Monthly Archives: April 2011

Cookie Jar kick-starts production of “Mudpit”



Pro­duc­tion of the partly ani­mated Cookie Jar Enter­tain­ment series Mud­pit, set to air on Canada’s Tele­toon Eng­lish and Tele­toon French in the fall of 2011, is now under­way at down­town Toronto’s CBC Stu­dio 40 with a cast of musi­cally diverse, tal­ented teens.

With over 20 inter­na­tional awards, Canada’s Guru Stu­dio is brought onboard to pro­duce the CGI ani­ma­tion for the series, cur­rently being shot within the 13,000-square-foot “state of the art” stu­dio in Toronto.

I focus on pro­duc­ing shows that rein­vest in Cana­dian tal­ent and push the enve­lope with cutting-edge, cre­ative ideas that stim­u­late the tech­no­log­i­cally savvy imag­i­na­tions of our young audi­ences. I remain com­mit­ted to that,” says Cookie Jar CEO Michael Hirsh.

Mud­pit takes place at the nexus of the social and per­sonal power of music and the appeal of role-playing in a dig­i­tal world. This CGI animated/live-action series fol­lows four real-world teens and their rock band, Mud­pit, as they fol­low their dreams of fame and fortune.

The series takes place in a gam­ing café and a fan­tas­tic, vir­tual world known as Musika. Their online avatar rock band per­sonas bat­tle for a cov­eted record deal, while their real life selves engage in the daily com­edy and drama of teenage life.

Hirsh added: “We have part­nered with award-winning Cana­dian based gam­ing com­pany NDI Media and secured some of the best writ­ers and pro­duc­ers in the enter­tain­ment indus­try for this series. The Mud­pit cast mem­bers come from across Canada, with a num­ber of the leads cred­ited with indus­try nom­i­na­tions and pre­vi­ous lead­ing roles in other Cana­dian and U.S. major productions.”

The Mud­pit series was cre­ated by Jamie Waese. Waese recently spent two years as head of cur­rent pro­gram­ming for Cookie Jar Enter­tain­ment, where he over­saw all cre­ative aspects. He is the pro­ducer and co-director of Gotta Catch Santa Claus, a one-hour CGI Christ­mas movie with William Shat­ner as Santa.

Bruce Kalish is the series exec­u­tive producer-showrunner. Kalish began his career on the hit ABC com­edy series Mork & Mindy, and has since amassed numer­ous awards and cre­den­tials as a writer-producer.

Kalish cre­ated, wrote and exec­u­tive pro­duced Dis­ney XD’s first live-action series, Aaron Stone. He wrote and exec­u­tive pro­duced Strange Days at Blake Holsey High and the hit series The Fall Guy, and was writer-executive pro­ducer on Dis­ney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jack­son and The Famous Jett Jack­son Movie, for which he won a Gem­ini Award for Best Series.

Lead­ing cast mem­bers include Montreal’s own Jesse Rath as band leader Liam/Lamb. Rath’s recur­ring role on CBC’s 18 To Life recently earned him a nom­i­na­tion for a Gem­ini for Best Ensem­ble Per­for­mance in a Com­edy Pro­gram or Series. Car­leigh Bev­erly, who has appeared in Con­nor Under­cover, the ABC drama Rookie Blue and the Life­time Orig­i­nal Movie Who Is Clark Rock­e­feller?, backs the crew up as power drum­mer Geneva/G.

Adding to the Cana­dian cast is Vas Saranga as Reese/Dodge. Saranga is most well known for his recur­ring role on Dis­ney XD’s Aaron Stone as Vas and Car­toon Network’s Unnat­ural His­tory as Brox­ton Garko.

Round­ing out the cast is Daniel Magder as Mikey/Booch, best known as Edwin from Life with Derek. Magder began to learn his craft work­ing with Tim­o­thy Hut­ton. Daniel’s cred­its also include appear­ing with Shel­ley Long in Van­ished With­out A Trace (NBC), James Gar­ner and Julie Andrews in One Spe­cial Night (CBS), and with Jen­nifer Lopez in Angel Eyes.

The cast per­son­ally sing the orig­i­nal songs cre­ated for the show and per­form all their own voiceovers for their avatar personas.

Kung Fu Panda 2″ slate of promotions kicks off

Kung Fu Panda 2

Kung Fu Panda 2

Dream­Works Ani­ma­tion SKG, Inc. announced Mon­day its kung fu kick­ing slate of mar­ket­ing, licens­ing and pro­mo­tional part­ners in sup­port of the studio’s upcom­ing fea­ture film release Kung Fu Panda 2, which comes to the­aters May 26.

In its first-ever movie-themed tofu pro­mo­tion, House Foods Amer­ica, America’s lead­ing tofu pro­ducer, is bring­ing Kung Fu Panda 2–branded tofu prod­ucts to super­mar­kets across the United States, and has kicked off its cam­paign with a microsite ( to pro­mote the ben­e­fits of tofu.

House Foods is fea­tur­ing Po and the Furi­ous Five on over eight mil­lion pack­ages and 16 dif­fer­ent prod­ucts. Its microsite fea­tures a sweep­stakes to win a trip for four to China, “tofu­pe­dia,” tofu advice from a reg­is­tered dieti­cian, cook­ing tips, and a link to Cas­tle Builders dig­i­tal cook­book for the iPad, which includes themed recipes for the entire fam­ily. House Foods is also sup­port­ing Kung Fu Panda 2 via in-store, print, online, out­door bill­boards and bus wraps in select cities.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is now being pro­moted across many plat­forms with one-of-a-kind cam­paigns pow­ered by tele­vi­sion, print, out­door, online, on-shelf, social media, in-theater pro­mo­tions as well as unique events and offers,” said Susan Spencer, Dream­Works Animation’s head of pro­mo­tions and mar­ket­ing ser­vices. “At Dream­Works Ani­ma­tion, we strive to make mar­ket­ing con­nec­tions that fit organ­i­cally with each movie, and we are thrilled to have once again received such momen­tous sup­port from our part­ners — includ­ing the first-ever movie pro­mo­tion with House Foods to pro­mote the ben­e­fits of tofu, a healthy food item fea­tured through­out the story of Kung Fu Panda 2.”

Other pro­mo­tional part­ners fea­tured in Dream­Works Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 campaign:

Lead­ing con­fec­tioner Air­heads offers two all-new Kung Fu Panda 2–themed fla­vors of their sig­na­ture chewy candy inspired by the movie: “Kickin’ Berry” and “Orange Blast,” which are avail­able in four mil­lion specially-themed packs. Air­heads is also sup­port­ing the film with a ded­i­cated TV com­mer­cial, in-store sig­nage and online ele­ments, includ­ing themed games.

AT&T fea­tures Kung Fu Panda 2–themed posters, win­dow clings and in-store sig­nage, and incor­po­rates Po in its 6,000 retail stores.

Best Buy is fea­tur­ing exclu­sive “behind the scenes” videos of Kung Fu Panda 2 on its Best Buy ON Net­work through­out over 1,000 stores and online. Best Buy is also fea­tur­ing Po through online and in-store advertising.

Gen­eral Mills is bring­ing the Kung Fu Panda 2 adven­tures to break­fast tables every­where. Through­out the spring, spin fighter toys fea­tur­ing the movie’s char­ac­ters can be found inside specially-marked boxes of par­tic­i­pat­ing cere­als: Cocoa Puffs, Trix , Golden Gra­hams, Reese’s Puffs, Chee­rios, Apple Cin­na­mon Chee­rios, Cookie Crisp, Lucky Charms, Cin­na­mon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Chee­rios. Gen­eral Mills is also offer­ing spe­cial Kung Fu Panda 2–themed Fruit Roll-Ups.

Hint Water is show­cas­ing Po on the pack­ag­ing of its most pop­u­lar fla­vor of water, and is pro­vid­ing water for field mar­ket­ing and pub­lic­ity events sur­round­ing the the­atri­cal launch of the movie. Hint Water is also pro­mot­ing Kung Fu Panda 2 through its Web site, social media and in-store signage.

McDonald’s is launch­ing a global Happy Meal pro­gram in nearly all of its 117 mar­kets world­wide that invites kids to “Mas­ter the Po Panda Chal­lenge” with high– action toys, custom-created ani­mated TV com­mer­cials, and restau­rant and dig­i­tal activities.

Sun-Maid is pro­vid­ing 3.5 mil­lion pack­ages of 24 oz. can­is­ters and 6-pack raisin SKUs, print, online, social media and on-pack QR bar­codes that link to a mobile site fea­tur­ing addi­tional Kung Fu Panda 2–themed con­tent.

HP is fea­tur­ing Kung Fu Panda 2–branded prod­ucts in photo kiosks at retail­ers across the coun­try. HP cre­ated Kung Fu Panda 2 print­a­bles, which are avail­able on HP, Dream­Works Ani­ma­tion and part­ner Web sites, and has added Kung Fu Panda 2 char­ac­ters and themes to HP Photo Cre­ations, a free soft­ware down­load for per­son­al­ized photo col­lages, cal­en­dars and albums, which are avail­able online. A Kung Fu Panda 2 3D trailer is also pre-loaded onto the HP ENVY 17 3D. In addi­tion, Intel Cor­po­ra­tion is inte­grat­ing Po into its retail pro­grams in cer­tain territories.

Key mer­chan­dise licensees fea­tured in the Company’s Kung Fu Panda 2 campaign:

Jem Sports­wear is spear­head­ing the launch of a col­lec­tion of girls, boys, men’s and women’s apparel inspired by Kung Fu Panda 2. Jem is fea­tur­ing a col­lec­tion of fash­ion tees with nov­elty treat­ments and washes and spe­cialty print­ing techniques.

Hall­mark will have a line of Kung Fu Panda 2–themed party goods, greet­ing cards at var­i­ous retail­ers, and a spe­cial hol­i­day orna­ment at its Hall­mark Gold Crown stores.

Mas­ter toy licensee Mat­tel has cre­ated a full line of new kung fu kickin’ toys in antic­i­pa­tion of Kung Fu Panda 2, which allows kids to reen­act key moments and bat­tle scenes from the movie, as well as become their own kung fu mas­ter. The toy line includes large-scale, talk­ing action fig­ures, mini col­lectible fig­ures, an action packed can­non launcher with lights and sounds, a pull-back Po vehi­cle racer with launch­ing fire­works, a vari­ety of plush, soft­ware for their pro­pri­etary early learn­ing plat­forms: iXL and Smart Cycle, and a jumbo kung fu wrestler Po plush that allows kids to train and fight like a kung fu mas­ter. Addi­tional role play toys are avail­able exclu­sively at var­i­ous retail accounts across the United States. Prod­ucts are being sup­ported by a national TV campaign.

The Kung Fu Panda 2 pub­lish­ing pro­gram cov­ers a broad spec­trum of titles for var­i­ous age lev­els and inter­ests, includ­ing tra­di­tional sto­ry­books from Pen­guin Books, color and activ­ity books from Dal­ma­t­ian Press, comic books from Ape Enter­tain­ment, and a num­ber of inno­v­a­tive dig­i­tal book appli­ca­tions, includ­ing a sto­ry­book from iSto­ry­Time, an inter­ac­tive cook­book from Cas­tle Builders, and a first of its kind “Art Of” App from Palace Press.

THQ has released the Kung Fu Panda 2 video game on Kinect for Xbox 360 video game and enter­tain­ment sys­tem from Microsoft, PlayStation3 com­puter enter­tain­ment sys­tem, uDraw Wii GameTablet and Nin­tendo DS in con­junc­tion with the the­atri­cal debut of the movie. Play­ers can find all-new ways to enter the world of Kung Fu Panda 2 in the video game, includ­ing the unique abil­ity to use Kinect tech­nol­ogy to “become” Po on screen, as they seek to restore the bal­ance of power and save kung fu forever.

VTech is launch­ing new Kung Fu Panda 2 soft­ware car­tridges that fea­ture Po and the Furi­ous Five for both the V.Reader Inter­ac­tive E-Book Sys­tem and the MobiGo Touch Learn­ing Sys­tem. The car­tridges will be avail­able at all major retail­ers and on

The Chinese Nightingale (1935) — Happy Harmonies Theatrical Cartoon Series

CotD: Though not shown any­more because of racial over­tones, Harmon-Ising’s “The Chi­nese Nightin­gale” is a clas­sic tale from China ~

The Chinese Nightingale (1935) - Happy Harmonies

The Chi­nese Nightin­gale (1935) — Happy Harmonies

The Chi­nese Nightin­gale (1935) — Happy Har­monies The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

A mini-musical, telling in song (through a trio of Chi­nese girls) the fairy tale of a beau­ti­ful nightin­gale, beloved of the Chi­nese emperor, who is glad­dened by its song. The emperor is moved to play his own song.

One day, the Japan­ese send a music box with a mechan­i­cal bird; the nightin­gale feels rejected and flies away to raise a fam­ily. But soon, the clock­work breaks down, and the emperor dis­patches his crow to go look; mean­while, the emperor grows sicker with the pass­ing months. The nightin­gale is per­suaded to return, at which time the emperor sings “Happy Days are Here Again.”

Watch The Chi­nese Nightin­gale at Big Car­toon DataBase

Despicable Me” producer joins “Foosball” team

"Metegol" (Foosball)

Mete­gol” (Foosball)

Span­ish ani­ma­tor Ser­gio Pab­los, an exec­u­tive pro­ducer on last year’s Uni­ver­sal Pictures-Illumination Enter­tain­ment fea­ture film Despi­ca­ble Me, is now an ani­ma­tion super­vi­sor on the 3D movie Mete­gol (Foos­ball).

Based on a story by late Argen­tinean writer-illustrator Roberto Fonta­nar­rosa, the movie shows how foos­ball game fig­ures come to life, help­ing an under­dog to score against a soc­cer star, thus sav­ing their village.

The direc­tor is Argentina’s Juan Jose Cam­panella (The Secret in Their Eyes). His pro­duc­tion com­pany, 100 Bares, is work­ing with Cat­mandu Branded Enter­tain­ment, both based in Buenos Aires. Also involved are Madrid-based pro­duc­tion com­pany Plural-Jempsa and Spain’s Antena 3 Films.

Foos­ball is bud­geted at about $9.8 mil­lion, and is sched­uled for release in 2012.

Cam­panella is direct­ing and co-writing with Gas­ton Gorali, Eduardo Sacheri and Axel Kuschevatzky.

Antena 3 Films is the movie pro­duc­tion arm of net­work Antena 3. Spain’s gen­eral audio­vi­sual law requires the broad­caster to invest 3% of its annual TV rev­enues in local film.

[Via Vari­ety]

The Cat Concerto (1947) — Tom and Jerry Cartoon Series

CotD: Oscar-winning car­toon, and great back­story– what came first, Warn­ers’ Rhap­sody Rab­bit or MGM’s “The Cat Concerto” ~

The Cat Concerto (1947) - Tom and Jerry Theatrical Cartoon Series

The Cat Con­certo (1947) — Tom and Jerry The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

The Cat Con­certo (1947) — Tom and Jerry The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Tom is an acknowl­edged mas­ter pianist primed to give his great­est per­for­mance of Liszt’s Sec­ond Hun­gar­ian Rhap­sody. As he pre­pares and finally set­tles down, ready to play, Jerry is deter­mined to dis­rupt Tom’s con­cert. Jerry pulls on the strings inside the piano, slams the shut­ter on Tom’s hands, and gen­er­ally runs amok. Tom fights him with the piano with­out miss­ing a sin­gle note.

Watch The Cat Con­certo at Big Car­toon DataBase

Rio” stays at No. 1 in North America and abroad



In its sec­ond week­end in North Amer­ica and its third over­seas, ani­mated fam­ily adven­ture Rio remained the No. 1 movie at the box office in both domes­tic and for­eign receipts.

Star­ring the voices of Anne Hath­away and Jesse Eisen­berg, Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Fox’s talking-bird romance col­lected $26.8 mil­lion in the United States and Canada.

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Fam­ily opened in a close sec­ond place with $25.8 million.

Over­seas, Rio was No. 1 for the third week­end in a row. Its $44.2 mil­lion gross made the cumu­la­tive for­eign tak­ings reach $204.7 mil­lion. It’s now col­lected $286 mil­lion worldwide.

Rio was screened abroad at 12,987 venues in 67 coun­tries. Directed by Rio de Janeiro native Car­los Sal­danha, it stayed at No. 1 in Brazil (mak­ing just under $30 mil­lion over three week­ends), Mex­ico ($17.6 mil­lion in three week­ends), France ($9.5 mil­lion over two week­ends), Spain and Italy.

It’s nice to have two movies in the top three,” said Bert Liv­ingston, dis­tri­b­u­tion exec­u­tive for 20th Cen­tury Fox, which released both Rio and Water for Ele­phants, the third-place fin­isher domestically.

Accord­ing to box-office track­ing com­pany, North Amer­i­can receipts reached $138 mil­lion — 39% more than the same week­end last year, when How To Train Your Dragon was the cham­pion with $15.4 million.

Rio dropped just 32% in its sec­ond week­end in North Amer­ica, mak­ing a total of $81.3 mil­lion domestically.

Universal’s Hop, com­bin­ing ani­ma­tion and live action, was in fourth place domes­ti­cally with $12.5 mil­lion. It fin­ished third abroad, col­lect­ing $10.7 mil­lion from 4,400 screens in 53 coun­tries. It opened in third place in Brazil, bring­ing in $1 mil­lion from 296 locations.

So far, the Easter tale has made $47.2 mil­lion in for­eign theaters.

Esti­mated ticket sales for Fri­day through Sun­day at United States and Cana­dian the­aters were released by Final fig­ures are slated for release Monday.

[Via Asso­ci­ated Press —…bGsDcmlvc3BlYWtzbG91, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter —…ice-rio-takes-181742]

The Absent-Minded Wizard (1970) — Here Comes The Grump Cartoon Episode Guide

CotD: An unusu­aly show, and one of the first Friz Frelkeng did at Depatie-Freleng “The Absent-Minded Wizard” ~

The Absent-Minded Wizard (1970) - Here Comes The Grump Cartoon Episode Guide

The Absent-Minded Wiz­ard (1970) — Here Comes The Grump Car­toon Episode Guide

The Absent-Minded Wiz­ard (1970) — Here Comes The Grump Car­toon Episode Guide

In this sur­real ani­mated saga, we get to know the tale of Princess Dawn, who must find the Whis­per­ing Orchid’s cave (and the Crys­tal Key hid­den therein) in order to save her king­dom from the Curse of Gloom, which has been placed by the evil Grump. To aid her, Princess Dawn sum­mons young Terry Dex­ter, a boy from Earth, and in their fly­ing machine, accom­pa­nied by their bizarre pet Bip. They jour­ney through a myr­iad of strange coun­tries in a fan­tasy world in their quest for the key. But the Grump (a mix between a demon and a dwarf) is set to spoil their mis­sion, fol­low­ing them close on their trail, atop a bum­bling, aller­gic and stu­pid Dragon with which he often quar­rels. Along the way, the Princess is kid­napped, they meet Mother Goose, Bip finds true love, and Terry is cor­rupted (only to be turned back to nor­mal later)…

Watch The Absent-Minded Wiz­ard at Big Car­toon DataBase

Alphamin Adds Four Shows



French ani­ma­tion house Alphanim, a divi­sion of Gau­mount, has announced four new shows in devel­op­ment. Get ready for the fol­low­ing new shows.

Bao Bat­tle- Fifty-two episodes in 13 min­utes seg­ments. Ever since Kuro, Hip Hop, and Melka dis­cov­ered Bao Bat­tle, a breath­tak­ing age-old art whose par­tic­i­pants per­form unimag­in­able feats, their lives changed for the bet­ter! The only down­side is that Bao Bat­tle has been out­lawed for years by a mali­cious tyrant… Thanks to the influ­ence of the mys­te­ri­ous Mas­ter Moko, Kuro and his friends will decide to hardly prac­tice and face off against the great­est cham­pi­ons of Bao Bat­tle, who have been prac­tic­ing their art with the utter­most secrecy. Kuro and his friends have begun a quest to do the impos­si­ble: chal­lenge the Eter­nal Grand Coun­selor, beat him, and make the Bao Bat­tle legal again!

Ham­let & Joe- Seventy-eight seven minute episodes. When the Gro­big Depart­ment Store closes its doors for the night, JOE, a stiff-shirt, obses­sive com­pul­sive robot gets to work keep­ing the store in tip­top shape. Every­thing would be per­fect – if it weren’t for the down­stairs neigh­bor, HAMLET. He’s a lit­tle piglet who seri­ously lacks table man­ners and crashes Joe’s party of robotic pre­ci­sion. In other words, he’s a whole lot of fun! Thrown together by cir­cum­stance, the two are a brew of con­flict­ing styles. Whether it’s play­ing in the sports depart­ment while wear­ing roller blades or turn­ing beds into tram­po­lines, Ham­let makes Joe pop a diode!

Pok & Mok- Seventy-eight eight minute episodes. What do you get when you mix Mok, a boy with a mind that goes a mile-a-minute and his hyper pet ani­mal Pok, a short haired gib­bon, together? A zippy series that fol­lows their mis-adventures as their par­ents, Ernest and Pene­lope, try to put out the fires. All the while, we learn about the envi­ron­ment and why Pok shouldn’t jump down the drain to see where the water flows, or why Mok shouldn’t spray pes­ti­cides on plants to make them grow faster! A 78x8’ com­edy that approaches envi­ron­men­tal issues from a wacky angle.

Spencer- Fifty-two thir­teen minute episodes. Spencer is a com­edy series cen­tered around 11 year old Spencer Wright, an ordi­nary boy who just hap­pens to have some­thing extra-ordinary: a guardian angel! The only catch: this angel doesn’t come with wings. He comes with a gui­tar case, a magic pick, long hair, and a wild, life’s-a-fun-journey-let’s-rock atti­tude. Yes, Spencer’s guardian is a rock star; a rock star ghost that is. Some kids have no luck!

This Way Up (2008) — Theatrical Cartoon

CotD: A con­tender for last year’s Acad­emy Award, “This Way Up” is a fun tale of two under­tak­ers– worth watching! ~

This Way Up (2008) - Theatrical Cartoon

This Way Up (2008) — The­atri­cal Cartoon

This Way Up (2008) — The­atri­cal Cartoon

Lay­ing the dead to rest has never been so much trou­ble. Two under­tak­ers bat­tle a series of mis­ad­ven­tures while try­ing to deliver a cof­fin to the graveyard.

Watch This Way Up at Big Car­toon DataBase

Russian actor, director Mikhail Kozakov dead at 76

Mikhail Kozakov

Mikhail Koza­kov

Russ­ian actor-director Mikhail Koza­kov, the voice of the Lit­tle Ele­phant in the 1976–91 Soyuz­mult­film car­toon series 38 Pop­u­gaev (38 Par­rots), has died after a long ill­ness, the Ekho Moskvy Oleg Basi­lashvili radio sta­tion reported. He was 76.

Nei­ther the date nor place of death was announced.

Also known as Mikhail Kaza­kov, he had been treated in an Israeli hos­pi­tal near Tel Aviv after being diag­nosed with lung can­cer. Media reported in recent weeks that the actor had been trans­ferred to a hospice.

Koza­kov nar­rated Zagadka Sfinksa (The Enigma of the Sphinx), a 1985 Soyuz­mult­film car­toon which was based on ancient Egypt­ian fres­coes. He was in the voice casts of Muk-Skorokhod (Moock the Foot­man; 1975), based on V. Gauf’s fairy tale “Lit­tle Moock,” and Ecran’s A v Etoj Skazke Bylo Tak (And In This Fairy Tale It Was So; 1984).

Born Mikhail Mikhailovich Koza­kov in Leningrad on Octo­ber 10, 1934, he grad­u­ated from the Moscow Art The­atre School before study­ing filmmaking.

He started act­ing in 1956, star­ring in Mikhail Romm’s film Mur­ders in the Rue Dante. Later, he had roles in such well-known Soviet films as Nine Days in One Year, The Shot, Amphib­ian Man and Hello, I’m Your Aunt.

Kozakov’s direc­to­r­ial cred­its included Pokrovsky Gates, Name­less Star and The Visit.

Also involved in the stage, he cre­ated his own the­atri­cal com­pany, “Russ­ian Enter­prise Mikhail Koza­kov,” in 1996.

Koza­kov was awarded the title People’s Artist of the RSFSR in 1980. He received the Medal of Honor last year.

From 1991 to 1996, he lived in Israel with his wife, the­atre pro­ducer Anna Yam­pol­skaya, with whom he had two chil­dren, Mikhail and Zoya. The two became estranged.