Tag Archives: In Developement

Former Digital Domain Team Seeks to Revive “Tembo”

The Legend Of Tembo

The Legend Of Tembo

Despite being “devastated” by the sudden closure of Digital Domain Media Group’s new Florida studio, director-producers Chuck Williams and Aaron Blaise are bidding for the rights to animated feature The Legend of Tembo, a film canceled when Digital Domain went belly-up.

A tale of a pachyderm taken far from his African home to go to war, The Legend of Tembo would have gone into production in another month. But one day, restructuring specialists at FTI Consulting told studio employees who had come to work that they had two hours to grab their things and go.

Williams and Blaise each worked in animation for the Walt Disney Company for 20 years. Williams moved back to his home state to get Digital Domain developing a studio business. When he came back to his office, his computer was gone.

“It was like a hurricane had blown through and everything was ripped out. I had pitches and scripts and all kinds of work on there,” Williams said.

Through a spokesman, FTI declined comment.

Williams and Blaise are in talks with Beijing-based Galloping Horse, which joined Reliance MediaWorks in purchasing Digital Domain’s special-effects business for $30.2 million at a hasty bankruptcy auction. Already, Galloping Horse has paid $5 million to develop The Legend of Tembo. Williams and Blaise hope that the joint venture will help bring back Digital Domain’s animated movie business.

The creative team feels that Galloping Horse, which bought most of Digital Domain, may also purchase its studio business, too.

“We want to make our movie,” said Williams. “One-hundred-twenty people worked on it for two years. Early tests showed it was fabulous — Disney quality, just like we promised.”

Speaking last week in bankruptcy court last week, Michael Katzenstein of FTI belittled Digital Domain’s attempt to produce animated movies as a mistake, as the firm had done well making special effects for such movies as Titanic for years. He stated that Tembo swallowed $13 million of the company’s funds.

However, Williams and Blaise contend, special effects makes only a small margin of profit, while animated features are a real money-maker, with 90% of such films getting wide release in the United States turning a profit. They said that spending on The Legend of Tembo was par for the industry, and that a profit from Digital Domain’s new studio couldn’t be expected for years.

According to Blaise, a major animated feature is normally budgeted at $80 million to $100 million. A good animated movie takes three or four years to produce, with the money not showing up until it’s in movie houses, he said.

Added Williams: “This was a good bet.”

“We’re sad about what happened. It’s really horrific,” Williams continued. “But we’re excited about what could happen now.”

[Via Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2012/09/26/digital-domains-creative-leaders-hit-the-comeback-trail/]

Tayrona, Arc Partner for 4 Animated Feature Films

Arc Productions

Arc Productions

Toronto-based companies Tayrona Films Inc. and Arc Productions have aligned for a multi-picture co-production partnership to produce four animated feature films, Tayrona president James Ordonez and Arc president and chief operating officer Jeff Young announced Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group brokered the deal.

Tayrona Films Inc. simultaneously announced that it will create Tayrona Animation, which will finance and produce four films with Arc Productions, who will additionally produce and serve as the animation studio for the feature films. The plan calls for Tayrona and Arc to each contribute two films to the slate deal.

The first film is intended to be The Legends Of The Underzoo, an Arc Productions property, based on a screenplay by Kevin Almeida and Jeff Treppel. The action-adventure story follows a group of animal cubs, who — when their zoo is threatened — set out to find the treasure buried in the legendary and mysterious Underzoo.

Tayrona Animation is developing its properties Darwin: A Galapagos Story and Aurora The Spirit Bear Of The North, both written by best-selling author Erik Daniel Shein, as part of the co-production deal. The fourth co-production film is yet to be determined. Tayrona Animation will also release the 3D animated feature Legend of Secret Pass in Latin America and Spain.

Arc Productions has served as the animation studio on five animated feature films, including Gnomeo And Juliet and 9. The announcement furthers Arc’s transition into developing and producing original content. Arc is additionally co-producing its original property ORMIE with Alcon Entertainment.

Sony Pictures Animation becoming a “Manimal” house



Sony Pictures Animation is turning the short-lived Manimal into a live-action/CG hybrid film, having acquired movie rights to the 1983 NBC series.

Hugely prolific 1980s TV producer Glen A. Larson created the show about a man who could become an animal. Now Larson’s attached as a producer, thinking that a flop TV series can become a hit movie. Sony is looking for writers to develop a script.

In the Manimal series, wealthy Dr. Jonathan Chase, who had a mysterious past, became a black panther to help the police fight crime. Also starring were British actor Simon MacCorkindale and Melody Anderson, who portrayed Dale Arden in the 1980 movie Flash Gordon.

The series was canceled after just eight episodes, having been savaged by critics and ignored by TV viewers when it first aired — opposite the blockbuster Dallas.

Last summer, Sony struck paydirt with another live-action/CG film, The Smurfs, which went on to gross $500 million. A sequel to Smurfs is scheduled for release next summer.

And last month, it was reported the studio is developing a live-action/CG version of yet another ’80s TV series, ALF, with creator Paul Fusco, who also voices the title character.

[Via The Hollywood Reporter www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/manimal-tv-series-movie-sony-animation-370769]