Friday, April 30, 2010

News - 04/30/10...

Ottawa Festival to Showcase Tezuka, Czech Animation

A special screening of short films by Japanese manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion) and an international focus on the work of top Czech animators are part of this year’s exciting lineup of the Ottawa International Festival.

The 2010 edition, which takes place October 20-24, will also include a showcase of toons about furniture (including PES’ classic Roof Sex and Segundo de Chomon’s El Hotel Electrico), a round-up of the best work by Winnipeg animators, a special showcase of shorts created by women about women titled “XX in Animation” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” a wonderful collection of shorts about going crazy curated by Karl Cohen.

This year’s OIAF Signal Film is created by well-regarded design and animation studio J.J. Sedelmaier Productions (Schoolhouse Rock, Saturday TV Funhouse). The festival’s colorful poster is designed by Ottawa artist Andrea Stokes.

The deadline for submissions to the festival is June 1st. There are plenty of categories and no entry fee! For more info, visit

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Academy Exhibit Covers Career, Creations of Ray Harryhausen

“The Fantastical Worlds of Ray Harryhausen,” a summer retrospective exhibition focusing on the careers of the visual effects pioneer, opens May 14 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The free exhibition, which will be shown in the fourth-floor gallery at the Academy’s Beverly Hills building, wBoldill feature original models, drawings, storyboards and behind-the-scenes photographs demonstrating Harryhausen’s effects work.

Harryhausen’s credits include It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), One Million Years B.C. (1966) and Clash of the Titans (1981).

The Academy’s galleries are located at 8949 Wilshire Blvd., and are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 6 p.m. The galleries will be closed for the Memorial Day (May 29 and 30) and Independence Day (July 3 and 4) holiday weekends.

For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

CTN Expo Programming Now Online; 2010 Dates Set

The CTN Animation Expo made its debut in November, attracting more than 2,800 attendees from all over the world to three days of animation heaven in Burbank.

Now, for those those were unable to attend that inaugural event, the best of the educational programs, panels, demonstrations and technology showcases are now available online.

Highlights include:

“The Pioneer Series: Those Who Paved The Way” with Legendary Award Winning creatives Don Bluth and Gary Goldman.

“Spotlight Interview with American Comic Artist and creator of Hellboy Mike Mignola” moderated by award winning Walt Disney Animation Studios Producer/Director Don Hahn.

“The History of the Maquette.” A casual round table discussion moderated by master sculptor Kent Melton with the six sculptors who’s work has contributed to the success of films from Blue Sky Animation Studios, Laika, Walt Disney Animation and Dreamworks focusing on the both the history and future of the Maquette as it relates to the making of an animated film.

• Plus more than 50 live presentations from industry leaders whose contributions can be seen in some of the highest grossing films in this history of animation being released weekly.

This will give you a taste of what you’ll find when CTN’s Animation Expo returns Nov. 19-22 at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center, located directly across from the Burbank Airport and Amtrak station. Tickets are available starting at $40, with discounts offered to students, active military members, and professional industry organizations. For more information, visit

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Batman DVD Goes Under the Red Hood

Warner Premiere will debut the most recent DC Universe animated original DVD feature, Batman: Under the Red Hood, on July 27.

The feature is based on a 2005 run in DC Comics’ Batman series by writer Judd Winick and artist Doug Mahnke, with Winick adapting his own story for the feature.

The film, directed by Brandon Vietti and executive produced by Bruce Timm, will feature in the voice cast Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Jensen Ackles as Red Hood, Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, Joe DiMaggio as the Joker and Jason Issacs as Ra’s al Ghul.

Here’s a sneak peek at the feature:

The feature will be released in three formats: a special edition Blu-ray ($29.99), a special-edition two-disc DVD ($24.98), and a single-disc DVD ($19.98).

The DVD and Blu-ray special editions also will include the second DC Showcase animated short, this time featuring Jonah Hex, soon to star in a live-action feature film. The Hex short is written by Joe Lansdale and features the voices of Thomas Jane, Linda Hamilton, Michelle Trachtenberg and Michael Rooker.

The special edition DVD also will include more than two hours of bonus features, including a featurette called “Robin’s Story,” an extended sneak peek at the next DC Universe animated feature, and two animated Batman episodes chosen by Bruce Timm.

The Blu-ray edition also will feature a segment titled “Death in the House of Batman,” to more Batman episodes chosen by Timm and a digital copy of the feature.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Shout! Factory Brings Marvel Knights to DVD

Marvel Animation has signed a deal to have Shout! Factory distribute the Marvel Knights Animation line of projects in the U.S. home video market.

The Marvel Knights properties include Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, Black Panther, Iron Man: Extremis and Spider-Woman. These titles — originally released as digital comics or “motion comics” — are adapted directly from original comic book stories from such creators as Joss Whedon, Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr., Warren Ellis, John Cassaday and Adi Granov and use the original comic book artwork to create a new animation experience.

The multiyear agreement builds on a previous deal for Shout! Factory to handle the home video distribution of Marvel’s hit animated series The Super Hero Squad.

Eric S. Rollman, president of Marvel Animation stated, “We are excited to expand our relationship with Shout! Factory to bring Marvel Knights Animation to home video. This offering brings the best of the best of our comic books to life using proprietary animation techniques, delivering a must see experience for both loyal and new fans.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Cartoon Network Orders More Ben 10, Generator Rex

The Cartoon Network series Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and Generator Rex debuted last week to strong ratings, prompting the network to order additional episodes of each series.

The series’ premieres on April 23 were the top-rated programs on all television in their timeslots for boys ages 6-11 and boys ages 9-14, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

Cartooon Network has ordered 32 more episodes of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and 20 more episodes of Generator Rex.

Both series were created by Man of Action, which consists of Joe Casey, Joe Kelley, Duncan Rouleau, and Steven T. Seagle, and are produced at Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, Calif.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Apple Defends Its Decision to Ban Flash

Steve Jobs is taking so much heat for his decision to ban Flash from iPads and iPhones, that he’s published a lengthy missive defending his company’s actions, along with spreading his fair share of misinformation. I’m no fan of Flash, but I’m even less a fan of what Apple is doing. And while I’m all for looking towards the future, my current iPhone doesn’t offer a “full web” experience and lacks functionality that could be easily remedied by Apple. I’m certainly not planning to plop down more money for a larger device that is similarly broken. Jason Scott may have put it most succinctly on his Twitter feed:

The fact Jobs can banish something from his platform on the basis the thing is not “open” means the platform is not open.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

La Main des Maîtres

Here’s an incredible four minute film - a student film - from France’s Georges Méliès School. The filmmakers are Vivien Chauvet (”Looky”), Adrien Toupet and Clément Delatre; their short, La Main des Maîtres (The Hand of the Masters), mixes an anime influence with steampunk and Art Nouveau. An English subtitled version is on You Tube, Vimeo version below has better picture quality:

La Main des Maîtres from flowmotionfox on Vimeo.

(via No Fat Clips)

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

"Good, Bad, Ugly" screenwriter Scarpelli dies, 90

Screenwriter Furio Scarpelli, who co-wrote the classic spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and was nominated three times for an Oscar, died shortly after midnight Wednesday, son Matteo Scarpelli told The Associated Press. his family said. He was 90.

Scarpelli had long suffered heart problems.

Late in his career, he co-wrote the 2003 cartoon feature film Opopomoz, an Italian-Spanish-French co-production.

In the Christmas-themed theatrical movie, Peppino and his son Rocco prepare a crib under the eyes of mother Mari, who awaits a Christmas Day baby. Meanwhile, three little devils are sent to Earth to convince a human being to prevent the birth of baby Jesus. Rocco, who is just such a candidate, leaves for Galilee, but thanks to the magic formula "Opopomoz," Rocco enters the awesome world of the crib.

Opopomoz was nominated for Italy's David di Donatello Award for Best Visual Effects, as well as the Silver Ribbon for Best Song by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.

Sometimes known solely by his surname, Scarpelli was born in Rome on December 16, 1919.

For decades, Scarpelli and Age -- whose real name was Agenore Incrocci -- co-wrote some of Italy's best postwar films, which often brought a sense of humor to the screen. Their Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) was directed by Sergio Leone and starred Clint Eastwood. Other films spotlighted such actors as Marcello Mastroianni and Vittorio Gassman.

Age died in 2005.

In 1965 and 1966, Scarpelli shared Oscar nominations for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen. These were for I compagni (1963) and Casanova '70, respectively. He shared a 1996 nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for 1994's Il postino (The Postman).

Furio Scarpelli is survived by his wife and two sons. A funeral will be held Friday in Rome, his son said.

Free screening in NYC features 43 animated shorts

A special free evening featuring screenings of 43 animated shorts will be held from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 4 as part of the School of Visual Arts' 21st Annual Dusty Film and Animation Festival and Awards, taking place from May 2 to 7 in New York.

The festival culminates with an awards ceremony and gala at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6, and features a full roster of names from the world of film and animation.

All screenings take place at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues). All are free and open to the general public. To reply, call (212) 592-2124.

Presenters for the May 6 awards gala at the SVA Theatre include animator John D. Dilworth (producer, director and creator of the animated TV series Courage the Cowardly Dog, and SVA alumnus [BFA 1985 Animation]) the Traditional and Stop-Motion Animation Awards; and editor Stephen Rotter (Enchanted) the Editing Award. Additional presenters for the invitation-only event are to be announced.

The Dusty Awards are presented to the winning thesis students from the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at the School of Visual Arts. The award-winning films and animations are chosen from over 100 thesis students' works. The awards ceremony is part of the Dusty Film and Animation Festival, which also includes screenings of short films, videos and animations.

This year's Academy Award winners included SVA alumnus Michael Giacchino (BFA 1990 Film and Video) for Music (Original Score) for the Pixar animated film Up; Giacchino was previously nominated for his score for the animated film Ratatouille. In addition, SVA alumnus Jake Armstrong (BFA 2009 Animation) won the Best Undergraduate Award at the Ottawa International Animation Festival for his short The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9; and Chris Dimino (BFA 2002 Graphic Design), who creates animations for CBS's The Late Show with David Letterman, made a recent appearance on air with the show’s host for a graphics-driven comedy bit.

Updated event information will be available on the SVA/Dusty Web site,

Atlanta Casting Company Seeking Aisha Tyler Body Double for 'Archer'

Posted via Facebook by Extras Casting Atlanta on Wednesday, April 28 at 11:38 AM:

We are looking for a body double for an Aisha [Tyler] type. 5'10"-5'11" African American Female model skinny ASAP for a MAJOR NETWORK CARTOON. Pay is at least $200 for the day.

Please submit pictures,age and phone number to: Subject: Archer Model

To clarify, this is not for a motion capture or live-action project. ECA adds: "They are taking pictures and drawing them. It' on going thing, but it's going to pay a lot if you get it."

Those interested should submit ASAP.

Trade Ad For Upcoming "Batman: Under The Red Hood" Animated Feature Released

Warner Home Video has released an online trade ad for the upcoming direct-to-video Batman: Under the Red Hood animated feature.

Featuring more images from the upcoming animated feature, Warner Home Video has released a trade ad for the Batman: Under the Red Hood, the next installment in the popular direct-to-video DC Universe Animated Original Movie line. To view the trade ad, click on the thumbnail image below.

Click here to view the official press release, along with images and a trailer, for the upcoming Batman: Under the Red Hood direct-to-video animated feature.

A co-production of Warner Premiere, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, the direct-to-video Batman: Under the Red Hood animated feature debuts July 27th, 2010 on DVD and Blu-ray disc from Warner Home Video.

Hung Accelerates The Driver With Animated Teaser

Chris Hung, the creator of The Driver, claims that this teaser below is the precursor to a 2011 TV series. I can’t find any details about that, but it sure is beautifully produced.

Anka Creates A Bear Film at CalArts

I love this time of year. Student thesis films start pouring out of the top universities, like A Bear Film, by Kris Anka. Kris is a third-year student at CalArts, and he shows why his school boasts one of the top character animation programs in the world.

Calloused Behavior

The last couple of weeks, I've gotten more complaints than usual from artists about non-communication from studios regarding jobs.

Here's the back story about those gripes:

1) Signator Studios have a need for an artist or technician, and ask TAG for a list of available personnel in the category. TAG supplies list.

2) Studios (usually non-signator studios) ask us to e-mail an "Artist wanted" ad to our members. TAG complies. (We are not, strictly speaking, a hiring hall, but we strive to help.)

2) Studios get flooded with inquiries.

3) Studios look at portfolios and hand out tests to artists so they can "audition" for the job. (Tests are often days long.)

4) Artists jump through the hoops, do the tests, sit by the phone and wait.

5) Artists hear nothing.

6) Artists call TAG to complain about hearing nothing. ...

Rinse and repeat.

I understand that studios get inundated by inquiries, and that response times are sometimes slow as a result of the indundation. What I don't understand is why studios' human resource departments (or whichever departments are handling applicants) can't get back to people with a "Yes," "No" or "Maybe" before those people get gray hair and retire from the cartoon business. A few comments from the disgruntled:

"[Studio B] called me and asked to see my portfolio. I had worked there before, and brought it in. I didn't hear a word for six weeks. Finally I called. They said they had no openings, they'd all been filled. So I asked for my portfolio back. They had lost it ..."

"You drive to the studio to pick up a test, see that it's going to take a week to do, and spend five days making it as good as you can. Then you turn it in and never hear anything." ...

"I was up for a couple of jobs. Interviewed for them. They said they'd call back in ten days or less. Five weeks later they called to say they were going in another direction, but they might have an opening in two months, would I be interested? I said yes. They said they'd call back in a week. It's already been a week and a half. I'm not holding my breath. ..."

And so on.

Just to let you know, TAG objects to week-long tests. We have no problem with half-day tests, for we know that studios have to check somebody's drawing style against the work in that somebody's portfolio, since people have been known to represent others' drawings as their own.

But we have a strong philosophical aversion to artists doing week-long storyboard tests for free. Yet despite most studios' promises in contract adjustment meetings to cut tests down to more reasonable lengths, long tests continue to happen.

We also have a philosophical problem with studios who don't inform job applicants whether they've gotten the gig or not. Yes, we understand the thing about bottlenecks and the short-handed staffs, but the behavior of many studios is ... what's the right word here? ... piggish. They treat job applicants the way rock stars treat groupies. They use them, abuse them, then toss them away.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Cordell Barker Joins Canada’s NFB as Creative Consultant

Cordell Barker, the award winning animator of the short film The Cat Came Back, has joined the National Film Board of Canada as a creative consultant for its Prairie and North West centers.

According to the organization, Barker will advise NFB producers on animation projects that come out of the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

“Cordell is a wonderful addition to our production team,” says the centers’ executive producer, David Christensen. “His breadth of experience will not only help the NFB but also benefit the animation community in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.”

Cordell Barker’s films with the NFB include The Cat Came Back (1988) and Strange Invaders (2001). Together, the shorts that have won more than 30 international awards and picked up two Oscar nominations. His most recent NFB film, Runaway (2009), was a prize winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and took the 2010 Genie Awards for Best Animation Film.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

SVA’s 21st Annual Dusty Fest and Awards Runs May 2-7

The 21st annual Dusty Film and Animation Festival and Awards, featuring more than 100 films from graduation students at New York’s School of Visual Arts, is set to kick off Sunday.

The festival runs through May 7 and includes a Screenwriter’s Night on May 3, held in collaboration with The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre; Animation Night on May 4; and an awards ceremony and gala on May 6.

At the awards gala, Dusty Awards will be presented for documentary film, screenwriting, cinematography, sound, editing, directing and outstanding film. Animation achievement awards are presented for traditional, stop-motion, and outstanding design.

“We are thrilled to be marking 2010 and the 21st year of the Dustys — now recognized as one of the premiere student film festivals in the country — as we celebrate the many outstanding achievements of our emerging filmmakers and animators. It is always a delight to be showcasing and sharing their work with members of the entertainment industry, seeing the ‘magic’ made by the next generation of film and animation talent,” said Reeves Lehmann, chairman of the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at SVA.

All festival events take place at the SVA Theatre, located at 333 W. 23rd St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues.

Many events are free and open to the general public, but an RSVP is required for Screenwriters Night and the Awards Ceremony and Gala. For public inquiries regarding tickets, please call (212) 592-2124. Updated event information is available online at

The 2010 Dusty Film and Animation Festival and Awards are sponsored by Eastman Kodak, CAVA – SVA Computer Store, National Board of Review, New York Women In Film and Television, Act Zero Films, AJA Video Systems, Animation Magazine, Arri/CSC, Avid, Back Stage, Foto Care, Future Media Concepts, Gotham Sound, Keslow Television, Nice Shoes, Panavision and SCS Agency Inc.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Free Comic Book Day Returns on Saturday

It’s that time of year again — time for free comic books.

The ninth annual event, set for Saturday, will see participating comic book shops offer a free selection of new sampler comics from various industry publishers as a way to promote the industry and bring in new readers.

Many stores use the event to host signings with comic book writers and artists.

This year’s new free comic offerings include:

Archie's Summer Splash! #1, from Archie Comics
Doctor Solar/Magnus, from Dark Horse Comics
Fractured Fables, from Image Comics
G.I. Joe #155½, from IDW Publishing
Iron Man/Thor, from Marvel
Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock, from Archaia
Shrek & The Penguins, from APE Entertainment
The John Stanley Library, from Drawn & Quarterly
Toy Story, from Boom! Studios
War of the Supermen #0, from DC Comics

Additional free samplers from such publishers as Bongo Comics, Del Rey, Dynamite, Oni Press, Radical Comics, Red 5 Comics and Top Shelf also will be available at select stores.

For more information on Free Comic Book Day, including a store locator to find the nearest participating comic book shop, visit

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Larranaga and Kinney Open Saints LA

Saints LA, a new visual effects, design and motion graphics boutique, has announced its opening in downtown Los Angeles and a three-spot ad campaign with Kodak as its first major project.

The facility will specialize in creating visuals for TV commercials, feature films, TV programs and promos, web content, video games and music videos.

Mark Larranaga and Zach Kinney founded the shop. Both have extensive experience in visual effects. “The economy has forced us to figure out more viable solutions on how to do better work, while concurrently keeping overhead down,” the duo said in a statement. “Moving into the Los Angeles downtown area has given us the ability to do that — not to mention the artistic vibe on Gallery Row, which is lots of fun. The amazing hotels and restaurants featured in this area makes our loft-style boutique even more appealing to all out of state producers and agencies.”

Mark Larranaga and Zach Kinney

Larranaga has been working in post-production since 1992 and has worked as a digital compositor and visual effects supervisor on a number of high profile movies, including 2012.

Kinney entered the visual effects and design business in 1994, working for R/Greenberg in New York. He later freelanced for such houses as EyeballNYC, Trollbäck, and Psyop. He also worked as senior design director with Click 3X and worked for more than 150 major clients.

More details on Saints LA can be found online at its website,

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Society Sets Previs 2010 Event for May 8

The Previsualization Society has announced May 8 as the date for its first ever event, called Previs 2010.

The one-day event, set for Los Angeles, aims to gather professionals who use and work in previs to explore approaches, workflows and new work.

In addition to highlighting recent work on motion pictures, a round table forum will be held to discuss previs’s role in the creative and production processes.

"We have designed this event to be informative and beneficial to everyone surrounding previs, not just previs artists," said Previsualization Society President Colin Green. "Previs 2010 will be a forum for professionals to exchange ideas, ask questions and learn how previs can support all areas of filmmaking. We expect it to offer new cross-disciplinary perspectives with attendees connecting directly with peers and experts in such fields as cinematography, production design, visual effects and editorial."

Previs 2010 will take place May 8 from 2-7 p.m. at the Sofitel Hotel, 8555 Beverly Blvd., in Los Angeles. Tickets are $40 for Previsualization Society members and $100 for non members. Admission includes a dinner-and-drinks reception from 7-9 p.m.

For more information on the event and to reserve tickets in advance, visit the Previsualization Society website at

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Block Party Rip-Off?

Speaking of things that may or may not be rip-offs, Adult Swim recently wrapped up a nation-wide block party tour that married live music and animation, kind of like Brooklyn’s quirky long-running Animation Block Party. Having never attended either of them, I can’t speak as to how closely Adult Swim’s block party mimicked Animation Block’s style, but perhaps others can. As a sidenote, Animation Block’s submission deadline is May 28.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Smokin' Jonah Hex trailer: Megan Fox and gatling guns!

The new trailer has gone live for Jonah Hex, the upcoming supernatural Western starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox; check out it out below.

Jimmy Hayward directed the movie, based on the comic-book series, which stars Brolin as Jonah Hex, a hideously scarred bounty hunter with supernatural abilities. John Malkovich also stars. The movie opens June 18.

(Click here to read Don Kaye's thoughts on whether Jonah Hex will be the film to break the Western/sci-fi curse.)

EXCLUSIVE: Robert Downey Jr. On Chris Evans Playing Captain America And Who Will Lead 'The Avengers'

Last month, Marvel Studios finished an exhaustive casting search when Chris Evans landed the title role in "The First Avenger: Captain America." While the difficulties of casting the part for two franchises — "Captain America" and "The Avengers" — simultaneously has been previously noted, some observers questioned Evans' casting by raising concerns about his age, his body type and even his seeming lack of knowledge regarding the history of "Captain America."

However, Evans has already received the endorsement of Samuel L. Jackson, one of his co-stars in "The Avengers." During a recent press event for "Iron Man 2," Robert Downey Jr. also weighed in on Evans' new role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"I do know [Evans] and I think it was a very smart casting choice," related Downey. "I know that it was a difficult choice for both the studio to make and for him personally, having been involved in other franchises before. But if I had to venture a guess, I think he'll count himself as lucky and he'll have a good time."

Although Captain America is traditionally the leader of The Avengers, Evans recently expressed his doubt that Cap would lead the team in "The Avengers."

When asked by MTV News if Tony Stark can be led by Evans' Captain America, Downey jokingly replied, "I'll clown all of them. I'll just clown those fools."

Downey also revealed that he believes that "The Avengers" will begin filming next spring.

'Spider-Man' Reboot Will Be 'Peter Parker Told Differently,' Says Studio President

With the run up to the release of "Iron Man 2," news about Sony's planned reboot of the "Spider-Man" franchise has been in short supply.

And while there have been indications that the new film may look to Brian Michael Bendis' "Ultimate Spider-Man" comic series as an inspiration, the new "Spider-Man" film will intentionally depart from the visual template established by director Sam Raimi in the first three films, according to Columbia Pictures president Matt Tolmach.

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tolmach said that the "Spider-Man" relaunch would be "Peter Parker told differently." According to the article, Tolmach also promised that the new film would "look, feel and smell different from the three films starring Tobey Maguire;" before adding "we're humbled by it."

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Tolmach said that the "Spider-Man" relaunch would be "Peter Parker told differently." According to the article, Tolmach also promised that the new film would "look, feel and smell different from the three films starring Tobey Maguire;" before adding "we're humbled by it."

Tolmach also invoked Peter Parker's classic tagline when describing "a golden moment of technology" which allows filmmakers access to newly developed digital and 3D techniques.

"With great power comes great responsibility," recited Tolmach. "And we have to always fall back on great storytelling."

Earlier this year, "(500) Days of Summer" director Marc Webb was signed to helm the next "Spider-Man" film.

Thus far, no one has been cast in the new "Spider-Man," although Josh Hutcherson and "Percy Jackson" star Logan Lerman have both named as potential candidates to become the next Peter Parker.

"Spider-Man" will be released in May 2012.

'Captain America' To Begin Filming In June, 'Men In Black 3' To Shoot In August?

Joe Johnston's highly anticipated adaptation of "Captain America" has finally set a date to start principle production.

According to Production Weekly, a production office for "The First Avenger: Captain America" has been opened at Shepperton Studios in London, with filming scheduled to begin on June 28th. "Captain America" stars Chris Evans in the title role, with Sebastian Sam as Bucky and Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter.

Additionally, Production Weekly is also reporting that Sony plans to begin shooting "Men In Black 3" in August.

Last Fall, Sony officially gave "Men In Black 3" the greenlight with "Tropic Thunder" screenwriter Etan Cohen attached to pen the script.

However, a report emerged last month that Will Smith was still deciding between starring in an original film called "City that Sailed" or reprising his role as Agent J in "Men In Black 3."

Last week, "Men In Black 3" director Barry Sonnenfeld confirmed that both Smith and Tommy Lee Jones would return for the sequel, with the film to be released in 3-D.

Josh Brolin, Sacha Baron Cohen and Jemain Clement are all rumored to be up for roles in the upcoming sequel, which reportedly features a time-travel related plotline.

Another 'Thor' Villain Revealed?

The last few days are already shaping up to go down in history as the most spoiler-filled week in comic book movie history, and apparently, it's not over yet! Along with yesterday's big reveal of the "Iron Man 2" secret ending, today we have what could be an early peek at a "Thor" villain that will be making things difficult for Marvel's god of thunder when his film hits theaters.

Over at Latino Review, there's a photo claiming to be from the set of "Thor," featuring one of the character's well-known nemeses. But be warned: it's pretty SPOILER-iffic!

In the interest of keeping things as spoiler-free as possible, I'm posting all of the details after an image of the cover of "Thor" #161. Why that issue? Because it's Jack Kirby art featuring Thor, Galactus, and Ego the Living Planet — and it's all kinds of awesome.

Okay, now that all the spoiler-phobes have left the building, here's what the site had to say about the leaked photo, which might not be real — but is still pretty cool even if it isn't:

"As per my source, THE DESTROYER is sent to earth by Loki to destroy Thor. It stands at about 9 feet tall."

Comic fans know The Destroyer to be an enchanted suit of armor created by Odin to battle the Celestials, a cosmic race whose power dwarfed even that of the gods. The suit has made a number of appearances over the years for good or bad (mostly bad), and usually presents Thor with a pretty tough fight. It's also been inhabited by Odin, Doctor Doom and various other characters at one point or another as a last-ditch offensive or defensive maneuver.

Here's a cropped version of the photo from Latino Review, which you can see in larger detail over on the original site:

'Iron Man 2' Star Hints At 'Something Shockingly Different' For Tony Stark and Pepper Potts' Relationship

One of the highlights of the first "Iron Man" film was the on-screen chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow as Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, respectively. The romantic tension between the two led some fans not as familiar with the pair's comic book history to be surprised when a relationship between the two failed to materialize before the end of the movie.

In the "Iron Man" comic book series, Potts briefly flirted with the notion of pursuing a relationship with Stark before marrying Harold "Happy" Hogan. However, according to Downey, things may play out differently between them in "Iron Man 2" and the character's film franchise.

"The way I see it, what we've been able to so far with this franchise is meet the base expectations and then turn things on their ear a little bit," offered Downey. "So, whatever [the relationship] is supposed to be, we're going to play with that and probably do something shockingly different."

Downey also offered his take on how Mickey Rourke was recruited to portray Whiplash in "Iron Man 2."

"Jon [Favreau] felt he was the guy," said Downey. "I then agreed because I am not the director. I am merely an appendage to said director."

"I went campaigning here and there," continued Downey. "If I saw Mickey [Rourke] at a press get together, I'd bring it up in front of everybody. If we were out at dinner, I'd remind him that I brought it up. And then by the time we were in negotiations, [it] was made pretty clear that we really, really hoped he would do it."

Empire Strikes Back Named Best Sequel Ever!

Nothing could compare with the Space Opera sequel, Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, not even The Batman.

DVD rental firm Lovefilm conducted this poll in celebration of Iron Man 2 coming out next week. Below are the results:

The top 10 film sequels:

1. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
2. Terminator 2 (1991)
3. The Godfather Part II (1974)
4. The Dark Knight (2008)
5. Aliens (1986)
6. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
7. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
8. Toy Story 2 (1999)
9. Meet the Fockers (2004)
10. Shrek 2 (2004)

"There's just no beating Star Wars" states Helen Cowley, editor of Lovefilm, "and fans have been very vocal in our poll to establish its place as the top sequel of all time."

I like that list but I thought The Dark Knight was better then Godfather 2. Just my personal taste.

Helen goes on to say:

"Film sequels give us the chance to see our favorite characters back on the big screen but it's rare to find a sequel that truly does its predecessor justice.

"It's great to see so many highly regarded titles in the top 10 and making their own mark on film history."

(Thanks Comic Book Movie)

DJ Mike Relm's Official Iron Man 2 Spot!

Recently, Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau spotted a trailer remix that was created by DJ Mike Relm. He showed the remix to Paramount who hired Relm to cut together an official TV spot, which has aired on TV and can now be watched below. We've also posted the Relm's original remix below it if you'd like to check it out.

(Thanks SuperHero Hype)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

News - 04/29/10...

Hollywood Reporter roundup: Peanuts and Dragon 2

THR today reports that the licensing company Iconix has reached an agreement to buy United Features Syndicate’s stake in the Peanuts characters and other brands for $175 million. Iconix will acquire UFS’ 80% share, with the remaining 20% retained by the Charles Schulz family.

With $180m in box-office grosses so far, DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg has announced How To Train Your Dragon is the next of the studio’s properties to become franchised, with a film sequel set for 2013, a television series and other events including an arena show planned. After a middling opening, Dragon’s good reviews has seen it play at the top of the charts for weeks, with Katzenberg calling it “beloved”, and he has similar hopes for this fall’s Megamind and holiday specials for Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.

Zagtoons Turns Besson’s Arthur Into Toon Series

Luc Besson’s hybrid animation and live action movie Arthur and the Minimoys is on its way to becoming an animated series.

Besson’s Europacorp has signed up Zagtoon to adapt the movie into a series. Zagtoon, founded last year by entrepreneur Jeremy Zag and run by animation veteran Jacqueline Tordjman.

Tordjman’s credits include Goldorak, Inspector Gadget, Iznogoud and Combo Ninos.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

McCann Takes Over Top Spot at Nick U.K.

Tina McCann has been tapped as the new senior VP and managing director of Nickelodeon U.K.

McCann comes to the job from Turner Broadcasting, where she was acting chief content officer for kid-targeted entertainment brands, including Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Cartoonito, across EMEA. She is credited with launching 17 channels, including Cartoon Network and TCM across Europe.

She replaces Howard Litton, who left Nick U.K. earlier this year after 15 years with the channel.

McCann will begin her new job May 10, and reports to the Nick U.K. board.

Nick U.K. also announced the promotion of Andy Goodhand to senior VP of strategy and planning director. He will report to McCann.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool

I really love this bizarre retro-ish mixed media music video for the British indie band Editors, directed by the Lennox Brothers (Lee & Wayne) at London’s Between The Eyes. As for what it all means, the band says:

“Ultimately the video paints a truthful picture of the lies which affect our current state of existence in a (so called) free world. From the moment we’re born we are controlled, manipulated, and led astray from what really matters in life - freedom. We are orchestrated from high above; even our leaders are merely puppets/clowns with their strings being pulled by powerful groups out of sight. Conspiracy theories, Illuminati, The New World Order; the free world is no longer free, our decisions no longer our own. An Orwellian future which has come to be realised within our own lifetime - A case of the corrupt blind leading the free minds.”

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Fixed Fluid Fragmented by Michel Gagné

How do you do something new when you’ve already made your own animated shorts, worked on features and TV shows,, and created comics, illustrated books, video games and toys? For the prolific and creatively restless Michel Gagné, the answer is Fixed Fluid Fragmented, a live performance piece that will debut at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Performance Centre on June 25th. The project was developed in conjunction with composer Barry Guy who will be leading an improvisational music group alongside the animation.

Gagné’s explanation of the idea sounds similar to VJing concepts albeit mixed with a filmmaker’s sensibility. He writes: “I’ve been developing techniques and technology that will go way beyond playing a movie on a screen behind performing musicians. In fact, I will PLAY the animation as if I was playing a musical instrument. I will be creating the final images, live, on stage, interacting with the musicians in a way that, to my knowledge, has never been seen before.”

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at this link. I’m intrigued and wouldn’t miss this if I were anywhere near Vancouver on June 25.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

"The Art of How to Train Your Dragon" reveals the film that DreamWorks Animation almost made

Jim Hill reviews Tracey Miller-Zarneke's latest making-of book. Which walks you through many of the hard choices that Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold had to make while they were adapting Cressida Cowell's book to the screen

Did you see where “How to Train Your Dragon” was No. 1 again at the box office this past weekend? According to Box Office Mojo, if this Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois film keeps up this pace, it will soon become DreamWorks Animation’s highest grossing non-Shrek movie.

Which is kind of ironic. Given that – as Tracey Miller-Zarneke’s excellent new making-of book, The Art of How to Train Your Dragon (Newmarket Press, March 2010), clearly points out – this isn’t the movie that DreamWorks Animation initially set out to make.

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

You see, the initial version of “How to Train Your Dragon” that DreamWorks Animation put into production was a pretty faithful adaptation of Cressida Cowell's 2003 book. In that it was set in a world where Vikings & dragons are already co-existing.

In fact, on the island of Berk (which was modeled after the remote island off of the west coast of Scotland where Cressida spent her summers as a girl. You can see a picture of the actual place below), it was a rite of passage for every child in the village to catch & then train a dragon. Those who failed at this task were then exiled from the Viking community.

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

Which is why -- in DreamWorks' very first pass on a film version of "How to Train Your Dragon" -- a very young (we're talking six, maybe seven years old) Hiccup ..

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

... and an equally young Astrid ...

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

... and Fishlegs ...

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

... all go on a perilous journey to the eastern coast of the Island of Berk. Where -- at Wild Dragon Cliff -- these young Vikings were then expected to rush into a dark cave and, using only their dragon baskets, capture a baby fire-breather to train.

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

Mind you, on their journey to the dragon rookery, Hiccup, Astrid and Fishlegs were supposed to be joined by Snoutlout.

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

But because "How to Train Your Dragon" 's storyline featured so many male characters, the filmmakers (for a while, anyway) toyed with the idea of making Snoutlout a girl. A very rough-and-tough Viking girl, mind you. But a girl nonetheless.

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

"How to Train Your Dragon" 's dearth of female characters was also why the filmmakers kept Hiccup's Mom, Valhallarama ...

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

... a part of this animated version of Cowell's book until they realized that ... Well, to quote "How to Train Your Dragon" 's producer Bonnie Arnold: "Due to time constraints and the fact that (Valhallarama) 's existence diluted the principal relationship of this film -- that of father and son -- she had to go."

That's what makes Tracey Miller-Zarneke's "The Art of How to Train Your Dragon" such an entertaining read. This 160-page hardcover puts you right in the room with Sanders, DeBlois and Arnold as they take Cressida's characters and stories and ... Well, as Dean put it:

"It was our goal to take the original concept of the story and bring it to the level of some of our favorite adventure fantasy films, with real world stakes, exciting action sequences, and more mature character interactions and themes."

And when you're the ones who have to make all of the tough creative calls, it's sometimes heartbreaking what you have to leave behind. Take -- for example -- this early, early concept painting for the Red Death, the Godzilla-sized beast who serves as "How to Train Your Dragon" 's main villain.

Excerpted from THE ART OF HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Preface by Cressida Cowell, Foreword by Craig Ferguson, Text by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (TM) & (C) 2010 DreamWorks Animation,
L.L.C. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East
48 Street, New York, NY 10017,

When it came to this character, the idea that the DreamWorks Animation story team originally toyed with was making the Red Death a creature of the sea. As Miller-Zarneke explains in her text:

Character designer Nicolas Marlet drafted a wondrous creature replete with a jellyfishlike bioluminescence; a coral-shaped mane with stylized tendrils that float like sea planets and detailed, barnicle-inspired scale designs. "But this was too elegant of a dragon, which made it too hard to want to see it killed," recalls Production Designer Kathy Altieri.

There are dozens of stories like this in "The Art of How to Train Your Dragon." Not to mention hundreds of illustrations that will then walk you through the DreamWorks Animation production process. So if you'd like to know how the first animated blockbuster of 2010 (As of Monday, "How to Train Your Dragon" had a worldwide box office total of $372. 2 million) really came together, you should definitely pick up a copy of Tracey Miller-Zarneke's latest making-of book.

JEM! Voice Actor Samantha Newark Performing in Atlanta May 1st

Voice Actors in the News reports that Samantha Newark (JEM! and the Holograms, Transformers) will be performing live in concert on Saturday, May 1st at 8:00 PM as part of the "Free Comic Book Day" festivities at Galactic Quest comic shop in Lawrenceville, GA.

Please visit for event location and details.

New Online Trailer For Toy Story 3

This new online trailer for the upcoming sequel Toy Story 3 reveals all sorts of new footage, and particularly focuses on Buzz Lightyear’s language skills. The CG film hits cinemas on June 18th.

DreamWorks Animation at the Noon Hour

Today was DWA day. A lot of departments have moved into the newly expanded Lakeside Building, and I tromped around the second and third floors, seeing who had settled where.

I find the additions to Lakeside quite nice, fancy even. There are wood floors and area carpets and lots of couches and soft lights. I'm surprised I never find people sprawled in one of them taking a nap; apparently everyone is focused and energetic.

Animators are hard at work on MegaMind ("The schedule is tight ..."), and a television special that I don't think has been announced yet so I will keep my yap shut about it. Kung Fu Deux launches shortly ...

An artist and I fell into conversation about How to Train Your Dragon's soft opening, about how it's held up with good word of mouth. He was as perplexed as I was that it didn't open better, saying it's one of the best features they've done. (The only thing I can attribute it to is early, unsteady marketing and that vikings are not ... ahm ... guaranteed audience grabbers.)

As mentioned below in comments, Jeffrey K. conferenced with the business press about the company's latest numbers:

DreamWorks Animation SKG reported a 65% drop in profit in the first quarter, a swing that was the result of not having a major holiday release to power sales at the beginning of the year. ... The Glendale animation studio reported net income of $21.7 million, or 24 cents per share, on revenue of $162.1 million for the three months ended March 31 ...

DreamWorks Animation Chief Jeffrey Katzenberg said,
"2010 is off to a strong start, thanks in large part to the performance of ‘How to Train Your Dragon.' "

He called the studio's latest film the company's
"next franchise" and announced plans to release a sequel in 2013 ...

DreamWorks Animation, I think, is well-positioned to make a nice chunk of money this fiscal year. HTTYD will top out somewhere between $400 and $500 million in worldwide grosses. And the last installment of Shrek will come in at $700 million-plus. (I won't venture a guess how well MegaMind ultimately performs.)

All in all, the crew should be enjoying free lunches well into 2011.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

FINAL NOTICE: Cartoon Brew TV’s Student Animation Festival

Last notice: Just three days left to submit to Cartoon Brew TV’s Student Animation Festival. Click HERE for rules and submission details.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Enter the Void Titles

Gut-punchingly intense titles for Gaspar Noé’s Enter The Void, designed by Noé and Tom Kan. Motion graphics, experimental animation, labels as such are superfluous. These titles (music included) are fresh and exciting, and from what I’ve read about the film that follows, perfectly attuned to its tone and mood.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Directors of Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks Films

(click to enlarge)

Even though I’ve always been aware of the dominance of CalArts alumni within the West Coast industry, I was still surprised to see the above chart posted on a message board. Is there any other creative industry that is so dominated by one school? I certainly can’t think of any.

A similar chart could be made for TV series produced at Nick and Cartoon Network. CalArts alumni have created Spongebob, El Tigre, Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, My Life as a Teenage Robot, The X’s, Time Squad, Adventure Time, Fairly OddParents, Camp Lazlo, The Regular Show, the list goes on and on.

Let me be very clear. This is not meant to be twisted into a criticism of the students attending CalArts; there is an above-average level of talent that attends the school and they obviously should be delighted that people want to hire them. But on any given year, I see just as many promising animation students graduate from other schools as I do from CalArts. So the overwhelming dominance of CalArts students at the highest creative levels of certain studios strikes me as being disproportionate to the caliber of talent spread across American animation schools. If anything, it speaks volumes about the state of our industry and its inability to look for fresh ideas beyond a single safe-and-approved farm team.

The main takeaway? West Coast animation is not a level playing field that judges artists purely on the basis of skill, talent, and ideas. If you’ve gone to an animation school other than CalArts, you probably have a better shot of winning the Powerball than you do directing a film at one of these companies.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Art director, comics editor Bill Dubay dead at 62

Bill DuBay, art director for the 1985-87 Marvel Productions series Jem and editor of such Warren Publishing comics as Vampirella, Eerie and Creepy, died April 15 in Portland, Oregon. He was 62.

DuBay, also art director for 1985's Robotix, had been suffering from colon cancer. Both Jem and Robotix aired in syndication as part of Marvel's Super Sunday block.

After a short fan career, DuBay turned professional in 1966 with a story for Charlton Comics. He began editing at Warren in 1972 and remained there until the company folded in 1983.

The following year, he went to work for Marvel Productions, the animation studio where Stan Lee was senior writer and studio art director. DuBay later went to Fox and helped develop the Fox Kids animation block.

DuBay was the story editor for Escape From Mongo and A Demon In His Pocket, 1986 episodes of Marvel's Defenders Of The Earth. He was the art director of My Little Pony: The Movie (1986), the 1987 syndicated TV special Barbie And The Rockers, and the direct-to-video version of Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines (1985).

Born on January 11, 1948 in San Francisco, William Bryan DuBay was the first child of Dorothy and Richard DuBay. His first wife was Peggy Buckler, sister of well-known comic-book artist Rich Buckler.

Bill DuBay is survived by his wife Venessa Hart, whom he married two months ago; children Crystal, Lisa, Bill, Daniel and Leina; grandsons KC and twins Daron and Kyle, mother and stepfather Dorothy and Dee Davis of Lincoln, California; six brothers and sisters; and many nieces and nephews.

Services were held Sunday, April 25 at West Hills Unitarian Church in Portland.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, remembrances may be sent in his name to Serenity Palliative and Hospice Care, which took such compassionate care of him in his final months of life.

'Iron Man 2' Post-Credits Scene Revealed!

One of the biggest questions surrounding "Iron Man 2" has been answered — and the movie hasn't even hit theaters yet.

Fans wondering what will appear in a "secret" post-credits scene in "Iron Man 2" received their answer today via YouTube, where the final scene of the film was revealed in the expected sketchy, shaky, hidden-camera style. And as many fans speculated, it continues the grand tradition of connecting the film to another property in development around the Marvel movie universe.

Read on for a full breakdown of the scene, and just in case it's not obvious: SPOILER WARNING!


The scene begins with a black car speeding across the desert, eventually pulling up to the camera. Its New Mexico license plate reads 8RE-2Z1, and features the slogan "Land of Enchantment."

Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), who has an expanded role in "Iron Man 2," steps out of the vehicle. He looks out over a massive crater, surrounded by various vehicles.

"Sir, we've found it," he says into his phone.

The camera pans out to reveal what's at the center of the crater. It's...

Mjolnir, Thor's hammer!

Here's what it looks like:

And there you go, folks.

Yes! Ewok karaoke! (With a guest Chewbacca appearance!)

Depending on how you feel about the Ewok celebration song at the end of Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi, the idea of Ewok karaoke will either cause you to start singing along uncontrollably ... or make your teeth hurt.

As for us, we have only one thing to say about the clip Rob Tyler put together for the PDX Fest Karaoke Throwndown—

Yub nub, eee chop yub nub!

Clark Gregg's 'Iron Man 2' S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Will 'Do Some Exciting Things' In 'Thor'

Back in January, it was confirmed that Clark Gregg will reprise his role as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson in director Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of "Thor" in addition to his return in "Iron Man 2."

And while Gregg's role in the first "Iron Man" film was relatively small, it appears that his character will be playing a much bigger role in "Thor."

"I just have been in New Mexico where I was a little more busy, dealing with the arrival of a certain Norse god," revealed Gregg during an interview with Superhero Hype. "I get to do some exciting things in some of the new stuff."

"Agent Coulson was one of the guys who wasn't really in the comic books, and he [had] a very kind of small role in 'Iron Man,'"
added Gregg. "And I was just very lucky that they chose to expand that character and chosen to put him more into the universe of it. It's really a blast!"

Gregg is perhaps best known for his role as Richard Campbell on the CBS series "The New Adventures of Old Christine" opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus. He has also appeared in numerous films and TV series, including "The Shield," "The West Wing" and "(500) Days of Summer."

Additionally, Gregg wrote the screenplay for "What Lies Beneath" and was the screenwriter and director of "Choke" — an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name — with his "Iron Man 2" co-star Sam Rockwell in the leading role.

"Iron Man 2" lands on May 7, while "Thor" will drop the hammer down on May 6, 2011.

Third Batman, New Superman Part of New IMAX Deal!

Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX Corporation dropped a bombshell this morning saying that Christopher Nolan's next Batman movie and the new Superman movie are part of an up to 20-picture deal! Here's an excerpt from the press release at

Under the agreement, Warner Bros. movies that will be released in IMAX are: Legends of the Guardian: The Owls of Ga'Hoole 3D (September 24, 2010); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (3D) (November 19, 2010); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (3D) (July 15, 2011); Happy Feet 2 (3D) (November 18, 2011); and The Hobbit (December 2013). Warner Bros. and IMAX also plan to release an additional 15 films over the course of 2011, 2012 and 2013, including Gravity, Dark Shadows, Fury Road, Batman 3, and Superman.

You can read the full press release here!


Could this be our first look at one of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Looks like the source of this pic has been found.

We haven't heard much about the new live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. Latino Review received an image, with no further explanation, that could be our first look at how the Turtles may appear.

UPDATE: The image is not from any movie.

Latino Review has updated its original story after this picture had made the internet rounds. Some people familiar with the mask recognized it and responded. Kevin over at Fused Film tracked down the artist who is simply working on this as part of his formal education.

Hello, Kevin!

I am, in fact, the owner of the image. This is simply a portfolio shot of a animatronic head i did for class, in my fourth semester of attending the "Tom Savini Special Make-up Effects Program".

It's posted on my facebook as well as a popular FX related message board "The Effects Lab". I have no idea who sent it to Latino Review, with the assumption that it had to do with the upcoming TMNT film.

In all of MY posts of this project, i stress it was a class project, and nothing more. How it blew up to this is beyond me. But I'd be lying if i said i didn't enjoy the hell out of it! Especially seeing people's opinions on it when they think it is truly a concept for the film! It's a great honor to see my project so well received by many hardcore TMNT fans. It's also fun to see the people who HATE that direction of the characters.

Either way, i had a good laugh! Sorry i can't help you with who exactly sent it in. But i can dismiss it! If you have nay other questions, please feel free!

(Thanks Comic Book Movie)

Clash of the Titans To Receive Sequel!

But this time Louis will not be behind the camera.

This from Deadline:

"Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures are moving ahead with a sequel to Clash of the Titans, which the studio would like as early as spring, 2012. But they will make the journey without Louis Leterrier, who will not return for an encore as director. Sam Worthington will return, as well as most every other character that survived. Greg Berlanti will write the story and the studio is already canvassing the agencies for a writer and director who can whip the movie into shape to shoot before Worthington makes Avatar 2."

Word is Leterrior will be involved as Executive Producer but no word on what type of storyline the sequel will follow up with. The first installment released just last month has grossed over $390 million on a $120 million budget. Making Clash one of the years biggest movies. Pretty good return.

People like Greek mythology movies and Hollywood has rediscovered this fact after a pretty long drought. With a new director we will get to see first hand if Louis was the reason why the fans had a bad taste in their mouth after viewing Clash of the Titans.

(Thanks Comic Book Movie)

EXCLUSIVE: Robert Downey Jr. Explains Where He Stands On 'Avengers,' 'Thor' And Joss Whedon

Sure, we know "Iron Man 2" star Robert Downey Jr. will blast into theaters next week as Tony Stark, but what about "The Avengers"? And what does he think about "Thor"? And while we're at it, is he a fan of rumored "Avengers" director Joss Whedon?

These are the questions on many fans' minds when it comes to the most prominent face in Marvel's movie future, and they were some of the questions we posed to Downey when he caught up with him this weekend at the "Iron Man 2" junket. And while the actor stopped short of revealing any big spoilers, he did offer some great insight regarding his new role as a spokesman for the Marvel movie universe and the rest of the films that might get a cameo from Tony Stark down the road.

"I don't know," said Downey when asked if his participation in "The Avengers" was a done deal or if there might still be some negotiation down th road. "I try not to think about that stuff, because everything changes in success, and everything changes in lack of success."

Adding that he has yet to see a script for the superhero team-up film, Downey said he also wasn't familiar with the work of rumored contender for the "Avengers" directing gig, Joss Whedon.

"I'm not very familiar with the guy, but I will let Marvel make whatever decisions they deem appropriate," he said.

However, the actor said he has visited the set of "Thor," Kenneth Branagh's upcoming take on Marvel's god of thunder.

"I take it fairly seriously," he said. "As a bit of an ambassador from Marvel, it's important for me to just show up and let these guys know there's a presence and an awareness, and a gratitude, and a bit of a commiseration — because these are tough movies to pull off."

"I think between the casting and Branagh at the helm, I particularly feel that 'Thor' is on a really solid page right now," said the actor, giving a vote of confidence to the project.

As for "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth, Downey had nothing but praise for the actor charged with wielding Mjolnir, the magic hammer of the gods.

"It's interesting, isn't it? That guy is compelling even in small doses, so I bet getting to see him fully inhabit an iconic character should be good," he said.

'Iron Man 2' Star Mickey Rourke 'Had No Idea What Was Going On In The Movie'

The proverbial cat is out of the bag regarding the secret ending of "Iron Man 2." Navigating through spoilery waters is always a bit difficult for fans, but for many of the filmmakers and actors close to the project, the secret "Iron Man 2" scene has been common knowledge for quite some time.

But it's not common knowledge for everybody — certainly not for Mickey Rourke, who said he hasn't even seen "Iron Man 2" yet.

"I have no idea," he told MTV's Josh Horowitz when asked about rumors of the secret "Iron Man" scene. "I haven't seen the film."

As "Iron Man 2" celebrated its world premiere in Los Angeles earlier this week, it's very likely that Rourke has seen the film by now. But would you believe that the actor didn't even know what "Iron Man 2" was about while shooting the film?

Believe it or not, that's the case, according to Rourke!

"If you want me to be honest with you, I've only read my part," he confessed. "I had no idea what was going on in the movie, really."

Rourke said it didn't really matter to him what was going on in "Iron Man 2" outside of his scenes as Whiplash. Given the character's status as the film's central villain, Rourke presumably knew a good deal about the movie's major action scenes, or at the very least, the Monaco Grand Prix sequence.

But Rourke's decision to focus solely on his own role extends beyond "Iron Man 2." According to the actor, he demonstrated a similar practice on another recent movie.

"I just did a movie with Megan Fox and I have no idea what's going on!" he declared.