Sydney-based production company Ambience Entertainment is celebrating the release of its short-format toon star’s new 13 x half-hour series The Adventures of Figaro Pho, which premieres on Australia’s ABC3 today.Conceived and directed by award-winning illustrator Luke Jurevicius, the excessively paranoid Figaro Pho first hit the toon scene in 2008 in a series of 1-minute shorts that aired on ABC—earning two AFI Awards and three top Kidscreen Awards honors. These accolades encouraged development of the longer format series, which was a collaboration with Ambience, Chocolate Liberation Front and Jurevicius.The series, aimed at kids 6-14, takes advantage of the longer format with Figaro Pho taking his audience on a surreal, comic ride through an endless list of phobias in his goth-inspired world. The CG animation was produced by a team of 50 artists and technicians, lead by producer and animation director David Webster, at Ambience off of boards and concepts developed by Jurevicius’ Vishus Productions in Adelaide. Ambience and CLF managed a script and story team based at CLF’s Melbourne studio. Jurevicius’ long-term collaborator Deane Taylor (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ren & Stimpy) serves as art director.
Big business news today as The Walt Disney Company announces it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd.—including the popular Star Wars franchise—in a stock and cash transaction from 100% owner, chairman and founder George Lucas. Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on Oct. 26, the transaction value amounts to $4.05 billion with Disney paying half in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
Under the deal Disney will acquire the studio including the Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live-action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects and audio post production; plus the substantial technology portfolios of Lucasfilm, LucasArts, ILM and Skywalker Sound. Current co-chairman of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Kennedy will also serve as brand manager for Star Wars and exec produce new Star Wars films, with Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode VII is targeted for a 2015 release, with the franchise expected to grow.
We have covered the progress of Russian studio Wizart’s epic new CG-animated feature The Snow Queen in the magazine before. The new take on the 19th century fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a brave young girl who sets out the cold-hearted villainess is written and directed by Maxim Sveshnikov and Vlad Barbe. The producers will be bringing the 80-minute, stereoscopic feature to the American Film Market in Santa Monica in November.
The kid-targeted HD CG-animated series Laland (52 x 7), produced by Kotoc and represented by Nottingham Forest, has been selected to participate in Amsterdam’s Cinekid media festival and professional event, which wraps this week.Currently in development, Laland is an animated series incorporating Second Screen App technology increasing audience participation. Laland is a fantastical world inhabited by the Sulfis, good-natured creatures who live and breathe music!Nottingham Forest will present the series at the Junior Co-Production Market during Cinekid for Professionals to seek financing and co-production partners. Laland joins nine other projects in the Cross-Media category, focused on children’s media projects that combine a film or TV program with online, gaming, social networking, virtual world, mobile or licensing/merchandising components.
The new book this month is The Art of Tangled. Can obtain in the market price of RM 152.00 per copy. Author by Jeff Kurtti, Preface by John Lasseter, Foreword by Nathan Greno & Byron Howard and published by Chronicle Books San Fransisco. This is the third book i bought using Kinokuniya Bookweb. Can buy using Debit Card or Credit Card.Parcel will be post using GD Express(Gdex) Sdn Bhd. The charge for postal cost is RM 8.00 per Book. Here the link http://www.kinokuniya.com/my/
Iron Man 3 is an upcoming American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.It will be the sequel to Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and will be the seventh installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being the first major release in that franchise since the crossover film The Avengers. Shane Black is set to direct a screenplay by himself and Drew Pearce, which will be based on the "Extremis" story arc by Warren Ellis. Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films, serves as executive producer, along with Kevin Feige.Robert Downey, Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark, with Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Favreau reprising their roles as Pepper Potts, James Rhodes and Happy Hogan, respectively. Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale and Ben Kingsley round out the film's principal cast.After the release of Iron Man 2, The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Entertainment's new corporate parent, agreed to pay Paramount Pictures, the distributor of the first two Iron Man films, $115 million for the worldwide distribution rights to both Iron Man 3 and The Avengers. Favreau decided not to return as director, and in February 2011 Black was hired as the film's director. Throughout April and May 2012, the film's supporting cast was filled out, with Kingsley, Pearce, and Hall brought in to portray key roles. Filming began on May 23, 2012 and it was shot primarily in North Carolina, with additional filming scheduled to take place in Florida and China. Iron Man 3 is scheduled to be released on May 3, 2013, and the film will be converted to 3D in post-production.
Italian children’s entertainment producer and distributor Atlantyca recently signed a deal with Russian animation studio Aeroplane Productions to bring Russia’s top-rated animated series The Fixies in Europe, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea. The announcement was made jointly by Claudia Mazzucco, CEO of Atlantyca, and Michael Mennies, director of intl. productions for Aeroplane Productions.Targeting children (four- to nine-years-old), The Fixies (104 x 6 minutes) was created by Aeroplane Productions and is produced by Aeroplane, The Riki Group and Petersburg Animation Studio. The colorful toon follows the misadventures of Tom Thomas and his friendship with Simka and Nolik, the children of the tiny family that secretly lives in his apartment fixing the multitude of machines and gadgets all around them. Luckily the Fixies have the knowledge, skills, and tools to figure out a problem and solve it in this funny and educational series about how things work.
“We are very happy to have Atlantyca distributing The Fixies for us. Their expertise in international distribution, publishing, and licensing combined with their genuine enthusiasm for our show is just what we were looking for in a distributor as we launch our brand internationally,” said Mennies.
“The Fixies is the perfect property for Atlantyca, not only is it a thoroughly amazing creative animated series, it is a property that has huge multi-platform potential which is the core of Atlantyca’s brand building,” said Pedro Citaristi, Atlantyca’s sales manager who secured the deal.
The Fixies Concept Art
The Fixies Scene
Indian-produced CG-animated feature Delhi Safari will receive a U.S. release beginning on December 7, via Applied Art Productions. Produced by Krayon Pictures, the 3-D pic follows a group of animals to join forces to travel to Delhi and stop real estate developers from destroying their homes. The English-language voice cast includes Jane Lynch, Cary Elwes, Vanessa Williams, Brad Garrett, Christopher Lloyd, Jason Alexander, Carlos Alazraqui and Tara Strong.The feature, which screened at Annecy in June and won the best animation award at FICCI Frames in India, is directed by Nikhil Advani, produced by Anupama Patil and Kishor Patil and exec produced by Fred de Wysocki, Nishith Takia, Aditya Nath Jha and Namrata Sharma. The script is by the writing team of Advani, Girish Dhamija and Suresh Nair, with additional dialogue by Milap Zaveri.
Sony has set September 27, 2013 as the release date for its much-anticipated sequel, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. This is roughly the same weekend that the studio released its blockbuster hit Hotel Transylvania this year. Directed by Genndy Tartakovksy, the light-hearted spookfest has made over $152.3 million worldwide to date.Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers is directed by Cody Cameron (whose story artist credits include Shrek, Madagascar, Surf’s Up and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) & Kris Pearn (head of story on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and story supervisor on Arthur Christmas) and produced by Kirk Bodyfelt. The pic was originally slate for an early 2014 release.The lead voice cast from the first film returns, including Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Men In Black 3) as inventor Flint Lockwood; Anna Faris (Scary Movie, The House Bunny) as brainy weather girl Sam Sparks; James Caan (The Godfather, Elf) as Flint’s technophobic dad, Tim Lockwood; Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live, Hotel Transylvania) as Swallow Falls’ local celebrity “Baby” Brent; Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, The Smurfs) as Steve the gummy bear-loving monkey; and Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order, Miss Congeniality) as Sam’s mild mannered cameraman Manny. In addition, Terry Crews (The Expendables 2) joins the cast to take on the role of Earl, the town cop.Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers picks up where Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs left off. Inventor Flint Lockwood’s genius is finally being recognized as he’s invited by his idol Chester V (Will Forte) to join The Live Corp Company, where the best and brightest inventors in the world create technologies for the betterment of mankind. Chester’s right-hand-gal – and one of his greatest inventions – is Barb (Kristen Schaal of Toy Story 3 and 30 Rock), a highly evolved orangutan with a human brain, who is also devious, manipulative and likes to wear lipstick. When Flint discovers that his infamous machine is now creating mutant food beasts, he and his friends must battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, apple pie-thons, double bacon cheespiders and other food creatures to save the world again!The first Cloudy film took in $243 million worldwide in 2009 and was nominated for four Annie awards, two VES Awards and a Golden Globe.Sony has also moved the sci-fi epic Elysium from March 1 to August 9 of next year. Elysium takes the spot previously held by Robocop, which Sony and MGM are pushing back to Feb. 7, 2014. The studio has also taken Happy Madison’s Pixels off its 2014 slate The CGI/live-action hybrid, the feature version of a French short about the invasion of New York City by an 8-bit video game, is still in development.
The digital media division of Breakthrough Entertainment has started production on a series of online games for the company’s upcoming animated series Rocket Monkeys, which is set to premiere on Teletoon next year.Through three games titled “Monkeys vs. Gorillas,” “Monkey Business” and “Monkeys on a Mission” – Rocket Monkeys Online targets the same demographic as the series, 6-11 year olds. All three games will be available in English and French on www.teletoon.com, with “Monkeys vs. Gorillas” launching in January 2013 at the same time as the series premieres, and the other two games rolling out during the broadcast season.In the Rocket Monkeys games, kids can blast other kids into outer space with Monkeynauts, Gus and Wally and join them in a series of fun-filled space adventures by helping them out of their latest scrape, piloting their big orange rocket ship through strange new worlds and tussling with a whole host of rivals and villains.Showcasing state-of-the-art 2D animation by Toronto’s Atomic Cartoons, Rocket Monkeys centers on the optimistic Wally and brainy Gus, best friends and NOSA-trained monkeynauts who explore new life forms, use techno gadgets and fight rogue black holes and evil space pirates in this fun-filled comedy series.
Oscar-winning director David Fincher (Social Network) has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new animated feature based on Blur/Dark Horse Studios’ The Goon. Finch will exec produce the project, which will be co-directed by Blur Studio’s president Tim Miller and Jeff Fowler. Based on an offbeat comic-book by Eric Powell, the pic is a paranormal comedy that mixes humor and violence and features cannibals, zombies and a large hero fighting an evil zombie priest.In the Kickstarter video, Fincher and Miller ask for $400,000 to help fund a story reel. Those who help fund the project will win original artwork by Powell and get invited to a fab, private screening of the finished story reel with Fincher, Powell and Miller, as well as a post-premiere lunch. Not sure if the invite includes meet-and-greet with zombie priests.On the site, Fincher says, “I admit it—I came to this party late. Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker was—regrettably—my introduction to The Goon and the incredible world created by Eric Powell. I thank Tim Miller—who snapped me out of my Goonless existence when I was looking for material to possibly make into an animated feature, and he suggested I peruse a copy he had (suspiciously) nearby. Of course I marveled at the characters and was smitten with the mise-en-scene, but it was the language—that uncategorizable: Dead End Kids Meets Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummies—that unlikely Powellian patois that absolutely hooked me. If this is your first time, you are in for a treat—if not, you already know how lucky you are.”
The Goon (David Fincher and Blur Studio) (Kickstarter Video) :
The Goon Trailer :
In case you haven’t gotten yourself psyched for the holiday season yet, here’s something that will help: A new 90 second spot for DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians has been making the rounds online and reveals more of the revamped classic kids characters as well as some of the other creatures that will populate this worlds-spanning fantasy adventure.Directed by Peter Ramsey based on the book by William Joyce, the film centers on Jack Frost (Chris Pine) who is invited to team up with other notable fantasy figures North, a Russian-accented and tattooed Santa Claus played by Alec Baldwin, Bunny (Easter Bunny, Hugh Jackman), Tooth (Tooth Fairy, Isla Fisher) and Sandy (The Sandman) who must stop the evil Pitch (Jude Law) from using the power of fear to take over the world. The film is due out in theaters November 21.
The weekend box office numbers are in and it looks like Tim Burton’s highly anticipated 3-D, black and white stop-motion feature adaptation of his cult hit short Frankenweenie came out the victim of a hit-and-run with Sony’s 3-D CG project Hotel Transylvania, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky.Hotel Transylvania has impressively maintained its momentum since last week, scoring the #2 slot just behind Fox’s Liam Neeson actioner Taken 2. Transylvania ran in 3,352 theaters and raked in $27.1 million for the weekend, a 36% decrease from its opening but still enough to give the monster themed family comedy a to-date total of $76.8 million. Disney’s Frankenweenie opened at the #5 spot (3,005 runs), earning a disappointing $11.1 million.The only other animated release to land in the top 10 (at #10) is Disney’s 3-D re-release of Finding Nemo, now in its fourth week, which took in $1.5 million over the weekend (1,746 runs) for a cumulative $39 million.
Move over, The Flintstones! There’s a new animated stone age family in town. DreamWorks Animation released the new trailer for its upcoming feature The Croods on the web today. The pic, which is written and directed by Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon, Lilo & Stitch) will open in theaters on March 22, 2013.The plot is set in “a previously undiscovered era in the history of Earth,” and follows the conflict between a family of cavemen and a more evolved young man named Guy (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke round up the eclectic voice cast.