big Blue Boy Scout.”)

The studio is still seeking the right direction. No writers are working on a Superman script.
“We’re working on a strategy for DC,” says one Warners exec. “Superman is the trickiest one to figure out.”

To me, it seems a sequel should've been in active development already. Way, WAY worse characters than Superman have gotten more than one movie, and WAY WAY worse movies than "Superman Returns" have gotten sequels. "Fantastic Four," "Ghost Rider," "Punisher." The list goes on. It seems like the legal issues are holding this back more than anything else.

And, what this "WB exec" said puzzles me. Is Superman really that "tricky"? I think he's one of the easier superheroes to get right, actually. It wouldn't be that hard to make a solid Superman movie. As long as they don't try to copy "Dark Knight" (since they are completely different characters), add in a Darkseid invasion or at least someone that Supes can fight (even Lex in a kyrptonite suit would do), and ignore Superkid, there's no reason why you couldn't make an exciting and more well received movie about the Man of Steel. Here's hoping they get there shiznit together, cause he's a great character and I'd love to see his cinematic adventures continue.

(Thanks Latino Review)


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