Wednesday, December 9, 2009

News - 12/10/09...

Disney's The Princess and the Frog - Dec. 11 - Go see it !

(lead animator Bruce Smith, animating on The Princess & the Frog)

It's been 6 years since Disney has released a hand-drawn animated film. Going into wide-release this Friday, Dec. 11 - The Princess and the Frog.

The time to go see this film is opening weekend, Friday Dec. 11 or Sat. Dec. 12 would count the most, through Sunday Dec. 13 is fine too .

The opening weekend box-office numbers will count for a lot as to whether Disney's return to hand-drawn animation is perceived as a hit . (and hand-drawn animation could use a genuine, revival-inducing, Little Mermaid-like hit right about now).

So far the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Let's hope the general movie-going public agrees.

Time Magazine rates the Top 10 Movies of 2009. Look what film they rate at #1. ---

The Princess and the Frog

“Musker and Clements have bucked the odds and made a cartoon feature that is true to vintage Disney traditions (like wishing upon a star) yet moves with a contemporary verve and bounce. In an amazing year for animation, The Princess and the Frog is up at the top. “

-Richard Corliss, for Time Magazine

(Thanks David Nethery)

Disney’s Snow Queen back in production?

The Snow Queen, an animated feature from Disney that appeared to fall into production limbo years ago, is apparently back in the works...and in hand-drawn animation, too! Based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, The Snow Queen is speculated to have a 2013 release date, which would follow Winnie the Pooh in 2011 and continue the studio's reported plans of releasing a new traditionally animated feature every two years.

New trailer for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The first trailer for Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice can now be watched in various formats at The live-action movie starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel is a modern version of the story that Mickey Mouse made famous in 1940’s Fantasia. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice hits theaters next summer.

Undead Disney

These Disney Zombies (click picture above for full size image) made their debut at the recent London MCM Expo in October.

Take that, Disney Princesses! More Disney undead cosplay on Deviant Art.

(Thanks, Eric Graff)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Princess and the Frog panel, book signing at Gallery Nucleus

Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra California will be hosting a The Princess and The Frog event on Saturday December 19th. There will be a panel discussion, an art demonstration, a Q-and-A session, as well as a book signing. Speakers scheduled to attend are John Musker (Director), Ian Gooding (Art Director), Lorelay Bove (Visual Development), Randy Haycock (Animator) and others to be announced. Entrance Fee: $5 (seats are limited, first come first serve, with plenty of standing room allowed). Start time: 1pm. Panel and presentation: 1:30pm to 3pm. Q and A from 3pm to 4pm, with book signing to follow. More info and directions, click here.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Craigslist Job Offer of the Day

Are you a 2D animator? Today’s your lucky day! Somebody on Craigslist wants to hire you for a “very special project.” All they need you to do is create 70 minutes of animation. No cause for concern because they’ve got “investors in place” and “A VERY BIG NAME [IS] ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT.” Here’s the full job posting:

2D ANIMATOR NEEDED for a very special project. We need a young hungry animator with a sharp eye and wild taste to create a 70 minute movie to go along with a concept album by AN ESTABLISHED ARTIST. THERE IS A VERY BIG NAME, AN AMERICAN ICON, ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT. THIS IS A VERY SPECIAL, DARK, PSYCHEDELIC album and it needs a counter-part in the form of an ANIMATED MOVIE which plays on top of the album. Digital is preferred, as we would like to move quickly with this project. The look of the animation and character design should be similar to AMERICAN POP, HEAVY METAL, PINK FLOYD: THE WALL, etc. (Compensation: We have investors in place, as well as profit sharing possibilities.)

When you spot other ridiculous animation job offers on Craigslist, send them our way.

(Thanks, Cory)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

FUNimation to Distribute Guardians of Luna

FUNimation has agreed to distribute the Cybergraphix Animation feature movie Guardians of Luna, currently in development.

The anime-style film’s staff includes writer Michael Reaves as story editor and Cindy Yamauchi as character designer.

The movie is about four heroes descended from an ancient race of shape-shifters who are charged with protecting an ancestral power source from a ruthless mogul.

Animation will be done by APPP Co. Ltd. and is expected to begin in 2010.

“We have always sought to build strong partnerships for our productions,” said Avi Melman, CEO at Cybergraphix and executive producer of the series. “Having FUNimation as a partner will help build a strong distribution network and ultimately, increased exposure for Guardians of Luna.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Kochi to Head Toei’s Europe Office

Ryuji Kochi has been named VP of Toei Animation’s Europe Office.

In the new job, announced by director of the company’s international department Kanji Kazahaya, Kochi will be charged with developing new business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Kochi comes to the new post from the company’s Hong Kong office. He joined Toei in 2000 at the company’s Tokyo office, handling licensing and merchandising.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Won Il Sue Returns to Nexon as VP

Former Nexon Corp. CEO Won Il Sue is returning to the company as VP of business development for Nexon America.

Sue will be charged with handling strategic partnerships and expanding game development channels for the company, which makes interactive entertainment software and is a leader in massive multiplayer online games. He will be based in Los Angeles.

Sue was CEO of Nexon Corp. in 2004 and 2005. He also founded Smartplay as its CEO and went on to join Neowiz Games in South Korea in several jobs including senior VP of international business.

“It feels great coming back to Nexon where I started,” said Sue. “There’s been so much growth here in the U.S. and Nexon America has done a fantastic job leading the market. I look forward to working hard alongside my Nexon colleagues and setting the stage for more explosive growth.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

noBrain Conjures Music Video For JP Nataf

The french animation studio nObrain directed this new music video for the artist JP Nataf. The live-action/animation composite is titled Viens me le dire (Come Tell Me).

Wiese Tries His Luck With Oregon Lottery

The Mighty B! co-creator Eric Wiese recently directed two spots for the Oregon Lottery. Wiese, who is rep’d by LAIKA/house, worked with the agency Borders Perrin Norrander on the spots.

Here's one:

5,000-Watt Sweater

Gobelins Grads Ready Repas

Gobelins-graduate Cyril Drouin has offered up a short teaser for his forthcoming film Repas des Fauves. Drouin directed, and was assisted on the animation, backgrounds and compositing by Jean Nicolas Arnoux, who also attended Gobelins.

Animation Elsewhere

It seems that the Middle Kingdom has its own version of the Annies.

In Beijing, the 9th Animation Academy Awards of China was held last weekend ... Among the top winners are Moon Goddess for Best Visual Effects, Wind From Cypress Hills for Experimental Visuals, and Big Watermelon for Best Technique.

Distinguished for their bold imagination, exquisite production, and distinctive style, these works were all composed by undergraduates still in college. ...

Looking at the clips at the far end of the link, you realize (again) that there is a whole big Animationland out the beyond the villages of Burbank, Glendale, Emeryville and (shortly) Greenwich, Connecticut. Sometimes we tend to forget that.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

ABC cuts V, FlashForward episodes, but not by much


It's sort of official: The relatively low ratings for ABC's V and FlashForward hurt the shows, but not enough for the network to pull the plug entirely. ABC is cutting its final order for each show by one episode, the Futon Critic site reported:

Newcomers "V" and "FlashForward" are set to film 12 and 24 total hours, respectively, both one episode shy of numbers reported earlier this fall. Come 2010 then the Alphabet will have eight new episodes of "V" (returning March 30) while "FlashForward" (returning March 4) will offer up 14 fresh installments.

Lost, meanwhile, will return Feb. 2, 2010, with 18 new episodes for its sixth and final season.

Better Off Ted, which returns to the air tonight, has a 13-episode order.

Good news for sci-fi fans! Will you be waiting in the late winter/early spring when V and FlashForward return?

James Cameron's next film may be a sci-fi samurai epic

James Cameron at Comic-Con

Well, at least it didn't take four and a half years ...

James Cameron's 3-D sci-fi epic Avatar hasn't even come out yet, and already there's news he's developing another sci-fi epic, one based on a script by Shane Salerno (Armageddon).

That, anyway, is the news from Production Weekly, which tweeted it:

James Cameron is developing a Shane Salerno-scripted sci-fi action script for Fox, described as an "event" film set in the future.

The publication doesn't name the movie, but the buzz is that it's Doomsday Protocol, which was reported last September. Here's how The Hollywood Reporter characterized it:

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but it is known to be an epic science fiction adventure in the vein of "The Seven Samurai" involving a group of aliens and humans with various abilities who are brought together to save Earth.

It's unclear what role Cameron would play: producer, director or both.

Not sure what to make of this. Big fans of Cameron, of course, but Salerno's also the guy behind the unfortunate Aliens vs. Predators: Requiem. Are you optimistic?

First look: Sweet new image, poster for Tron Legacy

Ever since the release of the test footage for Disney's upcoming Tron Legacy, we've been itching for more visuals from the 3-D sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic.

Well, now we have a few: A new poster and an image, from Disney, above and below. (Click on the images for larger versions.)

The image above appears to show Olivia Wilde as a new program and Garrett Hedlund as Sam Flynn, the son of original Tron character Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). They're wearing what appear to be the new version of the light suits worn in the Tron universe, with the identity discs on their backs. Gives a nice idea of the much darker look for the sequel.

The poster below depicts what looks like a light-cycle race, again with Hedlund in the lead.

Tron Legacy opens on Dec. 17, 2010.

Why David Lynch turned down Return of the Jedi! (video)

There's a bit of little-known Star Wars trivia that George Lucas once asked David Lynch to direct the third movie in the trilogy, Return of the Jedi, but I don't think we've ever heard Lynch himself describe his meeting and why he turned it down in quite this way. Until now, in the video below.

At a seminar last month at New York's Russian Tea Room, sponsored by the Hudson Union Society, the director of Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive talked about the James Bond-like arrangements he had to make to meet with Lucas, how he reacted when he saw a Wookiee for the first time and why Lucas shouldn't be driving a Ferrari.

"George is kinda short, and so ... his seat was way back, and he was almost lying down in the car, and we were flying through this little town in Northern California," Lynch said.

"I had next door to zero interest," Lynch says at one point, adding later: "I could hardly wait to get home."

The mind reels when imagining what Jedi might have been like under Lynch's direction. Like Dune meets Blue Velvet, with Darth Vader sucking on oxygen and saying, "Don't you f--king look at me!!" Instead of Ewoks, a bunch of mutant dwarves living in log cabins in a town like Twin Peaks?

We'd actually buy that. Would you?Bold

As it turns out, little-known director Richard Marquand wound up directing Jedi, giving us the movie we've all grown up with, but a chance to make film history vanished with Lynch.

(Thanks to for the heads-up.)

Via Aint It Cool News -

There's A New STAR WARS Film Coming??

Merrick here...

Thomas Dolby, who co-authored the mesmerizing theme song to HOWARD THE DUCK back in 1986...

...has an noteworthy entry on his blog. We're specifically talking about Dolby's December 5 entry, which can be found HERE.

Buried unceremoniously beneath a mound of text chronicling his visit to California, Dolby refers to a new STAR WARS movie. It's so fast you could easily miss it:

My host is friend and former collaborator Paul Sebastien, who over the years has worked for Xbox, Playstation, and now LucasArts. Last night he was telling me a little about the forthcoming Star Wars-related TV show, movie and online games—very cool indeed.
[EDIT] sounds like Mr Lucas has got his head into a good place. I met him several times when I was working on a movie in the 80s called [name suppressed to protect credibility!] and he’s a decent chap, but I could have done without the last three SW movies.

We've heard about the TV series both ongoing and forthcoming, and already know there will be more games. But a new movie? Is he talking about a TV project (whether new - or related to the already announced series & whatnot)? Or, is he discussing something different?

Presuming Thomas intended to say "movie"...

Sure didn't like The Prequels much at all (SITH wasn't too bad, although it didn't exactly warm my loins). This said, I've really been enjoying catching up with THE CLONE WARS television series. It's certainly uneven...and I really despise that Lucas feels slavishly compelled to soften his action by injecting broad comedy into heated adventure sequences. But, in the end, THE CLONE WARS represents STAR WARS, told differently, and with more ingenuity and vibrance than the franchise's recent big screen entries (standard DVD and Blu-Ray sets HERE). Proves there's still life in the old mare after all.

If the Lucas that allowed THE CLONE WARS to happen brings us another STAR WARS film - with the same open-minded approach to storytelling? I might be interested. Will the new movie be a stand alone set in the STAR WARS universe, perhaps? Possibly intended to introduce us to another subset of the franchise? We'll see.

The probability of STAR WARS' return to theater screens has always seemed a foregone conclusion. But...unless I missed something...this is the first time we've heard anything pointed about it happening. Back in October, Lucas folk denied that new STAR WARS movies were being planned (HERE). So, unless Dolby misspoke, or is bat-shit crazy, I'm wondering what's changed since then? AVATAR, maybe? Perhaps George now wants a digital/3-D tale of his own? Guess none of this is that big a mystery, really. We've all seen the Whim of George in action before; the winds shift in the blink of an eye.

Final poster for Avatar revealed

Only days before the movie's release, the final poster for Avatar has finally been revealed. Meanwhile, CBS News ponders whether or not the movie will be able to match the success of James Cameron's last non-documentary film--a little movie called Titanic--at the box office, balancing out the pros and cons that will be facing it. Avatar opens worldwide in conventional theaters and IMAX next week.

How to make your own DIY desktop bat-signal

Tired of watching the Joker ransack your town and having no way to contact the Batman? Jealous of Commissioner Gordon's massive bat-signal, but have nowhere to keep one of your own? Then you're in luck.

Over at Thingiverse, a user named wizard23 offers step-by-step instructions for building a more compact but fully functional bat-signal—and it's one small enough that you won't need a police headquarters' rooftop to store it on.

Now if only someone would get cracking with schematics for Jimmy Olsen's ultrasonic signal watch! Because if Lex Luthor ever invades, calling the wrong superhero could be deadly.

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