Thursday, May 20, 2010

News - 05/20/10...

Antonio Banderas talks Shrek Forever After, and more

Collider shares a video interview with Antonio Banderas wherein he talks about Shrek Forever After and Puss in Boots, the character he plays in DreamWorks Animation's upcoming feature. Banderas also shares some details on the upcoming Puss In Boots solo movie.

Behind-the-Scenes look at Toy Story 3

A new behind-the-scenes featurette from Disney/Pixar's upcoming flick Toy Story 3 is available to watch on Yahoo! Movies. In the featurette titled Look on the Sunnyside, the filmmakers discuss the third movie's new setting and characters. Directed by Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3 opens nationwide June 18, 2010.

James and the Giant Peach Blu-ray in August

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment have announced the Blu-ray Disc release of James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition on 3rd August 2010, reports DVDTimes. Features on this digitally restored edition will include “Production Featurette” – A look at the making of the film, “Good News” Music Video performed by Randy Newman, Still Frame Gallery, and more.

4Kids Adds Penelope to its Portfolio

4Kids Entertainment has signed on to represent the preschool series Penelope as a brand worldwide except for Asia and France.

The company will showcase the property at next month’s International Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.

Penelope is based on the best-selling book series by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben about a cute 3-year-old blue koala with a funny red nose, insatiable curiosity and a great sense of humor

The property has been translated to the small screen through Japanese company Nippon Animation, with 52 episodes and two Christmas specials now available. The series began airing on Japanese television in 2007, and has since been picked up by several broadcasters including France 5 (France), CBeebies (U.K.), ABC (Australia), as well as channels in Italy, across the Nordics, Africa, Israel and Slovenia.

Penelope has enormous potential — preschoolers love the books and TV show and parents are also very enthusiastic as it teaches children about the world around them,” said Sandra Vauthier-Cellier, managing director of 4Kids Entertainment International. “This gives us a fantastic platform from which to develop the property’s licensing program and we will be looking to sign licensees across a range of sectors.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

The Hub Announces Programming Slate, Blocks

The Hub, the new children’s network that Hasbro and Discovery have teamed up to launch this fall, announced a large portion of its programming schedule at an upfront presentation in New York.

President and CEO Margaret Loesch announced six original series and seven U.S. premieres for the channel.

Launching Oct. 10, The Hub will feature four programming blocks aimed at specific demographics. A preschool block for kids ages 2-5 will air from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a block aimed at ages 6-12 airing from 1 to 6 p.m., a block called Family Prime Access from 6-7 p.m., and the Family Prime block from 7 to 11 p.m.

The original series debuting on The Hub are:

• Dan Vs. The animated series revolves around Dan, a loveable loner, and Chris, his reluctant sidekick, as they strike out against the frustrations modern life has put upon him (real or imagined). Produced by Film Roman, a unit of Starz Media Company, in association with The Hatchery
• Family Game Night. An hour-long, live-action game show series featuring kids and adults playing a range of classic Hasbro strategy games, such as Cranium, Bop-It and Connect4. Produced by Hasbro Studios.
• G.I. Joe: Renegades. An animated action/adventure G.I. Joe origins series. The show follows the G.I. Joe team as it develops and goes up against their nemesis, the Cobra organization. Produced by Hasbro Studios.
Pound Puppies. Set in Shelter 17, the series follows a team of dogs and their mission to find a home for every puppy. Produced by Hasbro Studios.
• R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour. A scary-themed half-hour, live-action anthology series based on/inspired by kid horror author R.L. Stine. Produced by The Hatchery.
• The 99. This animated series is an adaptation of the eponymous comic book that follows the adventures of superheroes from 99 countries that work together to maximize their powers and foster peace. Created by Dr. Naif al-Mutawa, a Middle East scholar/clinical psychologist, each member of The 99 embodies one of 99 positive values (e.g. wisdom, mercy, and strength). Produced by Teshkeel Media & Endemol Digital UK Production Group.

The Hub also has acquired the following programs, all of which are new to the United States.

• Animal Mechanicals (preschool, 52x11) produced by Halifax Film.
• Cosmic Quantum Ray, a CGI animated series produced by Moonscoop Entertainment.
• Deltora Quest (52 episodes) a CGI animated series produced by Dentsu.
• Maryoku Yummy (preschool) - animated series produced by American Greetings Properties and DQ Entertainment in association with Telegael Media.
• Strawberry Shortcake (26 episodes), a new CGI animated series produced by American Greetings Properties.
• The WotWots (preschool), a puppet series from Weta Workshop that is produced by Pukeko Pictures.
• Twisted Whiskers, a CGI animated series produced by American Greetings Properties, and co-producers DQ Entertainment and Moonscoop.

The Hub also has acquired the rights to Fraggle Rock from The Jim Henson Co.; Meerkat Manor, produced by Oxford Scientific Films; and will acquire individual feature titles for Family Movie Night.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Animal Logic Hires VFX Veteran Lynch

Veteran VFX producer Matt Lynch has joined Australia-based shop Animal Logic.

Lynch will be responsible for promoting the company’s services and the benefits of Australian tax incentives to studios and visual effects supervisors and bring more business into the studio.

With more than 16 years experience as a visual effects producer and business development executive, Lynch’s credits include Watchmen, The Chronicles of Narnia and Traitor.

“We’re thrilled to have Matt join the team. He has a strong track record in VFX production and developing new business opportunities in the U.K. and Canada and extensive experience marketing the regional tax incentives to the major studios,” says Luke Hetherington, Animal Logic’s head of production. “His background in this area will certainly help to promote Animal Logic’s VFX team as a viable source of world-class visual effects.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Anonymous Content Nabs Ad Creator Bolland

Multidisciplinary filmmaker and ad creator Ash Bolland has signed on with Anonymous Content.

Bolland has created award-winning campaigns for MTV, Hewlett Packard, Discovery Channel and Swatch. He has won numerous awards, including multiple PromaxBDA gold and silver honors and Juice TV NZ awards.

A self-taught filmmaker, he has worked as a director, cinematographer, editor, 3D artist, compositor, concept designer, graphic designer, colorist and musician.

"Ash knows how to create fresh visual imagery that resonates with a broad audience," says Dave Morrison, Anonymous Content’s executive producer and head of commercials. "He can work cross-platform, and has the ability to work within any budgetary range. With his natural talent and our multimedia capabilities, we will be able to create some memorable campaigns."

Prior to joining Anonymous Content, Bolland acted as director/owner of Umeric for nine years. He also spent time at Deepend, Massive, Dave Clare Associates and Rialto Films, all either in Sydney or Auckland.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Good Management, Bad Management

I've long observed that you can tell whether an animation studio has a good work environment by looking at the size of three groups: Happy and contented workers, mildly okay workers, unhappy workers.

In my experience, every studio contains all three groups. So to find out whether a given cartoon workshop is good, bad or indifferent, just quantify which group is the largest. You'll get a pretty fair idea about the overall quality of that particular studio.

Along these lines, former exec Liz Ryan has kindly provided us with a road map for making a bad cartoon studio even worse:

1. If you desire a mediocre workforce, make sure your employees know you don't trust them ...
2. If you want to drive talented people away, don't tell them when they shine ...
3. If you prefer a team of C-list players, keep employees in the dark ...
4. If you value docility over ingenuity, shout it from the rooftops* ...
5. If you fear an empowered workforce more than you fear the competition, squash any sign of individualism. ...

Obviously no studio manager in his or her right mind is going around spouting the message points above, but over the course of years I've seen plenty of execs -- many who are highly educated -- behave like they carry around Ms. Ryan's article in their back pockets. As a tech director at a high profile entertainment conglomerate said to me not long ago:

"They invite people to their 'open forum' meetings and tell them to speak their minds. But a bunch of us have noticed that anybody who takes them up on the offer and asks a pointed question is gone a couple of months later ..."

Over time, this has a ... what's the phrase? ... chilling effect on openness, collegiality and creativity in the studio workplace.

Two-and-a half-years ago, I had a smiling studio exec tell me: "It's all about improving morale and growing a studio where people want to work, that's what we're about." The studio for which he worked had (and has) about the worst morale of any workplace I visit, so obviously there's some disconnect or willful hallucination going on.

From my perspective it's really pretty simple. If your studio is headed by people who don't listen, who are thin-skinned about criticism, who fire people who won't toe the company line (whatever it happens to be that day), then the creative flow around the place is going to be way less than optimum, the product will be less than the best, and employee morale will end up crappy.

And of course anybody with the guts to point this out to the Top Dogs will probably get his or her ass fired.

* In Hollywoodland, #4 usually is proclaimed in the reverse: Studio managers will tell you, over and over, what a swell place their company is, work-wise. That's almost always a tip off that ... it ain't.

So what jazzes high-cognitive, creative workers? Mark Mayerson
posted a useful video on the subject a few days ago. We crib it here:

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

The True Story of Puss In Boots

Here’s another one of those European animated features, from 2009, that was somehow unable to achieve a release in the United States. Submitted for your approval, The True Story of Puss In Boots:

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension (1996) trailer

Here’s a trailer from one of the rarest Looney Tunes of all: Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension. It’s never been on television, it’s not on DVD or the Internet. Directed by Douglas McCarthy and starring Joe Alaskey as both Daffy Duck and Marvin, the cartoon runs twelve minutes and was produced in wide screen 3-D. It was only screened—as far as I know—at the Warner Bros. Studio Store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and at the Warner Bros. Movie World Theme Park in Australia. Because it was commissioned and co-owned by Movie World, the video rights to the film are tied up with the theme park.

There were interactive bits in the film, parts when water would spritz the audience and the like. I also recall that the animation was some sort of experimental combination of CGI and hand-drawn that wasn’t completely satisfying… With the 3-D craze back in full-blast it would be a kick to see this again with a current movie release. At least, I think I would…

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Maf the Dog book trailer

Here’s an animated trailer for The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe , a new book by Andrew O’Hagan. The book is being published this month by UK’s Faber and Faber, and they commissioned this stylish promotional spot. Set in 60s era New York and featuring Marilyn Monroe, the animation design follows the 50s/60s illustration tradition. Designed and animated by the super-talented Robin Davey.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

JUNE 10: Midsummer Night Toons in NYC

President of the Universe by Mike Carlo

The second edition of Midsummer Night Toons will take place on Thursday, June 10 at the M1-5 Lounge (52 Walker Street, NY, NY 10013). Started by filmmaker Matt Lee, the event is designed to give New York animators a venue to premiere new animated shorts. Six filmmakers will present five new animated shorts at this year’s show—Matt Burnett and Ben Levin, Mike Carlo, Joe Cappabianca, Gary Doodles, and Matt Lee. There will also be an original animated intro by Kat Morris and outro by Al Pardo.

Admission is FREE. Doors open 7pm, screening starts at 8:30pm. DJ Pensatore will be spinning music before and after the screening. More details at

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Briefly: NYSE Moves Against 4Kids; Name Change for Dentsu's LA Office

* The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has begun delisting procedures for 4Kids Entertainment. [World Screen; Previous report]

* Separately, 4Kids has signed a deal to represent the preschool series Penelope as licensing/branding agent in all territories outside Asia and France. [Animation Magazine]

* Japan's Dentsu is changing the name of its US subsidiary, DCI Los Angeles, to Dentsu Entertainment USA. [KidScreen]

* Christina Miller, SVP of Cartoon Network Enterprises, will be honored by Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) for her work with the international children's charity. [KidScreen]

Bay Girl Needed!! Mr. Bay Opts Megan Fox Out Of The New TRANSFORMERS Film!!

Nikki Finke says Michael Bay has booted Megan Fox from TRANSFORMERS 3.

I've just learned that Paramount won't be picking up Megan Fox's option on Transformers 3 -- and that it was "ultimately" director Michael Bay's decision.
Right now Bay and writer Ehren Kruger et al are finishing up the script for the threequel and "giving Shia a new love interest makes more sense for the story," an insider tells me. Bay will start casting immediately for the new female co-star.

...says Deadline HERE.

A few weeks back, Fox was seen doing some pre-viz work with Bumblebee. Wonder what happened between then and now? Maybe the pair's highly visible, super-snarky crossfire made this outcome inevitable...

(Thanks AICN)

'Captain America' To Be Filmed In London

Back in 2008, Marvel Studios signed a long term lease at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach, California and promised that Marvel's next four feature films would be filmed there.

And while Marvel has kept to its promise for "Iron Man 2" and "Thor," "The First Avenger: Captain America" will be filmed almost entirely in London, without any scenes of the film to be shot in Los Angeles.

"I actually had location scouts here to see what could be done,'' said Marvel Studios co-President Louis D'Esposito during an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "But it would have required so much visual-effects work and set construction, it didn't make sense."

D'Esposito indicated that "Captain America" fell on the wrong side of California's tax credit plan, which excludes films that cost more than $75 million. He also added that since "Captain America" is primarily set in Europe and would be able to qualify for further tax incentives if shot in London, the decision was made to move the production away from Raleigh Studios.

"These are tough financial times right now that could pressure us to look at other locations,'' related D'Esposito. "But we have every intention of shooting the majority of films here."

"The First Avenger: Captain America" is scheduled to begin shooting in London in June, with Chris Evans in the title role. Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan and Toby Jones will also star.

"Captain America" invades theaters on July 22, 2011.

Shia LaBeouf not afraid to tell Spielberg that Indy 4 stunk

Our respect for Shia LaBeouf as an actor just went up a huge notch now that we know he didn't like Indy 4 either. In an interview with reporters at Cannes, he came clean for his part in turning Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull into a turkey.

"I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished," LaBeouf said, admitting he couldn't pull off his action-hero role. "You get to monkey-swinging and things like that and you can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg]. But the actor's job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn't do it. So that's my fault. Simple."

You know who else agreed with LaBeouf that Indy 4 didn't live up to its promise? His co-star, Harrison Ford.

"We had major discussions," LaBeouf added. "He wasn't happy with it either. ... There was a reason it wasn't universally accepted."

As for what Spielberg might think when he hears what LaBeouf had to say about a film that earned $787 million worldwide, the actor clearly felt that honesty had to come first.

"I'll probably get a call," said LaBeouf. "But he needs to hear this. I love him. I love Steven. I have a relationship with Steven that supersedes our business work. And believe me, I talk to him often enough to know that I'm not out of line. And I would never disrespect the man. I think he's a genius, and he's given me my whole life. He's done so much great work that there's no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball."

Awesome trailer turns Empire Strikes Back into '50s sci-fi

Remakes, reboots, reimaginings—enough already! How about a premake? That's what whoiseyevan did to The Empire Strikes Back, by asking (and answering) the question "What if Star Wars was a '50s 3-D movie?"

The Empire Strikes Back will be turning 30 in just a few days—but check out what purports to be a trailer for its original 1950 release 60 years ago.

Leslie Nielsen as Luke Starkiller? We're in!

(And thanks to SF Signal for the heads-up!)

Smallville To End After Shows 10th Season!

Yep folks, Smallville is over after 10 long seasons!

This from

“Season 10 of Smallville will be the last season” Tom told"

Sounds like Tom Welling let the info slip while at an interview with yesterday.

I liked Smallville, in fact I can remember watching the first episode thinking "You know they might have something here." But after the second or third time the shows writers and producers dragged themes and made new ways to get out of tying things up, I quit watching the show for a few years. Smallville got to be redundant without the payoff. I started watching the show again only after hearing it could possibly be canceled.

Smallville has gotten better, but that statement proves to be a light statement when you see what it has gotten better from.

After the shows closing I think Tom Welling should get a chance to be Superman, but I doubt it will happen. Just a gut feeling.

(Thanks Comic Book Movie)

Blake Lively Talks About Green Lantern

Vogue has an enormously giant article on Blake Lively and surfing and something or other. There's no way I'm actually reading the entire thing.

What I did read were Blake's thought on filming Green Lantern. Now that's something worth reading about!

The adventure begins in the Vogue offices when I am bidden to look at the fittings shots of Blake Lively, which reveal a body sublimely toned for her upcoming role as Carol Ferris (a.k.a. ultravillain Star Sapphire) in Martin Campbell's Green Lantern, based on the DC Comics superhero introduced in 1940. "All I want is to be a hero to my nephews and nieces," Lively says, laughing. "I'm going to be the coolest aunt ever."

Lively has been rehearsing with a stunt coordinator who works on the Bond movies and with gymnastic acrobats from Cirque du Soleil. "Our director likes it real—the fights close and dirty," she explains, and for added veracity aerial stunts are being filmed in the rig created for The Matrix. "I'm 40 feet in the air, spiraling around. That's the best workout you can ever do because it's all core," she tells me. "You do that for ten minutes and you should see your body the next day! It's so exhilarating, so thrilling—and nauseating," she adds, all of which promises to stand her in good stead for the surf experience to come.

The article then goes on and on about how the writer and Blake surfed together. If you care, you can click HERE to read the entire thing. I'm gonna go put some more wax on my mouse before heading back out, yo.

And in case you don't know who Blake Lively is.

(Thanks Latino Review)

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