Tuesday, June 15, 2010

News - 06/15/10...

Shrek ends his box office reign

After three straight weekends on top, DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek Forever After has finally ended its box office reign, beaten by the larger than expected debut of the Jackie Chan Karate Kid remake. The animated comedy has grosssed $210 million against a $160 million budget, making it a pretty big hit for the studio. Meanwhile, on the international marketing front, a new Korean poster for the film with a World Cup theme has been revealed over at the Internet Movie Poster Awards

Skechers Promotes Zevo-3 with Shoebox DVD Preview

Skechers Entertainment is set to promote its new animated TV series Zevo-3 with promotional DVDs inserted in one million Skechers shoeboxes for the back to school season.

Zevo-3 is the debut TV show from Skechers Entertainment, and is set to premiere this fall on Nicktoons. The comedy-action series is about three teen heroes given powers to fight the villain Stankfoot. Twenty-six 22-minute episodes of the series are in the works, produced as 2D animation with 3D CGI effects.

“We will leverage the marketing and promotional power of the Skechers brand at retail to raise the visibility of Zevo-3 in a truly impactful way,” said Kristen Van Cott, VP of creative development for SKECHERS Entertainment. “We are confident this will result in enhanced viewership once the series takes to the airwaves.”

Zevo-3 is a Skechers Entertainment production in association with Moonscoop. Van Cott and Elizabeth Daro are co-executive producers. The show is based on characters created by John Masse.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Online Auction to help the Gulf

Venture Bros. artists Tom Bayne and Carly Monardo are having an auction of original animation production drawings, among other things, to raise money for the Gulf Cleanup. All proceeds go to The Colbert Nation's GULF OF AMERICA FUND. You can read about this charity here.

Check them out and help the cause:

Here's Tom's:

Here's Carly's:

Carly and Tom are also accepting original art donations. They can be contacted via the links.

Creator of Thailand's 1st animated film remembered

Thailand's National Film Archive (Public Organisation) will host a memorial service Saturday afternoon for Payut Ngaokrachang, who drew the country's first animated film.

Members of the public are welcome at the service, to be held at the Film Archive compound in Salaya.

Frail and almost blind, Ngaokrachang died May 27 at 81.

Ngaokrachang premiered his 12-minute Hed Mahatsajan (The Amazing Incident) at Chalermthai Theatre in 1955. The hand-drawn cartoon centers on a man's encounters as he walks down Ratchadamnoen Avenue.

He also directed and wrote the 1979 animated film Sudsakorn, also known as Sudsakorn Adventure and The Adventure of Sudsakorn. The 82-minuted fantasy, based on the epic poem "Phra Aphai Mani" by Sunthon Phu, tells of how the son of a mermaid and a minstrel prince goes on a quest.

Born in 1929 in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, he studied art at Bangkok's Poh Chang College. In July 1955, he showed Thailand's first cartoon to the press before the screening of a feature-length Thai film.

Virtually alone in his field, Ngaokrachang was hired to draw cartoons for many Thai TV commercials. He drew his creations frame by frame.

In 1976, he and his daughter, 1970s actress Nantana Ngaokrachang, started drawing Sudsakorn, the first feature-length Thai animated film. It was completed two years later.

His daughter, a longtime United States resident, returned to Thailand for her father's funeral and will join the memorial Saturday.

Sudsakorn was the only feature-length Thai cartoon for almost 30 years until computer animators came on the scene. The little-seen Pang Pond was released in the early 2000s, and Kompin Khemkamnerd's Khan Kluay came out in 2006.

Ngaokrachang's eyes weakened over the years; he had nearly lost his eyesight from his intense labors on Sudsakorn.

The Thai Film Foundation named its annual animation contest the Payut Ngaokrachang Award in 1998. The man for whom it was named would show up at every year's ceremony to give the trophy to winners -- usually students.

During Saturday's memorial ceremony, poet Jiranan Pitpreecha will read a poem she composed for the occasion. After Ngaokrachang's students and relatives offer their memories of the animator, the archive will screen Hed Mahatsajan.

THIS FRIDAY IN NYC: The Twisted Animation of Patrick Smith

This Friday, June 18, NY indie Pat Smith will be presenting a screening of his short films including the world premiere of his latest film Masks. Also on the program: a behind-the-scenes mini-doc directed by Lizz Lyons. Pat, Lizz, and Karl von Kries, the composer of Masks, will be available for a Q&A session after the show. The screening begins at 8pm at the 92Y in Tribeca (200 Hudson St.). Tickets, which are $12, can be purchased ahead of time at the 92Y website. Also be sure to check out Scribble Junkies, the blog that Pat co-authors with Bill Plympton.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

MORE Looney Tunes character designs

The photo above is one I snapped of the wall of the Warner Bros. booth at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas last week. The hype for the new Looney Tunes Show was there in full force, with Jessica Borutski’s character designs taking front and center in the promotion. Several Brew readers sent in the following scans (below), which were apparently given out to licensees. The more I see of these, the more I like.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

"Bolts & Blip" Joining Teletoon on June 27

Teletoon will add Bolts & Blip, a CG-animated action-comedy set in the year 2080, to its lineup, the network said today.

The title characters are misfit robots who are accidentally inducted into the Lunar League, a robotic sports circuit that winds up having to defend the Earth and Moon from evil forces. The network boasts that the series comes with an eco-friendly twist and conveys messages about teamwork.

Bolt & Blip will premiere on Monday, June 28, at 9:25am (ET/PT) and air on weekdays with an encore presentation on Saturdays at 7:00am. Episodes will also be available on Video on Demand and via the teletoon.com video player.

"SpongeBob: Clash of Triton" Premiering on July 5

The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Clash of Triton" will premiere on Nickelodeon on Monday, July 5, at 8:00pm (ET/PT), the network said today.

The half-hour special drags SpongeBob into a royal family quarrel as he tries to repair the frayed relationship between King Neptune and his son. Celebrity guest stars include John O'Hurley as King Neptune, Sebastian Bach of Skid Row as Triton, and Victoria Beckham as Queen Amphitrite.

The premiere and encores will be simulcast on Nickelodeon Mobile, and it will be available on download-to-own platforms following its premiere. It will be released to DVD on July 13.

Nickelodeon also says it will air all-new SpongeBob episodes during the rest of the week at 8:00pm (ET/PT).

Michel Ocelot Turns Two Dimensions Into Three With DRAGONS AND PRINCESSES

Oh, now this is intriguing.

French animator Michel Ocelot burst on to the international scene with his Kirikou And The Sorceress several years back, that feature being a traditionally animated foray into the world of African folklore. And while Kirikou was rightly hailed as a masterwork it only hinted at the diversity of Ocelot's style, the animator having previously worked extensively with paper cutouts and silhouettes. Some of this work is now available on DVD but audiences are soon going to get the chance to see it on the big screen.

Ocelot's next project has just been announced and it's a big one. Initially launched with the intent of getting back to the simplicity of his roots, the upcoming Dragons and Princesses is now pretty comfortably the largest project of his career, one which will exist in both television and feature incarnations with the feature screening in 3D. Using the silhouette style he developed with his earlier Princess and Princesses, the television series will feature five short films based on international fairy tales. One of these segments is due to screen at the Annecy Festival this week. For the feature, the existing five stories will be joined by a sixth, with the feature screening in 3D.

This, of course, begs the question of how you make a silhouette movie 3D, and I can only assume that they're going to use the technology to really separate the layers and create true depth of field. And this, to me, is a perfect use of the technology.

(Thanks Twitch)

If Anybody Ever Makes An Animated HP Lovecraft Feature, It Should Be Tom Werber.

Not only should Werber be given the chance to do it, I hereby submit that we should bully him into submission until he does. Don't make me come over there and smack you, Tom....

(Thanks Twitch)

New Teaser From Studio Ghibli's ARRIETTY!

Anything new from famed animation house Studio Ghibli is a cause for celebration, even more so when the new material is a new feature marking the directorial debut of one of Miyazaki's key animators based on an award winning and much loved book.

The film is Karigurashi No Arrietty - The Borrower Arrietty in English - directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the key animator on Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away and Ponyo. Based on Mary Norton's The Borrowers the story revolves around a family of tiny, but otherwise normal, people who live hidden in the house of normal sized people, surviving by 'borrowing' lost and discarded items that they can use themselves.

Slated for a late summer release a new teaser for this has just arrived. So what do you think? Is it another classic or another Cat Returns for Ghibli?

(Thanks Twitch)

(Ed. note: Personally, I thought The Cat Returns was great.)

First Teaser for Stephen Chow Produced CJ7: THE CARTOON

A few weeks ago, our first look at Stephen Chow-produced/Toe Yuen-directed CJ7: The Cartoon comes in the form of some screenshot images but now we get a chance to see these images put into animated form with the debut of the teaser trailer. Just like the first installment, more wacky situation ensues and there's even a funny nod to Shaolin Soccer.

The animated sequel opens in mainland China theaters on July 6th. You'll find the teaser trailer embedded below.

(Thanks Twitch)

PepperMelon Kicks Off World Cup With Gola Mondo

PepperMelon animated this new spot that promotes the coverage of the World Cup in the UK newspaper The Guardian. The ad is titled Gola Mondo, and PepperMelon’s Tomas Garcia directed, while Martin Dasnoy, Julio Velazquez and Franco Carlesimo animated. The agency on the job was Wieden + Kennedy, London. A peek into the character design process is cataloged at the PepperMelon site.

Two More Annecy Signal Films – Junk Space and Red River Bay

The 2010 Annecy Festival has released two more signal films from the students at Gobelins. The first, Red River Bay, takes us to a beast-filled swamp, and the second, Junk Space, fuses baseball, junk and some metaphysical energy cloud thing. Not sure what it all means, but damn is it beautiful.

Red River Bay – directed by De Rémi Bastie, Nicolas Dehghani, Rachid Guendouze, Maxime Mary and Jeremy Pires

Junk Space – directed by De Marion Delannoy, Jonathan Djob Nkondo, Paul Lacolley, Kevin Manach and Nicolas Pegon

More Student Shorts From The Animation Workshop

Strong work continues to emerge from The Animation Workshop in Denmark. Here’s two more shorts:

Alpha – directed by Nicolai Slothuus, Matthías Æ. Bjarnasson and Christian Munk Sørensen

Leit Motif – directed by Jeanett Nørgaard, Marie M. T. Tørslev, Marie Jørgensen and Mette Ilene Holmriis

Watch 90 Seconds of the Rebirth of Futurama

Like Family Guy, Futurama has risen from the dead. Starting on June 24th, 26 new episodes will begin airing on Comedy Central. The series has been dead longer than I’d recalled. Family Guy was dead for only a couple years, but Futurama was put to rest 2003. Then in 2008, four made-for-DVD projects were split into episodes and aired on Comedy Central. Here’s 90 seconds from the new episode, Rebirth, which airs at 10pm/9c on Thursday, June 24th.

This sequence was actually teased at Supercon in animatic form last year:

New Trailer for Adult Swim’s Frankenhole

Some footage has emerged from Dino Stamatopoulos’ (Moral Orel) new series Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole. The stop-motion project is set to begin on Adult Swim on June 27th, and it will be hosted by both Stamatopoulos and Andy Dick. Whu?

Here’s more proof that Dick has penetrated the Adult Swim force field:

'The Dark Knight' Director Is 'Not A Huge Fan of 3-D'

Earlier this year, it was officially announced that Christopher Nolan will return to direct a third "Batman" film. And while there has been speculation that the follow-up to "The Dark Knight" would be filmed in 3-D, Nolan recently made his feelings on the subject crystal clear.

"I'm not a huge fan of 3-D," said Nolan during an appearance at the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex Film Festival. "There are a lot of problems with [shooting in 3-D]. The idea of shooting a whole film through a massive beam-splitter and so forth — there are enormous compromises. Post-conversion technologies probably, for me, are definitely the future, but really it is up to the audiences what they want to see and how they want to watch their films."

However, Nolan also added "There is no question if audiences want to watch films in stereoscopic imaging, that's what the studios will be doing, and that's what I'll be doing."

The report also indicated that Nolan's third "Batman" movie will begin filming early next year. The film is scheduled to be released on July 20, 2012.

Back in March, Nolan indicated that his next "Batman" will wrap up the storyline he started with "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight."

"I’m very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we’ve done with the characters,” said Nolan. "Unlike the comics, these things don’t go on forever in film and viewing it as a story with an end is useful. Viewing it as an ending, that sets you very much on the right track about the appropriate conclusion and the essence of what tale we’re telling."

Nolan also recently confirmed that The Joker would not be recast or used in his third "Batman" movie.

More 'Thor' Revealed: First Look At Jaimie Alexander As Sif

Back in March, actress Jaimie Alexander posted an update on Twitter about her role in "Thor," saying she had to "get even more fit" to play the Asgardian warrior Sif.

Now it looks like we have our first look at Alexander in costume, courtesy of Entertainment Tonight's recent "Thor" set visit. Over at SuperHeroHype, they've posted a trio of low-res screenshots from the broadcast featuring Alexander in the midst of some wire-work on the set.

The images don't seem to indicate much correlation between the live-action Sif's costume and that of her comics counterpart, with the character's winged helmet (a recurring element in her costume over the years) being the most notable omission.

However, it looks like Sif will indeed be dressed to kill — literally — which certainly stays true to the character.

In comics history, Sif is an Asgardian warrior with a longstanding love for Thor, who frequently accompanies him into battle. alexander was announced in the role back in September 2009, and has commented publicly on several occasions about her intense "Thor" training regimen.

Men In Black III Big Willie Style Teaser Clip

Announced at last year's ShoWest, Men in Black III will be the latest chapter of alien fighting agents Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

At the Sony 3D TV launch event, they showed a clip of Will dressed in his MIB gear, talking about how awesome he is. What a shock. More from Sonyinsider.com:

While Smith has officially signed on to return as Agent Jay, Jones is in advanced negotiations to return as Agent Kay. Josh Brolin is also in talks to play the younger (1969) version of Kay. Others rumored to have parts in the film include Sacha Baron Cohen and Jemaine Clement. It was later confirmed that Clement had landed the role of Boris (formerly named “Yaz”). Production of the sequel is tentatively set to begin during the 2010 Fall season and will welcome back producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. Steven Spielberg is also set to return as executive producer.

Check out the clip below.

(Thanks Latino Review)

Warners hires writers for 'Green Lantern 2' and 'Flash' (exclusive)

“Green Lantern” is a year away from release, but Warner Bros. already is starting development on a sequel.

The studio has hired Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim, all of whom worked on the “Lantern” screenplay, to write a treatment for the second installment.

The trio has also been tapped to pen the treatment for the silver-screen incarnation of “The Flash.”

Under the deal, they would then go on to write the screenplay for one of the two projects, though which one has not been determined.

“Lantern” is shooting in New Orleans under the direction of Martin Campbell with Ryan Reynolds starring as the emerald ring-wielding DC Comics superhero who is part of an intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps.

Development on a second installment this far out from a movie’s release date is rare, signaling the studio’s confidence in what it sees so far.

It also appears to be the first moves the studio is making under its newly configured relationship with DC.

In September, DC was reorganized to bring it closer to Warners, with Diane Nelson named president of newly created DC Entertainment. In February, artist Jim Lee and executive editor Dan DiDio were named publishers of DC Comics. Star writer Geoff Johns was appointed chief creative officer of DCE, with the aim of bridging the comics and filmed entertainment sides.

With new Batman and Superman films in the writing stages and “Lantern” filming, the team thought “Flash” was the next logical hero to tackle.

Development on a feature version of the scarlet speedster has gone through several false starts over the years, but the character is close to Johns’ heart. The writer recently brought back to prominence one version of the character not seen since the mid-1980s and is working on a relaunch of the series.

The “Flash” film will take inspiration from Johns’ recent work and will feature the Barry Allen incarnation of the character. (In comics lore, several names have wielded the Flash mantle, though Allen, created in 1956, remains by far the most popular.)

Berlanti, creator of “Everwood,” recently directed the feature “Life as We Know it,” starring Katherine Heigl, and is an exec producer on ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters.” He co-created “Eli Stone” with Guggenheim, who is exec producing ABC’s upcoming superhero drama “No Ordinary Family.” Berlanti co-created "Family," which stars Michael Chiklis.

Green worked with Berlanti on “Everwood” and created NBC’s “Kings.”

(Thanks Heat Vision)

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