Wednesday, March 24, 2010

News - 03/24/10...

South Seas Student Wins Animag-Sponsored Award

South Seas Film, Television and Animation School honored animation graduate Juan Bautista Culiolis for his short film Fanatics Of The Deep.

Culiolis won the Audience Favorite Animation Award, sponsored by Animation Magazine, for the film. He will receive a complimentary subscription and a copy of our 20th anniversary hardcover book.

Congratulations to Culiolis on his excellent project!

Animation students spend 15 weeks in production on their animation projects.

Awards were given in 24 categories at the awards, dubbed the S’Oscars and presented at the Rialto Cinema in Newmarket, Auckland, Australia.

For more information on the school, visit its website at

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

New Images, Clips from Bakshi’s Restored Rings

Warner Home Video has released images and clips from its upcoming digitally remastered DVD and Blu-ray release of Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings.

The new release of the 1978 animated feature will feature new Dolby 5.1 audio, fully restored picture, and a new 30-minute interview with director Bakshi.

The film will be released April 6 as a single-disc DVD and as a Blu-ray Combo Pack that includes a DVD copy of the film and a digital copy.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

4Kids Brings Tai Chi Chasers to MIP

4Kids Entertainment will unveil its new animated adventure series Tai Chi Chasers at MIP-TV.

Tai Chi Chasers is an original, anime-style series that 4Kids will adapt and launch worldwide except for Asia. The series combines 2D and CG animation to tell the tale of an orphan boy who learns he’s descended from the ancient race of Tigeroids who defend the world from the evil Dragonoids.

“In this competitive global TV market, we understand the broadcasters’ need to offer compelling kids’ programming that sets them apart,” said Brian Lacey, 4Kids’ executive VP international. “From Pokemon to Yu-Gi-Oh! and Dinosaur King, 4Kids has established a solid track record of filling that need over the past decade, and we’re confident that Tai Chi Chasers will continue in this successful tradition.”

Tai Chi Chasers will be available for broadcast in the fourth quarter of 2011.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Popeye heads back to the big screen in CGI and 3D

Sony is all set to bring Popeye the Sailor Man back to the big screen by giving him the CGI and 3D treatment, reports Collider via Variety. With Avi Arad producing, Mike Jones is in talks to write the screenplay. According to Variety, "The logline is being kept under wraps, but Popeye's love interest Olive Oyl, nemesis Bluto and adopted child Swee'Pea will be part of the adventure. Arad says the new version will cover the themes of friendship, love, greed and life, and focus on human strengths and human frailties."

Up wins Humane Society award

Disney/Pixar’s Up has picked up some more hardware, this time the feature film award at the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards, according to the L.A. Times. The Genesis Awards “honor media depictions of animal protection issues”.

What's Wrong with Disney Feature Animation? - Part 2

Continued from Part 1 of What's Wrong with Disney Feature Animation?

The 1990's and 2000's saw a massive rise in Disney's merchandising efforts, such as the extremely successful launch of the Disney Princesses franchise itself. One might even argue that Disney is now essentially a merchandising company that makes its own media, rather than a media company that makes its own merchandise. Disney Princesses itself is a marketing and merchandising conceit launched in the 90's which has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams.

One of the factoids that's hard to reconcile with the disappointing box office is that The Princess and the Frog's heroine Tiana was outselling Ariel, Disney Princesses' top seller, before the movie was even released. What happened to all those girls who were buying Tiana stuff? My theory is that the success of Disney Princesses as a merchandising phenomenon actually worked against The Princess and the Frog at the box office because all those girls buying stuff in stores didn't bother to see the movie in theaters. Disney Princesses has done such a good job at convincing them to buy Princess stuff that the movies as movies have become largely incidental in their concerns.

However, if this is true, then I would expect sales of The Princess and the Frog on DVD to be much, much stronger than its disappointing box office would suggest. The DVD and/or Blu-ray is more important as merchandise than as a movie — it's simply the latest Disney Princess stuff that all those little girls have to have next, even if a lot of those same little girls skipped out on the movie in theaters. If this is true, then it would also mean that Disney made a mistake by not putting out a really splashy, frilly, super special edition DVD for stores. The current release is decent, but it isn't one of those full two-disc special edition packed to the gills with bonus features for those girls to buy (or compel their parents to buy).

Again, this theory doesn't explain the box office of the earlier two movies, but it does explain the success of the Tinker Bell movies, which are being treated more as Disney Fairies merchandise than as movies. It means that Disney has succeeded so well at these marketing and merchandising initiatives that they have managed to put the cart before the horse, but these franchises are valuable enough now that they can't really change gears without essentially throwing giant piles of money away. However, this might mean that the next Disney Princesses movie might do better as a direct-to-video instead.

Disney takes justifiable pride in ensuring that visitors to the theme parks will have an extremely managed experience from start to finish, with no unpleasant surprises or disappointments. You know exactly what you're in for with a visit to Disneyland or Disney World. The same sort of attitude has extended to its movies: the Disney brand name means safe, quality entertainment that's suitable for the whole family to enjoy.

The thought behind this explanation is that Disney has succeeded so well at branding itself in this way that they have drained any sense of urgency to run and see the movies in theaters. Meet the Robinsons was a fairly conventional family film that came off as chaotic and disjointed in the previews, and even the best reviews of Bolt and The Princess and the Frog noted that both films were extremely formulaic and predictable. The idea is that audiences picked up on that early on and opted to skip out on the movies themselves. As good as these movies were, Disney's home video library has more than enough movies that can do the same thing. More than anything else, Disney is "safe," but "safe" is being translated into boring and predictable in the minds of the moviegoing public. The only possibility of saving The Princess and the Frog on home video is the link to Disney Princesses mentioned above, in the hopes that little girls treat it more like merchandise than a movie.

This is the only working theory I have that attempts to explain the box office disappointments of Bolt and Meet the Robinsons as well as The Princess and the Frog, although now Tinker Bell is the anomaly. Again, though, she may be more important as a recognizable icon to one of the Disney classics.

Unfortunately, after all is said and done, I don't find that I've come much closer to answering the question I asked at the outset. It's possible that all three of Disney Feature Animation's box office disappointments were just all vicious coincidences, with no common factor tying any of them together. However, I think Disney made the right decision for the wrong reasons in their approach to Rapunzel/Tangled. In my opinion, the changes from Rapunzel to Tangled won't help because they might attract boys. It's because it will make the movie look more like Enchanted, the last successful Disney Princess film (even if Giselle isn't an actual Disney Princess).

The trailers for Enchanted clearly showed that Disney was willing to stand the typical Disney Princess film on its head, even if the final product was more of an homage than a straight-up parody. It handily defeated the "Familiarity Breeds Contempt" arguments above, and distanced itself far enough from the Disney Princesses merchandising juggernaut to stand on its own as a movie. One might even argue that it held appeal to boys because Amy Adams, in addition to turning in a star-making performance as Giselle, is a world-class hottie. The bottom line is that tossing out the usual Disney Princess playbook (or at least looking like they were tossing out the usual Disney Princess playbook) seemed to produce a $127 million box office take on an $85 million investment.

Everything that they are doing with Rapunzel seems like it will make it look more like Enchanted than anything else. It would be highly ironic if the secret to making a successful Disney animated film is to do everything possible to not make it look like a Disney animated film. Time will tell whether the gamble will pay off.

(Thanks Toon Zone)

The Permanence (so far) of Animation Domination

I'm not referring to the glories of Up or the box office grosses of Avatar, but the Fox Network of a Sunday evening.

FOX Sunday animation No. 2; ‘Sons of Tucson’ ranked 4th

Last night FOX ranked No. 2 for the night among Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34 and Teens with its Animation Domination lineup and the second week of new comedy

At 8p
THE SIMPSONS posted a 2.8/8 among Adults 18-49 and was up +12% versus last week (2.5/7). THE SIMPSONS ranked No. 2 in the half hour among Adults 18-49 and No. 1 in Adults 18-34, Teens, Men 18-49/18-34 and Women 18-34.

At 8:30p
THE CLEVELAND SHOW returned to a 2.5/6 among Adults 18-49 and ranked No. 2 in the time period among Adults 18-49 and No. 1 in Adults 18-34 and Teens. CLEVELAND was down -11% compared to its most recent original on 2/21/10 (2.8/7).

FAMILY GUY at 9p posted a 3.5/8 among Adults 18-49, even with last week’s delivery. FAMILY GUY ranked No. 2 in the half hour among Adults 18-49 and No. 1 in Adults 18-34, Teens and Men 18-49/18-34.

Week two of
SONS OF TUCSON at 9:30p delivered a 1.9/5 among Adults 18-49, down -10% from its premiere last week (2.1/5). SONS OF TUCSON ranked No. 4 in the half hour among Adults 18-49, No. 3 in Adults 18-34 and No. 2 in Teens.

Kindly note: The live-action piece of Fox's Sunday night smorgasbord is declining, while one of the longest-running shows in teevee history is going up.

Also note that the animated contingent (Cleveland, Simpsons, Family Guy) is outscoring the live-actor Tuscon by a comfortable margin. My question is, when will other networks develop clusters of cartoon half-hours of their own?

Probably when they figure out how to replicate FOX's success.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Mr. Fox Comes Home Loaded with Fantastic Features

It’s a Foxy kind of week for home video aficionados.

Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (Fox, $29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo pack) arrives at home loaded with special features. The DVD edition includes the bonus features From Script to Screen, Still Life (Puppet Animation) and A Beginner’s Guide to Whack-Bat. The combo pack includes additional features, including additional behind-the-scenes featurettes, a feature called The World of Roald Dahl, and a digital copy of the film.

Also out this week are the first-ever high-def releases of Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (Disney, $39.99 each Blu-ray/DVD). Each edition includes a DVD copy of the movie, plus bonus features including a sneak peek at Toy Story 3, which opens June 18.

Also out this week is a new combo-pack uniting a pair of previous DreamWorks Animation releases, B.O.B's Big Break 3D and Shrek 3D (Paramount $14.99).

And for kids, there’s Bob The Builder: Heavy Duty Diggers (HIT Entertainment, $14.98) and Zula Patrol: Season 1 (Well Go USA, $24.98).

On the anime side of things, there’s Bleach Vol. 6 (VIZ, $24.92), Huntik: Secrets & Seekers Vol. 4 (Media Blasters, $16.99), Pokemon Elements Vol. 9: Ghost (VIZ, $9.98) and Pokemon Elements Vol. 10: Rock (VIZ, $9.98)

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Preschool Animated Star Wars Series Rumored

Lucasfilm is reportedly in very early development on a new animated Star Wars series aimed at preschoolers.

A report on the web site reports the series will be based on the kid-friendly Galactic Heroes line of toys, which features the series’ popular characters in cartoon-ish proportions.

Reports also say that a director has been hired for the project, which is tentatively titled “Squishies.”

The official response from Lucasfilm on the rumors has been that it has an animation project for younger audiences in very early development, but that it was too early for details.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Aardman, Vooz Club, BRB Team on Canimals

A trio of animation houses from around the world — U.K.’s Aardman; Korea’s Vooz Club; and Spanish house BRB’s creative boutique, Screen 21 — will co-produce the new hybrid CG animation/live action TV series Canimals.

The 52 x 7 min. series, which will debut at MIP-TV, stars several can-shaped animated animals that get into adventures in the real world.

The co-production deal sees Aardman scripting and handling the voice acting for the series. Vooz Club and BRB will handle design, animation and sound production.

The companies are seeking potential partners at MIP-TV to premiere the series by the end of this year.

“As soon as we saw Canimals we knew we wanted to be involved. It is exactly the kind of property that we like to participate in – quirky, original, distinctive, funny, cute (without being too soft) and very high quality,” says Aardman’s head of broadcast, Miles Bullough. “The timing and design of the test animation that Vooz Club produced was outstanding. We are looking forward to working with Vooz Club and BRB to bring the project to the U.K. broadcast and licensing markets.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Exclusive: Waking Sleeping Beauty Clip, Q&A News

Animation is capable of telling fantastic fictions that no medium can match. But sometimes, the fact behind the fiction is an amazing story in and of itself.

That’s the case with Waking Sleeping Beauty, a new documentary from animator Don Hahn that recounts the revival of animation at Walt Disney Studios in the 1980s and 1990s, using audio interviews and archival footage to tell its tale.

The film — released by Disney — opens Friday in limited release in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago, and should be on the must-see list of every animator and animation fan.

Here’s an exclusive webisode, offering a look at the early days of the Disney revival.

As a bonus for opening weekend, Hahn and producer Peter Schneider will be appearing for post-screening Q&A sessions.

Hahn will appear in Los Angeles-area screenings as follows:

• March 26, following the 7:45 p.m. showing at AMC Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067.
• March 27, following the 12:10 p.m. and 7:55 p.m. showings at the AMC Burbank 16, 125 E. Palm Ave., Burbank, CA 91502.

Schneider will appear at the following screenings at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, located at 143 E. Houston St., New York, NY 10002:

• March 26, following the 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. shows
• March 27, following the noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. shows
• March 28, following the noon, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. shows

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

"Luna" eclipses its rivals at Guadalajara Festival

"Luna," in which a little girl called Zoe discovers a beautiful moon in the middle of chaos, was named best animated short Friday at the 25th Guadalajara Film Festival.

Directed by brothers Raúl and Rafael Cárdenas, the eight-minute film was directed by the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía. Luna (Moon) is set in a chaotic city busy with chaotic motorized beings controlled by time.

This year, the festival's award for animated short was accompanied by the new Rigoberto Mora Prize, a tribute to a local animation artist. Provided with the collaboration of film director Guillermo del Toro, it includes a $10,000 U.S. cash award.

The Cárdenas brothers are independent producers from Toluca, Mexico. In 2007, their short film Calaverita was nominated for the Ariel Awards (the Mexican version of the Oscars) for best animated short.

Other competitors for best animated short in Guadalajara were Mexican entries Celulas Madre (Mario Torre Lemus Oranday), Santiago y el Monstruo Amarillo (Jorge Hernández Garza), Tempo Rubato (Miguel Anaya Borja), Antenas de Conejo (Paul Gómez López), Light Me Up! (Omar Hernández Peña), Moyana (Emiliano González Alcocer), ¿Quien Asesino a Alicia? (Oscar Alejandro Chagolla Morales) and El Sueno de Galileo (Mariana Miranda).

"Song of the South" vocalist Cherie DeCastro dies

Via the Los Angeles Times comes news that Cherie DeCastro, the last survivor of a Latin singing trio that provided many of the bird and animal voices in the 1946 Disney movie Song Of The South, died March 14. She was 87.

She died at Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas of pneumonia, said Alan Eichler, who was the DeCastro Sisters' manager.

The DeCastro Sisters (also known as the De Castro Sisters) were invited to Hollywood by Walt Disney to sing background vocals on Song Of The South's "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," according to, a Web site run by music retailer Primarily A Cappella.

The sisters called themselves the "Cuban bombshells" and were also known as the "Cuban Andrews Sisters." They were originally a trio with Babette, their youngest sister, who died in 1993. Olgita DeCastro Marino, a cousin, filled the onstage gap left by Babette, but she died in 2000. Peggy DeCastro died in 2004.

The DeCastros' mother was a former Ziegfeld Follies dancer in New York City, and their father owned a sugar cane plantation in the Dominican Republic.

The second of the three sisters, Cherie Dawn DeCastro was born in New York on September 1, 1922. Her family bought a New York apartment so that she could be born in the United States, Eichler said.

Their mother took up opera singing as a hobby. Soon, her daughters were singing, too. They were imitating the Andrews Sisters and hitting Cuban stages before any had turned 14.

The family moved from Cuba to Miami in the early 1940s. The sisters played such places as New York's Copacabana, appeared in the 1947 film Copacabana with Carmen Miranda and Groucho Marx, and made it big in 1955 with their greatest hit the Sammy Cahn and Gene De Paul song "Teach Me Tonight," which sold over five million copies and was in the Top 10. The song remained their hallmark for many years.

In 1947, the DeCastros sang "Babalu" on the first telecast of Los Angeles TV station KTLA, performing live from Paramount Studios after an introduction from Bob Hope.

Hit recordings for the DeCastros in the 1950s included "Boom Boom Boomerang," "Too Late Now," "Snowbound for Christmas," "Give Me Time," and "Cowboys Don't Cry."

Starting in the 1950s, the DeCastros were a popular Las Vegas act. They worked with George Burns at the Sahara and Noel Coward at the Desert Inn.

In the late 1980s, the new version of the trio (with Olgita) became popular once again in Las Vegas nightclubs. They appeared at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Cinegrill in Los Angeles, touring with Buddy Greco and Gloria DeHaven.

In 1997, they returned to Los Angeles for the 50th anniversary of KTLA's launch.

The DeCastro Sisters were inducted into the Casino Legends Hall of Fame in 2000 as "Las Vegas Living Legends."

Twice divorced, Cherie DeCastro is survived by longtime partner Trevor Young.

The DeCastro Sisters in 1961. From left: Olgita, Babette and Cherie. (Las Vegas News Bureau)

Peggy and Cherie DeCastro in more recent years.

"Dragon" shows promise in overseas debut weekend

Though not seeing North American release until this Friday, DreamWorks Animation's How To Train Your Dragon opened in the No. 1 spot in Russia over the weekend.

The 3D movie, about a young Viking hunter who befriends his intended prey, collected about $7.2 million in 668 venues.

Through distributor Paramount, How To Train Your Dragon opened in Russia, Romania and the Ukraine at No. 4, bringing in $7.8 million from box offices in 771 theaters.

Still the leader overseas -- for the third weekend in a row -- is Disney's motion-capture Alice In Wonderland. Tim Burton's version of the Lewis Carroll perennial took in $47.1 million from 6,786 screens in 49 countries.

So far, foreign grosses from Alice In Wonderland are at $300 million. Of this amount, $216 million (72% of the revenue) comes from 3D theaters. Including North America, the movie has grossed $565.4 million so far.

Alice has yet to be screened in 35% of the foreign market. It's set to open this week in France and China. The latter country has 633 3D screens, the largest number outside North America.

The Mouse House observed that the movie's box office this weekend was the third-largest for any film opening in the winter/spring release period (January-April), usually considered tepid for movie grosses.

By far, Alice In Wonderland is Burton's most successful film outside North America. The previous champion, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), grossed $268 million during its foreign release. Burton's Alice has become the 12th-biggest release that Disney has done overseas.

Cumulated results overseas for Fox's Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel have reached $223.4 million, while Disney's The Princess And The Frog stands at $157 million.

A New Era of Animated Political Ads

Last weekend’s New York Times discussed a new trend in political ads in which politicians are depicted as grotesque animated caricatures. Two examples they cited are ads that attack Meg Whitman and Barbara Boxer, which I’ve posted below. These would be wonderful if they were made by citizens fed up with the shenanigans of the political elite, but unfortunately, they’re made by special interests groups who are as nasty and agenda-driven as the people they’re lampooning.

(Thanks, Celia Bullwinkel)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Imagi Auction

Imagi, the LA feature animation studio that went out of business a few months ago, is auctioning all of its equipment and furniture. Michael Sporn has posted the auction catalog on his blog. Perhaps now somebody will use the equipment to create something that people actually want to watch.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Artists Want Alternative to San Diego Comic-Con

Artwork by Jeff Pidgeon

A group of artists frustrated by the San Diego Comic-Con’s lack of emphasis on artists and art are pushing for the creation of an artist-friendly event called “Creator-Con”. They’ve started an informal Facebook page with this mission statement:

This page was created as a forum for the artists, writers, designers, self-publishers, retailers and fans that have become disillusioned and frustrated with what the flagship of comic conventions has become (y’all know the one…in San Diego).

The Creator Con idea was hatched a few years ago by a few exhibitor friends as a reaction to the popular media takeover of a convention that used to celebrate artists and creators. We were tired of being pushed further and further aside each year to make room for the bigger, louder and flashier attractions that had nothing to do with the convention’s humble beginnings. This page hopefully will give us all a platform to get the ball rolling on something new or at the very least, voice our opinions. So let it ring! We want to hear what you have to say.

In only a couple days, membership in the group has swelled to nearly five hundred people, which indicates not only the grassroots support for the idea, but how much discontent there is with the San Diego Comic Con’s treatment of the artist community. Many notable names in animation and comics have joined the group including Kazu Kibuishi, David Silverman, Stephen DeStefano, Scott Shaw!, Richard Sala, Katie Rice and Steve Purcell. Discussions are happening on the page about possible locations for a Creator-Con. Some are suggesting that it should be hosted in San Diego, while LA, Portland, Vegas and the Bay Area are also being name-dropped.

I’m in full support of a Creator-Con. As a former Comic-Con exhibitor (I exhibited three times with artists like Shane Glines, Gabe Swarr and Jim Smith), I eventually came to the realization that the Con wasn’t the most receptive outlet for indie companies and artists. The last time I attended (not as an exhibitor) was in 2007, and I cut my trip short after a day (a Thursday no less!). The emphasis of San Diego had shifted so far away from comics and artists that it was pointless spending any further time there.

In many ways, the very idea of a “comic-con” is outdated. Today, most artists practice across a wide range of artistic disciplines (comics, graphic novels, illustration, fine art, publishing, film, animation, toys, merchandising and branding, etc.). A Creator-Con that is focused around artists and their varied creative endeavors reflects more accurately how the contemporary visual artist thinks and works. The Creator-Con is an idea whose time has arrived—now it remains to be seen who will make it a reality.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Nature Boy

For those of you who are still hanging in there with us… you deserve a brand new wacky cartoon by my favorite loony luchadore, Makinita (aka Andres Silva):

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Comedy Central Releases New "Futurama" Series Trailer

Comedy Central has released a new trailer for the upcoming season of Futurama, set to premiere June 2010:

Romeo Miller Signs Deal for Animated Movie, Video Game, and Comic Book Series

Outside the Box Vision has announced a new franchise titled RESQ3 created by Olatokunbo Betiku, with plans for animated movies, video games, and a comic book series. The star of the series is Romeo Miller (also known by his stage name Romeo). No targeted release dates were announced.

New Cast Details For Upcoming “Batman: Under The Red Hood” Animated Feature

New voice cast details for the upcoming Batman: Under the Red Hood direct-to-video animated feature are now available. Batman: Under the Red Hood is set for a Summer 2010 home video release on DVD and Blu-ray.

The World’s Finest has confirmed that actor Wade Williams will play the part of Black Mask in the upcoming direct-to-video Batman: Under the Red Hood animated feature, the next title in the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line. Williams is best known for his role in the recent Prison Break series that aired on the Fox network.

The Batman: Under the Red Hood direct-to-video animated feature is directed by Superman Doomsday co-director Brandon Vietti, and features the voice talents of Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) as Batman, Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) as Red Hood, Neil Patrick Harris (Justice League: The New Frontier) as Nightwing, John DiMaggio (Batman: The Brave and The Bold) as the Joker and Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter film franchise) as Ra's Al Ghul. Bruce Timm is the executive producer.

In related news, The World's Finest can confirm recent reports that The Spectacular Spider-Man producer Greg Weisman pulled writing duties for the upcoming DC Showcase: Green Arrow animated short. The short is slated to be included on an upcoming DC Universe Animated Original Movie home video release.

Batman: Under the Red Hood is set for a Summer 2010 home video release on DVD and Blu-ray. The Blu-ray and Two-Disc Special Edition DVD release of Batman: Under the Red Hood will also include the DC Showcase: Jonah Hex animated short.

Geleyn Opens Doors on Le Gaite Lyrique Film

Yves Geleyn, who is rep’d by Hornet Inc and Passion Pictures, Paris, directed this elaborate film to help promote the December 2010 opening of Le Gaite Lyrique, a new venue in Paris. The film was produced out of Passion, and 3D post-production was handled at One More Production.

Meet The Avengers: Captain America, Thor, Iron Man And Nick Fury Casting Finalized

While there are still a few roles that need to be cast, yesterday's report that actor Chris Evans will play Captain America provides one of the final pieces in a long-developing puzzle that, when completed, will bring together a host of Marvel Studios superheroes for "The Avengers."

Currently scheduled to hit theaters in May 2012, "The Avengers" will team Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Nick Fury against an unknown enemy (possibly The Hulk) that the heroes must unite to defeat. And though we're still not sure what form that enemy will take, Evans' casting as soldier-turned-superhero Steve Rogers now gives us a pretty good idea how Earth's Mightiest Heroes will look when they arrive on the big screen.

From familiar faces in new roles to unknown actors playing some of the world's most iconic characters, it's time to get to know your Avengers, folks.

IRON MAN: Actor Robert Downey Jr. made Tony Stark a household name when he first donned the Mark I armor in 2008. Two years later, it's hard to imagine any other face under the mask of Marvel's armored Avenger.

With "Iron Man 2" primed to further cement Downey's association to the face of Iron Man's alter ego (while also introducing potential Avengers members Black Widow and War Machine), Tony Stark will easily be the most well-established member of the team's lineup when the film hits theaters.

NICK FURY: While the relationship between the chief of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers has taken various forms over time (and between different Marvel universes), one thing that's certain is the face of Nick Fury in the Marvel movie universe. Ever since Samuel L. Jackson first approached Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark during a post-credits scene in "Iron Man" and mentioned "The Avenger Initiative," art has become reality and the model for Fury in Marvel's "Ultimates" comic book universe has become the live-action head honcho of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Even though Jackson has said Fury won't see action in "Iron Man 2," it's a good bet that there will be enough to keep his face and Fury's name connected in fans' minds until "Avengers" rolls into production.

THOR: Chris Hemsworth's role in "Star Trek" was a brief but memorable turn as the doomed George Kirk, but that's really all we have to go on at this point when it comes to Marvel's god of thunder. We've been told he's becoming "a beast" for the part, but as far as costume goes, we've heard more about Thor's dad, Odin, than we have about the hero who wields the magical hammer Mjolnir.

How will his mythical style mesh with the more modern look of Tony Stark and Nick Fury? Hopefully we won't have to wait until 2011 to find out!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: If you're a fan of comics and comic book movies, there's little to no chance that you've missed Chris Evans in one of his many featured roles. Steve Rogers will be the fourth comic book character Evans plays on the big screen after becoming the face of Johnny Storm ("Fantastic Four"), Jensen ("The Losers") and Lucas Lee ("Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World").

While all of the characters he's played have shared a certain charisma, it's worth noting that they've all featured different hairstyles, hair color, degrees of facial hair and certain accessories (Jensen's ever-present earpiece, for example). It will be interesting to see which physical elements of past characters will be present in Evan's take on Steve Rogers.

Still Uncertain: While these four characters are certain for "The Avengers," there are still some big questions as far as casting and team lineup. We've been told Hulk will be in the film, but will Edward Norton reprise the role of Bruce Banner? What about Black Widow and War Machine? And finally, will anything come of those Hawkeye and Wasp rumors?

DC Universe Video Games To Be Focus Of New Montreal Studio

FROM MULTIPLAYER: While Marvel's next Spider-Man, Thor and Captain America games continue along the road to release, their biggest competition may be staking out a not-so-secret lair in Canada. Warner Interactive announced that they would be opening a new studio in Montreal this week, and they've now reportedly said that it's chief purpose will be to work on DC Comics properties.

The studio's first project at its new La Belle Province location will be something high-profile, leveraging their DC license, Warner Interactive president Martin Tremblay told GameFocus.

Continue reading DC Comics Properties To Be Focus For New Warner Montreal Studio at

A Clash of the Titans TRILOGY? Sequels are already written!

Are you ready for the Clash of the Titans sequels? While it may be a little early for us to be thinking that far out—after all, the first flick, starring Avatar's Sam Worthington as Perseus, won't open for another couple of weeks—apparently director Louis Leterrier was forced to think of the film as a trilogy in order to get the green light from Warner Brothers, firstshowing reported.

"I wrote two other movies," said Leterrier. "It was three movies. Warners came to me and said, 'We'll greenlight your movie if you promise us [two more]. You can tell that the story doesn't end at the Clash of the Titans. ... And I said, 'Thanks a lot,' because I love doing that. And I had to write two stories. So Clash of the Titans is ... actually a bigger movie."

Leterrier, admits, though, that first we'll have to see how Clash does at the box office.

"Let's see, knock on wood, that this will work. And I promise you that I've got more. And I've got good more. It's not like I've got more of the same, I've got more of different, and mythology is just like ... We've opened the door. ... It goes beyond any heroes that you've heard of and stuff like that. ... It's fun. It's good! That's why I was like, great, okay it's a remake, but the door is open to Greek mythology, so we'll see!"

John Malkovich to battle giant robots in Transformers 3

Turns out that being John Malkovich is more dangerous than we thought. Because next up for the Academy Award-nominated actor is a role in Michael Bay's third Transformers flick. And joining him will be another critically acclaimed performer, Frances McDormand, who took home a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Fargo.

(Bay also made a third casting announcement—of a Ferrari.)

What could Bay be thinking? By bringing this level of talent on board for his effects-laden movie, is he planning for the latest installment to be about more than merely things blowing up real good?

Here's what the director had to say over at his official site:

Hey, it's been a long time since I've posted. Just been a little busy.

Transformers 3 has been going very well. We are going to shoot in LA, Chicago, Washington DC, Florida, Texas, Africa, Moscow, and China. On the talent front, we just locked in Frances McDormand and John Malkovich. Both amazing actors I've always wanted to work with. We also just got Ken Jeong, he is the super funny actor stuck in the trunk from "Hangover" and the Doctor from "Knocked Up."

We start shooting pre-shoots in about one month.

I also was at a Ferrari charity event this week raising money for a hospital being built by Ferrari in Haiti. I announced that night the newest Autobot to join
Transformers: the Ferrari 458 Italia.

I also want to thank everyone on this site that donated to the Make -A-Wish charity. We raised $20,000 which I will personally be matching. This is a great charity where they make wishes come true for kids who are very ill. We have had many Kids from Make-A-Wish visit us on our
Transformers sets and this time we will be posting video of they're visits on Transformers 3.

Michael Bay

What do you think these casting decisions will mean for Transformers 3?

FIRST LOOK: Green Lantern Movie Logo

New set photos reveal the official movie logo being used for the space adventure starring Ryan Reynolds

Another round of Green Lantern set photos have appeared online, this time courtesy of SHH scooper Doyle. Not only do we get to see more of Hal Jordan himself, but what appears to be the official logo (and title style) for the film!

Here's what Doyle had to say about his time on the set:


"We watched the fight scene filming for nearly two hours (in the pouring rain for the middle part).

Everyone in the crew was friendly and polite to the crowd of about 20 out on the sidewalk. Mr Reynolds was very personable and nice to my wife n daughter and signed autographs too. I didn't know there were many nice stars left, but he is apparently one of them.

I read somewhere that the car was a Mustang, but it really looked like an old Challenger to me. The scene we watched (I tried taking a vid, but only had my iphone and it just didn't cut it) was a fight scene where he took on three guys (their backs to us) and they all three had wires attached, and flew over a Honda & Ford Pickup. When they did, the flashers on the cars went off. I assume if he hit three that hard, the the FX will add a green fist from the ring or something like that.

Here's a better pic of Ryan (he's not mad, but distracted by someone to the left) and pics of the chairs for the cast with the GL logo."

The scene he's referring to coincides with the one we reported last week, which you can read about HERE.

Though the production has moved indoors to continue filming for the next few days, we should expect more images and set reports to keep trickling in.

(Thanks comic book movie)

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