Thursday, February 11, 2010

News - 02/12/10...

Olympians, Wolfman Out to Steal Box Office Hearts

The youth-oriented fantasy film Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Universal’s remake of its classic horror franchise in The Wolfman have stepped up as prime suitors for a dual Valentine’s Day-President’s Day weekend box office crown.

The Wolfman, which stars Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, is set to open in some 3,200 cinemas and features visual effects from The Moving Picture Co., Double Negative, Rhythm & Hues, Millennium FX and Mattes and Miniatures.

Fox’s Percy Jackson, based on the popular series of fantasy novels, opens slightly wider, debuting in some 3,350 facilities. The film features vfx work by Digital Domain, Luma Pictures, The Moving Picture Co., Pixomondo, Method Studios, RISE Visual Effects Berlin, CIS Hollywood, Rhythm & Hues, Whiskeytree and more.

The weekend’s widest opener, however, is the Warner Bros. romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, which hits in more than 3,600 theaters.

All will be taking on a strong crop of holdovers, including last week’s champ Dear John and a still-strong Avatar.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Hughes Bros. in Talks for Live-Action Akira

Allen and Albert Hughes, who directed the recent hit Book of Eli, are in talks with Warner Bros. to helm a live-action version of the manga and anime classic Akira.

Created by Katsuhiro Otomo and originally published as a six-volume manga in Japan by Kodansha, Akira was made into an anime version in 1988 that gained cult status in the United States.

The live-action adaptation is being considered as a two-movie project, with a script by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Garry Whitta. The movie would move the story — about a tough young biker who tries to help a friend abducted and turned into a psychic weapon by the military — from post-apocalyptic Tokyo to post-apocalyptic Manhattan.

The Hughes brothers are not new to the comics scene, having adapted Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s Jack the Ripper tale From Hell to the screen in 2001.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Chorion Appoints Cipolla, Knepfer

Chorion has appointed Steve Cipolla as executive VP of global licensing and sales, and Tamra Knepfer as executive VP of brand management and marketing.

Knepfer previously was senior VP of global licensing and business development for publisher Rodale. She also has worked at American Greetings Properties on such characters as Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake, as well as at Sesame Workshop, Mommy and Me Enterprises and Disney. She will oversee brand strategy, marketing and creative elements for Chorion’s family entertainment properties worldwide.

Cipolla will oversee Chorion’s global licensing and retail teams and develop new opportunities for the company’s growing portfolio of brands.

He has more than 20 years’ experience in the consumer products businesses. He comes to Chorion from ESPN Consumer Products, where was VP and general manager. He also has worked at The Brand Experience, Balducci’s Direct and Disney.

“The appointments of Steve and Tamra have strengthened our management team as we look towards expansion in the coming year,” said Waheed Alli, chairman of Chorion. “They both have impressive track records in international brand management and I have every confidence that they will be a great asset to Chorion as we continue to build our global franchises.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Ameba Launches Kids IPTV Portal

Ameba, an IPTV company operating out of Winnipeg, Canada, has announced the launch of a children’s entertainment portal that will deliver hundreds of hours of ad-free programming to televisions through the internet.

The company has taken delivery of the proprietary set-top boxes that will enable users to access its library of more than 500 hours of programming. The library includes content from Decode Entertainment, Breakthrough New Media, Casablanca Kids, Sockeye, Marble Media, Portfolio, TVO, Compugraf, Blender, Agogo Entertainment, Ingaldson-Smith Productions, Janet’s Planet, National Film Board and many others.

Programming includes such titles as SkinnamarinkTV, Wee Sing Train, Mother Goose Club, I’m BoHUNKy-Dory, Olivers Adventures, Rainbow Fish, Hoobs and I Love Mummy.

The Ameba system allows parents to access its website and decide which programs their children can watch. The selected programs are downloaded to the set-top box for kids to watch at any time. Parents buy the set-top box and pay a subscription fee; producers are paid on a royalty system.

“Taking delivery of our set-top boxes is an exciting milestone in our plan to bring children a truly safe television entertainment environment that is designed to put control over programming choices in the hands of parents – where it belongs. We strive to be the best at providing producers with easy access to a profitable no-risk system for direct digital distribution of their content” said Ameba President Tony Havelka.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Deals and Sales for HIT, Poppy Cat, Strawberry Shortcake, Angelo Rules

Sales and deals are coming fast and furious, with several key announcements this week that include the following:

• HIT Entertainment is developing two new animated series: For the Birds, created by former Warner Bros. writer-producers Tom Ruegger and Randy Rogel; and Zip Zip Zippy, a music-based hybrid live-action and animation preschool series created by Jeanine Kay and Luciana Brafman Bienstock.

• Coolabi has chosen King Rollo Films to animate a 52 x 11 min. series based on the Poppy Cat series of books. The series will debut on Nick Jr. U.K. in 2011.

• American Greetings Properties has announced multiple international deals for its animated series Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures series and The Strawberry Shortcake Movie: Sky’s the Limit. The company announced broadcast deals with Disney and M6 in France, Cartoon Network in the U.K. (series only), Astral Media’s Playhouse Disney in Canada, Disney in Latin America, Al Jazeera in the Middle East, and Hop! in Israel. Home video rights have been acquired by SND Groupe/M6 in France, Magna Home Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand, Prime Pictures in the Middle East and Magma D.D., Cass Films and Mirax in Eastern Europe.

• CAKE Entertainment reached several international deals for Angelo Rules, its second co-production with Paris-based animation studio, TeamTO. The major deal is a worldwide sales agreement with Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network in all territories excluding the U.S., Italy, France and Japan. And in Italy, RAI has picked up the rights to the series.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Looney Tunes Censored 11 to screen in Hollywood

Warner Bros. and TCM are running a Classic Film Festival in Hollywood on April 22nd-25th, showcasing restored prints of more than a dozen classic movies on the big screens of the historic Chinese and Egyptian Theatres. Robert Osborn will be hosting in person, Jerry Lewis will introduce The King Of Comedy, Tony Curtis will present Some Like it Hot and Leonard Maltin will introduce a program of classic MGM and Warner bros. live action shorts.

However, for cartoon buffs, here’s a big screen program we’ve been waiting decades to see publicily:

Removed from Circulation: A Cartoon Collection – Presented by author Donald Bogle

Donald Bogle, author of Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: A History of Black Hollywood, will present cartoons that have been kept from the public eye because of negative racial or cultural stereotypes. The collection includes several classic Warner Bros. cartoons. Bogle will provide insight into the racial attitudes of the times in which the cartoons were created. Titles include Clean Pastures (1937), Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarves (1943), Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (1944), Hittin’ the Trail for Hallelujah Land (1931), The Isle of Pingo Pongo (1938), Sunday Go to Meetin’ Time (1936), Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943) and Uncle Tom’s Bungalow (1937).

My sources say all the infamous Censored 11 cartoons will be screened. A complete list of all previously announced programming for the TCM Classic Film Festival is available here. Festival passes and additional information are available at

(Thanks cartoon brew)


Animation students Henril Sonniksen and Benjamin Neilsen made Vegeterrible in their third year at The Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark. The film takes place inside a refrigerator, where a hungry, rotten avocado crashes a Mexican fiesta and starts devouring the guests… and the struggles of a tomato’s fight for survival.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Waking Sleeping Beauty In Theaters 3/26

After a successful festival debut, "Waking Sleeping Beauty" will begin its theatrical run with limited releases in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco on March 26.

Directed by Don Hahn and produced by Peter Schneider and Don Hahn, Waking Sleeping Beauty was an Official Selection at the 2009 Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and winner of the Audience Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairy tale, as it chronicles the time from 1984 to 1994, when a perfect storm of people and circumstances changed the face of animation forever. It is a story of clashing egos, out-of-control budgets, escalating tensions... and one of the most extraordinary creative periods in animation history.

In New York, the film will open at the Landmark Sunshine. In Los Angeles, the film will open on two screens, at the AMC Century City and AMC Burbank. In Chicago, the film will open at the AMC River East, and in San Francisco at the Landmark Embarcadero—all on March 26.

Director Don Hahn (producer of Beauty And The Beast and The Lion King) and producer Peter Schneider (former chairman of the studio), key players at Walt Disney Studios' feature animation department during the mid-1980s, offer a behind-the-magic glimpse of the turbulent times the animation studio was going through and the staggering output of hits that followed over the next 10 years. Artists polarized between the hungry young innovators and the old guard who refused to relinquish control, mounting tensions due to a string of box-office flops, and warring studio leadership create the backdrop for this fascinating story told with a unique and candid perspective from those that were there.

Through interviews, internal memos, home movies and a cast of characters featuring Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy Disney, alongside an amazing array of talented artists that includes Steven Spielberg, Richard Williams, John Lasseter and Tim Burton, Waking Sleeping Beauty shines a light on Disney animation's darkest hours, greatest joys and its improbable renaissance. Waking Sleeping Beauty is a Stone Circle Pictures/Red Shoes Production.

Morrison Wins January 11 Second Club Contest

The results are in from January’s 11 Second Club contest. Valerie Morrison took top prize with her CG clip titled Thief. I also enjoyed the submissions below:

Darryl Bisson – 3rd Place

Flavio Santana Do Nascimento – 4th Place

Visit Sunnyside Daycare in New Toy Story 3 Trailer

After yesterday’s teaser, today we get a full trailer of this summer’s Toy Story 3. More of the plot is revealed, mostly centering on Sunnyside Daycare Center. You’ll also meet Lotso, the purple bear, played by Ned Beatty. If you were watching closely, you may have spotted Lotso in an Up scene. Also you can hear Kristen Schaal’s (Flight of the Conchords, Daily Show) performance as the Triceratops the instant messaging addict, and Michael Keaton as Ken.

A New How To Train Your Dragon TV Spot

I was surprised DreamWorks Animation didn’t broadcast a How to Train Your Dragon spot during the Super Bowl, but I’m sure dropping $2.5 million isn’t a thrilling prospect. But here’s a new :30 ad that just started airing. Not too much new here, but the action stuff looks solid.

Promoting the Three Dee Cartoons

DreamWorks Animation marketing chief Anne Globe explains to Forbes magazine about weaving DWA's CGI features into the hearts and minds of the movie-going public. Says Anne:

"We get involved very early on conceptually, even before a project is greenlit, just as far as being aware of what's coming and what the overall brand message will be. Our mission here is to build franchises and brands. We're always looking toward things we can do theatrically but in other places as well. On the marketing side our goal is to create something new and different every time out. ...

The landscape of 3-D has changed dramatically in the past year ... We feel confident we'll have our fair share of screens because there are twice as many 3-D screens available as there were when Monsters vs. Aliens came out. That should position us going forward. Plus we have a deal with Imax for the movie to play there a little longer than a month.

Our marketing budget has stayed the same at around $150 million to $175 million per film ... Our online budget has probably doubled. We're doing more with Facebook and Twitter and creating apps. Plus we've seen some economies on the broadcast side so some of the ad rates there have become more affordable.

You can do so much more online now with video and interactive ads and things that are uniquely targeted ...

Promotional costs for big films (hell, even small films) are not cheap. Where once there were some television and radio buys, and some kind of print and billboard campaigns, now media flows into almost every nook and cranny of our multi-layered American media.

There's network and local teevee. There's cable. There's newspapers and magazines, facebook and interactive websites and everything else on the internet. There's outdoor displays and television specials and promotion tours and toy tie-ins. There is, in short, almost everything under the sun, and it all costs m-o-n-e-y.

Back at the dawn of time, big movies had different release patterns. Instead of a 3,000 screen release, the high-budget specatculars were platformed into one theater at "road show" prices (meaning you bought tickets on a "reserved seat" basis), and big hit pictures could play one theater for six months to a year. When I was a lad in knickers, my parents took me to see Lawrence of Arabia playing at one huge Hollywood theater, and it was a major deal. After playing there for a year of eighteen months, it got rolled out to smaller theaters around town and you got to see it at "popular prices," where it would circulate for another six months.

Advertising costs were a lot cheaper then. A few newspaper ads, a commercial on channel five, and BOOM, the big promotional push was complete. Which explains why films had to gross considerably less in 1962 to get into the black.

Life is just more complicated and expensive now, innit?

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Cartoon Network Readjusts Episode Schedule For "Batman: The Brave And The Bold"

Cartoon Network has revised its February 2010 programming schedule, resulting in new episodes of Batman: The Batman and The Bold being pushed to an undisclosed date.

A representative for Cartoon Network has confirmed the network has adjusted its current February 2010 programming schedule, resulting in new episodes of the Batman: The Batman and The Bold animated series being shifted to air at an undisclosed date. As previously reported here by The World's Finest, new episodes of Batman: The Batman and The Bold were originally scheduled to air throughout February 2010, but will now be replaced with repeats as of this week for the remainder of the month. The revised schedule, with details made available by Cartoon Network, is available below.

Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 7:30pm (ET) - "Revenge of the Reach!"
Blue Beetle's scarab is revealed to be linked to an army of evil aliens known as the Reach. Does he have the power to resist their influence?

Friday, February 19th, 2010 at 7:30pm (ET) - "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!"
Aquaman attempts to take a family vacation with Mera and Arthur Jr., but can't resist helping heroes along the way.

Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 7:30pm (ET) - "The Golden Age of Justice!"
An aging JSA is faced with the return of their worst enemy, Per Degaton, as he returns from suspended animation to enact a plan for world-domination, while Black Canary helps Wildcat face his greatest regrets.

The new Batman: The Batman and The Bold episode "Super-Batman from Planet X!" was originally scheduled to air this week, with images and media already made available here by Cartoon Network earlier this week, before being pushed to an undisclosed date. Schedule updates for Batman: The Batman and The Bold are expected in the coming weeks, including revised airdates for new episodes of the acclaimed series.

Live Action Yamato Poster

Via Psychommu Gaijin...

Live action Battleship Yamato

Space Battleship Yamato, localized in North America as Star Blazers, is Leiji Matsumoto and Yoshinobu Nishizaki's space opera that followed a desperate crew who flew a resurrected World War II battleship into the stars to save humanity from existential threats. The Takashi Yamazaki directed live action movie is scheduled to be released in Japan in December 2010.

And for more Yamato, the launch of the new pachinko game.

'Green Arrow' Animated Short On The Way, Another DC Short To Follow

Hot on the heels of yesterday's "Batman: Under The Red Hood" news, word has emerged that the third short in the animated "DC Showcase" series will be "Green Arrow."

During an interview with Comics Continuum, Warner Brothers Animation supervising producer Alan Burnett revealed that "Green Arrow" would be the third of three 10-minute animated "DC Showcase" episodes. Burnett also mentioned that a fourth DC animated short is also in the works, which will be 22 minutes long. However, Burnett declined to say which characters would be featured in the fourth short.

The "DC Showcase" series was announced last July when rumors of an animated "Jonah Hex" short were confirmed.

Shortly thereafter, word broke that "The Spectre" will star in a short on the upcoming "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" DVD. Gary Cole ("Entourage") will portray The Spectre, with Alyssa Milano in a supporting role. Joaquim Dos Santos ("G.I Joe: Resolute") directed the short from a story by comic book scribe Steve Niles.

During the interview, Burnett briefly offered some additional background on what fans can expect from "The Spectre."

"[The Spectre] is not an easy character, because he's the spirit of vengeance and [he] can do anything," related Burnett. "Steve [Niles] has written an interesting story about him and I think people will like it. It's very different from other superhero stuff that we've done."

Burnett also disclosed that novelist Joe Lansdale has written the "Jonah Hex" short, revisiting the character he wrote in three Vertigo miniseries during the '90s.

Christopher Nolan's 'Superman' Needs A Director... Paging Louis Leterrier!

Okay, so we know Christopher Nolan's shepherding Superman back into theaters, but who's going to direct the Man of Steel's big reboot?

Over the years, there's been so many filmmakers attached to "Superman" movies at one point or another that it might be easier to name everyone who hasn't had their name dropped when it comes to Smallville's most famous resident. One director who had a fleeting encounter with the Man of Steel was 2008's "Incredible Hulk" filmmaker Louis Leterrier, who described his "Superman" movie experience to MTV News last month when he was named one of our 10 filmmakers to watch in 2010.

Given the current search for a director to bring Superman back to the big screen, it seemed like an appropriate time to revisit Leterrier's thoughts on the Man of Steel.

"After Hulk, I was meeting different people and they said they were thinking of doing Superman," said Leterrier.

"I was never asked to do it," he clarified. "I just love those universes and grew up reading Superman."

While Leterrier never went as far as him pitching a take on the character,he said if the studio had been moving forward with a project at the time, he would've been happy to do so.

"One of the guys from Legendary [Pictures] has a big Superman in his office, and I asked what they were doing with it," he recalled. "They said they didn't know, and I told them, "If you figure it out and want to do something, I'd love to pitch something."

EXCLUSIVE: Edgar Wright Explains His 'Ant-Man' Priorities

Earlier this week, fans of Marvel's insect-wrangling superhero Ant-Man received word that plans for a movie based on the character were indeed moving along, with Stan Lee announcing the project was a go and that he'd met with director Edgar Wright. Wright later confirmed his meeting with Lee.

So, with Wright's adaptation of "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" wrapped, the question now becomes: will the filmmaker turn his attention to Hank Pym next?

"I can’t do two things at once, so [now that 'Scott Pilgrim' is finished] I will return to doing another draft of that one," Wright told MTV News.

According to Wright, there's no timetable for the film, only the desire to come up with a good script to establish the character. We know the hero is on Marvel's movie wish list, but whether the scientist-turned-superhero will eventually have a place on the "Avengers" roster isn't a concern at this stage, he said.

"Because that character isn't one of their biggest properties, it’s not like a tentpole deadline," explained Wright. ""It’s more like me and Kevin [Feige] [saying], 'Let's make a really good script.' We've always agreed on that — 'Lets make a good script that works, that’s all about a great genre film, and that isn’t necessarily relying on anything else.'"

"It should be a great genre film, so that’s why I did a first draft," he said.

Wright also joked that Marvel's ambitious plans for Ant-Man and the rest of their characters are a subject he has to be very careful saying too much about — under penalty of death.

"I cannot confirm or deny anything," he laughed. "I’ll get killed. ... It's snipers, they’ll kill me!"

"Make sure you put that in there," he said. "The snipers will kill me."

Cameron's writer has GREAT ideas for Terminator 5 and 6

The bankruptcy court has approved Pacificor's acquisition of rights to the Terminator film franchise, but what will future movies look like?

Mike Fleming at Deadline Hollywood has an intriguing answer: He's read a 24-page treatment for fifth and sixth movies that would wrap up the story by none other than William Wisher, the screenwriter who contributed to the first two (and best-loved) installments in the franchise, James Cameron's original Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

According to Fleming:

As a Terminator fanboy myself, I think Wisher has done a terrific job with a plot that accepts the storylines from Jonathan Mostow's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and McG's Terminator: Salvation. Most interestingly, he turns the story back to the core characters and time travel storyline of the first two films that Wisher crafted with Cameron. ...

Wisher's 2-picture construct takes place in a post-apocalyptic battleground, and factors in an element of time travel that allows for Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese to interact beyond their single fateful meeting when he traveled back in time to protect her in the original film. Wisher has created a role for Arnold Schwarzenegger that is as surprising as his shift from villain in the first film, to John Connor's bodyguard in the second. Schwarzenegger wouldn't be needed until the final film, which wouldn't shoot until after he ends his term as California Governor. And who wouldn't want to see Linda Hamilton back in aerobic top fitness form as Sarah Connor?

There are several new villains, and plenty of firepower. For instance, a swarm of "Night Crawlers," 4 1/2-foot tall border sentries that are set like mines to spring up out of the ground and ambush rebel fighters with 10 MM pistols built into their wrists, and fingers and feet that are razor sharp. Also fresh off the Skynet assembly line are new shape-shifting cyborgs that can morph together in Transformers-like mode, and are more lethal than anything we've seen in previous
Terminator installments.

What do you think? We'd love to see Hamilton back, of course, as well as Arnold.

14 scenes where someone had their heart ripped out ... literally

Amrish Puri as Mola Ram in a heart-warming moment from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

There sure are lots of hearts lining the shelves of supermarkets and candy shops this week—but not all disembodied hearts are so sweet. Join us for some gory movie and TV moments in which people have their hearts torn from their chests. (And, yeah, we're sure you've been there once or twice.)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Kali Ma! Not only does this guy rip out hearts, they burst into flame in his palm! Let's hear it for the scene that helped usher in PG-13 as an official MPAA rating.

The Monster in Frankenstein (1994)

Skip ahead to 7:13 in this segment of Kenneth Branagh's film for the heart yank—or watch the whole thing. There's a love scene, followed by, ah ... well, not a love scene. But there is a sort of parallelism between master and monster here.

Stewie from Family Guy

Man, Seth MacFarlane's seen everything, hasn't he? Best part of this is that someone sat down with a camcorder in front of his TV to make sure the world could see it.

Apocalypto (2006)

Heart removal isn't always played for laughs. In some cultures, it's serious business. Not that you can tell from this scene in isolation. Luckily (did I just type luckily?), there is a selection of heart removal scenes to choose from in this film!

See, it's a holiday thing.

Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Speaking of overwrought historical dramas filmed in dead languages ... okay, I actually haven't seen Dumb and Dumber. Is it good? Based on the heart in a doggie bag, I believe this is a daydream sequence in a film otherwise so grittily realistic some believe it to be based on an unpublished Raymond Carver short story.

Akasha in Queen of the Damned (2002)

Back to fantasy. You know, it didn't look like she was reaching for the guy's heart.

Some dude in Jason Goes to Hell (1993)

No on-screen removal here, but the theme of eating a heart seems a fairly common one in the cinema of the dark fantastic. Magic demon fireflies are optional.

Sailor Moon

Holy crap! Of course, not every episode of Sailor Moon is like this. Her heart is a piece of magic crystal because it's pure, or something like that.

The Sword and the Sorceror (1982)

One of the coolest bestest B-movies ever! It's cool not only because the heart is ripped out telekinetically, but this is in the first 10 minutes! How come telekinetic superheroes or poltergeists never do this?

Evilspeak (1981)

Evilspeak, eh? No dialogue in this clip, though. (Probably for the best). You know, I'd think a heart would beat faster while being torn from a chest. I guess the victim here didn't mind all that much? He didn't seem stressed at all.

Night of the Demons 3: Demon House (1997)

Demon House? This clip takes place outside, though. Plenty of dialogue after the Confus-O-Vision heart rip. Was Toothy behind the guy or in front of him? I can't tell.

The titular leprechaun in Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood (2003)

I cannot believe they made six of these things! But sci-fi purists, back off! The leprechaun had already been to space in the fourth installment! So clearly the series is science fiction. Heart removal purists may perhaps need to admit that this may not be a heart removal scene but rather a bladder removal scene, given the shape of the organ and the position in the body. That's straight-to-video for you.

Boogeyman 2 (2007)

This is easily the most graphic of the heart removals—definitely don't watch this one at work, even if you've looked at the others. The boogeyman uses a sternum-splitting device to crack the chest open. Sheesh.

Bonus instructional video!

Indy Mogul's how-to video teaches you the low-budget movie magic needed for the ol' heart rip. It's a pretty involved effect, but easier than writing a convincing love story.

No comments: