Disney’s Tangled finished in third place this weekend, pulling in a FINAL $14.3 million. Its three week total is $115.4 million, pushing the domestic gross ahead of Disney’s last three features: The Princess and the Frog ($104.4M), Bolt ($114.1M), and Meet the Robinsons ($97.8M). In Russian, Tangled has become Disney’s highest-grossing animated feature ever after only two weeks. (Remember, Russians love American CG nowadays.) In Italy, the film moved from a third-place opening to first place in its second weekend.
DreamWorks’ Megamind finished in 10th with a FINAL $2.5M. Total stands at $140.2 million. Paul and Sandra Fierlinger’s My Dog Tulip snatched $3,148 from 3 theaters, lifting its cume to $139,923.
Italian street artist Blu, who also happens to be one of my favorite contemporary animators, was commissioned by LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) to paint a mural on one of the museum’s walls. The mural, which depicted wooden caskets draped with dollar bills, proved to be too contemporary for the museum and they whitewashed it (literally!) less than 24 hours after it was completed.
[Blu] was on the scene as a crew began to paint over the work, and he was not pleased, said Daniel Lahoda, a street art advocate who curates the L.A. Freewalls Project and was in Little Tokyo to document the whitewashing. “He was here this morning, taking pictures,” Lahoda said. “He was [angry].”
MOCA has provided just about the lamest response imaginable: “Directly in front the north wall is the Go For Broke monument, which commemorates the heroic roles of Japanese American soldiers, who served in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, and opposite the wall is the LA Veterans’ Affairs Hospital. The museum’s director explained to Blu that in this context, where MOCA is a guest among this historic Japanese American community, the work was inappropriate.”
Unurth, a street art blog, tore into that rationale, writing that, “This is a terrible explanation. The concept that street art and graffiti must be ‘appropriate’, to the point of not making political statements, is absurd and contrary to the history of the medium.”
The most embarrassing aspect of this is that MOCA is opening a show next Spring about street art. Too bad it’s now going to be viewed as a joke by many of the artists it was supposed to be celebrating and promoting.
Here’s a video of Blu’s painting being whitewashed:
Indie animation legend Bill Plympton‘s outlandish experiment to remake his Oscar nominated short Guard Dog as a global jam session is nearing completion. Dozens of animators contributed a few seconds each to recreate his original short shot-by-shot in their personal styles.
Bill shared this exclusive clip with us to show its progress. The mix of styles, techniques and skill levels is delightful, and the animator who animated the dog barking at the squirrel is the wildest piece of animation you’ll see today. The film will be completed in January and will hit the festival circuit in Spring ’11.
The Gruffalo, a holiday special based on a children’s book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, makes its US debut TONIGHT on ABC Family at 7pm/6c. The half-hour CG/stop motion mix was directed by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang at Germany’s Studio Soi and produced by London-based Magic Light Pictures. The film also debuts in Canada next Wednesday, December 15, at 6:30pm on TVO.
The filmmakers are posting pieces of Gruffalo pre-production art on their blog every day during the month of December. I’ve yet to see the special, but have been hearing plenty of raves about it throughout the past year, and have watched it pick up award after award including Best TV Special at Annecy, Best European Program of the Year at Cartoons on the Bay, Best Short Film for Children at Anima Mundi, and Best Television Animation Made for Children at Ottawa. The film was also nominated for a BAFTA and is currently on this year’s Oscar shortlist for best animated short.
If you’ve seen it already, share your thoughts in the comments.
Our post announcing the nominees for the 2010 Annie Awards generated a lot of controversy with people alternately pointing fingers at ASIFA and Disney for the latter company’s decision to withdraw its employees from this year’s individual achievement categories. Mark Walton, a former Annie nominee himself, took a tempered position in support of ASIFA (mostly) and made some good observations. Continue reading →
Alex Salsberg, a 2008 grad of Rochester Institute of Technology and current co-owner of Boston’s PokeGravy Studios, created this hilarious short that envisions what would happen if holidays had to be approved in a corporate boardroom like everything else nowadays. The art and animation is crude but funny as hell, and the voices made me laugh out loud.
Don’t worry, the marketing team is just messing with us. The actual film won’t be composed entirely of warmed over CG cliches that make audiences want to stay miles away from the nearest theater playing Rio. (Crosses fingers.)
Creepy and atmospheric animation is hard to pull off, but Keith Rondinelli does it with style in his dark and hallucinatory short The Forbidden Forest. To fully appreciate its visual design, watch the HD version on Vimeo and put on your headphones because the sound design adds a lot to the mood. Intentional or not, the film has a Run Wrake influence, but that may be an inevitable comparison for any filmmaker who manipulates antique imagery in After Effects. Keith’s film goes beyond mere imitation by creating a rich and immersive three-dimensional world for its flat cut-out heroine to navigate.
Rondinelli directed, animated, scored and edited this film by himself over a period of six months inbetween client work at Woodhouse, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based creative services studio where he is co-founder and chief creative director. I asked him to share some details about the production of The Forbidden Forest:
The Forbidden Forest is inspired by the work of Arthur Machen, who was a Welsh writer of supernatural fiction from the late 19th and early 20th century, specifically his classic tale “The White People”. I’m also a big fan of 1960s and 1970s animation and cinema, so the impetus for the piece was an attempt to marry the feel of Arthur Machen with movies such as René Laloux’s Fantastic Planet, Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man, and the films of Stanley Kubrick, namely 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining.
Outsider art is another longtime love of mine, and I wanted the piece to somehow fuse a 60s/70s widescreen cinematic language with the strange, obsessive imperfectness of outsider artists such as Henry Darger and Adolf Wolfli. The collage-like aesthetic was achieved by a lengthy process of scanning antique imagery from old books and obtaining it from online and other sources, colorizing and color-correcting, and then assembling and animating the elements in Adobe After Effects. The piece was edited in Adobe Premiere, and scored by myself using Apple’s Logic Pro.
It’s not quite the end of 2010, but ASIFA-East president David Levy has already compiled a post about 2010 New York animation highlights. It’s a fine checklist of many major events that happened in New York during 2010. The list is done from a personal point of view so there are omissions obviously, notably from New York’s VFX and CG community, which comprises a large portion of the city’s animated output.
The Sundance Institute announced its short film line-up this morning for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The festival, which runs from January 20-30 will include 4 animated shorts from the United States and 9 animated shorts from abroad.
U.S. ANIMATED SHORTS
Bike Race (Director: Tom Schroeder; Screenwriters: Tom Schroeder and Hilde De Roover) Two friends decide to stage a bicycle race to determine who is the best racer of all time, Eddy Merckx or Lance Armstrong. A love triangle develops during the race and the stakes of winning grow in importance. Link to Filmmaker Website
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp; Screenwriters: Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp) A short conversation with Marcel, a shell with shoes on. Link to Filmmaker Website
On the slowest post-Thanksgiving weekend at the box office since 1997, Disney’s Tangled unseated Harry Potter for first place with an estimated $21.5 million. Its two week total is now $96.5 million. The most concerning statistic is the film’s 56% drop from its first weekend. Comparably, other successful CG features in 2010 have dropped far less by the same point: Despicable Me fell 41.8%, How to Train Your Dragon 33.7%, and Toy Story 3 46.2%. Tangled will likely play strong through the holidays and may yet end up in the range of $160-175 million.
DreamWorks’ Megamind continued to fade fast. It plummeted 60% from the prior weekend, earning $5 million. Its total of $136.7M ranks it twelfth among DreamWorks releases, and it’ll have to work hard to pass the $155M of eleventh place Over the Hedge. Universal’s Despicable Me added an extra $217,000 in its 22nd weekend to reach the $250 million mark. Internationally, the film has grossed an additional $284.9M for a grand total of $534.9 million making it the 14th all-time highest grossing animated film worldwide.
This news piece by Taiwanese animation studio Next Media Animation succinctly points out that the feud between The Simpsons and Fox News doesn’t mean much since whoever wins, it still benefits the same guy–News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch. It’s a depressing thought, but at least the imaginative depictions of Murdoch and The Simpsons writers made me smile.
Talk about cruel and unusual punishment! Inmates in a Florida jail are being forced to watch Robert Zemeckis’s mo-cap trainwreck Polar Express over and over again. One inmate is so distressed that he filed a lawsuit claiming that the experience is akin to Chinese water torture. “I hear those little kids screaming through my brain. All night long I can hear them,” he told CNN. “I can close my eyes, but I’m still going to hear them over and over and over.” To be fair, the guy killed a woman driving drunk so Robert Zemeckis’s films are exactly the animation hell he deserves.