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]