Even before the much anticipated film hits theaters, Disney has announced a new animated series to be based on “Guardians of the Galaxy“. Guardians of the Galaxy: The Animated Series- as well as a sequel to the theatrical film- were both announced San Diego’s Comic Con. Marvel Animation and Disney XD even went to far as to preview a one-minute teaser of the new animated series at the Comic-Con.
In a surprise move for a popular, currently airing network series, Nickelodeon is pulling The Legend Of Korra from it’s regular network slot, and finishing out Book Three of the series on the Internet. The Terror Within, which aired Friday, will be the last of the series that will air on Nickelodeon. Beginning with The Stakeout, the series will be available on various Internet streaming sources including Amazon, Google Play, Xbox Video and Hulu as well as the Nickelodeon site and apps.
Skyler Page, creator and executive producer of Cartoon Network’s Clarence animated series has been fired from the network. Page, a CalArts graduate and storyboard artist for Adventure Time, is accused of sexually assaulting a female artist who also works at Cartoon Network. The Cartoon Network spokesperson said that the show- which is still in its first season-will continue.
Vancouver-based Bron Studios announced Tuesday that it is making its first CG-animated feature film, Sole Mates.
Set to begin production next year, the movie is an “animated journey of love, lost and found, with comedic charm and universal themes set in a familiar world from a new point of view.” Bron Studios will team up with Hidden Empire Film Group on the project.
Sole Mates is based on an original concept by Deon Taylor (Chain Letter).
Bron managing director Aaron L. Gilbert will be one of the producers, joining Taylor and Ahmet Zappa (The Odd Life of Timothy Green).
Taylor has produced, directed and written several other projects, including The Hustle (Charlie Murphy) and the drama Supremacy, with Danny Glover.
Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s first film in five years will come out next year, distributor Toho announced Thursday.
Miyazaki will release wartime romance Kaze Tachinu, based on the novel of the same name, usually translated as The Wind Has Risen.
He created Spirited Away, which a 2003 Oscar for Best Animated Feature. His last movie was 2008’s Ponyo.
The protagonist of Kaze Tachinu is based on flight engineer Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Zero fighter, Japan’s best known Second World War fighter aircraft.
Also next year, longtime Miyazaki collaborator Isao Takahata will release his first new film in over a decade. Kaguya Hime No Monogatari will be based on Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter). Japan’s oldest novel, Taketori Monogatari is thought to have been written over 1,000 years ago.
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/]
Disney began production Wednesday on “Saving Mr. Banks,” the account of Walt Disney’s 20-year pursuit of the film rights to P.L. Travers’ popular novel Mary Poppins, and the testy partnership that the upbeat filmmaker develops with the uptight author during the partly animated film’s pre-production in 1961.
Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump) will essay the role of the legendary Disney (the first time that the entrepreneur has ever been depicted in a dramatic film) alongside fellow double Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Howard’s End, Sense and Sensibility) in the role of the prickly novelist. Before actually signing away the book’s rights, Travers’ demands for contractual script and character control circumvent not only Disney’s vision for the film adaptation, but also those of the creative team of screenwriter Don DaGradi and sibling composers Richard and Robert Sherman, whose original score and song (“Chim-Chim-Cher-ee”) would go on to win Oscars at the 1965 ceremonies (the film won five awards of its 13 nominations).
When Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Disney’s desire to bring her beloved character to the motion picture screen (a quest he began in the 1940s as a promise to his two daughters), Disney meets a prim, uncompromising sexagenarian not only suspect of the impresario’s concept for the film, but a woman struggling with her own past. During her stay in California, Travers reflects back on her childhood in 1906 Australia, a trying time for her family which not only molded her aspirations to write, but one that also inspired the characters in her 1934 book.
None more so than the one person whom she loved and admired more than any other — her caring father, Travers Goff, a tormented banker who, before his untimely death that same year, instills the youngster with both affection and enlightenment (and would be the muse for the story’s patriarch, Mr. Banks, the sole character that the famous nanny comes to aid). While reluctant to grant Disney the film rights, Travers comes to realize that the acclaimed Hollywood storyteller has his own motives for wanting to make the film — which, like the author, hints at the relationship that he shared with his own father in the early 20th Century Midwest.
Colin Farrell (Minority Report, Total Recall) co-stars as Travers’ doting dad, Goff, along with British actress Ruth Wilson (the forthcoming films The Lone Ranger and Anna Karenina) as his long-suffering wife Margaret; Oscar and Emmy nominee Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Hilary and Jackie, The Rookie) as Margaret’s sister, Aunt Ellie (who inspired the title character of Travers’ novel); and a screen newcomer: 11-year-old Aussie native Annie Buckley as the young, blossoming writer, nicknamed “Ginty” in the flashback sequences.
The cast also includes Emmy winner Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, The Cabin in the Woods) as screenwriter Don DaGradi; Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom) and B.J. Novak (NBC’s The Office, Inglourious Basterds) as the songwriting Sherman Brothers (Richard and Robert, respectively); Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man, HBO’s John Adams) as Ralph, the kindly limousine driver who escorts Travers during her two-week stay in Hollywood; and multi-Emmy winner Kathy Baker (Picket Fences, Edward Scissorhands) as Tommie, one of Disney’s trusted studio associates.
Saving Mr. Banks will be directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Rookie) based on a screenplay by Kelly Marcel (creator of FOX-TV’s Terra Nova), from a story by Sue Smith (Brides of Christ, Bastard Boys) and Kelly Marcel. The film is being produced by Alison Owen of Ruby Films (the Oscar-nominated Elizabeth, HBO’s Emmy-winning Temple Grandin), Ian Collie of Essential Media (the Aussie TV documentary The Shadow of Mary Poppins, DirecTV’s Rake) and longtime Hancock collaborator Philip Steuer (The Rookie, The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy). The film’s executive producers are Ruby Films’ Paul Trijbits (Lay the Favorite, Jane Eyre), Hopscotch Features’ Andrew Mason (The Matrix trilogy, Dark City) and Troy Lum (Mao’s Last Dancer, I, Frankenstein), and BBC Films’ Christine Langan (Oscar nominee for The Queen, We Need to Talk About Kevin).
Hancock’s filmmaking team includes a trio of artists with whom he worked on his 2009 Best Picture Oscar nominee, The Blind Side: two-time Oscar nominated production designer Michael Corenblith (How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Apollo 13), Emmy-winning costume designer Daniel Orlandi (HBO’s Game Change, Frost/Nixon) and film editor Mark Livolsi, A.C.E. (Wedding Crashers, The Devil Wears Prada). Hancock also reunites with Academy Award-nominated cinematographer John Schwartzman (Seabiscuit, Pearl Harbor), with whom he first worked on his inspiring 2002 sports drama The Rookie.
Saving Mr. Banks will film entirely in the Los Angeles area, with key locations to include Disneyland in Anaheim and the Disney Studios in Burbank. Filming will conclude around Thanksgiving this year, with no specific 2013 release date yet set.
The contention, the rivalries, the tension, the money and… Chef are all coming back to Cartoon Network at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5 for the animated reality competition series Total Drama Revenge of the Island, produced by Fresh TV and distributed by Cake Entertainment.
In past seasons, egotistical series host Chris McLean brought the show to diverse locales, including a movie set and a voyage around the world, but now it’s back to the island, where the drama began in Season 1 — this time with an all-new cast! Since the show has gone global, Camp Wawanakwa has been abandoned and turned into a toxic nuclear waste dump — the perfect place for new and painful, cringe-inducing challenges!
Fighting for the $1 million prize are 13 wild new players: athletic overachiever Lightning, wide-eyed bubble-boy Cameron, multiple personality Mike, take-no-prisoners jock Jo, devious Scott, fame-monger Dakota, indie chick Zoey, compulsive liar Staci, strong silent genius B, fake tan and hairspray lover Anne Maria, moonchild Dawn, nice-guy gamer Sam and cadet Brick.
This season promises to be the toughest ever. As usual, the Total Drama contestants will be split into two teams, this time there are no reward challenges and one teen will be voted off in every episode. There is one chance for salvation when host Chris unveils an immunity statue, shaped in his own likeness, to be hidden somewhere on the island. Whoever finds the statue wins immunity from elimination for one radioactive campfire ceremony. Those chances are slim and all but one contestant will be catapulted off the island via the Hurl of Shame!
CartoonNetwork.com will also feature a Total Drama Revenge of the Island game where contestants will attempt to balance a portion of the Island’s mutant squirrel population on their bodies all while standing precariously on crudely built structures, trying to dodge meatballs being pelted at them by Chef. The player’s goal is to topple each contestants one-by-one using Chef and several types of meatball ammo ranging from large meatballs that pack a punch to explosive and corrosive meatballs that damage the structures the contestants are positioned on. The game has 30+ levels to master and will launch on May 29.
Animation Domination HD, the new animation unit created by Fox Broadcasting Company, has acquired the rights to the hit comic phenomenon Axe Cop, Nick Weidenfeld, head of Animation Domination HD, announced Tuesday.
Axe Cop will premiere as part of FOX’s new Saturday late-prime Animation Domination HD block (11 to 12:30 p.m. ET/PT), debuting in 2013, and across digital platforms.
“Axe Cop is one of the most creative, hilarious and naturally viral comic properties to emerge in the last decade,” Weidenfeld said. “I’ve hoped someone would adapt Axe Cop for television for years, and couldn’t be happier that we get to be that someone. Axe Cop has all the makings of an iconic animated series, and it will help set the tone for FOX’s new late-prime Saturday animation lineup.”
Axe Cop is the first new series in development by Animation Domination HD. The new unit has ordered six quarter-hour episodes of the series. Additional auspices will be announced.
The Axe Cop Web comic was created by then five-year-old Malachai Nicolle and his 29-year-old brother Ethan, and chronicles the adventures of an axe-wielding police officer and his loyal team of allies as they fight bad guys. Written by Malachai and drawn by Ethan, the first five installments of Axe Cop were put online on January 25, 2010 and went viral in a matter of days.
Three days after AxeCop.com went live, it was featured as Entertainment Weekly‘s “Site of the Day,” and the series quickly became an Internet meme. Since its debut, Axe Cop has gained cult status and prominent recognition in the comic sphere through Dark Horse, on the Web, and through various media circuits.
Award-winning children’s TV series LazyTown is back in production for a third season of brand new 13 half-hour shows following its acquisition by Turner Broadcasting last September.
Charting the adventures of action hero Sportacus, aspiring dancer Stephanie, resident villain Robbie Rotten and the rest of the LazyTown gang, the show combined live action with puppetry and CGI animation. It once again stars its creator, Magnus Scheving, as Sportacus, with a new actress in the role of Stephanie.
Ten-year-old Chloe Lang, from Connecticut and already a successful competition dancer, takes over from Julianna Rose Mauriello as Stephanie, the show’s lead female character, who is much loved by children for her bright pink hair, sunny disposition and dancing skills.
“I’m happy and honored to take on this role, and very excited to have the opportunity to live in Iceland for the next few months and work with the LazyTown crew,” says Chloe. “I have always looked up to Julianna — she was great on the show, and I just hope I can perform to her standards.”
Created as a concept nearly 20 years ago by Scheving, LazyTown is the only global entertainment brand dedicated to kids’ health. Its aim is to motivate kids and their families to make positive lifestyle choices in a fun, entertaining and inspirational way.
As well as the TV show, the brand encompasses live shows, music, games, radio, publishing, retail, and such community initiatives as marathons, sports clubs, meet and greets, and government-backed healthy eating campaigns.
“I’m really excited about filming the new [season], not least because Sportacus has got some really cool new gadgets to help him in his mission to get kids active and having fun in a creative way,” says Scheving.
Filmed as usual in the LazyTown Studios in Iceland, the special effects are being created this time around by Turner Studios in Atlanta, whose credits include Ben 10, Level Up, Matrix and X-Men.
The new season is being produced by Scheving and Björn Thorir Sigurdsson, and directed by Scheving and Sigvaldi J. Karason.
“LazyTown is one of the most powerful kids’ brands in the world,” says Turner’s chief content officer for EMEA, Michael Carrington. “It’s not only great entertainment, but — thanks to Magnus — has had a huge impact on society’s fight against childhood obesity. The new TV [season] promises to be even bigger and better than before, and will play an important role in our plans to build up and extend our pre-school channel Cartoonito.”
The first two seasons of LazyTown have also been acquired by Turner. They will be transmitted on Turner channels before the new season airs in early 2013.